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Weird and Wicked Small Gifts for Mountain Bikers

Stuff your Damned Stocking!

Words Cam McRae
Photos Dave Smith
Date Dec 7, 2017

Rad little gadgets that nobody needs are usually for gamers, car people and skiers. Thumb mounted goggle squeegee anyone? But more stuff for mountain bikers is beginning to appear - and some of it is actually pretty cool.  Here are four that pass the smell test. 

Fork Cork

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Nobody needs this. The Fork Cork is a bung that plugs the hold at the bottom of your steerer tube. It's removable so you can use it as a dry and secure storage locker for whatever you'd like to stash. 

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It has a nicely anodized thumb screw dial to keep it in place - and it comes out just as easily. Roll up some cash or some grass, stuff a space blanket in there, a very light jacket, patches, a hotdog... Who makes a tapered cylindrical flask?


Stem Captain

Below you'll find the Stem Captain from Colorado. It's just a recessed stem cap with a set screw and three options to mount inside; clock, thermometer or compass. Or so I thought. It turns out there is also a bottle opener, a GPS mount, a picture frame and a USB charger. I'm not shitting you. It costs $220 and you can charge your phone or whatever you want. I have no idea why you would want to do this but the fact that it charges when you ride is actually pretty sweet. 

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The clock was the only item of interest for me. It's important to know how late you are going to be coming back from your ride. 

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Installing the recessed holder is as easy as installing any stem cap. 

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It gets tricky when you need to dig up a 1.5mm hex head (Allen) wrench. I used a Torx of the appropriate size and it worked perfectly. And you're done. It sits up a little higher than a conventional top cap but who cares really. 

Fire Wire Cable Ends

Frayed cable ends are the worst. And if you need to feed cable back through housing it becomes impossible. But aluminum crimp-on cable ends often crush the cable and can't be easily removed.

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The tolerances are a little fine with these and I didn't find it a snap sliding the expanding collet into place but I eventually even managed to get it on an old deformed cable end. 

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And there she is. Easily removed and installed by hand to expose a perfectly preserved cable. (Note - you can accomplish a similar effect with solder or crazy glue and it will thread back through the housing without removing anything if executed properly)

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The finished product. 

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More colours will be coming shortly from cyclorise in the UK - including a Yeti turquoise and DVO green. 

Sticky Fingers Brake Lever Covers

My first reaction to these was that they would be great for insulating levers in the cold. There is nothing worse than trying to brake with a finger made numb by a frigid lever. But they have other uses as well - like protecting bikes in transport. 

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I had to cut these down a little to have them fit perfectly on Code levers but that was a simple job. 

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I used these for the first time today and I was a little skeptical. In the end I needn't have been worried because they feel great. I had to adjust my levers a little closer to the bar but otherwise the transition was seamless. 

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Now you just need to make your own wee Xmas diorama to display your bounty!

Have you seen any weird gifts for mountain bikers? Either ones you approve of or ones that are insane? How about some socks for your pedals? Check these out...

Comments

morgman
+2
Morgan Taylor  - Dec. 7, 2017, 9:02 a.m.

The stem cap USB charger needs to be paired with a dynamo front hub to make power. We have these on our commuting bikes, which we traveled on for 3 months last year. It's really nice to have full time, permanent lights on our everyday bikes. For modern mountain bikes there are two options on the market for 15x110 hubs, both weighing about 480 grams, and starting at $200 USD for the hub without wiring.

While the hubs start making power at 3 mph, they don't put out enough consistent voltage to charge a smart phone or GPS until you're going about 8 mph. You can trickle charge a battery pack, but that adds more weight. For this reason, and the fact that running wire from the hub to the steerer on a suspension fork requires solving the problem of a length of loose wire, people rarely run dynamo hubs on suspension bikes. 

So dynamo systems are currently better suited to bikes that spend more of their time going road speeds (randonneurs swear by them), but options are coming for those of us who spend more time riding slowly (or pushing). Just this year, the first hybrid battery/dynamo light was released (by Sinewave, the same company as the USB charger). 700 lumens, and you get full power all the time, thanks to the battery. When you get moving again, the hub trickle charges the battery pack. Pretty cool!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 7, 2017, 9:54 a.m.

Thanks for the detailed info, Morgan. Definitely interesting for certain applications.

Reply

morgman
+1
Morgan Taylor  - Dec. 7, 2017, 2:57 p.m.

Thanks, Pete. My next on-road build will definitely have the new Sinewave Beacon dynamo light. Not sure if it's completely worth it for off-road applications.

Reply

JVP
+2
JVP  - Dec. 7, 2017, 11:36 a.m.

Those sticky fingers actually look pretty useful for those of us who do a lot of winter riding.  I run grip tape on my alum levers since my winter gloves are slick.  This would solve that and provide more insulation for cold fingers.

I've also wondered if carbon bars would mean hands don't get quite as cold in winter since alum is a bloody good heat conductor.  I guess it depends on how much insulation grips provide.  Never tried carbon bars before.  Hmmmm.

Reply

mammal
+1
Mammal  - Dec. 7, 2017, 12:45 p.m.

Considering lock-on grips have a layer of plastic and rubber, If you're using those, you probably wouldn't find much difference between a carbon bar and aluminum... Break levers are a different story obviously, with only a thin warm layer of glove between aluminum lever and skin.

Reply

amrskipro
0
AndrewR  - Dec. 8, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

@Mammal But the aluminium bar is still conducting cold to the grips. 

In addition a carbon bar provides better vibration dampening than aluminium so one is already ahead with a carbon bar.

A carbon bar definitely feels less cold to the touch

My carbon brake levers (XTR M9000) definitely feel less cold to touch than the equivalent metal ones (Saint M820 or XTR M9020) on my other bike.

Reply

gdharries
+1
Geof Harries  - Dec. 7, 2017, 1:08 p.m.

I ride my fat bike in -30C weather and below, and a carbon handlebar (with cork Ergon grips) makes a very noticeable difference in warmth. Combined with fat pogeys and some reasonably plush gloves, it's an oven in there.

I still have metal brake levers, which are the only cold thing my hands touch. You can definitely feel the aluminum's temperature and thus I try to avoid using the brakes, haha. The sticky fingers above look like a good, much (much) cheaper alternative than carbon brake levers.

Reply

paul-lindsay
0
Paul Lindsay  - Dec. 8, 2017, 2:48 p.m.

Maybe I missed it in the copy, but these products are on the same (UK) website. Normally I'd be a bit grumpy thinking this article was advertising, but they have quite a few things I've never seen before and I placed an order. Then there was a link in the order confirmation email to the owner, with their dog, saying thanks - nice touch. Happy Winterval!

Reply

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