CT Tech Round-Up #5: New gear from Pearl Izumi, Park Tool, Chainlift and more
A lot of gear comes across our desks here at CyclingTips. Our Tech Round-Ups are a look at some of that gear. Sometimes it’s products we’re doing long-term tests on, other times it’s stuff we’re stoked on but don’t have time to fully review. And, sometimes it’s a wild innovation someone sent us unsolicited.
Pearl Izumi Women’s PRO Barrier Jacket
Words by Sarah Lukas
You can never have too many jackets, at least that’s my opinion. Pearl Izumi introduced its Women’s PRO Barrier jacket this spring; a lightweight, packable shell meant for the unpredictability of those summer storms. That might be a part of why the colour is called “turbulence”.
A fitted silhouette, the slate-coloured jacket uses Pearl Izumi’s proprietary PI Dry technology that is applied to the polyester fabric. It is meant to be heavily water-resistant with a high amount of breathability so you don’t become a sauna.
The Women’s PRO Barrier Jacket has a few reflective touches, a two-way zipper, and silicone grippers on the rear hem to boot. The two-way zipper is a great feature given the jacket does not have any pockets. This makes it a little bit easier to access my jersey pockets or whatever I have underneath.
While I haven’t hit any heavy rains in this jacket yet, I did have the opportunity to do a couple rides in it out here in beautiful British Columbia. I had it packed away most of the time, which is easy at a light 92 grams for a size small. For reference, that’s less than the weight of an iPhone X. When it did start to get a bit humid, I had no issues with breathability. This jacket is going to see a lot of use this summer.
Price: US$165 / AUS$289.95 / £150 / €149.95
Weight: 92 g – size small
More information: pearlizumi.com
Park Tool EWS-1 Electronic Three-Way Tool
Words by James Huang
Leave it to the folks at Park Tool to come up with a tool you never thought you’d need. The new EWS-1 three-way features a trio of functions specifically aimed at electronic drivetrains — Shimano’s Di2 models, in particular. One end is used to securely snap Di2 wires into place, while another is used to safely remove them without worrying about snapping a line. The third end is shaped to open up those pesky quarter-turn battery covers when you just don’t seem to have the proper coin available.
Is the EWS-1 necessary? And does it really offer enough to justify it costing three times as much as the Shimano tool that does nearly the same thing? Well no, of course not. But for home or shop mechanics that find themselves working on electronic drivetrains very regularly, it still might be handy.
Price: US$12 (pricing for other regions is TBC)
More information: www.parktool.com
Chainlift chain management device
Words by James Huang
Ever been frustrated with your chain when trying to remove the rear wheel, or struggled to find an easier way to keep the chain taut when the wheel is removed? Even if you haven’t had any issues here, clearly there are plenty of people who have, and Chainlift has come to the rescue.
Chainlift comprises a rather complicated-looking linkage that anchors to the rear derailleur and then easily — hence the name — lifts the chain up and off of the cassette without ever having to touch it with your hands. Different inserts are included to accommodate the range of rear derailleur makes and models on the market, but once you’ve done the initial setup, there’s little else required.
I’ll admit to initially thinking this widget was mega-gimmicky, but truth be told, it actually works quite well, and I can see its appeal. That said, it’s also pretty bulky and very expensive for what it is. Such is the price of convenience.
Price: US$79 (pricing for other regions varies by exchange rate and customs duties)
More information: www.chainlift.com
Kryptonite Incite X8 front light
Words by James Huang
Count Kryptonite among the list of companies that prefers to quote the output of its bicycle lights in lux instead of lumens, with the thought being that it provides a truer representation of the light’s real-world usability.
To that end, the Incite X8 features an 80-lux output and a somewhat unusual trapezoidal beam pattern, with more intensity at the forward edge and a gradual fade from there. Six modes are available, including three steady and three flashing options, while windows that run along each side of the body provide some additional lateral visibility. Up top, a handy LCD screen displays the selected mode and remaining run time in actual hours and minutes, and the buttons are even backlit for more straightforward operation in the dark.
The USB-rechargeable battery provides three hours of claimed run time on the highest setting, or up to 24 hours on the lowest one, and the universal mounting bracket works on most non-aero handlebar sections.
Price: US$145 (US availability only)
Weight: 147 g (including mount)
More information: www.kryptonitelock.com
TOGS Road thumb grips
Words by Dave Rome
Standing for Thumb over Grips, Togs got its start by producing small prongs that sat on the inside of your mountain bike grips and allowed you to relax while safely keeping your thumbs on top of the grips. And recently, the Utah-based company has brought that same concept to drop bars.
Road Togs are small carbon composite items that clamp to the drops of your handlebars. They aim to reduce your hand grip and increase control by providing a perch for your thumbs when you’re in the drop position.
On the road, I found the Togs reduced the need to grasp the bar as tightly, allowing me to relax my hands, and in turn, arms and shoulders, too. However, they also forced me into a fixed position on the drops and made it awkward to move my hand to vary that position. And unexpectedly, I got fatigued from holding such a fixed position whereas normally I’d let my hands shift around ever so slightly.
Road Togs could prove quite useful on extended gravel descents, but in my opinion, those seeking a way to grasp their drops with reduced effort should first consider some tacky bartape.
Price: US$45 / AU$90
Weight: 13 g
More information: www.togs.com
Stolen Goat gravel kit
Words by Dave Rome
Stolen Goat is a UK-based clothing label that recently started offering casually styled cycling kit for gravel (adventure) riding. The kit I’ve been riding in consists of a Shetland merino wool blend jersey and matching stretchy shorts.
Looking like a well-worn Tee, the merino jersey offers a relaxed fit, a dropped tail, and numerous reflective tags. What it doesn’t have is pockets. It’s proven to be wonderfully light, comfortable and fast wicking, although I do wish the front was a little longer.
With a four-way stretch material, the shorts offer an equally relaxed and generous fit. From afar they look like a daggy cargo short, but offer a number of cycling-friendly features, such as zipped pockets that keep your belonging on top of the thighs, an adjustable velcro-waist band, and a double-button closure at the front. The shorts are certainly durable, but they’re also surprisingly weighty, baggy and long, and as a result I found them a little too swishy when pedalling.
Price: £65 / US$90 / AU$111 (jersey), £65 / US$90 / AU$111 (shorts). Prices include free global shipping.
Weight: 122 g (jersey, small), 297 g (shorts, small)
More information: www.stolengoat.com