3 Fresh Things For Fall NSMB AndrewM.JPG
FIRST LOOKS

Fresh Picks: A Kiwi Bumbag, a Skidlid and Ninja Tool Storage

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Oct 4, 2019

Out of the box and ready for a thorough thrashing, these products will need more riding hours before I render verdicts. I'll be back with full reviews when I'm confident in my conclusions.

These will join my three previous Fresh For Fall 2019 items.

Stealth Hightop Bum Bag

Stealth Bike Bags is Michael Trudgen and in addition to manufacturing a full line of frame bags for the bicycle-camper, he makes the 4L rolltop Stealth hip pack which can hold a lot of stuff or roll down tight for a short ride with less gear.

Unlike the other hip packs I'm currently using - the Showers Pass Rainslinger and my own Porcelain Rocket Dumpling - the 75 USD* bag is not itself fully weatherproof. Stealth offers a 45 USD waterproof liner attaches via Velcro, also on test, and of course, a drybag is always an option. The liner itself rolls up with the bag and thus far it's kept my camera gear, tools, and spare clothes dry in some exceptional deluges.

The manufacturing quality is excellent but that's my base expectation from a high-end small batch manufacturer and frankly, it's the third most interesting thing about the Hightop. From the first pull, I'm a complete fan of Stealth's buckle closure which is, pardon the dad humour, a cinch to use. Roll up the bag, do up the buckle, and pull on the strap. I anticipate that it's easily done with frozen-useless hands or thick gloves and I'll find out in a couple of months.

*Prices based on approximate NZD to USD exchange without 15% VAT taxes.

3 Fresh Things For Fall STEALTH NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Made by Michael Trudgen in Wellington, New Zealand.

Stealth Hip Pack NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Roll it up, clip the buckle, and pull down on the strap to cinch the pack tight.

3 Fresh Things For Fall STEALTH NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

A plastic and foam back panel is reinforced by an alloy strut to maintain shape.

The other unique feature of the Stealth Pack is the internal frame that maintains the same, fitted, shape whether I'm carrying camera gear, extra clothes, or both. The plastic and foam panel is reinforced by an alloy strut and, despite not sounding comfortable, it's quite remarkably so. The extra support becomes more comfortable as the 4L pack starts to get stuffed up to capacity. I especially like not having to plan the position of my loads to avoid uncomfortable contact points. I just toss everything in and go for a ride.

I'll follow up after some nasty winter riding and a proper amount of wear and tear but I can already say that it's pretty comfortable riding home with a 6-Pack and a decent-sized TiGr lock. For more information check out the Hightop at Stealth Bike Bags.

Giro Quarter MIPS

I could write an epic rivaling Beowulf about my journey to rediscovering pad-fit helmets and, as of 2019, I can't see myself buying a bike helmet that isn't pad-fit. I'm happy to sweat through reduced venting as a trade-off to ditching a ratcheting closure. That 180° head contact is more comfortable under a hard effort with no more headaches during and after long days in the saddle and companies can use softer foam combined with a rounder shape which offers better protection in crashes.

My pad-fit helmet experience started with loosening off the adjuster on the Leatt DBX 3.0 when the chin bar was installed, to the min-maxed Kali Viva that I wore all summer - even on the hottest days. Now I'm testing this Giro Quarter which comes in both a standard and MIPS version.

I leave it up to the reader to decide whether they agree that MIPS "can redirect energy and provide more protection in certain impacts." It really doesn't matter to me since the fit of the MIPS version is perfect.

3 Fresh Things For Fall Giro Quarter NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

The shell has a durable polyurethane 'bumper' coating to protect the EPS liner from routine wear and tear.

3 Fresh Things For Fall Giro Quarter NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

A MIPS liner combines with Giro's sweat absorbing pads. There are three shell sizes with adjustment coming from pad thickness.

3 Fresh Things For Fall Giro Quarter NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Venting is very limited but I'm had the Quarter MIPS out on some hot days and the sweat management is better than expected.

I'm sweaty dude and I run hot, and I totally understand why many riders I talk to are reluctant to give pad fit helmets a go. The lack of visible venting used to make me start sweating just looking at one. It's an easy test though, go into a shop and plop one on your head and tell me that it isn't more comfortable. Go for a long pedal and I'll guarantee it's less hot-and-sweaty than you'd expect it to be.

At the very least, if you experience headaches on or after rides no matter how many different lids you try and how much water you drink, it may be that your head, like mine, swells during hard efforts. A pad-fit helmet really spreads out that pressure.

The skate-style Quarter MIPS comes in three sizes, plus pad-fit adjustment, and is a low profile lid for 65 USD.

