Author: Jason Mitchell

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

If you’ve spent much time on the socials, you’ve likely seen NeoPro’s cheeky ads, poking fun at the cost of cycling kits. Admittedly, they have a point. Why do good cycling kits have to cost so much? My favorite kits right now are $250 or more, so spending $115 for a full NeoPro kit was something I had to try. NeoPro Krypton Jersey and Onyx Bibs Features: Traditional collar height and sleeve length Textured aero dimple fabric on arm and front panels Ultra-soft lightweight back panels and pockets Breathable mesh underarms YKK zipper 40+ UPF Sun protection Hi-viz accents Mesh…

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HOKA One One has long been known for their maximalist running shoes. But, over the past few years, they have been reducing that stack height while maintaining the same legendary ride quality for a faster-feeling and more nimble trail feel. Released in June 2021, the Zinal trail runners are wicked-light, comfortable and capable — in spite of minimalist outsoles and full mesh uppers. HOKA One One Zinal Features: Mesh upper derived from recycled content Gusseted tongue Toe bumper for protection Molded EVA sockliner PROFLY™ construction early stage Meta-Rocker Vibram® Megagrip with Litebase construction outsole with 4mm lugs 5mm drop Weight:…

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If there’s one thing that Kask has dialed, it’s comfort. After testing the Mojito 3 and now the Valegro, I’m convinced that if comfort is what you seek in a road helmet, you’ll likely find it in a Kask. Add in a healthy dose of ventilation on this featherweight lid and it remains an excellent choice for summer heat. Kask Valegro Helmet Features: 37 vents for maximum cooling Wind tunnel tested for maximum cooling Fast wicking padding Octo Fit system Removable brow pad for additional ventilation (NEW) Fixed side yokes Adjustable, eco-leather chin strap WG11 rotational-impact tested Weight: 250 grams…

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For 25 years, Fizik has focused on the most important rider touch points — saddles, bars, tape and shoes. With Italian design and passion, Fizik saddles have quietly gained fans worldwide. I’ve used a handful of them over the years and each one has offered excellent comfort. Expanding into dirt and gravel for 2021, the Terra Argo X5 Saddle is a great option for dirt adventures with curly bars. Fizik Terra Argo X5 Features: Argo shape provides a versatile short-nose saddle the encourages stability and relieves pressure on sensitive areas X5 model incorporates a ride-compliant carbon fiber reinforced nylon shell…

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There’s something about race-cut jerseys that makes you just feel fast. With the Specialized HyprViz SL Air Jersey, you can feel fast, look fast and actually be fast — all while being seen on the road. I’m always keen on added visibility and the HyprViz SL Air Jersey is a hard one to miss. Specialized HyprViz SL Air Jersey Features: HyprViz 360-degree visibility day or night VaporRize™ lightweight, soft mesh fabric Classy looks with minimalist branding Three rear pockets Race fit for ultimate performance Low-cut collar Locking full zipper Silicone grip at rear hem Long, modern-length sleeves UPF 30+ rating…

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Yes, you can spend hundreds of dollars on a set of pedals. With the extra money, you get lighter weight and sexier materials, but the ultra-affordable LOOK X-Track Pedals have a lot to offer in their mere $50 package. LOOK X-Track Pedals Features: Increased pedal body size for added power transfer Standard SPD compatibility (LOOK cleats included) LOOK cleats offer 6-degrees of float (more than Shimano) Adjustable release tension Chromoly spindle Stack height: 16.8mm Weight: 195 grams (each, actual) MSRP: $55 Affordable, reliable SPD pedals First off, spending $55 on these pedals feels like highway robbery. I haven’t had such…

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Budget-friendly and Castelli don’t seem to go together much, but that idea is about to change as Castelli flexes their muscle and sharpens their pencils at the same time. The result is the $100 Castelli Avanti Jersey, which has a ton of high-end features at a more affordable price point. Castelli Avanti Jersey Features: Strada micro mesh ventilated stretch fabric on front and back for great fit and moisture management Tailwind dimpled stretch fabric on sleeves, side panels and pocket for perfect fit Full-length YKK® Vislon® zipper is easiest-sliding zipper available Silicone gripper elastic at waist prevents jersey from riding…

