HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (5)
Gear Shots for May 19, 2022

Gear Shots: Three Things From Andrew

Words Andrew Major
Photos The Clairebarian (Unless Noted)
Date May 19, 2022
Reading time

Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five Socks

I like merino wool socks for cycling. Actually, I like merino socks for life in general. There are exceptions where I'll reach from some really lightweight synthetics but the point I want to make here is that I think merino wool socks are good. I have some favourites like DeFeet's Wooleator blend, my maroon 7Mesh Ashlu socks, classic NSMB-logo by SockGuy, and so on. Actually, I have at least four pairs of SockGuy wool socks. I'm not even counting the sweet socks my mom knits for me. Or the non-wool socks I own because they have sweet branding - like my my F*cking Magical Unicorn socks from Sonya Looney. Yes, I may have a bit of a sock fetish.

To aid healing from my Achilles injury, I was told I should consider using compression socks for riding, and in particular, long ones. This led me to a pair of Swiftwick Flite XT Trail socks. They're USA-Made from a mix of materials including 24% Merino, which may sound low (SockGuy is 50% Merino wool) but it's a result of the Flite XT being a hybrid sock. The heel and forefoot are made of a grippy and more durable fibre that's intended to improve stability, which may matter more for runners than riders. Both the ankle and heel have a tight compression fit. Put another way, they're Merino compression socks.*

*Swiftwick says these provide "moderate compression"

HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (2)

The Swiftwick Flite XT sock is one of those tip-of-the-iceberg situations. Above the shoe line it's Merino wool sock with a compression fit. In total, they're a hybrid of your favourite Merino wool sock and your compression socks. Swiftwick did a nice job with them.

HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (16)

Below the shoe line there's a lot going on with the soft Merino blend panels and the more durable 'GRIPDRY' heel and forefoot. They are not inexpensive, and certainly a rider who isn't looking for a compression fit can choose other great USA-Made Merino wool socks for less. There's a reason the brand, and product, have a solid following though. Photo: Swiftwick

I don't love the tight fit and feel of compression socks but these are different. The hyperbolic tagline "The Best Socks You Will Ever Wear Guaranteed" turns my stomach a bit. Those sorts of claims always make me think of Specialized's "It's You, Only Faster" BS. But I'd buy that they're compression socks for folks who don't like compression socks. Or they're compression socks for folks who prefer to wear wool. I've been walking a lot in them and have now done a couple of rides and I think they're delightful. These are the 5" version of the Flite XT Trail and I find myself wishing they made a knee high (12") version which Swiftwick does make in other socks, but not the Merino ones. They command an 11 USD premium over a pair of SockGuy Merino socks (27 USD v. 16 USD) but they are a more technical product by construction and features.

At first these Swiftwick socks made me think about crappy hybrid products the bike industry pushes, like clip-on shoes with a bolt-on or cutaway section so they can be used with flat pedals. Or, pedals that are clip-in on one side and flat on the other. Or any long-travel suspension fork with a lockout. But these really do wick and regulate like Merino socks (though they are more odoriferous) while providing a compression-light, fit.

They're just socks but they're good socks, or even great socks. I've been wearing and washing them multiple times a week, so they're getting thoroughly tested against Swiftwick's claims of quality and durability and holding up great thus far.

Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five Socks - 27 USD


HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (11)

A small, quick access, tool to complement the 8-Bit Pack Pliers that live in my bag. It doubles as a QR lever for my Wolf Tooth axle.

