Editor’s Dozen: Miles’ Favorite Gear of 2022

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Next up in our annual editors’ gear picks series, Miles shares some of his favourite items from 2022. Find a dozen products that have seen a significant amount of use in the Pacific Northwest or have impressed him from a design and functionality standpoint here…

Turning 30 has been a rough go. Between a newly acquired sore back, worsening Crohn’s symptoms, and a recent tiny-bike crash that has kept me off the bike for the last few weeks, it’s safe to say 2022 wasn’t my year. While I have been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time riding bikes in some beautiful places, my body hasn’t been cooperating, so I’ve grown to appreciate every ride, big or small, in a new way.

I started 2022 off with a trip down south with my partner Emily. We scouted the new San Juan Space Jam route in Farmington, New Mexico, took a run down the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona for my 30th birthday, and got out on lots of day rides in Southern California. I met up with some awesome makers, including Bags by Bird, Forager Cycles, Austere Manufacturing, and Woodpecker Cycles. I tested some amazing bikes and bags, explored some awesome new spots with friends in my backyard here in Powell River, British Columbia, and have been busy planning more adventures for 2023.

For this edition of the #editors-dozen series, I selected 12 items that stand out in 2022 as new favourites, are worthy of recognition, or have proven to be both durable and reliable. Find them all below.

  • Olympic Adventure Trail Loop
  • Otso Voytek Review
  • Chumba Yaupon Review

Klunk ‘n’ Float Rigs

The inaugural Klunk ‘n’ Float was an overwhelming success and was made extra fun thanks to Justin insisting we ride heavy ’90s mountain bikes instead of our usual rigs. Three friends and I set out equipped with packrafting gear and way too much candy in search of remote roads and lost trails. The goal was to connect an interesting loop just north of Powell River, requiring painfully slow lake crossings, clunky bikes, and a hellish, never to be repeated hike-a-bike.

klunk n float 2022
  • klunk n float 2022
  • klunk n float 2022
  • klunk n float 2022

Although our 90+ pound klunking rigs weren’t the most efficient option, we managed to get through the journey with no more than a couple of flat tires, which was surprising considering the severe lack of preparation. It was ATB heaven, consisting of my Kuahara Cascade, Justin’s Nishiki Barbarian, a Rocky Mountain Hammer, and a borrowed Miyata. Stay tuned for more from Klunk ‘n’ Float in the upcoming ninth issue of The Bikepacking Journal.

Tectonic Altar Pedals

330 grams / Made in USA / $199 at Tectonic

There are a number of people in our industry whose opinions I take seriously. Among those is Marc Basiliere of Lindarets—the one behind the original high-flow titanium valve stems. A few months back, Marc introduced me to Andrew McKee of Tectonic Components—a new parts manufacturer that launched their flagship product, the Altar Pedal, earlier this year. I was lucky enough to be among the first to try out the pedals, and I’m happy to report that they are everything they are hyped up to be.

Tectonic Altar Pedals Review

The Altar Pedal is a premium US-made platform pedal with easily serviceable internals, grippy traction pins, and a carbon-reinforced nylon body. The platform is generously sized at 110mm wide x 120mm long with a 2mm concavity tapering in toward the axle. They weigh just 330g/pair and you can completely disassemble and reassemble them using 6mm and 8mm hex keys and a 1/4″ drive 8mm deep socket. The Altar Pedals are pricey, but they’ve proven to be exceptionally durable, reliable, and easy to service, which is about all you can ask for in a pedal. Check out my review and interview with Andrew here.

JPaks Refugi Handlebar Harness

295 grams / Made in USA / $125 at Jpaks

Purpose-built for rough and rowdy routes like the Arizona and Colorado Trails, the JPaks Refugi Handlebar Harness was released this fall, rounding out their lineup of shredpacking-approved bikepacking bags. The Refugi is actually JPaks’ first attempt at a standalone handlebar harness and was in development for two years before locking in the design.

JPaks Handlebar Harness Review
  • JPaks Handlebar Harness Review
  • JPaks Footlong EXT Review, Top Tube Bag

The Refugi is spaced outward from the handlebar using custom-shaped replaceable foam blocks, providing enough room for your hands, lights, or GPS devices. It has a super solid attachment system, which includes their new Eye Patch headtube protector, and the entire harness is constructed with foam for rigidity, an RX30 recycled X-Pac exterior, and a high-grip EPDM-coated fabric on the inside. I found the Refugi to be impressively stable, thoughtfully designed and constructed, and competitively priced at $125. Dig into my complete review here.

Wolf Tooth Fat Paw Grips

110 grams / Made in USA / $27 at Wolf Tooth Jenson

I rarely ride anything other than my beloved Ergon GA3 grips and find stock grips either too slim or not supportive enough for long rides. That was until Otso sent over their Voytek for review, which came specced with Wolf Tooth Fat Paw grips. The Fat Paws are Wolf Tooth’s second-largest diameter silicone grip, with a 36mm installed diameter that’s easy on the hands and perfect for anyone who finds stock grips not thick enough. I liked them enough that I ended up speccing them on my Velo Orange Neutrino dream build I wrote about this fall.