Clutch Bike Storage

Giant Bikes has jumped into the on-bike storage game with both feet and an eye to making pieces that are compatible with any make or model of bike out there. The crank-mounted toolset which includes adapters to fit a variety of 24mm and 30mm axle cranksets, the steerer tube mounted CO2 setup that Giant says works with Fox, RockShox, and DVO forks for sure (Giant can add Manitou to that list based on my short experiences), and the bar-end bacon setup expands to fit a range of wall thicknesses.

Giant says the Crank Clutch tool is compatible with SRAM, Shimano, and Praxis cranks with a hollow spindle. That's not a conclusive list though. I've installed this one in a set of Race Face Aeffect R cranks with a 24mm spindle and I'll also have a look at Race Face and FSA 30mm cranks as part of the review process. The Crank Clutch tool sells for 95 CAD.

The 55 CAD Fork Clutch tool* is similarly easy to install; a rubber mallet is all that's required. I'm using it in a Manitou Mezzer Pro.

*Does not include CO2 cartridge

The last piece of the Clutch kit is these quickly expanding bar-end inserts that contain bacon-style tire plugs on one side and more inserts and an installer on the other for 10 tire plugs total. They go in and out quickly and seem to stay tight, although I haven't had a good digger on them yet. The Clutch Bar End kit is 35 CAD.

It looks like we're staring into a wet, nasty, greasy, and winter around here so it should be a great season for thoroughly trashing gear. Please check back for reviews of these products in the next 3-6 months. In the meantime I'm happy to answer any questions I can in the comments below.

Trending on NSMB

Comments

DemonMike
0
mike  - Oct. 4, 2019, 5:04 a.m.

https://www.reloadbags.com/

This bag that has my interest peaked . Similar to the one from NZ just in a smaller size with additional strapping.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 mike
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 7:38 a.m.

Yeah, good looking packs. Be interesting to see how weather resistant ‘highly weather resistant’ is in use. That’s why I was so stoked about the Showers Pass Rainslinger and the PR Dumpling actually fitting me - real weather proofing.

Haven’t had The Clairebarian power soak me with the hose yet but without the liner the Stealth is pretty resistant and with the liner my stuffs been staying dry so far. Can’t over emphasize how good their cinch system works.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Oct. 4, 2019, 9:56 a.m.

Clairebarian??  your wife?  that's a freaking hilarious nickname.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+5 Vik Banerjee mike Velocipedestrian JVP khai
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 10:17 a.m.

Ha! No, the Clairebarian is my five-year-old assistant.

Reply

Vikb
+2 Zapp Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 4, 2019, 5:52 a.m.

Porcelain Rocket out of Calgary makes some nice fanny packs that are waterproof. You have to buy them in the fall when the crank out a big batch, but that should be coming up shortly.

https://porcelainrocket.com/collections/seasonals

I have a bunch of PR gear and it's all been superb. Well made. Really durable.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Vik Banerjee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 7:30 a.m.

I own a PR Dumpling. Beauty piece of kit. Fit is great and I really like being able to easily carry a wet jacket externally (in the shock cord). Quality of manufacturing is prime.

It is much more sensitive to loading than the Stealth though. I’m very much in love with the reinforced back panel. Fit is of course personal and I find most hip packs don’t fit me well.

Reply

Timer
+1 Andrew Major
Timer  - Oct. 4, 2019, 8:49 a.m.

Looking at the picture of the bag and the text about stuffing in a 6 pack, I already feel my lower back cramping up.

How do people find the large hip packs (and their heavy contents)  comfortable to wear? I have a Rapid Pack and it's already borderline unwieldy and cumbersome. Can't imagine riding with a pack more than twice the size.

Do they work better for really large people? I'm not small but slim so that might be a factor?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Timer
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 8:56 a.m.

Ha, I’m not riding any distance with a 6x pack - more getting a sense of volume. Most hip packs I’ve tried don’t fit me well and those that do I’m still conscious of packing light - for example if I need to carry a bladder or extra water in general it’s a backpack every time. 

For the review I’ll break down my general contents.

The rigid backplate of the Stealth is really helpful when tightening down the pack to carry a larger load. For that’s generally when I add my camera to my kit.

As to the max size (4L) the only time I come close is riding to the pub with an extra layer and a good lock. Most the time I’m at maybe 1/4 capacity. The great thing with roll tops (this and  my Porcelain Rocket) is they shrink down great for small loads.

Anything heavier than my regular kit + camera and I’m carrying a pack.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Timer
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 9 a.m.

If you’re trying to run light but get a sore lower back easily check out the Chase. It’s light and surprisingly breathable. I’ve had great feedback from folks that have used it on my recommendation.

Reply

Timer
0
Timer  - Oct. 4, 2019, 10:27 a.m.

