Category Archives: field test

Giro Terraduro

I’m on my second pair of Giro‘s all-around trail riding Terraduro shoes after riding the hell out of my first pair. In fact, it was really all the walking around that did in the Vibram soles and not so much actual riding. It’s not every day that I need stiff XC-style shoes and the added traction of a true full rubber sole makes my regular hike-a-bike duties far less precarious. The other main feature of the shoe I’m particularly fond of is the stout toe cap because frankly, I’m not the most graceful rider. My pedal strokes often take blows from rocks and logs so that patch of tough material keeps the shoe, and my toes, from being mercifully pounded into oblivion. Sure, at 420 grams at the median 43.5 size they aren’t the lightest trail shoe but they’re stiff enough for spirited riding and will hold up against a whole lot of abuse. Scoop up a pair here or your local Giro dealer.

Side note: the women’s Terradura comes in pretty nice teal and black colorway!

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Field Test: Giro Alpineduro Boots


My friends at Giro hooked me up with a pair of their winter mountain bike boot that they call the Alpineduro. I’ve been wearing the Terraduro shoe for a little while and was really excited to see how its winter brother performed once it got a bit colder. So far it’s been through winter road rides, frozen trail rides, and even some commutes when the morning chill was strong enough to justify it- those days it was hard to even take them off even once I arrived at work due to how warm and comfortable they are.  Continue reading

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Strawfoot Roll-Top Tote


This past Summer Garett of Strawfoot Handmade made me one of his roll-top tote’s which at the time he had just started producing regularly. I was looking for a bag to throw in my Gamoh porteur rack and this seemed like the perfect bag for the job due to it’s size, durability, and water-proof properties inherited from the waxed canvas. Since the bag is mostly carried by bike the vegetable tanned leather is taking a little while to darken but it’ll come in due time. Continue reading

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Outlier Three Way Shorts


After receiving a pair of Outlier‘s Three Way Shorts late last summer they had quickly become my go-to short on hot summer days, especially on those days when I’m biking around town and working up a sweat. Thanks to the magical properties of the Schoeller fabric, the same used in my Climber pants, the shorts breathe extraordinarily well in addition to repelling water should you get caught in a summer storm. That’s not to say the fabric is waterproof but should they get wet enough to absorb water the drying time is very short, especially compared to any chino shorts I’m used to wearing all summer. Dealing with truly brutal summer heat? Try the Ultralight Shorts.



The cut of the short itself is perfect and not overly balloon-y like many shorts feel to me. Designed for movement  you’ll never feel constricted while swimming, biking, hiking, and anything else you can throw at it. The shorts also come in a longer cut, the Three Way Longs, as well as an even shorter cut that Outlier calls the Three Way Trunks. The inseams measure 5″, 8.5″, and 11.5″ depending on what you’re most comfortable with wearing.

Ample sized pockets are made from a combination of soft breathable Supplex and a mesh panel to let water to drain if you feel like taking a dip. The hidden drawstring is a really nice feature that lets belt-free wear come with ease, but if you really don’t care for it dangling around you could always just pull it out.


Great job Outlier, can’t wait to see what else you’ll come up with..

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Field Test: Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders


Dan over at PDW was kind enough to send over a pair of their Full Metal Fenders which have been installed on my road bike for a few months now. Both Dan and Erik have been working on the fenders for several years going through prototype after prototype to find the perfect design to fit frames not generally intended to fit fenders. They’ve been a lifesaver on wet and snowy rides this Winter keeping me as dry as possible (and therefore warmer) due to their extensive coverage. Some may scoff at the $120 price tag but if you’re a regular follower of this site you probably already understand the value of well made things.


The hardware is all very well thought out and makes for easy adjustment later down the line should you decide to tinker the fender-lines to perfection. Yes, I do that. The fenders themselves are made from anodized aluminum and fit 23mm tires. Again, the coverage is excellent- you stay dry and your friends stay dry.. everyone wins. If you’re down about not being able to fit fatter tires fear not because a 45mm version is on the way.


The original fender stays reached the rear wheel’s skewer but in order to utilize the fender eyelets on the dropouts of my frame I needed a little extra length. I had an extra set of fender stays that I cut down to the size I needed them, they’re certainly wider than the included stays but it allows for a more even fit.



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Field Test: PDW Lighting

When the lack of winter daylight sets in a set of reliable lights are super important to me- I implore you to not be one of many “bike ninjas” riding city streets without any sort of lighting as it can be dangerous for you and others around you. Dan at Portland Design Works was kind enough to let me try out some of their lights recently which I’ve been using since early December. Up front I have the Cosmic Dreadnought 110 (110 lumens of light output) and in the rear their bolt-on Fenderbot.

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Field Test: Topo Designs Sling Pack

This pack first peaked my interest when I saw a prototype pop up on the Topo blog back in March. After talking about the pack with Jedd and Mark for a little while they sent me a near-final iteration of the prototype that’s very similar to the sling pack they’re now offering- the only difference was the addition of a stabilizing strap in the final design.

I’ve been using the pack at least a few days a week since August, filling the gap between my tiny laptop bag and larger git-r-done packs. The size is perfect for carrying a 15″ laptop, an extra layer of clothing, and some small odds and ends. The padded back and wide strap make for a really comfortable wear; note the D-rings on both lower corners for switching the strap to your preferred shoulder. 1000 denier cordura strong with a coated lining, made in Colorado. Check out the Sling Pack and Topo’s other packs on their site: Topo Designs


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Field Test: Outlier Climber Pants

I’ve been wearing these pants nearly every day for the past couple weeks while commuting rain or shine and they’ve being living up to every expectation that I’ve had for them. Lucky for this test the past week was filled with showers that I gladly rode through- the pants were not stuck under a faucet in order to report water repellency as you may have seen in other gear reviews. Photos by Chris Leaman.

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