Tag Archives: Reviews

Duralast 79-415 15mm wrench

duralast 79-415 mini 15mm wrench

This has lived in between my toolbox at home and my tool pouch in my messenger bag for a number of years. And since I’ll no longer need the 32mm that’s in the Park RW-1 this will be my 15mm.

4 5/8″ and not too heavy.
I bought this at Autozone and not sure about the country of origin.

DMR Bikes Vault pedals

DMR vault pedal for bike touring

4 tours of riding clipped in. Two with SPD & road shoes and two with the LOOK style SPD-SL and road shoes. But I think I’m done with that. Not throwing them out, just swapping them out. Next tour I’ll try simple platforms and one pair of shoes for riding and walking. More mobile, less cloppy. I ride platforms everyday already I just hope its good enough for a loaded bike up hills.

The Vault pedal is large, light, comfortable, grippy, way stronger and stiffer than any plastic BMX pedal. The concave shape feels good underfoot. Installs  with a 6mm.

Over the years I’ve tried many brands to find a great platform, so has Joe at BMW. He had a pair of these and i borrowed them for a few days. The feel of the concave and the greater surface area are what sold me.

Tools: 6mm, 2mm for pins


Beto Rear Rack

beto 700c alloy bike rack

Ever since I bought my first touring bike I did not know what brand the rear rack was that I picked up at the same time. The shop gave me a deal on a rack from the discount bin. It didn’t have a name.
While looking around for ideas I found it and learned the brand name it’s from. Beto. Never heard of it but they make a good rack. I’d probably just keep using this but the struts are a tad short to clear the fenders after I move up in tire size.

Topeak Micro Rocket CB air pump

Topeak Micro Rocket CB air pump

This is an upgraded replacement because I had a bag stolen and it had my flat fix kit in it. I had an old mini pump I carried vs. always making room for my Road Morph. I took the Road Morph on my last bike tour but I’ll test this one out around the city for the next few months and see if it’s tour worthy.

They say it’s good for 160 psi. Sounds like a lot but I don’t need that much pressure anyway.

I do like the little dust cap thing has a tiny hole in it making it a mini dust blower also.

Weight: 55g/1.9oz

Made in Taiwan

Salewa Wildfire

salewa wildfire shoe

Salewa has a variety of products like tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and even crampons and an ice axe. Also different categories of footwear, these fall under “tech approach”. There is a Gore-tex and a women’s version but I think the basic ones will be good for riding and cooler in summer because they are not water proof.

These fit me well and were of course marked down at EMS. $100 out the door. These are shoes and I’m sure they will do fine while they last. What I’m planning on doing is leaving my road race style shoes and pedals at home for this next tour. So this shoe will be worn all day. I’ll not need to make the decision to change shoes if I’m off the bike for more than a few min. If I want to hop over a guardrail real quick for a photo, all the clomping around in gas stations and grocery stores, and all that. Just way more mobile, which is what I want. Although I do lose a super stiff carbon sole to stand on while I pedal a heavy ass bike. I hope they wont flex and hurt my feet too much.

Also less to carry. I will probably take some platform pedals off one of my other bikes.

Chris King Headset

chris king silver headset

I got a brand new one in the parts bin waiting on the frame build to be finished. We had more than one discussion about what type of head tube to use on my custom frame. The simple quality of this component helped us decide to skip all the new new stuff and just go 1 1/8″. Of all the bikes I’ve owned this is only the second King headset for me.


Canon EOS Rebel G

Canon EOS Rebel G body

Canon EOS Rebel G body

I was going to give this to a friend but now that’s not needed so i think I have a new camera. I wanted to find a simple and light 35mm camera that was better than a point and shoot. Also something cheap.

Super small and light for a SLR. It looks like a baby next to my EOS 3. I kinda want to put a 40mm f/2.8 pancake on here. The body is about 14oz (for comparison Canon 5D Mark III is 34oz.) and I think the 40mm lens is 4.6oz.

I don’t know if this will come on my next bike tour but based on size and weight it would be my first recommendation for a low cost SLR camera. If I still own this when I depart on my next tour I’ll be sure to put this in my box of spare crap I intend to leave with a friend so they can mail me replacement/re-up items.

Pros: cheap, light weight, very small for SLR, fun to use, uses any Canon EF lens.

Cons: all plastic so not super tough, only 3 auto focus points & they do not light up, viewfinder only shows 90%.

Made in Taiwan

Update: stolen Jan. 2013

NiteRider Lumina 700 Light

NiteRider Lumina 700 light

I friend of mine goes on night rides often and this is the light he has. I got to check out the earlier model when he made the upgrade to the 700. Just a couple times and I could see the value in having a high output light.

Charges by mini USB, same as my phone, and can be set to only put out approx 40 lumens to have a run time of 18hrs. Or 1.5hrs at highest setting and 2 other levels in between plus a rapid flashing mode. Good clamp, good quick release, the on/off is a press button rather than a slide switch.

Over all a very good light. Not heavy, some US parts or assembly.. I can’t remember b/c i pitched the box. Pretty sure this will be added to the touring kit, and not as a replacement to my headlamp. I figure I will be on tour when the days are short and I may need to get someplace. Plus safety and shit.