Wolf Tooth Axle Multi-Tool

I recently wrote about Wolf Tooth's Trainer Adaptors for their axle system and this multi-tool is another accessory that's compatible with the same axle. It replaces the battle-worn, replaceable end cap that I usually run on my axle. I can only imagine how much (cosmetic?) damage this tool can look forward to. It's a 5mm hex, that steps up to a 6mm hex, and includes storage for two additional bits that can be inserted. There are four bits included:

  • 3mm + 2.5mm hex
  • 2mm + 4mm hex
  • Flat head #3.5 & Phillips #2 screwdrivers
  • T10 + T25 Torx keys

I've gone back to riding with a pack exclusively, with a pair of Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pack Pliers in my tool roll, but having an easily accessible tool for making super-quick adjustments has significant appeal. For this purpose I've been using the quick to access/stow OneUp EDC Lite tool but not having a tool stored in my steerer satiates my vanity in that I prefer to run my Live Like Vic (Gioia)* stem cap. The Axle Handle multi-tool is manufactured in Minnesota and in addition to fitting Wolf Tooth's axle system it also fits "axles from Trek and other manufacturers that have a removable handle retained with an o-ring." Though they had me at purple, it comes in eight colours.

*Vic Gioia is a legendary local trail builder

The multi-tool is very nicely made, like Wolf Tooth's other tools, but I'm on the fence about using it out on the trail. It's quick to access, and the bits are held securely but also easy to remove once you figure out the technique. My perfect bit set would swap the current four options for just two. One would be the 3mm + 2.5mm hex. The other would be a T25 Torx + 4mm hex. If I'm doing anything that requires a screw driver, T10, or 2mm hex, I'll get the 8-Bit out of my pack. One of the keys of this design though is that it shares tool-bits with Wolf Tooth's EnCase and 8-Bit tools so the configurations combos that are included were decided previously.

I've used the tool to make a number of adjustments already on the short rides I've been doing from home as part of my rehab and it's the only tool I carry on those missions. For me the proof will be out on the trail where I'm deciding between pulling the 8-Bit out of my pack or pulling this tool out of my axle. My one concern is that it protrudes of my frame, maybe a little too much. I've heard folks make the argument that the advantage of having a QR lever - or the button that normally sits on my axle - is that it protects the frame from damage and is less expensive to replace. I won't argue with this viewpoint, but I think the design could be a little bit more tucked.

More on this in a future Gear Shots. And, in the meantime, here's more information on the 40 CAD | 30 USD Axle Handle multi-tool.

HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (14)

I've had my weatherproof Acre Hauser pack for about as long as Mission has been making them. It can be used as a rolltop or clipped, but I always use it as a roll top. I rarely use a bladder in it, but rather insert a Camelbak back protector.

HMPL Wolf Tooth Swiftwick Gear Shots NSMB Andrew Major (13)

It was actually quite a moment when my strap pulled out and my loaded pack went flailing about. I had always planned to fix the pack, maybe by sending it back to Mission Workshop but Scott & Matt did an excellent job locally.

HMPL Custom

This is not a product review. It's a service review. Of a service I paid for. Two services actually. So add whatever allowance for confirmation bias you feel is necessary to go with the fact that I handed over my own monies here. That aside, Matt & Scott from HMPL Design are rad. They make awesome cycling soft goods in Vancouver for riding in Vancouver weather. Their products are simple, thoughtfully optimized, and very well crafted, and they're friendly folks. They repair their own stuff and high quality stuff made by others. My wife has a couple of their bags to support her commuting and townie cycling, and they fixed my pack. No just any pack, but the faded blue Mission-Acre Hauser that my wife bought for me as a gift about a decade ago.

This pack has been on my back on various riding trips, hiking, trail building, and as a day pack traveling. It's weatherproof, holds my camera, fits well, and it's comfortable even though it runs a bit hotter for those couple of months when the sun is out. It failed spectacularly a couple of years ago while I was riding; a clip that holds the right shoulder strap in place ripped out, causing quite the weight shift, and it's been sitting since. Mission one; the gents at HMPL replaced the missing clip and reinforced the area so I won't have the same experience in the future.

Project number two is a custom shoulder strap-mounted cellphone carrier for the same pack. I wanted to replicate one of my favourite features of my Camelbak Chase Protector pack but with the added benefits of weatherproof storage so I can still access my phone on a proper rainy day. HMPL took that request and added improved efficiency to the order. It's not currently a product option, but if easy, weatherproof, access to your phone is a pack priority for you, drop them a message and let them know.

