This week’s Debrief features crag-inspired gravel shoes, new Seatpacker colors, the Doggler Deore, fresh Smartwool apparel, Romantic tire inserts, several events to follow live, and more. Find it all here…
The weekly Debrief highlights small but important bits of news, products, and things that caught our attention on the website, in the conversation, and elsewhere around the community. These include upcoming events and interesting items our readers shared in the comments. Check out this week’s findings below.
Bits & Bobs
New products that are worth highlighting but didn’t make the Dispatch…
A $1,600 Hudski Doggler
Made in Taiwan / $1600 at Hudski Bikes
If you’ve been waiting to snag yourself a Hudski Doggler, you’ll be excited to hear that Hudski just added a more affordable Deore build that comes in at just $1,600 instead of the usual $2,200 SLX build. The Doggler Deore is available in their City or Gravel build, comes with Shimano MT201 flat mount brakes, KT Hubs, a Deore 12-speed drivetrain, and a standard seat post instead of a dropper post. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read Miles’ review of the Doggler here.
Udog Distanza Gravel Shoes
330 grams / $200 at Udog
Italian brand Udog’s new Distanza gravel shoes incorporate a distinct, crag-inspired sticky rubber outsole that wraps over the toe and around the heel. Udog claims this increases durability, traction, and protection. The Distanza also incorporates a unique lacing design that they call a Tension Wrap System. The Distanza comes in this light gray regular version or a black carbon version with a carbon composite rubber outsole for $100 more.
Smartwool Mountain Bike Apparel
Made in Vietnam / $22-$95 at Smartwool Men’s Women’s
Smartwool just updated their mountain bike lineup with several fresh long sleeves, T-shirts, socks, and more. Each item is made with responsibly sourced Merino, which provides natural moisture management, temperature regulation, and quick dry times.
Restrap Frame Straps
Made in UK / $29.99 at Restrap
The latest product to come out of Restrap’s UK workshop is their Frame Strap, which mounts securely to your frame using a fully adjustable velcro attachment and can be used to attach tubes, bottles, layers, and other accessories. Designed as a burlier and more permanent version of their fast straps, the new Frame Straps are built from hardwearing Hypalon and come in orange or black.
What Are Ombraz? Narrated by David Attenborough
Made in China / $160 at Ombraz
Ombraz recently released a quirky new video with David Attenborough, or someone who’s sounds like him, explaining how Ombraz sunglasses work and why they’re good for use in the outdoors. Oh, and their Teton frames are $25 off, this week only.
More Arkel Seatpacker Colors!
Made in Canada / $259 CAD at Arkel
Arkel out of Canada just updated their Seapacker Seat Bag with four new color options. For those unfamiliar, the Seatpacker has a saddle rail-mounted aluminum hanger to keep the bag stable and waggle-free. It comes in small (9L) and large (15L) sizes, is 100% waterproof, and is handmade in Canada. Arkel is now offering the Seatpacker in X-Pac X11 Mountain Brown, X-Pac RX30 Ocean Blue, X-Pac RX30 Cayenne, and the standard X-Pac RX30 Black.
Sour Bicycles Business Fork
Made in Taiwan / €449 at Sour Bicycles
The new Sour Bicycles Business Fork is a carbon gravel fork which, according to Sour, is the first fork to get the EFBE Tri-Test certification, so you know it’s incredibly safe despite all the features they’ve managed to pack in. It has dynamo cable and brake routing, cargo cage and rack eyelets, an eyelet in the crown for rack and light mounting, and has an axle to crown length of 403mm. The lower mounts are rated for 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and the cargo cage mounts are rated for 7.5 kilograms (16 pounds) per fork leg. There is clearance for 55mm tires and the fork weighs around 550 grams.
Exchanges and ideas that caught our attention in the site’s conversation section…
Waterproof or Lightweight?
Earlier this week, Revelate Designs re-released their lightweight and off-road friendly Nano Panniers. A lot of folks questioned why they weren’t waterproof in the Conversation. However, most bikepacking bags are made using a stitched construction and are not waterproof, favoring lightweight materials and a minimal design. So what gives? Would you take lightweight over waterproof? Or is having a 100% waterproof bikepacking bag setup your top priority?
Around the Community
News from around the bikepacking world…
Are Tire Inserts for me?
Tire inserts are all over the news these days, promising a low-pressure, puncture-free experience. In fact, we posed a few question about tire inserts in a recent Debrief. Still, we were a little surprised to see Ronnie “Luddite” Romance try them out in his latest video, asking the questions, “Are they difficult to install? How do they ride?”
Events Starting Soon
What to watch this weekend and bikepacking events starting soon…
2023 Cross-Washington (XWA)
The Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route is a public route that can be ridden at any time from spring to late fall. However, for those looking to ride with others, there will be an annual grand depart from First Beach in La Push, Washington. This year’s grand depart takes off on Sunday, May 21st and there are currently over 40 riders registered for live tracking. Follow along live here.
The Buckshot is a grassroots, informal bikepacking ride/race out of Kamloops, BC, that’s ideal for getting some good miles in the legs early in the season and seeing the great terrain and scenery offered by the Thompson, Nicola, North Shushwap, and Southern Cariboo region. There are about 30 riders registered for tracking, and the grand depart kicks off tomorrow morning. You can follow them live here.
The TransVirginia Bike Route is a 550-mile, mostly unpaved backcountry cycling route that traverses the state of Virginia from Washington, DC, to Damascus, VA. There is a grand depart each spring, and this year’s is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. local time. Follow their progress live here.
Race Through Poland
Race Through Poland is a one-stage, self-supported, long-distance bicycle race where the main objective for riders is to make their way from start to finish through the four control points located in the heart of Central and Eastern Europe’s mountain ranges. The 2023 grand depart takes off from the town of Wisła tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. local time. Follow along live here.
Wish We Were Here
Shedding a little light on a route one of us is dreaming about riding at the moment…
Miles Arbour: Vapor Trail
After busting up my wrist a few months back and riding almost exclusively gravel since then, I couldn’t be more eager to get on a rowdy hardtail (or maybe even something with two squishy bits) and hit some backcountry singletrack. The Vapor Trail in Colorado packs in so much goodness into a 175-kilometer loop, and it’s been a while since I’ve ridden in that type of terrain. I hope I can make it down that way soon.
Some things we found around the ‘gram and elsewhere. This week, a handful of rider updates from the inaugural Hellenic Mountain Race…
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info…
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