10 products I like in 2021: Dave Rome-CyclingTips

2021-11-22 01:30:04 By : Mr. Steven Sun

Take my money! Oh wait, these products are already there.

Photography by Dave Rome and Tim Bardsley-Smith

Why did I write one of them again? Where did you go for the New Year? 

Only a small part of the adventure away from home, in the past year, I have been cycling back to the local suburbs, looking for hidden trail treasures. Obviously, knob tires take precedence over smooth surfaces, and loose-fitting shorts take precedence over Lycra. The three-month confinement that just ended made cycling the main way for me to escape from social interaction. What followed was the combination of afternoon drinking and other social activities with cycling. 

After getting off the bike, I found it easier to turn the wrench than usual. I really have to limit myself with the number of tools included in this review.

The following is a list of products that have impressed me the most in the past year (or beyond). Just like in the previous editions of our "10 Products" series, the items covered here are the ones I think I recommend and use in the coming years. 

The range of gravel riding is very wide, but what I am most satisfied with is the combination of local exploration, riding fun and fast excitement. Overnight trips or credit card trips are my closest approach to bicycle packaging, and there is a fine line between the second type of fun on a gravel bike and simply grabbing the hard tail for the first type of fun. Basically, I prefer gravel bikes that can convince me to go faster, rather than walking around.

For me, Cervelo Aspero is a great example of a gravel bike that suits my personal needs of this type. The speed is very fast on smoother off-road terrain, and the response to input is excellent. Even if you only ride this section of the road once that month, it will make you feel like a local legend. This is why after my review of Aspero 5, I cheekily insisted on riding for a few months (and as a testing platform for various other products).

More importantly, bicycles with 2x drivetrains and smooth tires like Cervelo Aspero are dangerously close to making me think that pure road bikes are not needed in my stables (at least when my road racing license expires). Don't worry, I overlooked such thoughts. 

Of course, I don’t like certain aspects of this bike, and these are all included in my review. But in general, Cervelo has done a great job of building a powerful gravel bike, and once dressed up as a road bike, it is also great. There is no such thing as a perfect quiver killer, but this thing is very close to such a unicorn.

Price: varies from person to person. The tested high-end version is 7,100 USD/8,699 GBP/10,500 AUD. More information: Cervelo.com

There are many different tool types capable of turning hexagon bolts, and the mechanic’s choice is as personal as the saddle choice. Personally, I like to use a mix of regular L-shaped hex wrenches, P-handles (or sliding T-handles), straight screwdrivers, and ratchets-each of which provides unique benefits for certain tasks. However, in the past year, I found that the compact ratchet with drill sleeve was the one I found most often. 

My first choice has become the Nepros 1/4" ratchet, which is a premium series of Japanese tool company KTC. These professional-grade ratchets not only provide perfect chrome plating, but also have a compact head, a fast-engaged 90T ratchet and buttery smooth/lightweight Combine this with the company’s own ratchet rotator, and you can rotate loose fasteners with your fingers, so you have a tool that saves real-time time and reduces hand fatigue. 

For the 1/4" socket, I use a mixture of PB Swiss and Nepros. I like these ratchets very much, I have three of them with 4mm hex, 5mm hex and T25 bit settings. 

I know this is a very expensive way of working with bicycles, and I would not suggest that you need to pay attention to me. However, if you like beautiful tools, you will definitely appreciate this recommendation. 

Price: 59-71 USD (depending on the length of the ratchet). The socket bit and ratchet rotator are additional. More information: Nepros.net

This is the third type of chain lubricant I have suggested when doing these most popular functions over the years. In 2017, I was full of praise for Smoove, which is a wax emulsion lubricant, and to this day I still recommend it as one of the most valuable wax lubricants on the market. 

Molten Speed ​​Wax is a hot-melt chain wax that was included in my list in 2018. It is still a product I use with many personal bicycles, especially those used on sunny days. 

Now, CeramicSpeed's UFO Drip, the second generation of this lubricant, has been included in my list. I know this kind of thing is expensive, but I am in awe that this drip lubricant can replicate the silky smoothness and impressive cleanliness of hot wax products. This cleanliness means that very little dust is drawn into the transmission system, and there is no serious wear and tear.