I think it's neat that all these products are made in North America. The Swiftwick socks are made in the USA with a focus on domestically-sourced materials, the goal being to create a best-in-class durable product so they'll reduce waste by lasting longer. Wolf Tooth designs and manufactures their tools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some of their products, like this Axle Handle, is a little more niche, but they also make a huge catalog of excellent chainrings and their 8-Bit Pack Pliers are my favourite tool to use on the trail. Mission Workshop's Acre pack is entirely USA-Made. The repairs and my cellphone pocket were done in East Vancouver by HMPL.

Where something is made, and how it's made, varies in importance from one rider to another but going forward I'd like to do a better job of talking about this stuff. Where it's designed, where it's made, how it's shipped, and so forth. Production of some cycling products, like helmets, is narrowly concentrated in certain countries, but I think we recognize that, regardless of geography, not all factories are created equal.

I'd also like to make sure, this season, that I'm including more older, well-used products in Gear Shots. Stuff like my Acre pack that was expensive up front (or would have been if it wasn't a gift) but has a year over year value built in to it. In that vein, and as with recent pieces I've done on a Chris King hub and Formula Cura4 brakes, I plan to still be using these products years from now and to be able to swing back to them again. Despite what the industry (and every industry) tries to tell us, the best things aren't always the newest things.

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Comments

skooks
Skooks
1 month, 1 week ago
+7 Andrew Major kcy4130 Shoreboy Timer IslandLife Niels van Kampenhout Michael

The latest crop of hide-away tools are clever and all, but for me the best solution is always going to be a multi-tool stored in the belt pocket of my backpack or fanny pack. It's cheaper, easier/faster to access, and there's a huge selection of multi-tools to choose from. I also carry the wolf tooth 8-bit pack pliers, but I don't love the small, fiddily bits.

Reply

geraldooka
Michael
1 month ago
+1 Andrew Major

This. With one exception (silly Shimano brake lever adjustment) my old Lyzene v10 multitool has the things anyone would typically need is tiny and barely weighs anything. Throw in a tubeless repair kit (mod one from a hardware store they are the same but much, much cheaper) a chainlink, a tire lever (still running my fave Michelin) couple zip ties, couple stick on patches for bigger holes, a spare valve core and some duct tape wrapped around the plug tool handle and your good to go for a fraction the cost and searching to find the right bike mounted tool, plus bonus its easy to swap from bike to bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month ago
0

My spare valve core has saved more than a few rides! 

I've been inspired to look at some more budget tool builds. Thanks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Small bits aside, the thing I love about the 8-Bit is it’s genuinely nice to use as a tool. The bits interface really nicely with bolts. It has ~ all the bits I need. Like a truly portable bike shop. And then I compliment it with a more accessible mini-tool.

So I started working on a piece about just-plain-multi-tools since I carry a pack anyway. You can get a lot of functions for a lot less money and that fits with min-maxing. But what tool do you use?! The many-function tools are huge and awkward to handle. The minimal function tools I might as well just use an EDC Lite w/ out the carrier because it has just as much functionality.

I look at the Axle Handle as a potential quick-access compliment to my 8-Bit but I’d never go mountain biking with just that. But accessibility wise I’m not putting a tool in my pocket or somewhere else it can hurt me on a crash.

Anyway, I have an SKS multi-tool I quite like complemented with a separate chain breaker. It’s still big but the bits are genuinely nice where a lot of multi-tools are junk. But even it’s not as nice to use as the 8-Bit when I need to fix something.

Reply

MikeMc
Mike McArthur
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

The quick on-bike adjustment is a small sub-set of tools. It's a loose headset or bar / lever that's rotated in a crash. Maybe a post adjustment. In the spirit of keep it simple, I think the best would be clip behind bottle cage (ie like a pump mount) that holds Dynaplug racer on one side, and L-bend hex on the other. This hex would have L-bends at each end, one for 4mm one for 5mm. The holder and hex tool are <$20CAD. How hard is that to come to market (ignoring supply change and global pandemic)? Sorry, but I just feel industry is over-complicating this on-bike tool thing a touch.

