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.

“Wow, this jacket is so comfortable,” says everyone who tries on the Marmot Alpha 60 Jacket. In fact, the cozy, furry exposed Polartec Alpha insulation truly feels like you’re snuggling up with your favorite blanket. But, how does all that cozy comfort translate into real-world performance? Those details are a little fuzzy. Marmot Alpha 60 Jacket Features: Pertex Quantum AIR© 20 CFM face fabric with 4-way stretch Light DWR finish for added water protection Polartec® Alpha® Direct insulation Attached hood with elastic binding Zippered handwarmer pockets Zippered chest pocket Weight: 255 grams (medium, actual) MSRP: $165 It’s kinda fuzzy (in…

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The all-duty wheelset these days is both in high demand and has a lot demanded from them. Riders are venturing further into gravel roads, but those same riders don’t want to sacrifice speed and efficiency. Heck, I’m riding up 3000 ft ascents one day and bombing singletrack the next on my Open UPPER. With that, the Roval Terra CLX wheelset was built for high-end gravel bikes, but don’t pin them as “just a gravel wheel” because if I could choose just one wheelset, these just might be it. Roval Terra CLX Gravel Wheelset Features: Built with Roval AFD hubs Uses…

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Pulling that $1000 smartphone out of your pocket on a chairlift is always a nerve-racking proposition. Everyone’s worst fear is dropping it onto the slope below to never be seen again. Vacation photos, important texts and those Slack messages from your boss are now lost in a snowbank. With that in mind, KOALA made the Super-Grip Smartphone Harness. This simple device can keep your smartphone from taking an unexpected plunge. KOALA Super-Grip Smartphone Harness Features: Locking clip attaches securely Rubberized holder fits most phones (with or without a case) Selfie-length coiled tether MSRP: $25 Janitors are onto something Yup, that…

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When Wahoo acquired Speedplay almost two years ago, everyone knew they were going to introduce a pedal-based power meter. But, what nobody knew was that six months post-acquisition, the world would simultaneously see a production shutdown and a tidal wave of bike sales. Now that we are on the tail end of the COVID adventure, Wahoo is launching their all-new Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedal line and also announcing the coming of their pedal-based power measurement system, Powrlink Zero. The new Wahoo Speedplay Zero line consists of four pedals, priced from $449 to $149. The top-of-the-line Speedplay Nano features a titanium…

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Being based in the UK, Endura knows a thing or two about soggy, wet conditions. With that, their Hummvee Waterproof Socks II are made to keep your feet warm and dry without fussing with overshoes. I’ve tested other waterproof socks before, but has Endura cracked the code with their new design? I’m thinking they have. Endura Hummvee Waterproof Socks II Features: 3-Layer construction Waterproof, highly breathable stretch membrane Stretch arch support Long length for maximum coverage Unpadded design is ideal for close fitting shoes Available in three colors and two sizes Nylon 45% / Polyester 42% / Elastane 13% MSRP:…

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Obtaining the lightest helmet available isn’t always the ultimate goal. In years past, the end result would have been worthy of serious question. With the current focus on helmet construction and safety — including the integration of additional technologies like MIPS, WaveCel, Koroyd and others — it could be seen as antithetical to introduce a 190 gram, fully-featured road helmet to the market. And, while it’s astoundingly light, the fact hat the Ventral Lite is made by POC tells me that they may have just cracked the secret to lightweight and protective helmet design. Back in the day, I reviewed…

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The versatility of synthetic puffy jackets can’t be understated. 90% of the time, it’s my go-to choice for just about everything in the winter. With the latest Mountain Hardwear Kor Strata Hoody, you get a durable outer shell with lightweight Primaloft Gold Active insulation. In short: it’s a keeper. Mountain Hardwear Kor Strata Hooded Jacket Features: Mechanical stretch nylon ripstop shell with DWR Primaloft® Gold Active insulation (60g weight) Articulated fit with seamless underarm gusset Two hand pockets and single chest pocket One-handed toggle to adjust hem Form-fitting hood Streamlined, alpine fit Weight: 355 grams (men’s medium) MSRP: $220 Find…

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I’m enamored with some of my favorite long-sleeve running shirts. It’s always nice to head out on a chilly day and know that it’s going to provide just enough warmth but still breathe. Hoka One One’s new Performance Long Sleeve Shirt is built with Polartec Power Dry fabric and aims to be that perfect long-sleeve shirt for all athletic pursuits. Hoka One One Performance Long Sleeve Shirt Features: Wide, round collar Drop hem design for added coverage Polartec Power Dry fabric 57-83% post-consumer content Heavier weight body/back with lighter sleeve material Standard fit Weight: 115 grams (medium, actual) MSRP: $62.00…

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In over 20 years of shipping bikes across the country back to manufacturers, I’ve typically used a good old cardboard box. With enough experience, patience and packing material, bikes typically arrive unscathed. Recently, the folks at BikeFlights released their own multi-use cardboard shipping box. While it doesn’t pretend to replace a costlier plastic or nylon travel bags, how would it handle the not-so-gentle hands of UPS Ground service? I found out after shipping a test bike back to Trek HQ last fall. BikeFlights Large Cardboard Shipping Box Features: Features detachable top/bottom lids Utilizes 8 BClips to allow easy access without…

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Thanks to modern batteries, electronics and LED bulbs, headlamps are now available in all shapes and sizes. Inevitably, they now come with various lighting modes of various utility. The matchbox-sized BioLite Headlamp 200 offers diminutive size and weight with a bit of a learning curve from this old dude. BioLite Headlamp 200 Features: Soft, integrated headband 200 lumens max output Tilts downward in set notches Micro USB rechargeable Battery life: 40 hours on LO, 3 hours on HIGH Settings: White + Dim , Red + Dim, White Strobe, Red Strobe Weight: 50 grams MSRP: $44.95 Compact, lightweight headlamp It truly…