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Ritchey has long hung their hat on their unique stem clamp designs. It all started with the C260 design, but the C220 is much easier to live with and the Ritchey Toyon C220 Stem is a great stem for road or gravel use. Ritchey WCS Toyon C220 Stem Features: 6° of positive or negative rise 1-1/8″ steerer diameter Matching top cap included M5 stainless hex bolts for easy servicing Made from 2014 alloy Stem body wraps 220° around bar clamping area Unique design holds the bar in place for easy installation Matte black color Weight: 130 grams (110mm, actual) MSRP: $99.95 C220…

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Being the lightest helmet isn’t always desirable, but somehow Specialized has checked every box with the new S-Works Prevail II Vent helmet while still being among the lightest helmets I’ve ever tested. As the name suggests, the Prevail II Vent is made to breathe and it does that quite well. S-Works Prevail II Vent Helmet Features: Ultralight MIPS SL offers 10-15mm of unidirectional movement Aramid-reinforced skeleton Energy Optimized Multi-Density EPS construction Ultralight Mindset HairPort II micro-dial fit system ANGi Crash Sensor for added peace of mind Uses new 5th Dimension Cooling System Thin, soft, and lightweight 4X DryLite straps 5-star…

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With all the gravels going on these days, you’ve got to have the right tires. Tops on that list is versatility. You have to be able to smoothly roll all the roads (pavement, gravel, singletrack). But, above all, you need to have control and confidence everywhere. WTB’s venerable Venture tire tread is just that with their new TCS Light casing that delivers plenty of punch when needed and added suppleness for improved ride feel. WTB Venture 700c x 40 TCS Light SG2 Gravel Tire Features: All-new TCS Light construction New 120 tpi casing for improved ride quality SG2 Puncture Protection…

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Launching new products in the middle of global supply chain woes presents significant challenges, but Bontrager has been able to keep on rolling with new products galore. One of them is the all-new 2021 Bontrager Circuit Road Shoe — complete with the updated BOA L6 dial and a flexible road or mountain cleat system. These budget shoes have a lot to offer, so let’s dive in. 2021+ Bontrager Circuit Road Shoe Features: InForm race last for a roomier fit Perforated, synthetic uppers Single BOA L6 lacing system with velcro toe closure Nylon composite bronze-series sole Stiffness index 7 of 14…

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With a myriad of recovery mixes on the market, there’s something for every taste, nutrition goals and recovery needs. Osmo Nutrition is a relatively recent player in the hydration space with targeted formulas that do things differently than others on the market. For Osmo Rapid Recovery, there’s a secret ingredient that aids delivery of proteins aimed at recovery. Osmo Rapid Recovery Mix Details: Proprietary protein blend with specific formulations for each flavor Uses two types of protein (whey +micellar casein) to accelerate glycogen restoration Green tea leaf extract for a touch of caffeine Available in Chocolate and Vanilla (formulation varies) Mix…

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Merino-blend shirts tend to be my favorites for everyday use. I have a couple of old I/O Bio Merino shirts that have holes in them after 12 years of use, but I still wear them because they are so darn comfortable. Patagonia is no stranger to using Merino wool in its base layers and other items, and the new Capilene Cool Merino Shirt represents one of the best examples of Merino done right for trail running. Patagonia Capilene Cool Merino Shirt Features: Naturally odor-resistant 65% Merino wool 35% recycled polyester Wool certified by Responsible Wool Standard MSRP: $59 A woolly…