I use this lubricant on my mountain bike and I know it will stay completely clean, and I can easily reapply it without having to open and subsequently weaken the 12-speed fast link. It may not be ideal for those who often ride in harsh conditions, but how it handles the often dry sandy trails and "gravel" roads around Sydney left a deep impression on me. Hot melt wax still has its benefits, but it is a good choice for those who are unwilling to go that way. It is also very suitable as a supplementary lubricant for hot melt users. 

Price: 45 USD/50 AUD/37 GBP More information: ceramicspeed.com

From a $45 bottle of chain lubricant to a small number of low-cost transmission system components. MicroShift is definitely a failure in the field of low-cost gear shifting parts. I am also impressed by the 9-speed Advent group and the slightly newer (and more expensive) 10-speed Advent X. 

In the 1x configuration, both groups offer a wide range of flywheels, rear derailleurs with adjustable and serviceable clutches, and optional mountain bikes or downshifters (mechanical brake levers). 

As covered in my review of Advent X, I did not like the ergonomic design of the boom gear lever, but many others told me they were happy with the shape. At the same time, the "pro" mountain bike gear lever equipped with bearings gave me nothing to complain about. Both Advent and Advent X have become my top recommendations for people who want to update their old mountain bikes to 1x gear without breaking the piggy bank.

Most importantly, the combination of Microshift's features, functions and price is making the brand slowly gain the presence of OE (original equipment), and the duopoly competition with the two major S's is a budget-friendly competition for consumers. It is definitely a good thing. 

Price: Varies depending on the parts required, but even the best quality rear derailleur, lifter shifter, and flywheel cost less than $290. More information: Microshift.com

Tire inserts single-handedly changed my perception of the performance of gravel bikes. I know-important call. 

Most of the "gravel" rides in my local area are done by connecting sections of roads with fire escapes. These trails are usually steep, rugged, and full of loose rocks. I like the speed of 40-45mm gravel tires on the road, but it is almost impossible to find a comfortable and controllable tire pressure on off-road without becoming so soft that I have pinched and damaged tires The risk is an edge. This is the tire insert, more specifically Cushcore, which changed the rules of my game. 

These molded closed foam inserts allow me to safely reduce about 5 psi (or more) from the tire without worrying about the sidewall of the rim being affected. At the same time, the extra support on the sidewall can ensure tire safety. The result is a surprisingly more comfortable, more controllable and traction ride, which is beyond my imagination for medium-width gravel tires. I used to be cautious with my wheels to enter the rocky downhill road, but Cushcore almost eliminated this hesitation. 

Of course, there are trade-offs in stuffing a large foam surface into a tire. Cushcore adds approximately 125 grams per wheel. This is quite expensive. The way it supports the sidewall may add a watt or two to your rolling resistance data. It is not suitable for those who think that conventional tubeless tires are already difficult to install. Nevertheless, the positive factors that change the off-road ability of gravel bikes surprised me. 

Price: 149 USD/200 AUD/160 GBP (a pair with valve) More information: Cushcore.com

Every time in my workshop, I get a lot of use from my air compressor, and it is almost ridiculous that I rarely use floor pumps. For many years, I had to use my homemade tire inflator with my air compressor, but after falling in love with the sealing head on EVT's Bledin' tire pressure gauge, I was persuaded to try one of the brand's tire inflators . 

The EVT 3-in-1 inflator looks like it was put together in a hardware store in the 1940s. The meter is not protected from falling. Wow, is it expensive? But despite this, this is just the best tire inflator (for air compressors) I have ever encountered. The combination of unobstructed airflow and sliding interface with Presta valve makes it a place on this list. If EVT ever offered its Presta pump head as a separate part to install on other brands of pumps, then you can be sure that I will buy more than one.

Of course, you can file it under the same category as Nepros ratchets. For those who like to work on bicycles with the best tools, regardless of the cost (or those who get paid), this is really the best.

Price: 169 USD/299 AUD/GBP to be determined. More information: efficientvelo.com

We have now definitely reached the point where we can get the best performing wheels at a reasonable price. There are many examples of this, but things like Scribe's Aero Wide 42 road wheels and Roval's new Terra CL all-road/gravel wheels strongly prove my point. 

These mid-level Roval wheels have the same 25mm internal width and hook-shaped carbon fiber rims as the company's flagship model priced at $2,500. There is even a generous warranty, including stupidity. CL’s asking price is $1,100 lower, simply because the dual butt spokes and DT Swiss 350 hubs are cheaper. The tried-and-tested, highly durable and easy-to-adapt DT Swiss 350 hub is absolutely nothing objectionable.  