  • velo orange neutrino review
  • Wolf Tooth Fat Paw

Although I try to be more careful with the Fat Paw grips, due to their silicone construction, they’ve been holding up well over the last few months. They’re also one of a few standard round grips that I can still use on long rides without developing numb fingers. If the 9.5mm thick grip is too much, they also have a 6.5mm Karv grip or the massive 11.5mm Mega Fat Paw for those with extra-large mitts. They also sell matching anodized aluminum bar ends for folks who are after a specific look.

Dynaplug

Made in USA / $60+ at Worldwide Dynaplug

I’m a huge fan of Dynaplug’s suite of tubeless plugging tools. I’ve become so confident in their system that when someone gets a puncture on the trail, I whip out whatever tool I’m carrying and ensure I’m the first one to the scene of the crime. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to be first when you aren’t messing around with bacon strips (standard tire plugs) and awkward tools. It’s a matter of seconds before the Dynaplug tool is ready to deploy, and I’ve found it seals up tire punctures more effectively as well.

  • Dynaplug Covert Review
  • Dynaplug

I’ve been lucky enough to test out a variety of their tools, including both versions of the Dynaplug Covert bar end kit, the Dynaplug Racer Pro, the Micro Pro, and the Dynaplug-equipped PNW Pebble Tool. Each tool is made in Chico, California, and most are lightweight and easy to bring along on any ride. They come with snug snap-on caps protecting both sides. These pop off to expose the end of the Dynaplug tire plug, either the classic size with wheel-friendly soft brass tip or the aluminum Megaplug for extra-large punctures.

7mesh Glidepath Pants

245 grams / Made in China / $170 at JensonUSA Men’s Women’s

The 7mesh Glidepath Pants have got to be one of my most used pieces of apparel for 2022. They are a trim fit, lightweight riding pant made from a four-way stretch fabric that’s comfortable on and off the bike and provides some extra protection when riding in cooler temperatures or while brushing up against stuff during hike-a-bikes. Thanks to their smart fit and minimal branding, they’ve become my go-to riding pants on cool mornings on any type of ride. The also weigh very little and pack down small, so they’re a great option to pack along as a camp layer for bikepacking trips as well.

Bassi Hog's Back Review
  • 7mesh glidepath pants
  • 7mesh glidepath pants

The Glidepath pants have a DWR coating that helps shed light rain and snow, hand pockets and two zippered side pockets, and low-profile waist adjusters to dial in the fit. They are available in men’s and women’s sizing, and my partner Emily, who has also been wearing them almost as long as me, echoes my praises. Just like other 7mesh gear, the Glidepath pants have proven to be high quality and comfortable no matter the occasion.

Carbon Riser Bars

~280 grams / $235-$312 at Whisky Monē

Maybe it’s my back speaking, but I’m completely sold on carbon riser handlebars. While modern hardtails with long front ends are fun to ride off-road, they can feel like overkill for multi-day rides. Thankfully, brands like Whisky Parts Co. and Monē Bikes have entered the handlebar scene with wide carbon riser bars that match up perfectly with modern mountain bike geo. Both options provide some necessary sweep and height to stock setups, creating a slightly less aggressive and more comfortable perch for long-distance rides and bikepacking.

  • carbon riser bars
  • mone light bar

Both the Whisky Milhouse Bar and Monē Light Bar are 825mm wide and have between 12 and 16° of backsweep and 63 to 70mm of rise. It’s also pretty hard to argue with the BMX-style crossbar on both bars, which adds some unique flare to any mountain bike. Stay tuned for a closer look at the Monē Light Bars.

Bentley Mini Deck

30 grams / Made in UK / £23 at Bentley Components

UK-based Bentley Components released an updated version of their Alloy Mini Deck, and it’s one of the most beautifully made accessories I’ve had the pleasure of using. Each deck is CNC machined from solid 6082 T6 aluminum and has multiple attachment points for universal fitment. Plus, there are several slots for your favourite Voile straps. I’ve found it works perfectly for strapping a spare tube to and would likely work well for other gear as well.

Bentley Cargo Deck

If the aluminum Mini Deck isn’t for you, Bentley also has cargo decks made from engineering-grade polymer for both triple and standard cage mounts. While not quite as pretty as the alloy version, they are impressively lightweight and add some overflow packing space for any ride with the addition of a cargo strap.