Ah, that seems a lot more reasonable. There are some hip packs with 4l capacity and two extra bottle holders, I wonder if anyone ever uses them to full capacity.

Thank you for the recommendation. I have a small Deuter backpack though that fits me like a glove and gets used every time I can be bothered to clean the bladder afterwards. Judging by the durability of my other deuter packs i might use it for another decade or more.

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 8, 2019, 4:02 p.m.

I have the Osprey Savu and frequently use it with the pouch full, and two large water bottles. It's comfy and seems to stay put when riding.

Reply

Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Oct. 4, 2019, 6:43 p.m.

Its true on the size I used to have an industrial machine and made a few bum bags that I wanted to ride with. My design was a bit large and as a pack rat type with a bike with no cage (process 111) it was always too floppy. It is great for the bike commute.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 4, 2019, 8:31 p.m.

Honestly you can get your gear and water attached to most frames with some effort. So unless you are really needing to haul a bunch of extra gear you don't need much in a fanny pack. I have used a variety of packs and I'm more likely to go with no packs or a minimal hip pack or if that's not enough go straight to a backpack. I don't see the point in a heavily loaded large hip pack.

Reply

craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Oct. 4, 2019, 9:21 a.m.

The bottom of the steerer tube or the crank axle seems a logical way to store stuff, especially without the extra expense of an EDC stem. But I still carry a pack most of the time. What I really want to put in those spots is a tubeless plug tool, the one thing that I really want to have quickly close at hand. Anyone know of a good tubeless plug kit that fits in the bottom of the steerer or BB axle?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 2:03 p.m.

The headtube system is so simple and thus far there’s been zero movement pounding down trails. I’ll certainly also be checking it for corrosion after the winter. I’ve been thinking that a little cone-shaped container (with a metal bottom to mimic the CO2 cartridge) would be a very practical thing for Giant to sell since many folks prefer to use a pump. For that matter, the container could just thread into the pressed in retainer instead of the magnetic base.

Might as well do a container that interfaces with the crank magnet too!

Reply

Tremeer023
0
Tremeer023  - Oct. 5, 2019, 1:03 p.m.

Hi Cr4w, I've got one of these: https://www.maxalami.de/MaXalami-Twister-20-Tubeless-Repair-Tool

Haven't needed to use it yet though so can't comment on its quality but it seems ok.  Based in Europe though.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Velocipedestrian
fartymarty  - Oct. 4, 2019, 1:57 p.m.

I've been using https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Spacious-Outdoor-Belt-Bag-Modules-Classic-by-Macpac-Water-Resistant-7l-Vol-Black/1692725810 for probably 2 years now. I can fit all my tools, night light battery and 1.5 litres of water for 2-3 hour rides. The Stealth looks like a really good replacement once my Macpac dies.

Reply

twk
0
twk  - Oct. 4, 2019, 2:30 p.m.

On a tangent to the whole hip-pack/bike storage thing -- as people seem to combine those with various strap solutions, which usually do not cover your stuff -- how can one possibly keep the tools/tubes/sandwich in a good condition over the course of a season or so if it gets covered in gritty muck all the time. Every time I strap a tube to my frame it becomes the forever dirty tube. Maybe it's just me or everyone's smart and stash their slightly more sensitive material somewhere safe ("in" the bike, a hip pack or a closed bag), but I never got this figured out to the point where packless riding would be a possibility for me in my local climate.

And have I mentioned velcro is like a magnet for gritty dirt?

Reply

fartymarty
+1 twk
fartymarty  - Oct. 4, 2019, 3:05 p.m.

I use an old DH tube as a sleeve for my tube with some cable ties each end to keep the water out.  I use a Back Country strap and carry 2 CO2 canisters and KMC tyre levers / chain link breaker.  Also I put caps on the CO2 canisters to keep the threads clean when I need to screw the inflater on.  The rest (things I don't want covered in mud /water) goes in my hip pack.

Reply

Timer
+1 twk
Timer  - Oct. 4, 2019, 3:22 p.m.

This might sound primitive but I just use an old sneaker sock around the tube. Won't keep it dry but keeps most of the dirt out.

Pump strapped to the frame gets a pice of gaffer tape over the join. No issues since 2008. 

Anything that can rust isn't left on the bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson twk
Andrew Major  - Oct. 4, 2019, 3:35 p.m.

The only time I've installed a tube in my own bike in the last many years was for a dented rim that wouldn't seal back up tubeless.

On my hardtail (dual-ply casings + CushCore) I don't even carry a tube anymore. If a sidewall gash is too big for plugs I'll ride out flat on the CC.