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Patagonia is dead set on making versatile, functional, long-lasting clothing that’s as easy as can be on the environment. With that, the latest Nano Puff Jacket uses recycled PrimaLoft insulation, recycled outer shell and lining and is Far Trade Certified sewn. In short, this jacket was something else before it arrived and is built to have a long, useful lifespan. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket Features: Recycled polyester shell and liner fabric Features PFC-free DWR finish Recycled 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Brick-style quilting pattern to maintain loft Drawcord-adjustable drop hem Built-in stuff sack Fair Trade Certified™ sewn Regular fit Weight: 335…

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Today, WTB announced their all-new Proterra lineup of wheels. While these new wheels consist of four different widths and builds, I’m going to focus on the gravel plus version, the WTB Proterra Light i25. Why? Because rolling 650b is just so much fun on gravel bikes and the i25’s represent an affordable way to add a 650b wheelset to your gravel repertoire. WTB Proterra Light i25 650b Features: Lightweight 6069 alloy 650b diameter New TCS 2.0 construction 25mm inner width TCS Solid Strip further protects the spoke holes On-Ramp Bead keeps the bead in place for proper seating Sapim aluminum…

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With two thicknesses on offer, Pearl Izumi has both a thermal and lightweight base layer for whatever Mother Nature has in store. With the right mid and outer layers, both the thermal and s standard long-sleeve base layers have allowed me to stay warm and comfortable on cold rides. Pearl Izumi Merino Wool Long Sleeve Base Layers Features: Available in thermal and non-thermal models Features polyester-backed Merino wool Thermal model is thicker and warmer (obviously) Thumb loops to prevent bunching Form fit Weight: 235 grams (thermal) / 145 grams  – large, actual MSRP: $90-$110 Baaa Baaa is Goood Goood When…

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After the year of the bike, we’re heading into another hot year for bikes and Ibis is poised to deliver a sweet little number just in time to get into the hands of riders everywhere. Made from lightweight alloy instead of carbon, the all-new 2021 Ibis Ripley AF starts at $2999 for a full Shimano Deore 12-speed build and quality parts kit. Now, Ibis has both the Ripley AF and Ripmo AF on offer and they represent the easiest way to get into a DW-Link bike — arguably the best suspension design on the market. As is requisite, the 2021…

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We all need long rides on endless gravel roads. And, that’s just what we’ll see on August 21, 2021. The Gravel Worlds will again take flight from Lincoln, NE. And with it, an all-new event, dubbed “The Long Voyage 300,” will also take place. Limited to 100 participants, The Long Voyage will set off on a 300 mile route the day prior, August 20. The initial set of riders for The Long Voyage consists of 18 women and 82 men, who have been selected from around the world to take on this brutal course. With a 30 hour time limit,…

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Protein bars come in all shapes and sizes. Now, Honey Stinger is coming into town with crackers, nut butter and plant-based protein. It’s all a crunchy, chocolate-y snack that’s best served outside after a workout. You’ll see why. Honey Stinger Cracker Protein Bars Features:  Nut butter and honey filling Chocolate-dipped crackers on top/bottom 10 grams of plant protein (NEW) USDA certified organic ingredients 280 calories Made in Steamboat, CO Weight: 1.94 oz MSRP: $28.99 (box of 12 bars – $2.42 ea.) Crunchy, crispy protein While most protein bars are gooey and soft, Honey Stinger wanted something a little different, so…

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You’ve gotta have knee warmers. Enough said. With them, you can extend your riding season or ride times to adjust to varying temperatures. Keeping those knees warm is essential and Bontrager’s Thermal Knee Warmers are a great addition to either your regular kit or thermal bib shorts. Bontrager Thermal Knee Warmers Features: Thermal fabric adds warmth and wicks moisture Breathable and fast-drying Anatomic left/right design Wide upper cuff with silicone print Stretchy lower cuff MSRP: $39.99 Warm knees = happy knees As temperatures drop, you can almost spend as much time dressing for a ride as the ride itself, but…

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Collectively, we’ll all be glad to see January 2021 on the calendar. Everything will be fresh and new. Hope is on the way. This year, in particular, represented the resiliency of brands and their ability to bring new products to market — all amidst the most chaotic supply chain of modern times. With that, we have a few items that stood out and brought us joy in 2020. Here goes. Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37 Wheelset Though Bontrager understandably delayed the launch of these by a few months, they were well worth the wait. Aiming to deliver the perfect blend of…

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As tubeless road wheelsets have become commonplace, more and more tubeless road tire options have become available. Yes, there are a variety of “standards” out there, but the latest crop of tubeless road tires are flat-out awesome in every way. And, with a brand like Goodyear entering the ring, the Eagle F1 30c tires are impressive. Goodyear Eagle F1 700x30c Tubeless Tire Features: Dynamic:GSR Graphene Silica compound Tubeless Complete system for improved air retention Dual Angle bead design seats on hooked or hookless rims Optimized for 21mm rim widths at largest sizes Widths: 25, 28, 30, 32mm Weight: 320g (30mm,…

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“Premium” is used for all things luxe, but that’s just the start of the story for the new Affinity Cycles Premium Carbon Fiber Levers. They not only look good, but they perform well for the all-important tubeless tire install or uninstall process. Affinity Cycles Premium Carbon Fiber Tire Lever Features: Unidirectional, 3K woven carbon fiber Designed for all tires and rims Carbon rim-friendly Made to order in Brooklyn, NY 25 grams MSRP: $25/pair Carbon tire levers du jour Everything can be made of carbon fiber. Everything. Heck, I want my lawn mower’s handle to be carbon fiber so it smoothes…

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