1. 2019 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29er
The Specialized Stumpjumper is a legendary mountain bike and the all-new 2019 models have some significant improvements over previous versions. What’s a bit confusing is that the new design actually comes in three models and each with a variety of build kits. The 2019 Expert Carbon 29 detailed here is also known as the “Long Travel” Stumpjumper as distinct from the Stumpjumper ST (short travel) model or the Evo model.
With a beefier carbon frame and carbon wheels, the new Stumpjumper Expert 29er grabs your attention for two main reasons: the asymmetrical “sidearm” frame design and the light blue color with neon orange highlights. I was told that the company calls this color “Storm Gray,” which is a bit of a head scratcher because it’s definitely more of a sky blue. Still, it’s a beautiful bike either way.
The bike comes standard with RockShox front and rear suspension with a variety of riding modes depending on how much you like to fine tune your ride and/or adjust on the fly. The RockShox Pike fork offers 150mm of travel and the rear shock boasts 140mm of travel. I’m still learning what settings I like as I’ve never been a fan of making too many adjustments while out on the trail. Basically I want to “set it and forget it,” and so far I have been impressed with how lively the suspension package feels on every ride.
I have never been one to nerd out on bike specs so here is the deal: this bike is super comfortable and fun to ride. If you haven’t owned a new mountain bike in a few years you will be shocked at how far this new breed of “cross country” bike has come. Basically the relatively slack head tube angle and riding geometry makes this feel more like a downhill bike if you are used to older frame designs. At just under thirty pounds (fully loaded and ready to ride) this is definitely NOT a downhill bike and it climbs with nimble efficiency.
Another major change for those of us who haven’t upgraded bikes in a few years is the 1X12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain. Now there is only one shifter to think about (just the rear) and a MASSIVE climbing gear that will help you ascend crazy steep singletrack with ease. Also of note is the 160 mm travel dropper post with pretty much infinite settings (actually there are sixteen individual height settings according to the Specialized website).
Spending over $5000 on a new bike may seem crazy, but if you ride frequently it’s worth saving up for a new mountain bike. You can’t go wrong with a new Stumpjumper if (like me) you enjoy the overall experience of riding uphill (to earn your downhill), and don’t prefer shuttling. If that’s the case this beautiful bike will take your riding to a whole new level.
2. STASHERS TubeTop 2.0 Modular Insulated Frame Bag
With ASJ’s motto being “Earn Your Beer,” you can imagine how excited we were to try out these triple-insulated bike bags as they allow for bringing along cold bevos on cycling adventures!
Choose from the all-new Large 4-Can TubeTop Bag along with Medium 3-Can and Small 2-Can versions. Each bike tube cooler has been specially designed to accommodate coozies on the cans. The koozies add a second layer of insulation to the tube cooler.
Use several TubeTops together for a modular, insulated storage system that packs all your drinks, food, clothing, and more — essentially a great, versatile bike-packing system for your bike.
The strap design on the TubeTop 2.0® is a key feature – the wide, durable straps reach all the way around the bag allowing added support and stability for your precious cargo.
Fits cans (with koozies on them), pint cans, tall boys, bombers, water bottles, and even many types of wine bottle. Now in 3 three colors: black, orange and Realtree® Camo. Dimensions: Small 10” x 3” / Medium 15” x 3” / Large 20.5” x 3”.
3. Climbing Addicts Colored Climbing Chalk
We were stoked to discover this company that produces colored climbing chalk because they believe in the simple premise that you should leave a place the way you found it. The folks at Climbing Addicts wanted to do something about the trace climbers leave behind via their chalk that compromises the environment for the next climber. So they set out to develop an eco-friendly colored chalk specific to different types and colors of rock.
We were also happy to find out that Climbing Addicts donates a portion of all sales to Leave No Trace!
Choose from Wall Street Gold, Yosemite Gray and Indoor White. Two- and three-pack bundles are also available.
4. Sweet Protection Hunter Enduro Shorts for Men
Sweet Protection shouts the Hunter Enduro as the “all-round beast of biking shorts” … and we absolutely agree. These shorts are packed with all the features you want … and none you don’t.
Sturdy yet comfortable, these shorts are designed with stretch mesh thigh zip vents and lasercut perforated ventilation on the inside leg. They stretch for added comfort and boast articulated knees specifically designed for knee pads and unrestricted pedaling. Cargo and side pockets offer options for stashing small items. Grippy zipper pulls and an adjustable waist round out the well-thought out features.
Made from water repellent material. Available in a variety of colors. Also available in women’s cut.
5. HydraPak Seeker 4L Water Storage Solution
This ultra-light water storage solution for camping, hiking, or any backcountry adventure is remarkably packable. Flatten and roll when empty and stow in bailhandle … the flexible design makes it so light and compact, you’ll forget it’s in your pack. It’s super easy to attach to your pack or you can hang it with top and side tie-downs.
An external capacity gauge allows you to track your hydration intake or measure out the contents, and the 42mm screw cap makes it easy to fill and the rigid rim allows for easy pouring.
This container is backcountry water filter compatible, as the Katadyn® BeFree™ Filter (sold separately) screws on to the top allowing you to filter more water at camp. Its flexible bail handle makes it easy to fill in a stream or lake and carry.
Safe and reliable, the Seeker 4L is 100% BPA & PVC-free.