On my dual FS bike, I'll carry a tube when riding with other people - I don't want to be that guy - but I just strap it on for the day or throw it in my hip pack. Again running dual-ply tire casings so it's a case of packing around a bunch of extra weight in exchange for the peace of mind.

Reply

twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Oct. 5, 2019, 4:31 a.m.

I agree that a tube is rarely useful for myself, but on group rides they come in handy, and I recently killed my rear tyre, only to find out it hadn't any sealant left... whoops.

CushCore or similar would have been a solution, but I'm light enough and slow enough to rarely ding my rims, so the price is a bit steep. Beefier tires are on the menu once the current rear wears down, however.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Pete Roggeman twk
Andrew Major  - Oct. 5, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

I gave out tubes this summer; one didn’t so much as solicit a thank you and the other was equally engrumbling but I did have a long conversation with myself about some of the stuff I’ve been carrying for years (to fix other people’s bikes | only ever used to fix other people’s bikes) and how far I’m willing to walk/roll/etc in the event of a rare mechanical and I ditched a pretty significant number of tools. 

I guess if I have one of those failures I can revisit my decision while I walk out but at this point if I’m riding close to civilization the only extras I carry beyond basic tools is my emergency blanket and extra clothes.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 twk
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 7, 2019, 9:34 a.m.

That's where I've settled, too. Bikes are reliable, I don't break stuff too often, and if 1 in 100 rides is ruined by not having a spare thingamajig (and the ratio is much lower), I can accept that - when I'm riding close to help anyway.

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 twk
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 6, 2019, 5:10 p.m.

I don’t flat often either but I have needed a tube from time to time. My flats seem to be from unusual things now. A snapped spoke shoots through the rim tape, or I hit something hard and crack the rim bed between the beads. (You were there that night) but actual holes are not frequent at all but still I carry a tube and plugs. I carry a pump too because I am notoriously lazy about checking pressure before a ride and a couple good thumps cause me to stop and air up.

Reply

velocipedestrian
+4 mike Tremeer023 twk Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Oct. 4, 2019, 3:53 p.m.

I've been using a Blackburn outpost corner bag combined with a fanny pack. Despite the pictures it only really fits a tube + levers + multi tool.

Getting those out of the fanny pack was enough to make it much more comfortable, and the blackburn seems to keep the crap out nicely.

Reply

twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Oct. 5, 2019, 4:25 a.m.

Those are all nice suggestions, thanks everyone.

I suppose there is some show-factor to the setups one sees on the internet, as opposed to the more practical solutions that involve old tubes, socks and the like.

I suppose I could sew myself a cheap waterproof-ish rolltop framebag for my singlespeed, and carry a waterbottle and avoid any bag on my back, and just stuff everything in there (tube, tools, tubeless stuff, my overly long pump, medikit, snacks, keys etc), and strap that down to the top tube. For shorter daylight rides that might be ideal. But on the FS I don't think I could make do without my pack without buying a lot more kit.

Once (if) I actually implement this, I'll post some pics.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Oct. 5, 2019, 8:24 a.m.

Cool; photos good! 

Like my answer to the waterproof vest of my dreams, there’s a lot of money to be saved realizing mountain biking isn’t a fashion show :-)

Reply

Tremeer023
0
Tremeer023  - Oct. 5, 2019, 12:44 p.m.

Haven't ridden with any back or hip pack for years now and it's amazing.  Recently upgraded my frame bag to a 4L Ortleib frame bag (dry bag) and am impressed so far: https://www.ortlieb.com/uk/frame-pack

Room for a water bottle, essential tools and pump plus room for a lightweight jacket.

Reply

Kelownakona
0
Kelownakona  - Oct. 6, 2019, 12:35 a.m.

Remember those little plastic canisters old camera film used to come in? They jam in pretty nicely upside down in your steerer giving a nice little place to stash stuff (patch kit /plugs/chain links etc)  with a closeable lid. Run a line of gas tape round it first if you need it real snug. 

You can still buy them dead cheap.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 6, 2019, 6:29 a.m.

My concern there would be water getting trapped in my steerer? The stem cap/bolt interface isn’t water tight and that was a thing with folks using steerer preloaders, like King’s old Headlock system, instead of starnuts to tighten the headsets.

Reply

Kelownakona
0
Kelownakona  - Oct. 6, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

I think it'd have to be super wet or submarine to make much of a problem. The stem cap goes on pretty flush and anything near stem bolts would be outside of steerer.

Getting mud and water up the steerer from the tyre is probably a bigger issue and the plug in the steerer would actually prevent that too.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 6, 2019, 10:06 a.m.

Just something I'd keep my eye on based on my experience with Headlock systems. Actually, this Giant system will be a great examination as I'll be able to unthread it to check after very rainy rides.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.