When I buy new bike stuff, it’s usually because I broke something I already had or I just wore it out. And it generally doesn’t require a thousand words to tell you what I think of it. That’s why I’ve concocted some handy mini-reviews of bike stuff I’ve had to get lately.
Here we go!
SIDI Dragon Mountain Bike Shoes
Just a few days before the Frenzy Hills 50-mile race in Fountain Hills, my damn bike shoes were having a hard time sticking to my Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals.
That’s because the cleats were worn beyond any reasonable belief. I also started taking a close look at the shoes themselves. And I was like “holy shit, these are worn to nothing.” I also shook my head at Sidi, thinking about how they don’t make them like they used to. I mean, it felt like I just got these a few years ago.
Then I thought a little more, and discovered a photo of myself racing in this same pair of Sidi Dominator 4 shoes more than 10 years ago. I hung my head in shame for allowing any dark thoughts about Sidi to cross my mind.
I dutifully trooped over to Bicycle Haus, where I knew I could get new Sidis. The owner strong-armed me into a $400 pair of Sidi Dragon 5 shoes — in black, because it would take too long to get the red ones I craved.
The Dragons have a weird highfalutin sort of clasp with delicate-looking wire things. I quickly figured out how to work everything, and the rather stiff top of the tongue (that sounds terrible) broke in nicely.
The Dragons have a nice stiff sole, replaceable treads and a nice fit. All is right with the world.
And yes, I also got new cleats.
Bontrager Circuit MIPS Helmet
During a nice nearly 30-mile ride on my singlespeed, I was burning back toward the trailhead. This was on by far the easiest trail of the day. My stomach was a-growlin’, and I was thinking about where I’d stop for some post-ride food.
That’s when I drifted too wide in a corner. My front wheel washed upon entering a heap of loose pebbles. I nearly recovered, but it was not to be.
I was cookin’ when I lost it, so the results of this crash were: a gnarly flap of skin peeled of my left thumb complements of my Shimano SLX brake lever clamp; a knock on my left shin; trail rash and bruising on my right upper arm and shoulder; a bloodied-up right knee; and a good knock on the head that left visible signs on both helmet and head.
That’s right — five major body parts … a type of crash I will now refer to as a “starfish.”
My budget-priced Kali helmet laid down its life for me. I bought another Kali on Amazon using a gift card. When it arrived, it was way too small despite being marked as the same size as my old one. I returned it and went to a local shop to get the helmet I actually craved: the Bontrager Circuit MIPS.
I wanted this one because of its Blendr magnetic mounts for lights and cameras. Yes, it’s also a comfortable helmet with a great adjustment system. But I wanted a more-secure accessory mount after my light got ejected (from a different Kali helmet) just minutes into the first lap of the Aravaipa Jangover ride.
I tested it on one ride with my Ofi OneFive camera on it, and it started to ride a little low on my forehead. I think wearing a headband under the helmet might lock it in a little better. Watch this space for more updates on the Bontrager Circuit MIPS.
Supacaz Fly Bottle Cages
I rarely spend any time riding at Trail 100 in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. One day, I corrected that by heading out to the far-west side of it.
During that right, I broke one of my Planet Bike mountain bike cages. That was the second one I killed — the last one was during the Prescott 6er race.
I really wanted some Wolf Tooth cages because those things look like they mean business. But they were sold out everywhere. I found that Spartan Rides AZ had a cage that might be worthwhile, so I plunked down for a few of the Supacaz Fly cages they sold.
After two months, I am not thrilled about these cages. They’re made from a thin aluminum that flexes and widens after a few rides. I’ve caught my bottles on the edge of being ejected more than a few times. I cannot recommend these for any reason unless they’re going on a road bike.
UPDATE (March27, 2021): And I completely broke the cage on the seat tube. Great.
Boie Body Scrubber
I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, this isn’t a bike product! This is something for taking showers!”
That’s where you’re wrong. Getting clean after a ride is vitally important. You NEED to have something to scrub the muck away.
I ordered this Boie Body Scrubber hoping for something moderately abrasive, yet also easy to clean and re-use.
Unfortunately, this soft silicon scrubber simply doesn’t have the grit I need for regular showering. It also does a miserable job of producing suds.
But here’s what the Boie Body Scrubber is absolutely stellar at: cleaning out cuts and abrasions from those moment when your speed outstrips your skills.
After the crash mentioned a few mini-reviews ago, I had a mix of open cuts, scrapes, blood, leg hair and dirt all over my knee. The Boie Body Scrubber did a perfect job of gently cleaning everything out without making my blubber like a toddler.
For normal showering
For cleaning out groady scrapes and cuts
Wrapping up the Mini Bike Gear Reviews
I’m not surprised that the Sidi Dragon 5 shoes were awesome. What DID surprise me, though, is how crappy something simple as a bottle cage can be. Huge disappointment from these.
And here’s a thought: If you’re testing something new and want to say a few words without writing “Moby Dick,” I’m more than happy to interview you to get your thoughts to add to this post of mini bike gear reviews. Hit me up!
This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!