This week’s Debrief features the Garmin eTrex SE device, fresh SimWorks pedals, Brother Mehteh pre-orders, new Five Ten Freerider Pro colors, two events to follow live, and much 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…
Redesigned Orucase Mini Frame Pack
The newly redesigned Orucase Mini Frame Packs are constructed using durable Challenge Sailcloth EPX200, Burly #8 YKK Aquaguard zipper, and a foam structural liner. They have a thin non-driveside pocket for phone and wallet and a 2″ deep driveside pocket for snacks, cameras, and extra layers. The Mini Frame Pack comes in six colors and costs $75.
$75 at Orucase.com
Ritchey 50th Anniversary Ultra Frame
Ritchey just released a special limited edition Ultra frame in celebration of five decades of being in business. The 50th Anniversary Edition Ultra frame is wrapped in an iconic red, white, and blue fade paint scheme and features logos that reference the company’s history and the influence Palo Alto, California, has had on Tom.
Made in Taiwan / $1,199 at RitcheyLogic.com
Adidas/Five Ten Freerider Pros in New Colors
Adidas/Five Ten added a couple of bright new colors to their Freerider Pro lineup, including the Solar Gold/Cloud White/Impact Orange and Grey Three/Bronze Strata/Core Black. Logan’s put a ton of time on the Pros, and they remain one of his favorite all-around trail shoes. Find details in this review roundup from 2021.
$160 at Adidas/Five Ten
SimWorks by MKS Tiny Bubbly EZY Superior
SimWorks just introduced an EZY Superior version of their MKS Tiny Bubbly pedals, helping deter bike theft, making packing easier during transport, and allowing you to quickly swap the pedals between bikes. The plate is made from heat-treated aluminum and the spindle from chrome-plated cold forged steel. We’ve been using the standard, larger Bubbly pedals for well over a year now, and they spin just as smoothly as the day we got them.
Made in Japan / $148 at Sim.Works
Garmin eTrex SE
The new Garmin eTrex SE is a handheld navigation device catered toward hikers and geocachers, but it might work for certain bikepacking trips as well. Unlike the other eTrex models, it doesn’t have the ability to add proper maps, so it’s likely not that useful for complex routes, but it does boast an impressive battery life of up to 168 hours in standard mode and up to 1,800 hours in expedition mode with two field-replaceable AA batteries.
Made in China / $150 at Garmin.com
ODI Reflex Grips
ODI released version 2.1 of their popular Reflex grips this week. The grips feature a new lock-on single clamp system that provides more useable grip space. According to ODI, they’ve been engineered to reduce impacts and vibration for less pain and fatigue on longer rides. To accomplish this, ODI added soft, flexible ribs at the thumb to provide impact damping, a padded top grip section for shock absorption, and an angled waffle pattern with an oversized top rib for a more ergonomic feel. The Reflex Grips are available in two sizes and nine colors.
$31 at ODIgrips
New Brother Cycles Mehteh
UK-based Brother Cycles just opened up preorders for their Mehteh framesets online and through their dealers, and they’re expected to arrive in May. The Mehteh costs £999 inc 20% UK VAT for the frame and fork and comes in the new “Moonshine” paint job, a dark blue to grey fade with silver branding. It’s built up with Reynolds 725 tubing, has room for 650b x 2.2″ or 700c x 50mm tires, and has mounts for racks, fenders, and more.
£999 at Brother Cycles
Exchanges and ideas that caught our attention in the site’s conversation section…
All-Terrain Cycling Shoes
In our Dispatch announcing the new Specialized Recon ADV shoes—a shoe that might be the new version of the long-lost Recon Mixed—a couple of readers voiced their frustration at overpriced shoes marketed for gravel. “This is an example of the marketing of the word gravel… A less expensive or even equally expensive mountain bike shoe that can be used for gravel AND mountain biking makes so much more sense than this shoe.” That brought to mind the Specialized Recon 2.0, which we thought was a good all-purpose dirt shoe. What do you think? Are gravel shoes worthless? Does there need to be a category of shoes for all-purpose ATB cycling, or just agnostic dirt riding?
Around the Community
News from around the bikepacking world…
Jenny Graham: ‘Coffee First, Then The World’
Jenny Graham is taking off on a UK book tour for her debut book, Coffee First, Then The World, which is all about her record-breaking cycle around the world. She’s riding between 20+ venues across the UK, starting in the south of England and finishing in her hometown of Inverness in Scotland, totaling more than 1,100 miles of pedaling. You can check out the meetups and venues on the map above and find additional details at Jenny-Graham.com.
Shift Cycling Culture’s film “Cracked Earth” Tour Dates Announced
Shift Cycling Culture’s latest film, Cracked Earth, highlights how the effects of climate change are interlinked, globally and locally and why urgent action is needed. There are screenings happening in March and April across Europe, and you can find one to attend at ShiftCyclingCulture.com.
Journey to Unbound
In Pearl Izumi’s latest film, they follow sponsored athlete Marley Blonsky to Unbound Gravel to take on her first-century ride in Emporia, Kansas. Watch it above.
Events Starting Soon
What to watch this weekend and bikepacking events starting soon…
2023 East Texas Showdown
The East Texas Showdown is a self-supported race through Sam Houston National Forest and The Davy Crockett National Forest. First one back to the Bullet Grill House wins! There are three route options for 2023: the 400-mile Showdown, 280-mile SLOWdown, and 160-mile LOWdown. The grand depart took off from Point Blank, Texas, this morning at 8 a.m. local time, and it looks there are more than 100 riders participating. Follow along live on the event page.
GranGuanche Audax Gravel
The GranGuanche Audax Gravel is a self-supported bikepacking event on a 700-kilometer fixed route that goes by five islands and is connected by four ferries. It follows the classic rules and principles of ultra-cycling races, but in the spirit of traditional audax, participants are allowed to ride in a group and draft each other. The grand depart takes off from Lanzarote tomorrow at 10 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…
Cass Gilbert: Altravesur, Spain
Perhaps it’s in part because I’ll finally be getting back to Europe this summer, but I’ve been feeling the urge to revisit Spain and explore more of its dirt roads and trails. I can think of no better way to spend a month than travelling the rugged Altravesur, with its blend of Gran Recorridos, bike paths, history, culture, and cured meats.
Some things we found around social media and elsewhere. This week, a lot of automobile awareness info and parodies were popping up in our feeds. This recent video was brought to our attention. We think it’s super interesting, and it includes many studies referenced in the history of SUVs and light trucks. Did you know 80% of large SUVs are sold in the US? Or that there may be a reason they built them to the size of World War 1 tanks? And if you want to get into the parody side of things, make sure to check out a couple of our favorite accounts, @bigdumbtruckclub and @cars.destroyed.our.cities on Instagram, and @fuckcars on Twitter via Reddit.
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