Every other tweak, the rider can take off pack (or seat bag) and pull out their actual multi-tool.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Mike McArthur

I like this a lot. I’d have two versions one that’s 4mm/5mm hex and one that’s T25/5mm. 

I had a 4mm/5mm like you describe that came with some furniture but the quality of the bits was crap. I want Bondhus or Wera or whoever to make your tool!

Reply

delta5
delta5
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major kcy4130

Saw Swiftwick at Interbike 8 or 9 years ago. Their promo was "here's a free pair of the best socks you'll ever wear. Put them on right now and wear them for a few hours. If you don't like them, bring them back, no worries. If you love them, come back and throw your old socks in this big trash can." When I came back to throw my old socks away at the end of the day, the can was overflowing. I've moved on to Darn Tough for the most part, because walking in compression socks hurts my feet these days, but still use Swiftwick for riding. (and still have that original pair!)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Nowadays they’d recycle those socks or launder and donate them (hopefully) but otherwise that’s a bold visual! 

Interesting preference walking v. riding and about discomfort walking. Most the folks I know who are religious about compression are runners or hiking. 

8-9 years on a 27 USD pair of socks sounds like pretty good amortization.

Reply

delta5
delta5
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 kcy4130 Andrew Major

I hope they did back then, but (shame) that wasn't at the forefront of my mind back then. The visual impact was a stroke of genius though, had everyone talking about it for the rest of the show.

It's probably to do with the fact that I went full barefoot for a few years in there. No running, but walking miles in the city every day with nothing on my feet solved my back and knee problems, but allowed my feet to splay out enough that I have trouble finding shoes. A compression sock seems to hold my foot together enough that it hurts while walking and hiking. That effect seems to help in bike shoes though? I don't understand the biomechanics of it beyond that if I don't wear them riding and do wear them regular-like, my feet hurt.

Swiftwick and Darn Tough have saved me money over time. I always got awful holes in cheaper socks in a short time, but haven't needed to replace any from either of those companies.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DIRTY HIPPIE!!! Only joking. I'm jealous, tbh. My younger brother goes backpacking (~60-70lbs pack) barefoot, in the rocky mountains, lots of little sharp pebbles over hardpack. Tho he cheats cause he only does about half the time barefoot. I'm jealous of him too.

Reply

delta5
delta5
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 kcy4130

Definitely dirty, or at least my feet were heinous! I'm jealous of him too. I live in the Rockies in Colorado, and let my feet get too soft before moving up here. It's so gravely that I can't even begin to grow my calluses. Should've done the barefoot thing in Denver when I was still down there.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

The visual impact is awesome. 

Interesting re. barefoot. Many, many years ago I worked summers coaching swimming and was barefoot hours of the day on the pool deck and my feet were awesome-tough. Now I'm so soft I only go barefoot around the house. How did you start off with the transition? Just start walking about the block?

Reply

delta5
delta5
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Honestly, I just did it thoughtlessly. Was downtown late one night, wearing flip flops and thought "bugger this." Stuck them in my back pocket and wandered until it hurt my soles, a mile or two. Within a month, I was doing 7-10mi a day. Night or early morning was key though. Cooler pavement is much easier on the feet.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Interesting. I’m walking a lot right now for my rehab and it’s boring. Wondering if making something new out if it might be a bit more stimulating. Then I think about all the broken glass in my neighbourhood… haha..ahhhh

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Timer

I've had a few 10+ year old packs  that took on regular use with solid durability. One was a Camelbak pack that I eventually retired when it started to fail in many different areas and the fabric delaminated. There was no easy repair option. It was like breaking up with a long-term GF and to this day I still reach for it only to remember it's history.

I also have an Ortlieb pack that's 15 years old or more. Its claim to fame was that it was 100% waterproof. It's now about 90% waterproof with the bottom full of tiny pinprick holes. I've thought of getting a new version because being fully waterproof was nice for stuff like hauling a $$ camera or laptop in Coastal BC winter weather. I've also thought about trying to repair it with various sealant products, but nothing comes to mind that wouldn't be so F-ugly I'd be disinclined to want to keep using the pack.