Bought this on a deal.


Update: Stolen Jan. 2013 and it was worth it to buy another one.

Snow Peak Tableware

snow peak Ti mug MG-054Snow Peak Titanium Double 600 Mug MG-054

snow peak Trek Titanium PlateSTW-002T
Snow Peak Trek Titanium Plate STW-002T

Snow Peak Titanium Fork & Spoon SetSCT-002
Snow Peak Titanium Fork & Spoon Set SCT-002

snow peak Wood Party Knife NT-041
Snow Peak Wood Party Knife NT-041

Thru an associate I was able to get a unbeatable deal on some Snow Peak items. I first thought to only go for the Ti French Press and a baller mug. But decided to stick with my current coffee making method and instead upgrade my tableware. My stainless biner mug is good because it has a lid but that lid is a bit of a pain to open sometimes and it is only 12oz capacity (to the very top, no lid). Plus it weighs 9.6 oz. versus this being 5.1 oz in weight for a 20oz capacity. I think that’s an improvement even though I lose the closure option.

I never carried a plate on a bike tour before but adding 2 oz is totally acceptable and with a diameter of 7.5″ I’m sure I’ll be able to store this easily.

I don’t mind a fork and spoon that are on a diet (SCT-002 is 1.4 oz for both) but a knife has got to be a knife (NT-041 is 1.6 oz and length is 9″). The Ti knife in SCT-001 is so dainty it looks like it made for nothing bigger than those peel top mini butter pack you get in to-go food orders. Hence the Ti/steel mix of cutlery.

All are made in Japan.

Book: The Slow Way Down by Gerald Coniel

The Slow Way Down by Gerald Coniel

I wasn’t really all that into this book for two reasons. The guy who wrote it seems like one of those people that have to be above others who are all in the same group. They are all biking the length of Africa but he makes a “Locker 9 Club” to have a way to hang out separately with the other rich men on the ride. Also there is no end to the focus on riding “every fucking inch” of the route. So seeing the letters EFI is entirely too repetitious for me. I also must say there are exclamation points at the end of nearly every other sentence through out the entire thing.

Only in a small tid bit does he explain the EFN class among the riders. Those are the ones who slept in a tent every fucking night. The author was definitely not in that class but I would much rather read a book by someone who was!

Also not a loaded touring story. A race story really, but still a bike travel story so worth the read.

I can recall that I read about 10 or 12 touring/bike travel books back around the time of my first tour. I just don’t remember any of the titles. Reading about other peoples experiences is a way to learn by the mistakes of others. Not sure what the next book I’ll read will be but pretty sure I’ve got time before i hit the road.

Tokina RMC 135mm f/2.8 lens

RMC Tokina 135mm f/2.8
Tokina RMC 135mm f/2.8 lens (image source)

This old lens was a gift from a friend of a friend. It didn’t take long for me to buy an adapter so it would fit to my Canon. Right away I did some test shots in my house using my DSLR. I was not super stoked on it and pretty much just set it aside for a few months before I decided to shoot half a roll on my SLR. The outdoor portrait shots were way better. And this is a good lens I’ll keep around. Small, light in weight, and really good for portraits. But I lose AF, not bad because the focus ring is very good, and I lose light metering. That second part is not so bad either but does slow down my shooting because I resort to a free phone app that calls its self a light meter to calculate exposure settings.
Anyway, only 50% chance this would come on tour with me. But maybe, it is build tough enough.

Cost: Free +$30 for adapter. I did see a couple on eBay for $50.

Made in Japan


Platy 2L Bottle

platypus platy 2L bottle

Prob not a necessary item because just about anything can be used to hold extra water but being compact, light, and large capacity but fillable under a shallow sink goes in the pros column. Trying to fill an empty 2L soda bottle or gallon jug under a small sink isn’t easy. 2L should be good to boil water for a pasta dinner, coffee in the morning, and some left to drink.

Capacity 70 fl. oz / 2 liters
Weight 1.3 oz / 36 g

Paid about $8 on a deal

Made in Seattle, USA

Backpackers Pantry U.T.U. Wood Spatula/Knife

Backpackers Pantry U.T.U. Wood Spatula/Knife

Backpackers Pantry U.T.U. Wood Spatula/Knife

I picked up one of these for $2.50 to give it a try. The 2-in-1 design is good for bike touring and I need a spatula. The knife is a bit short to get the last of peanut butter out the bottom of even a regular 160z. jar but not too short. Pancakes were the real test, and this didn’t do so good. It is small and light but I’ma keep looking..

Pros: Light weight, small, 2-in-1, low cost
Cons: Knife too short, spatula too small, imported

Made in Taiwan

Sram PG1050 10speed cassette 12-28t

Sram PG1050 12-28t 10sp cassette
Sram PG1050 10speed cassette 12-28t

A new cassette that will go on my new bike. 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-28
Heat treated steel. Under 300g.

I think this will work out fine but I think this is a general use range, not especially for touring. I wish I could make my own cassette, it would be close but just a lil’ different. 13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-28  its much like my old 12-25 cassette but trading the 12t on one end for a 28t on the other.

Paid a lil’ ova $50 on a deal

Made in Taiwan