Dirt 100 2014: Can't Live Without - Our pick of the best 'alternative' products
Dirt’s office creatures open the 2014 100 by introducing their most haggard and dependable old favourites...
Words: Ed Haythornthwaite / Online Editor
Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle Chamois Cream
I’ll no doubt get a load of abuse for this one, but you know what, those roadies aren’t daft. Slap some of this on and say goodbye to any kind of chaffing, even on the longest of rides in the grottiest of conditions.
£12.99 (235 ml)
Stan’s Notubes Tyre Sealant
I’ve been running my tyres tubeless for years now (I’d never go back) and during that time I’ve tried loads of sealants, but I’ve never found one as good this Stan’s stuff. I’ve been amazed by size of punctures it’s managed to seal. It was the original and it’s still the best.
£23.00 (946 ml)
3-Way Allen Key
As a bike mechanic I love all my tools, but this is the one I cherish above all others. It’s ergonomic, fast to use, and it's harder to lose than a regular allen key. This is an old Trek/Wrench Force one that you can’t buy any more, but Park Tools make a very similar version.
Feedback Sports Pro-elite Workstand
Any work stand is a huge improvement on none, but it’s only when you use one as good as this that you appreciate just how great they can be.
I’ve used a lot over the years, and this one really stands out* as being the best. An investment, but it’ll last you forever.
Thermarest Neoair Dream
This inflatable mattress doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a truly incredible bit of kit. It’s one of the comfiest beds I’ve ever slept on. Even in full luxury mode it packs down fairly small, but if you’re travelling light you can just use the inner section that is still very comfy on its own.
Whether camping at a race, on a road trip, or just kipping on a floor... perfect.
*Note from Dirt: This ‘play on words’ should most probably be met with some sort of whipping torture. Feel free to suggest a more appropriate work stand related pun, joke or punishment.
[part title="Old & New"]
Old & New
Words: Mike Rose / Editor
Arc’teryx LT Hoody
Not exactly a bike product, but from Autumn through to Spring this is an item of clothing that I rarely take off. I don’t ride in it, but off the bike it is light, warm and comfortable… what more could you want? Oh yeah, it packs down to next to nothing…it basically punches way above its weight.
DMR Vault Pedals
There are hundreds of pedals out there for you to buy, but these are my default setting. I’ve got size 11 feet so these feel just right, they are low as well, have a nice concave, come in loads of colours and they just look classic. If you want to go fully pimp then opt for the Ti axle version.
Camelbak M.U.L.E Backpack
I won’t lie, I don’t really like riding with a backpack, but if I have to then this is the one I always go for. The Mule has set the standard for packs for quite some time now. It has just the right amount of pockets and space for what I take on a regular ride. It is not crazy big or crazy small, it is just right.
Fizik Gobi Saddle
We are all different shapes and sizes, so that means that saddles are a very personal choice. I went to the first press launch of the Gobi saddle over ten years ago now (somewhere in America I think) and I haven’t used anything else since then. Great shape, great looks… it is just another quality bit of kit.
Chris King Headset
There are some products that you aspire to own and for me the Chris King headset is one of them. It has heritage, it is quality and it works. The 10 year guarantee is nice to have, but is rarely (if ever) needed. Treat yourself.
[part title="Right Tough ‘Uns"]
Right Tough ‘Uns
Words: James McKnight / Online Editor
Endura MT500 Jacket
This one is just never going to fail me. Endura’s MT500 jacket is definitely on the warm side for riding in, but it’ll keep out the heaviest of rain and retain warmth in the depths of winter. With zippers and pockets galore this jacket is also the most tailor–able and versatile out there. I love it.
DMR pedals have been a staple of the ‘core’ rider for as many years as I can remember, with their classic V8 and V12s setting a benchmark for affordability and becoming something of legend in the pedal world. The originals eventually became out–dated though and now we have the Vaults in their place, with a larger platform and better shape to hold your foot in place on any terrain. These are the Brendan ‘Brendog’ Fairclough signature models, which are fully stealth in black.
£99.99 (Brendog signature £109.99)
The 26" Wheel
Controversial in such an age of wheel size experimentation, especially when I myself love riding the new–age bikes in either 27.5 or 29", but I’m just not going to forget about the humble 26" wheel. Each wheel does its job and has its place, and for that matter I’m not going to hate on any wheel size, especially the one that has worked so well for so long.
My Nailed Bike Bag
Both last year’s and this year’s Dirt 100 have included Evoc’s supreme bike bag, something I aspire to one day own. However, I’ve never quite been able to stretch to buying one and so have had to make do with this haggard number, a Creek2Peak original from many moons ago. I bought it for £50 from a friend probably about five years ago and it has served me well on countless flights and travels. The strap’s fallen off and the side’s torn, but I’ve patched it up and it continues to do the job.
£50 (If you’re lucky like I was)
Giro Feature Helmet
This helmet has served me well for the last two years. Big Mike Rose, editor of Dirt, passed this on to me during a visit to the office in between travels and it has since joined me on adventures all over Europe, to high peaks in the Alps and Superenduro races in Italy. It’s pretty haggard now but it just fits my (big) head so perfectly and I think it looks pretty cool too, if a little ‘Fireman Sam’.
[part title="Bag O Junk"]
Bag O Junk
Words: Steve ‘I did it my way’ Jones / Deputy Editor
Five? Sorry can’t do it. To many people it’s a bag of junk kicking around the house or on my back, yet in compiling the list of products in this magazine I’ve relied on many pieces of hardware in the process, unsung detail, boring but essential to getting the bikes set up right. I’d recommend each one of them as a key part of any rider’s kit.
It always begins with the bikes, starting with a TOPEAK TYRE PRESSURE GAUGE, a SHOCK PUMP, and a HAMMER for when things get messy. A variety of TUBES for all occasions, be it 26, 27.5 or 29", and a broken MOUNTAIN MORPH PUMP to get them back up. A hard to find MICHELIN LEVER gets the SPECIALIZED STORM MUD TYRES on and off from October until April, and in reality far beyond. The shortest of the ROCK GUARDZ MUDGUARDS I have found totally invaluable.
Keeping them running – there’s loads of types but FINISH LINE LUBE has good consistency and is the one I grab off the shelf. TAPE MEASURE, FEEDBACK WEIGHING SCALES and a KENNEDY ANGLE FINDER to double–check the often incorrect website numbers for bikes. BONTRAGER MULTI TOOL, a CANE CREEK
SHOCK DIAL ADJUSTER, well… these are the smaller items that live in that little top pocket of the bag that holds most of this, the trusty CAMELBAK MULE. Anyhow, the pockets are in the right place, it holds just about enough, however I’ve turned to a PLASTIC BOTTLE over the foul tasting bladder system I cannot seem to maintain. PELEGRINO’s are the toughest. iPHONE for recording, reminding and often video for web stories lives in the lower exterior pocket along with ENERGY BARS of various fillings. Normally I have at least half a dozen boxes of these in the house as back up.
The VELO X STOP WATCH from SportCount – Europe has been necessary to get fact versus feeling on 26/27.5/29 and especially on our downhill bike test earlier this year. Many pairs of shoes, pretty much exclusively FIVE TEN as they’ve tackled wet weather material correctly – FREERIDER/FREERIDER VXI and usually four pairs on the go and at least two pairs drying by the fire along with at least the same amount of GLOVES. Don’t forget a good lid, FOX FLUX, and while you’re out there keep the trails running sweet aye – BAHCO LAPLANDER SAW.