Given how hard it is to find a sweet pack that fits great and has all the features you want without a ton of features you don't want having a local repair option to keep it in service as long as possible is very nice. Especially when, as you note, sending a pack back for warranty/repair work from Canada isn't super financially practical/environmentally sensible.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Does Ortlieb offer refurbishment? That I’d send through the snail mail if I knew I could get MY bag back with a factory refresh. Sadly a lot of places that say “Repair or Replace” generally lean to the latter since they know you’ll be satisfied.

It was actually pretty cool when I worked the returns desk at MEC years ago that occasionally you’d get folks who were adamant they didn’t want a new one - whatever one was - but rather would be more than happy with a cosmetically imperfect repair. I’d like to think there’d be even more folks with that sensibility now.

Don’t care about spots on my apples and all that.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I think Ortlieb would do a repair like if you ripped your shoulder strap off or you put a large puncture hole in the pack. You would have to send the product to Germany and then get it shipped back to Canada. 

Having tiny perforations along the whole bottom seems like a bigger job in the sense you'd have to cover the entire area some how and it's not a simple flat shape. The process would require you to ship the pack to Germany for inspection and if you were not willing to pay the cost of what they determine a repair entails or if they were unable to take on the repair you'd have to ship the unrepaired pack back.

It's not clear to me that this ^^^ makes sense. The pack still holds stuff and keeps the wet out mostly. That said there is a big difference between mostly and fully waterproof.

For folks that live close to their repair centre though it's a pretty sweet option.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I was just thinking with as many thousands of bags they have out there, there probably isn’t anything they haven’t seen or heard of before. Might be worth during some photos and see what they think?

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I don't know how you would photograph micro abrasion holes. After 15 years of use the fabric is perforated in many spots. Particularly near the bottom. Like a delaminating waterproof jacket this seems like a far harder repair to effect than if you had a large tear in the fabric that you could easily patch even DIY at home. OTOH if you fixed 90% of the tiny holes it would still not be waterproof.

I'll just keep using it in its current form. It still holds stuff. It's just not reliably waterproof for something expensive and delicate, but that's the same as most cloth backpacks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Yeah, that's fair. I was just thinking from my own perspective that - exactly like a waterproof jacket - if the item isn't reliably doing what it's supposed to do then it's either getting fixed or getting gone.

Timer
Timer
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Backpacks can be amazingly durable. I recently sold two Deuter packs that were over a decade old but still in excellent condition. Just to replace them with a different size Deuter pack that I expect to last another decade, at least.

Even better if you have a local shop that can repair them, like hpml. Or if the manufacturer offers a long term repair option. Deuter does, at least in Europe. Annoyingly, Evoc doesn't, despite their packs being even more expensive.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Timer

Interesting. Is that Deuter’s long history as a pack company in general v. Evoc as a mountain bike brand? Is anything Deuter doing made in Europe?

Mission was happy to get this pack back in the USA to repair it under warranty. I chose to pay to have it done locally. 

As with sending clothing back for repair or (much more likely) replace under warranty getting it repaired locally is often less than shipping. Plus then it’s repaired for sure rather than replaced and landfill.

Reply

Timer
Timer
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I can only speculate, but i guess the two brands have very different selling points. Deuter packs are bought primarily for reliability and long-term use. Their roots are in hiking and mountaineering. The designs used to be quite boring and conservative (current ones are nice, though). Evoc is much younger and focused on style obsessed action sports (Biking, Snowboarding). Their customers are probably more likely to replace packs long before they are worn out, for optical reasons.

None of them make their packs in Europe. For that, one needs to shop at Ortlieb, but they don't really make packs for off-road riding.

The critical thing about repairing backpacks seems to be model-specific zips and buckles. Skillfull shops like HPML can probably work around that, but most local ones can't. Thats why i like manufacturers with long term repair services.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I guess the flip side in terms of repair is it has to be something worth fixing both in terms of your budget and their time. These Mission/Acre packs are very nice pieces - but heavy and meant to last. 