Rogue Panda Ripsey

368 grams / Made in USA / $220 at Rogue Panda

Short seat tubes, big 29″ tires, and long dropper posts are all fun and games until you attach a seat bag and try lowering your saddle before a big descent. It’s even worse for folks riding shorter frames with even less tire-to-saddle clearance. That’s where the new Rogue Panda Ripsey comes in. Released this fall, the Ripsey is a dropper post-compatible saddle bag with the best tire-to-saddle clearance we’ve seen. Its unique design requires only 3-4″ of clearance between the top of the rear tire and the saddle rails, but it can still fit an 8L dry bag, which we think is totally suitable for lightweight bikepacking trips.

Rogue Panda Ripsey Review
  • Rogue Panda Ripsey Review
  • Rogue Panda Ripsey Review
  • Rogue Panda Ripsey Review

The Rogue Panda Ripsey is a unique two-part system that has exceptional tire clearance without sacrificing stability. It’s based around an injection-molded harness, an aluminum saddle rail clamp, and a Wolf Tooth Valais—finished with some CNC-machined Austere Manufacturing cam lock buckles to keep everything tight and secure. While the Ripsey has a familiar silhouette, it’s quite unlike any seat bags we’ve seen or tested before. The rigid injection-molded harness is a first and has likely been avoided by others due to manufacturing complexities, but it makes sense to support a removable dry bag without flopping around and handling the occasional tire rub. Find my review here for more.

Race Face Turbine R Dropper Post

520 grams / $309 at REI Jenson

I picked up a new Race Face Turbine R Dropper Post for my Velo Orange Neutrino build, and it immediately became a new favourite. It was easy to install, the build quality feels solid, and it has been performing flawlessly throughout the summer and into this winter. I appreciate how fast it returns back to full height and the satisfying clack it makes at the top, letting me know it’s fully actuated. After several months of use, I have no complaints and will likely be transferring it over to a proper hardtail mountain bike this spring.

  • Velo Orange Neutrino Review
  • velo orange neutrino review

The latest Turbine R dropper post is identical to the highly rated FOX Transfer, which is not totally surprising considering they are owned by the same parent company. It comes in five travel lengths (100 to 200mm), uses FOX’s patent-pending seat clamp design to reduce stack height, and just like the Fox Transfer Logan reviewed, has proven to be extremely dependable. Servicing the post isn’t the most straitforward and will likely involved a trip to the bike shop for most people, but just like Logan, I’ve surpassed the recommended service interval and I’m not seeing any decline in performance.

Hunt Superdura Dynamo Wheelset

1939 grams / $860 at Hunt

I’ve been testing the Hunt Superdura Dynamo Wheelset over the last two years. They were first set up on my Trek 520 flat-bar build and have bounced between review bikes ever since, most recently finding a place on Emily’s All-City Super Professional. It’s a lightweight aluminum wheelset that’s designed to be durable and reliable, with a 20mm internal width that works with tires up to 50mm wide. The best part is they come complete with a SONdelux dynamo front hub, which provides power for lights and device charging while on the move.

The wheels are built up on asymmetric 6061-T6 heat-treated rims for balanced spoke tension, 32 enduro-rated J-bend Pillar PSR XTRA spokes, and brass nipples. Each wheelset is handbuilt, taped for tubeless setups, and includes three spare spokes and tubeless valves. Hunt offers options for all major freehub body standards, 10mm, 12mm and quick-release axles.

  • Hunt Superdura Dynamo
  • Hunt Superdura Dynamo
  • Hunt Superdura Dynamo
Hunt Superdura Dynamo

Throughout my time with the wheelset, which has seen thousands of kilometres at this point, I haven’t had any issues. They continue to spin straight and smooth, the dynamo hub has been great for powering my Edelux II headlight, and the different axle kits have made them easy to swap between bikes. I wouldn’t say the wheels were a game changer from a ride quality standpoint, but they’ve proven to be long-lasting and functional—and a pretty good deal for a complete dynamo wheelset.

Western Mountaineering Flylite Sleeping Bag

~400 grams / $450+ at Backcountry

According to Western Mountaineering, the new Flylite sleeping bag is the lightest fully baffled sleeping bag currently available. I got my hands on a limited edition version ahead of the official release in 2021, and it’s proven to be an exceptional sleeping bag for summer and shoulder season use. The final version is made from a lightweight 10-denier nylon fabric, weighs around 400 grams, has an insulated draft tube/collar, and has micro baffles (not sewn through) to keep the 850+ fill power down in place.

Western mountaineering Flylite Sleeping Bag

The Flylite is officially rated for 2°C (36°F) and comes in three sizes: 5’6″, 6’0″, and 6’6″. It’s impressively packable and surprisingly warm considering its weight, making it an easy option to reach for during the summer and into the shoulder season. I’ve been able to push it down below freezing with the help of some merino base layers and a toque. Unlike other ultralight sleeping bags, the Flylite appears to be adequately insulated, and I’ve found the down to stay in place better, requiring less shaking around before bed. Stay tuned for a more detailed review in 2023.

  • Western mountaineering Flylite Sleeping Bag
  • Western mountaineering Flylite Sleeping Bag

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