We’re back with another thrilling episode of Gnome-Proof Gear. I’m your host, Gomez Alejandro Santana de Lago, and on this episode of GPG, thee Spinner Ryerson shares a hydration system for our amigos, of the four legged variety, His Honor, the Mayor of GnomeFest 13, Steve Meurett, nominates the Ibex Shaq for GPG status and I stamp the GPG – Seal of Approval on the RaceFace Carbon Next Cranks. These are three products that have been put through the grinder and came out smelling like a gnome, that is to say, these are our staff’s choices for the ‘best of the best’ in field tested fat-bike parts & accessories.
Sea to Summit X-Series Bowl ($16) – By Spinner Ryerson
I use this baby all the time. I got sick of trying to get the right angle to water my pups with my hydration pack and they’re not a fan of my water bottle squirting technique. I’ve tried the fabric versions with a plastic type liner but the problem with those that they’ve never really emptied out and completely dry, and they have to be set up just right to hold liquid. And then of course your dog needs to stick their nose in it just right otherwise the side kinks and about half the water leaks out and feeds the weeds. The Sea to Summit X-Bowl expands to about 2.5 inches but collapses to less than a half inch. What I like is that it has rigid sides for a portable bowl which means it holds itself up and it is easy to shake it out. It also folds up easy and slides in to your pack, and you’re on your way.
Ibex Shak Merino Wool Jersey ($165) – by Steve Meurett
Ibis Shak Classic-it STILL fits the bill perfectly. I’ve grown to love this sweater? Jersey? Shell? Tough to describe exactly-I’ve worn it as outerwear on breezy fat-bike treks and also as a mid-layer for added warmth on a few really cold snowy frozen river rides. Wool clothing has made it into my closet for outdoor activities, but none as well finished and versatile as the Shak. My original review of the Shak was written 4 years ago and the “sweater” is still going strong. Few mountain/fat bike, hiking, skiing clothing items hold up that long, still look great and perform as well. It’s a testament to how well Ibis gear really weathers the storm and the laundry. It’s subdued in color and style and I like that. I grab it as I go out the door for almost anything. Of all my cycling cold weather tops, this is by far my favorite. The Merino wool just stays looking great ride after ride- it’s durable, doesn’t pick up odors or pill, is soft and not itchy like my old plaid wool hunting gear. Bring on the cooler fall temps- I’m looking forward to donning the Shak again soon!
For more information on Ibex visit – www.ibex.com
RaceFace Next Carbon Crank ($450) – by ~gomez~
I’ve written a series of articles about the birth and development of the fat-bike that we named Otis. The RaceFace Next SL crank was part of the original build on Otis, so the articles that I’ve written, chronicle the performance of the Next dating back to Christmas Day 2013. Even though we showered Otis with multiple waves of upgrades, we never could find an upgrade for the Next Cranks because they’re the lightest fat-bike crankset available. This is what I wrote about the Next cranks after 2 years of testing.
These things have been bombproof! We ride our fat-bikes on the beach a lot and that means sand and submersion in the fresh water of the Great Lakes. I replaced the bearings once in the last 24 months of service with only one tear down and rebuild.. We didn’t replace them because they were giving me any issues, we just had never seen one of my bottom brackets last that long and since we had it all apart, we thought we might as well throw a new set in there. The Raceface Next carbon cranks are the lightest option available and kick all forms of ass! I highly recommend them!
So I’ve ridden these cranks for 33 months now, primarily in the upper great lakes, where road salt, slush, mud, snow are as common as cow manure. I’ve taken the bike to the Outer Banks and ridden in the Atlantic Ocean. We regularly ride the beaches of Lake Michigan and Superior. I think beach riding, subjects the drive train of a fat bike to the most abusive, abrasive and corrosive environment that most bikes will ever see. This set of cranks has handled it better than any other that I’ve ever tested…..and they’re the lightest MTB crank available. That all adds up to – Gnome-Proof.
That wraps up the series of Gnome-Proof Gear from our Bike Black Ribbon Test Crew. Now it’s time to hear from our readers about what you’ve found indispensable to your fat-bike lifestyle. Think of something that you’ve used and abused over the last few seasons and would go out and buy again. Then take a good clear picture of that item and write a paragraph that describes your reasoning behind presenting the highest honor that can be given – the Gnome-Proof Seal of Approval! Place your words and pixels in an email to email@example.com and we’ll compile the best stories in our next series of Episodes.