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Bib shorts can be really, really expensive. Some of my favorites cost twice as much as the Specialized SL Bib Shorts, but after riding these, I’m going to say that you don’t need to spend that much money to get a high-quality pair of bibs. Specialized SL Bib Shorts Features: Comfortable for long days in the saddle Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric blend with 4-way stretch Silicone-infused leg cuffs keep everything in place Triple-density Performance Body Geometry Contour 3D chamois UPF50+ protection Subtle reflective elements improve visibility Stretchy, but supportive, mesh straps Articulated design for on-bike fit 11″ inseam (medium) MSRP: $150…

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Topo Athletic remains a top choice among runners who prefer a wider toebox. Every time I look at a traditional shoe (with its pointed toebox), I cringe a little inside. With the updated Topo Ultraventure 2, Topo continues with a well-cushioned trainer that can tick off the miles in comfort. Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2 Features: Internal microfiber belt wraps the midfoot External TPU heel counter Gaiter-compatible 30mm heel and 25mm toe height 5mm drop Vibram® XS Trek EVO outsole 3-piece injected EVA midsole Engineered mesh upper with reduced overlays Weight: 11.2 oz each (men’s 11, actual) MSRP: $135 Training from…

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The second-generation of the Assos Mille GTS Bib Short builds upon the first and adds some notable improvements. Staying true to their semi-attached chamois design, the new GTS offers a refined fit for the longest of rides and delivers a quality ride for the most demanding riders. Assos Mille GTS Summer Bib Shorts Features: Optimized for the longest rides Uses OSSIDIA compression fabrics reduce fatigue Stretchy, comfortable Xbib straps Dual-density memory foam chamois Unique, semi-attached chamois design (unique to Assos bibs) Two year warranty with crash replacement MSRP: $230 Assos owns the chamois game The magic sauce of any pair…

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If you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of a pandemic-infused bike boom. Inventories are thin and new bike releases are postponed left and right. But, Santa Cruz is continuing on with their product releases and the 2022 Santa Cruz Blur represents a departure from the VPP Suspension. The resulting weight reduction (frame is 289 grams lighter) and suspension efficiency has the new Blur in the 23 lb. range. Fills the modern XC gap While I do miss the Tallboy of yesteryear, the new Blur XC and TR looks to fill that XC gap and will do it without the…

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Looking to add a little more flare to your ride, but not too much flare? You could always add some handlebar tassels, but if you’re not into that kind of flare, the Ritchey WCS Butano just might be the drop bars you’re looking for. Ritchey WCS Butano Handlebar Features: Triple-butted 7050 alloy Compact reach (73mm) and drop (118mm) Material: triple-butted 7050 alloy Widths: 40, 42, 44, 46cm 12° drop flare with 2° outward 4° backsweep at the tops 31.8mm clamp diameter Compatible with Di2 junction box (one side) C260 compatible Weight: 295 grams (44cm, actual) MSRP: $104.95 A great shape for…

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While DT Swiss is widely-known for their rock-solid hubs, their wheelsets are also solid and reliable. It’s highly likely that you have several bikes with DT Swiss hubs, wheels or internals hanging in the garage. This spring, I’ve had the all-new DT Swiss GRC 1400 650b wheelset locked-and-loaded on the 3T Exploro RaceMax and the system reliability has matched that of DT’s fabled hubs. DT Swiss GRC 1400 Spline 650b Wheelset Features: Built with DT Swiss 240 hubs Ratchet System freehub DT aero comp® straightpull spokes Tubeless-ready hookless bead design 286 lb max rider weight External Width: 32mm (actual) Internal…

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Roval continues to make waves with their innovative wheelsets for road, gravel and mountain biking. This year, they are expanding their gravel lineup by providing two new price points underneath the awesome Roval Terra CLX wheels: Terra CL and Terra C. Each one shares the same rim profile of the premium CLX model, but differs in carbon layup, hubs and spokes. In addition, Roval is releasing a their gravel-focused Terra Handlebar. Having spent several months thrashing the Terra CLX wheels, the journeyman Terra CL version should be well-received. They use the exact same rims as the CLX model, but just…

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