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.

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Jack Wolfskin is one of those legendary brands that has been outfitting outdoor athletes for decades. Since 1981, their paw print logo has been seen on tents, jackets, sleeping bags and apparel. Their Crosstrail T is easy to love for trail running, hiking and other adventures and it comes in at a very reasonable price to boot. Jack Wolfskin Crosstrail T Shirt Features: Soft, 100% polyester fabric Cut with extra length for coverage Quick Moisture Control (QMC) built in SFresh odor control MSRP: $34.95 Great shirt for any adventure While I can appreciate a running shirt that’s built for trail…

Read More

These days, gravel bikes are really about maximum tire clearance while still maintaining a “roadie” feel. The first question that comes out of anyone’s mouth is “what size tires can it fit?” While clearance varies between frames and various rim/tire combinations, we all still rely on that stated max rubber width(*) provided by manufacturers. With that, the all-new Canyon Grizl answers that question clearly and succinctly: 700x50mm.  Canyon acknowledges that while we call the latest crop of bikes “gravel bikes,” there’s a spectrum of gnarliness that makes up the type of riding one might expect to tackle on one. For…

Read More

As SRAM has refined their AXS ecosystem, a few variants have emerged to better serve the widest variety of cyclists. The latest Force eTap AXS Wide variant allows increased tire clearance and also accommodates their 10-36t cassette for maximum gear ratios. With that, a complete Force AXS 1x drivetrain has also become more viable. SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide Features: Wide-specific crankset, cassette and derailleurs Works with 10-36t and 10-33t cassettes Crankset features 43/30T chainrings (or go 1x) Allows wider tire clearance (700x45c and 27.5×2.1”) 5mm wider Q-factor (each pedal is 2.5mm outboard) Works with AXS road shifters (Red, Force,…

Read More

A proper-fitting helmet should feel immediately secure on your head. There shouldn’t be any slop and it should essentially disappear while riding. It is a little bit ironic that you shouldn’t think about a helmet when it’s sitting on your head, but that’s just how well the Giro Manifest Spherical MIPS feels. It’s there, doing its job, but you don’t have to think too much about it. Giro Manifest Spherical MIPS Features: Spherical, ball-in-socket MIPS design AURA reinforcing arch 19 Wind Tunnel™ vents Roc Loc Trail Air fit system Antimicrobial XT2 padding Adjustable, screw-in visor Fidlock magnetic buckle Weight: 365…

Read More

Gravel bikes are everywhere and they come in all sorts of flavors, shapes and sizes. In the height of the pandemic, Gerard Vroomen and the team at 3T launched the Exploro RaceMax. It’s aero. It’s versatile. And, it can fit huge tires (more on that later). I must say that since the RaceMax has been in the stable, my other bikes have been neglected. A wheel or tire swap has been all that I’ve needed to morph the RaceMax into whatever I wanted it to be. 3T Exploro RaceMax Features: Truly aerodynamic performance at normal athlete speeds Built for 1x…

Read More

When it comes to wind jackets, they have to be able to easily stuff into a jersey pocket and also be versatile enough for wet or cold weather (with proper layering). Specialized is checking all those boxes with their HyprViz Race-Series Wind Jacket. Plus, this version is as bright as the noonday sun. Specialized HyprViz Race-Series Wind Jacket Features: Hyper Green and Black with reflective trim for all-day visibility 100% Recycled Polyester shell Lightweight fabric and minimal construction can be stuffed anywhere Windproof front panel and sleeves with light water protection Back mesh panel for maximum ventilation Slim, race fit…

Read More

Not everyone has cargo-sized jersey pockets to stuff to the gills on a long or short ride. And, with the recent bike boom, many riders aren’t wearing traditional jerseys, yet they still want an easy way to haul some necessities in a less-cumbersome way. With the SmrT water bottle, you get one part water bottle and one part storage — all nicely stowed in your existing bottle cage. SmrT Cargo Water Bottle Features: Squeezable 500 ml water bottle Screw-on 450 ml storage area Rubber nozzle for comfortable drinking Fits in standard bottle cages Dishwasher safe and BPA free 18-month warranty…

Read More

Several years ago, I was part of a special project working with Zeiss lenses. From that time, I’ve been enamored with their brand and the quality it represents. Koo Eyewear is a relative newcomer to the sunglasses space, but they chose to partner with Zeiss for lenses and produce their frames in Italy. So, from the outset, Koo has made, in my opinion, two great choices and what’s awesome is that their frames don’t cost what you’d expect. Quality optics and frames at a still-approachable price makes the new Koo Demos quite the package for cycling or running. Koo Demos…

Read More