If you’re heavily into bike touring, chances are you have a set of Ortlieb panniers. The German brand has been dominating the market for waterproof bags for years, but it was its American office that pushed for the creation of these waterproof bikepacking bags. The seat bag ($160) holds up to 16 liters of cargo and has a purge valve to release air from inside the seam-sealed and RF welded nylon body, helping you pack it super tight.
The handlebar bag ($130) is accessible from either end, and mounts to the handlebars with a two-stage strap system that keeps it super secure from bouncing and leaves room for brake levers, shifters and cables. It can even roll up tight enough to fit between most drop bars. Finally there is a $70 accessory pouch that attaches to the handlebar bag, to the handlebars directly or even around your waist with the included belt strap.
We got out first look at the new Lauf Grit fork in person. Designed for an emerging market of “gravel” or “all-purpose” bikes, it has 30 mm of flex from the glassfiber leaf springs. Compared to the Lauf mountain bike forks it is even stiffer, so you should feel it bouncing around when you’re riding on the road. It goes on sale this summer for $790 but we have one in hand already for a long-term review, so we’ll keep you posted.
While the basic Brompton design hasn’t changed in years (decades?), the accessories that go with it continue to evolve. The new handlebar bags expand with options in authentic Harris Tweed, a waxed canvas roll-top or more technical Cordura fabrics for rainy climes.
One of the more unique ideas we saw was in the Box Compnents booth. This two-piece bottle has a portion for hydration and a waterproof portion for storing hard goods like food, tools or smaller mobile phones (an iPhone 5 fits, we were told). Modern mountain bikes are lucky if they have one bottle cage at all, so it’s nice to be able to carry as much as you can on there. Would you pay $20 for something like this?
If you prefer to keep your hydration source on your back, or need more than just a bottle, Source Hydration has you covered. If you can’t decide between water or electrolyte drinks you can pick up the $45 Divide hydration pouch, which has two compartments and two color-coded hoses. Available in both 2 and 3 liter versions, the bladders are stacked front to back, so if you only use one you aren’t leaning to one side. Plus it’s made with Source’s Glass-Like technology, which is, as you may have guessed, glass-like in that the Polyethylene walls of the pouch don’t give bio-film gunk a way to stick, keeping it cleaner.
Osprey’s new line of urban and commuting packs include the redesigned Radial line, which has this awesome kickstand feature. Most backpacks flop over when you set them down, making it annoying to get in and out of them, while the Radial can stand upright thanks to a hidden support leg. The other big news is that Osprey will be partnering with Hydrapak for all its redesigned hydration bladders which will spread throughout the line. They have a convenient grab handle and a quick-release hose so you can fill them without unthreading the hose through all those loops and hooks.
A lot of the new bikes we’re seeing are reflective of the real-world way people use them: sometimes for work sometimes for play. Xpedo’s new single-sided MILO clipless pedals appeal to that versatility with a large, flat platform for standard shoes, and a Shimano-SPD compatible body on the other. Like most things Xpedo they are available in a handful of colors, in this case orange black or gray. They come with a cleat and will sell for $69.
We got to hang out for a bit with Bixby and her human, Mike. Bixby is likely one of the most widely traveled canine cyclists in the world, and you should look her up at wheresbixby.com.