CT Tech Round-Up #7: New gear from Topeak, Park Tool, Rudy Project, and more
A lot of new 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. Here’s what we’ve got for you this time around.
– Topeak Tubi 18 multi-tool
– Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses
– Maxxis High Road SL road race tyres
– Park Tool SW-9 spoke wrench
– Efficient Velo Tools 3-in-1 inflator
– GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist Complete cookset
Topeak Tubi 18 multi-tool
Words by James Huang
The clever Tubi 18 multi-tool includes the usual array of handy bits — 2-6 mm Allen wrenches, T10 and T25 Torx wrenches, and a #2 Phillips-head screwdriver — but its ace in the hole is a tubeless tire plug kit integrated directly into the body.
One of the Tubi 18’s fold-out bits is a fork-style plug installer, and there’s also a small compartment that keeps three “bacon strip” plugs protected from dirt and debris. It’s a tad cumbersome to set up and use, though, and when plugging holes in tubeless tires, time is of the essence. However, Topeak’s Tubi 18 has an answer: while you’re configuring the tool, just use the tool’s removable plastic “air stop” plug as a temporary finger in the dike, so to speak. After you’re all done, there’s even a fold-out serrated knife to cut off the excess plug material.
Conspicuously missing from the setup is a chain tool, but aside from that omission, the Tubi 18 looks to be quite handy.
Price: US US$45 / AU$75 / £37 / €39
Weight: 123 g
More information: www.topeak.com
Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses
Words by James Huang
The Cutline offers some of the most comprehensive coverage of Rudy Project’s cycling eyewear range, with a large-format, shield-type lens. Vents cut into the upper edge of the spherical lens promise a bit of ventilation to prevent fogging, but the upper and lower “bumpers” are also removable should you prefer even more airflow, or just the fit and feel of a frameless design.
Lens swaps are a cinch, thanks to Rudy Project’s quick-release temples, each of which releases with the push of a button and allows you to changes tints without getting fingerprints all over the lens. As for lenses themselves, Rudy Project constructs them from an “optical quality cast polyurethane that was originally developed for aerospace and military applications to provide strength, durability, and optical clarity better than that offered by more common injection molded polycarbonates.”
As is typically the case with Rudy Project, both the temple ends and nosepiece are covered with hydrophilic rubber and feature a bendable metal core for a customized fit.
Rudy Project offers the Cutline in eight different frame color and lens combinations, all of which are compatible with prescription inserts.
Price: US$185-235 / AU$NA / £126-196 / €107-205
Weight: 38 g
More information: www.rudyproject.com
Maxxis High Road SL road race tyres
Words by Dave Rome
Launched just days after we covered the High Road TR, the new Maxxis High Road SL is the company’s fastest and lightest road tyre to date. The SL is a minimalist clincher race-day tyre intended for road racing, time trials and track.
Built on a 170 TPI casing, the High Road SL features Maxxis’ new “Hyper-S” rubber compound which is said to decrease rolling resistance by 12% when compared to the Hyper compound of the regular High Road tyres, however, it’s still too early to know if that’s enough to beat the competition. According to Maxxis, the speed comes with a trade-off in wear longevity. The High Road SL also loses the squiggly-line tread pattern in favour of a slick design with roughened edges.
There is a puncture-resistant layer beneath the tread, but there’s little protecting the paper-thin sidewalls, something I measured to be just .585 mm thick. Meanwhile the centre of the read measures 2.289 mm, approximately half the thickness of the High Road TR (which is intended as an all-rounder performance option).
This racing tyre is available in 25 and 28 mm widths. A tubeless-ready version is rumoured to be on the way.
Price: US$64 / AU$90 / £50
Weight: 178/180 g a piece in the 25 mm size
More information: maxxis.com
Park Tool SW-9 spoke wrench
Words by Dave Rome
This is the newest spoke wrench in Park Tool’s extensive catalogue and is intended for truing wheels where clearance is limited. Where traditional spoke wrenches sit inline with the spoke, this one comes in at the side for use on small, high-spoke-count wheels or when using a spoke holding (anti-twist) device.
Park Tool isn’t the first to offer such a thing, with the likes of Hozan and Unior taking the lead. However, Park does combine two sizes into one tool, with the two most common spoke nipple sizes covered, which correspond to Park Tool’s classic Black (3.32 mm) and Red (3.45 mm) spoke wrenches. Those two sizes, plus a good price in the US, make this an equally handy tool for home mechanics and professionals alike.
Price: US$12.50 / AU$37 (which I paid, ouch)
More information: parktool.com
Efficient Velo Tools 3-in-1 inflator
Words by Dave Rome
As long as you have space and don’t mind the noise, an air compressor can be a handy addition to any well-equipped home workshop. Air compressors are great for drying off bikes after washing or removing any manual effort when inflating tyres (especially seating tubeless tyres).
For inflating Presta valve-equipped hoops there are a number of options for sale and even more DIY possibilities. Over the years I’ve used almost all of them and was fairly content, at least until I tried the 3-in-1 inflator from Portland-based Efficient Velo Tools (EVT).
EVT specialises in premium tools for professional bike workshops, and the 3-in-1 inflator is the company’s most feature-rich inflator. Looking like something that was made in a previous industrial era, it’s built with a handful of locally sourced and in-house-made stainless steel and brass fittings to produce a serviceable tool that’ll likely outlast cockroaches.
The gauge is accurate, the build is solid beyond belief, the airflow is unrestricted, and there’s plenty of inflation control. However, it’s the ease and speed of use that sets this one apart. EVT’s Presta head is just perfectly made and pops on and off valves with the lightest touch. Switching the inflator to Schrader is just as quick.
This thing is certainly priced for the professional user (and even then it’s expensive), but it’s a tool that proves you can still get things that are built exactly the way things used to be.
Price: US$165 / AU$299
More information: efficientvelo.com
GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist Complete cookset
Words by James Huang
Looking to head into the backcountry for a little bit of bikepacking R&R, but still want to have a hot dinner? GSI’s Halulite Minimalist Complete is roughly the size of a coffee mug, but houses a 100-gram fuel bottle (not included), a tiny adjustable burner with fold-out arms, a folding Foon (otherwise known as a spork), and even a minuscule silicone rubber hot pad with an integrated magnet that sticks to the fuel bottle so it’s always on hand.
The 600 mL vessel itself is made of anodized aluminum — just enough for one — and after your dinner is ready, there’s even a slip-on foam cover so you can actually hold the thing and enjoy your fireside meal.
The whole lot is incredibly compact and lightweight, and we’re looking forward to checking it out in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed for good weather.
Price: US$80 / AU$TBC / £TBC / €TBC
Weight: 257 g (without fuel bottle); 459 g (with 100 g fuel bottle)
More information: www.gsioutdoors.com