I have a Mission commuter backpack that I’ve used to travel and for work and I expect to have it forever. It’s actually an incredible value if that holds true, even with some repairs along the way.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I bought my wife a pair of Ortlieb panniers a decade ago and they’ve been amazing through regular year round use since. I check the hardware once a year to make sure it’s tight and away she goes. They would absolutely be worth fixing if it ever came up but they’re another product I imagine will outlive me.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

There seems to be a small movement toward locally made (or at least North American made) more durable long lasting products. Smaller homes and with gas prices I’ll bet smaller vehicles too. I like buying good and often expensive but long lasting good fitting hard wearing stuff. Function over form. 

But we are all slaves to fashion. You have to wear the right stuff to fit in and not stand out. It’s why riders like to wear flat pedal shoes and clothes that look like they may have doing something other than riding when they go to a coffee shop after a ride. Wouldn’t want to be identified as a cyclist in cycling clothes. Oh the shame. 

Packs are a funny thing. No pack is more comfortable than no pack at all. So we see this unending search for the perfect pack. Might be why people buy packs often. They are searching for a comfortable pack when none exists. There have been advancements recently though. The running vest has caused many packs to suddenly fit better and have good pockets on the straps. Why that didn’t happen years ago is beyond me. Years ago as in 40 years when I was a geologist we all wore cruiser vests or mapping vests. We needed pockets for notebooks, compass, bug juice, magnets, dilute HCl (for testing for CaCO3. It fizzes) if the article you want is handy, you are far more likely to use it. Like a small saw to clear a bit of slide alder. Or bear spray or bug dope, sun screen etc. buried in a pack somewhere means taking off the pack and searching for the item. And these days of Trailforks you won’t that phone handy to check trails. 

The real advantage to frame or bike stored tools is that one can use any of their packs or no pack and repair stuff is ready. No need to own multiple tools and tubes and such for each bag or to transfer items to each pack one might own.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 Andy Eunson Mike McArthur

It seems to me it ebbs and flows. And then you get companies like Swrve and Mission where they start off producing everything in North America and really cling to that image as more and more of their stuff is sourced overseas. 

Which, look, I get the basics of the global economy but in both those cases, quality absolutely dropped at the same time for the overseas-made products. Swrve is a good example where I have in-house USA-made shorts and knickers that have been through the war and look trashed, and I still used them all the time whereas I had newer stuff that was sourced overseas that essentially disintegrate years ago. But, they still make some really top quality stuff in-house so there's another of digging required when walking about the value they deliver for their high prices. 

But then there's a brand like Kitsbow that is now employee-owned, paying living wages, making everything in-house to order to cut down on waste and any time you mention them half the comments are about the price like everyone who works there is driving a Tacoma TRD and owns two houses. F*** Off, that's the price of making high-quality stuff domestically.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

It does ebb and flow. I lived through the 70s gas crisis. Suddenly Detroit we’re making smaller cars to compete with Japan. But that was temporary. We came back to bigger is better. Hence the Tacoma is similar in size to what full size trucks were a while back and now I can’t see over the side of some big pick ups into the bed. Sure I’m very short but who needs a 5.5 foot box? The sense I get now is that some people are downsizing or buying fewer but better things for environmental reasons on top of various financial reasons and ethical reasons. Patagonia advertise their stuff as being ethical and well made to last and they will repair stuff. Levi’s are doing something similar. I see good reason to sell my bikes for something new. Nothing wrong with my current sleds. Buy a new NSB stem and call it a new bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

The pump price for our small car is still a bit shocking - but has it been enough to change most folks habits? 

Actually, our buses have been much busier since pricing started galloping but that could also be down to the mask mandate being removed? I will say I’d love to see us investing in transit instead of subsidies for electric luxury cars and billion dollar museums. If the buses were more frequent - even recognizing that they would still take longer with stops - I’d use the car even less. The real time vampire is arriving early enough to be sure we catch a bus and then the time sitting around as part of transfers. 

Anyway, huge aside. But I quite like taking the bus over driving and if the frequency doubled it would be amazing.

