Friday, January 3, 2014

A few doo-dads that tempt me . . .

Showers Pass Veleau.  This is a water bladder in a seat-mount pack with a little additional room for accessories.   I have brainstormed, tried, and brainstormed again the perfect combination of water and gear packaging for longer rides.  The Veleau is basically two full water bottles carried out of the way, leaving both cages for coffee and powdered drink and tools in the out-of-the-way underside cage.  On the other hand, it's 3 1/2 pounds of water mounted way up high, which might be annoying when climbing.

Tool rolls.  They're certainly pretty!
EH Works Tool Rolls/Seat Bags.  These are designed by Erica from Seattle who, as best as I can tell, is selling exactly one product.  I do wish she'd branch out, because the design factor on this product would translate well to a handlebar roll bag.  The Mopha is a nice tool roll with room for two tubes, a patch kit, allen wrenches, a tire lever, a chain tool and a spoke wrench.  It's got a classic look and is frankly much more user friendly than a seat bag, which I'm always able to load while at home before a ride and never able to reload after half-emptying it while changing a tube.  EH works bags aren't cheap, but I bought two nonetheless.  One for the Gunnar and one for the Neuvation.  I'll probably get a third for the Cervelo fixie that's coming on line this winter.  (Thankfully, Erica offered me half-off after I made a positive testimonial on her site.)

Schwalbe One 28c Tubeless Clinchers.  I love the look of the Schwalbe tires.  Their reputation for nice rolling and fair durability is well established.  And I've been considering going tubeless for some time now (as I've written here before).  Why not do it all at once and get the new Schwalbe One Tubeless Clinchers?

Schwalbe One Tubeless Clincher, coming 2014.

Chain keeper.  I can't make a real case for this jobbie, which attaches around the seat-post and prevents the chain from dropping to the inside of the small ring, but I'm a sucker for just how elegant a solution it is.  The problem, of course, is that so long as I keep my bike tuned this is a solution looking for a problem.  I can see it on a cyclocross rig or a mountain bike being used aggressively but I can't see using it on a road bike under normal use conditions.

Kuat NV Hitch Rack.  This is a high design factor tray-style hitch rack that holds two bikes and can be extended to hold four.  The reviews are glowing, including from buyers who switched from the Thule T2 and preferred the Kuat's anti-rattle mechanism.  It appears to be a tad lighter than the comparable offerings from Thule and Yakima -- Kuat lists an assembled weight of 49 lbs.  That sounds about like what I've read for the T2 (~50 lbs.), although this forum has one poster noting a 20# advantage for Kuat.  (I doubt that assertion.)  My problems with hitch racks:  (1) I need a trailer hitch.  Not for the new car, I think.  (2) Hanging 50 lbs. plus bike (plus hitch) off the back end of the car is a big negative for weight balance.  Silly, I know, as one is not motoring for enjoyment when carrying bikes.  (3) They cost a lot.  The cheapest I can find the Kuat at Amazon is $523.  I did find one on eBay for $419.  

Revelate Tangle Bag.  Pretty sure Damon has one of these.  I have the original version of the road-biking frame bag, the Jandd Frame Pack, and I'm very pleased with it.  What always amazes me about the Jandd, though, is how quickly 188 cubic inches fills up.  Revelate's large Tangle bag offers 350 cubic inches, easily enough for food and emergency clothing for a full night with no services.  On the other hand, going for Jandd is (1) the packing discipline that comes from having less space to fill (and the consequent weight advantage) and (2) the price -- a mere $30, versus $60 for the Revelate offering.

King Cage Kargo.  Another design to help fill that wasted space in the main triangle, King Cage offers this elegant water-bottle plus tool carrier. At $40 it is not out of whack with other water bottle cages.  I like that it keeps the weight of metal tools down low (relative to a seat bag or a trunk rack) and centered.  I'm annoyed by the clips, which apparently permit one to support the tool carrier with a strap over the top tube.  Why not just a small shelf at the bottom?

King Cage Titanium.  This is an easier sell.  At $60, which isn't cheap but isn't crazy, it's lighter (28g) and much better looking than most carbon cages on the market.  My only concern:  how will titanium match the Ultegra silver color and my new silver headset?  Yes, I've actually descended to the point of asking whether it matches.


Unknown said...

A couple of thoughts.

(1) If you're thinking of going tubeless, why not go with the Hutchinson Sector 28 tires? I've ridden them for a year with no flats, and in general they're much more battle-tested than a forthcoming "first offering" from Schwalbe. I can't imagine the ride quality is any different, especially when loaded with 800 pounds of stuff.

(2) Re: the behind-the-saddle hydration option, I don't understand the advantage of the saddle-mounted option pictured vis-a-vis the ubiquitous "behind the saddle" tri setups from X-Labs & competitors. All else being equal, having two bottle cages behind the saddle, instead of that pouch, would seem superior. (You could put different things in the two bottles, or use one for tools or mix, or whatever. And you wouldn't have to deal with running a tube all the way along the bike.) You also could strap things to the bottom of it. FWIW, in my early tri days, I had something very similar to the pictured option -- a behind-the-saddle teardrop-shaped bladder with a tube running to the handlebars. I found that it really did affect handling. If you're going to put something heavy back there, might as well yield unto Caesar and go the Arkel tailrider route for that spot, and use one of the Speedfil bottles on the downtube for hydration.

Don't forget the flexibility of the old standby "extra bottle in the jersey pocket" option.

Max said...

So the experience in Alaska didn't turn you off?

All good points on packing water.

Tallac said...

Update on the King Cage Kargo Cage. We have revised the bag it is now using low profile button snaps. So the buckles are not currently be used any more. It makes the bag easier to remove and when the bag is not in the Kargo Cage you can slide it into your jersey pocket.
Thanks for the review.
More information at

Max said...

Thanks for sharing this design update!

Max said...

BTW, on the tallacdesign website, check out the cargo-only option. That would be a great fit on the extra WB mounts under the down-tube (or wherever you consider your superfluous mounts to exist).