Whilst last week's theme was predominantly summer clothing (you can blame us if you had a washout bank holiday), this week is a gravel tyre and tool fest. We've got a varied bunch of tyres from WTB and Compass along with some smart little tools from Topeak.
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite DX
Multi-tools can always be a bit of a faff which is why we particularly like Topeak's solution. Using standard bits that attach to a driver means you can choose exactly which tools you need, lets you replace them if they get worn out and gives you a decent lever arm with the ratchet.
Topeak Nano Torqbox DX
Today's lightweight components and carbon fibre parts are sensitive to fastening torques, but full blown torque wrenches tend to be very pricey. These tools use a preset clutch mechanism to disengage when your bolts are done up correctly. Put it on your 5mm allen key and use standard bits to adapt the tool to the fastener required. They are available in 4, 5 and 6Nm individually, or as a set as below.
Julbo Shield Cameleon sunglasses
Julbo pitches these as an all-mountain solution for a variety of sports. That's why they come with removable side shields for high-alpine and glacier travel (our tester Benedict has already used them whilst out ski touring). We particularly like the photochromic, polarised lenses that will be perfect for the sunnier months.
Compass Snoqualmie Pass tyres
It may look like a road tyre, but the 44c volume says otherwise. We're actually big fans of slick tyres for gravel riding when conditions are dry, and are excited to get out on the Compass Snoqualmie Pass.
Compass is known for its supple tyres and founder Jan Heine is an advocate for running wide tyres at low pressures for the ultimate in comfort and rolling resistance. We're interested to see how that plays out for us.
WTB Nano and Horizon 650b/27.5-inch tyres
We often find we're pushing our gravel bikes into what could be considered mountain bike territory. As such we've got two sets of 650b tyres in from WTB, one slick for tamer rides and one knobbly for when things get a little hairier.
WTB introduced its Road Plus concept with the Horizon tyres, which follows the #supplelife trend of running high volume tyres at low pressures for comfort and rolling resistance. Because they use a smaller 27.5-inch wheel, the tyre can be a lot bigger.
We'll also take advantage of that to try and fit the 2.1" wide WTB Nano mountain bike tyre into our gravel bike frames. These tyres should hopefully see us through the roughest gravel riding we can find.
We're looking forward to comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each of the tyres and where the limits of each are.
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