Reply

hardtailhersh
hardtailhersh
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

so so glad to see HMPL on nsmb, local bag makers, they rip up some sweet custom-fit frame bags for all kinda triangles too. matt & scott are absolute G's, they shred bikes and know what's good.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I’ve only met them a couple times as a customer but they’re definitely friendly stand up guys. Big smiles and good stories. Hustlers too to be making it, making stuff, in Vancouver.

My wife has a couple of their bags now as part of going by bike and they’re fantastic.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I love the look of that phone pouch. I've been sketching designs to make something similar after liking the position on a running pack/vest but not the rest of the item.

I'd got as far as the folding top for waterproofness, but that pull-to-lift is next level. More scrawling to be done before I break out the sewing machine.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Yeah the pull-to-lift is sweet / was a sweet surprise. It’s also truly simple in the best way. I think it’s safe to say the guys at HMPL look for the simplest way to do stuff rather than the most complicated / feature-forward way some (many?) bag companies try to differentiate themselves. I’ve had it out riding (pavement / uncovered) in proper rain and it works great too.

Make sure to post a photo when you make yours! Always keen on DIY stuff.

Reply

geraldooka
Michael
1 month ago
+1 Andrew Major

Clever phone pouch design! I have a couple of these from other brands but they are both awkward in use requiring two hands to operate. For those riding areas where I am less familiar with the trails it was useful to have the phone on hand I ride packless now but if my backpacking bag didn't already have a should pouch I'd want one of these for sure.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month ago
0

It's very intuitive to use one-handed, hiking or riding. I'd love to see HMPL offer it as a stock option - I know a lot of folks have ditched packs but I still know a few folks that wear them and who would be strong candidates. 

Cheers!

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 1 week ago
0

> *Vic Gioia is a legendary local trail builder

Oh. All this time I thought that was a mostly nice, but slightly creepy mis-spelt ode to me. Ha! Ha!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 Vik Banerjee goose8

Ha. Sorry to disappoint! 

Vic was building and riding (gnarly) trails when I was a kid and setting an example when we were off our bikes walking up the steeper parts of the access climb. 

Really lucky to have been able to ride with him and experience his sense of humour. And to have enjoyed the fruits of his free labour and trail building sense.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 1 week ago
0

No problem. I mean I'll still spread the rumour that you are trying to bro-mance me and stuff, but that's harmless right? ;-)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Ha! All my bromantic partners get sweet nicknames. Like Toucan or Pope Jimmy.

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wishiwereriding
John Keiffer
1 month, 1 week ago
0

@Andrew Major - I agree that wool socks pretty much all the time are the way to go. If you get a chance, try or buy some socks from Silverlight. They aren't 100% wool (53%), but I've been exceedingly pleased with mine. They only come in two plain colors though and no fun slogans. They don't get stinky, seem durable, and I wear them almost every day happily.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Thanks, I’ve never heard of them but I’ll check them out.

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shmarv
shmarv
1 month, 1 week ago
0

7mesh hooded vest? Where'd that come from...?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

There’s more about it here. It was an original Guardian jacket in its first life. Weatherproof vests are awesome.

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khai
khai
1 month ago
0

A couple of years ago I completed my transition to *all merino socks.  

*I might have one or 2 pair of ski socks that aren't merino, and still have a pair of waterproof socks that aren't as well (though I do have the excellent Showers Pass merino lined waterproof socks now) - but my daily wear socks, riding socks, and in general pretty much anytime I'm pulling on a sock it's merino.  Point6 makes a merino compression sock (https://point6.com/collections/socks-with-compression) that's taller than the ones you have and offer a couple of thickness/padding options.

LOVE that phone case.  I've got an old Chrome one that worked pretty well back when phones were much smaller but it's not waterproof at all - it's more of an arrangement of straps and velcro than an "enclosure".  I may have to get on that bandwagon...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month ago
0

Cheers Khai, I'll check out Point6.

The phone case is rad. Highly recommended.

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decentoperating
decentoperating
4 weeks ago
0

I'm not new in this sphere, but most of the tips I saw for the first time!

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