I should have written my review of these versatile all-road/gravel wheels a long time ago, and frankly, this would be a somewhat boring review. In addition to the tubeless valve provided, I found it was a bit leaky and had white wheel decals. It was really difficult for me to troubleshoot these 1,410g hoops (including tubeless tape and valves). 

Apart from choosing wheels with high-end spokes or beautifully colored wheels, it is difficult for me to see the real benefits of spending more money. 

Price: US$1,400/2,600 AUD/1,400 GBP. More information: rovalcomponents.com

After experiencing degenerative eye disease ten years ago, my eyesight was not very good. Although I have always found flashlights to be very helpful for bicycle repairs, it was only recently that I started using them very frequently. 

From helping to check the wear of the disc brake pads, to guiding the internal cables, to aligning the disc brake calipers or adjusting the rotor, to reading the tiny bearing numbers-small inspection flashlights have become a valuable tool in my toolbox. 

There are countless great flashlights on the market, and virtually anything can work here. However, I really like the narrow focused beam and slender pen shape of Coast A9R, and I have bought two of them now. 

This USB rechargeable flashlight is not the cheapest or most sturdy thing, but its slim profile has proven to be very suitable for shining light into the narrow areas of the frame that other flashlights cannot reach. If you ever need to check the information under the cable port or seat tube, then this flashlight will surely illuminate what you are missing.

Price: 50 USD/75 AUD/45 GBP More information: coastportland.com

Well, these are actually two products, but my use of them complements each other. That is to securely fix all my spare parts and tools to the mountain bike without rattling, without increasing the weight of the saddle or buying a bike with one of the interesting hidden down tube hatches. 

OneUp EDC is one of the first multi-function tools based on steering gear, and it is still one of the best choices. The one I use requires you to thread the wires inside your aluminum steerer, but after that, you will get a very light and simple system with a powerful and easy-to-access tool inside. 

At the same time, the Backcountry Research Mutherload strap is another product that helped launch an entire category of competitors. I used the 1.5-inch wide Magnum version of this strap to securely fix the Tublito tube, Dynaplug Racer Pro tubeless plug tool, and the CO2 canister with Blackburn head. 

I leave these spare parts on my bike permanently, and going out to ride a mountain bike quickly is as simple as taking a water bottle, checking my tire pressure and rolling out the door. 

For a truly epic ride, I would replace the CO2 with OneUp's excellent EDC mini pump (it became my favorite list in 2019). If you don't want (or can't) fill the wasted space in the front fork servo, the pump can also carry EDC multi-tools. 

Price (OneUp EDC): US$60 (tools only), US$25 (threaded top cap bracket), US$35 (workshop rudder pipe thread tool, it is best to find a store or a friend to buy this tool). More information: oneupcomponents.com

Price (Backcountry Research Mutherload Magnum strap): 24 USD/46 AUD/20 GBP More information: Backcountryresearch.com

The last lucky thing is a 3D printer. I have wanted a 3D printer for years, but it wasn't until Sydney was trapped in a long-term blockade, and there might be too many Negronis, that I finally gave in. 

My research journey was not long. Just before I ordered the popular Creality Ender 3, many experienced manufacturers convinced me to spend more money on a printer and make printing a project instead of the printer itself. 

I quickly realized that Prusa could provide the almost plug-and-play printing function I was looking for, and within a few hours of receiving it, I could print out the available objects. 

My inculcation of the world of additive manufacturing is still in its early stages, but so far, I really like how it allows me to open my eyes to create small products. In the past, I would reluctantly pay $20 or more to let a small and esoteric plastic part go to waste on my way, but now I can let my little orange machine assemble one. 

From hard-to-find lightweight brackets to professional tools, to small parts for bicycles, to custom tool racks (because I am a nerd), the possibilities are endless, and the learning experience is quickly becoming a hobby in itself. Thanks to VeloClub member Chris Heerschap for helping me dial in and create a lot of useful bicycle-related free print downloads.  

Price: 399 USD (postage and filament are not included) More information: prusa3d.com

Please stay tuned for more "Top Ten Products I Like in 2021" articles from other members of the CyclingTips team. At the same time, you can catch up with all the picks from last year. Or go further back to our archives for the 2019, 2018 and 2017 reviews.