New at off-road.cc this year is our ‘Gear of the Year Top Picks’ award, this is where we pick five pieces of mountain bike or gravel gear that we reckon is indispensable. We’ll then bestow one of these items with the soon to be coveted award for gear we ‘can’t live without’.
Third in line to take the stage is Jim Clarkson, he's our regular and reliable freelancer who doggedly tests anything we send to him, however exciting, tedious or otherwise! Let's hear what he has to say...
With its stunning looks and pro endorsement, this flat pedal delivered a rock solid trail connection coupled with excellent performance - it has continued to perform and has taken plenty of knocks. The only slight downsides are the clearance at times, but this is soon reduced by better riding lines and there is no getting away from the price, but it’s worth that premium.
Made in the UK, biodegradable and environmentally friendly with uncompromising performance - this bike wash from Pure is an excellent, effective choice for cleaning your bike. You can’t ask for much more than that when it comes to cleaning your steed. I gave it five out of five stars when I tested it earlier this year!
Alpkit is always a good stop for reasonably priced, well made and smartly designed outdoor kit and this Airo 180 sleep mat is no exception. Small and light enough for bikepacking, it made overnight bike adventures that little more comfortable. This is a full-length mat that's lightweight and compact when rolled, it fits in loads of packs and places. It's a great balance of comfort, weight and size.
Perhaps not the first item you think of with Nukeproof, this straight forward merino baselayer is a super soft, well made layer that offers a 'no frills' performance and comfort. Super comfy, its been worn very frequently due to its versatile abilities, and has washed well, with no shrinking. It’s also handy for several days as it definitely won’t let you stink as synthetics can.
The VroomBag is simply a huge waterproof bag that acts as a super-sized changing mat - you can get out of all your sweaty, mud-covered kit, and keep it all in one place, keeping your vehicle cleaner. It's great for loading up before a ride and then throwing all the muddy kit back in post ride. Simple idea, well made and one of those things you wonder how you did without which is why I'm making it my winner and giving it the "can't live without" award. For the post ride clean up before a drive home, there simply is nothing better.
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