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!