Review: Four essential items for a 420-mile MTB ride

Planning a multi-day mountain bike adventure? Bring this stuff

Apparel Gear Hydration Shoes
Waking up to a crisp October morning on Lake Tahoe, 420 miles of riding from San Francisco.

Waking up to a crisp October morning on Lake Tahoe, 420 miles of riding from San Francisco.

The Lowdown: Four essential items for a 420-mile ride

Last October, two friends and I embarked on a 420-mile, seven-day mountain bike adventure from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco riding as much singletrack as possible. We called it The Commute, and along the route we encountered brutally steep hike-a-bikes, sub-freezing temperatures, and a couple downpours of rain. Our mission was to travel light and stay with friends instead of camp so we could carry as little gear as possible. In order to accomplish this, we needed the essentials to keep us warm, comfortable and dry. Here are reviews of four items from Giro, Mountain Hardwear and Acre Supply that were essential in successfully and comfortably completing the journey.

Comfortable and flexible with plenty of grip – Giro Terraduros worked great.

Comfortable and flexible with plenty of grip – the Giro Terraduros worked great.

Stat Box: Giro Terraduro Shoes
Features: Vibram high-traction outsole Sizes: EU 39-50
Materials: Breathable microfiber upper Weight: 420 grams (size 42.5)
Straping: 2 Velcro straps, 1 MR-2 ratcheting buckle MSRP: $180
Footbed: Molded EVA with anti-microbial treatment Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilies-out-of-5
Colors: Black, glowing red/black

  • Balance of pedaling stiffness and walking flexibility
  • Outsole started delaminating after a week of use
  • Outstanding comfort for all-day adventures
  • Terrific traction
  • Stylish

The Hauser easily accommodated all our gear for seven days of riding.

The Hauser easily accommodated all our gear for seven days of riding.

Stat Box: Acre Supply Hauser Pack
Features: Four pockets, ventilated back panel Made in: USA
Materials: Nylon ripstop outer/liner Weight: 10L: 1060 grams, 14L: 1100 grams
Capacity: 10L or 14L MSRP: $195-$205
Hydration Capacity: 3 liters Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilies-out-of-5
Colors: Black, Navy, Gray, Camo

  • Weatherproof
  • Rolltop closure can hit back of helmet
  • Numerous strap adjustments for great fit
  • Zippers can be stubborn when pack is full
  • Efficient Packer
  • Well ventilated for breathability
  • Handy toolbag keeps small items organized
  • Extra straps for pads or helmet

At under eight ounces, the Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear is the lightest full feature down jacket made.

At under eight ounces, the Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear is the lightest full feature down jacket made.

Stat Box: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
Features: Warm even when wet, waistband cord Made in: China
Materials: Nylon outer, down insulation Sizes: S-XXL
Weight: 7.2 ounces MSRP: $320
Fit: Active Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 Chilies-out-of-5
Colors: Green, Orange

  • Super light full-featured down jacket
  • Exterior fabric susceptible to tearing
  • Resists moisture and dries quickly
  • Expensive
  • Warm
  • Packable into jersey pocket

Doing double duty as a nice dress jacket or a backcountry rain jacket, the Giro Neo is extremely versatile.

Doing double duty as a nice dress jacket or a backcountry rain jacket, the Giro Neo is extremely versatile.

Stat Box: Giro Neo Rain Jacket
Features: Gear pocket, taped seams, offset zipper Sizes: S-XXL
Materials: 115g/m2 Polartec Neoshell Colors: Black, Orange
Fit: Active MSRP: $350
Made in: China Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 Chilies-out-of-5

  • Tailored fit
  • Expensive
  • Stylish for off-bike wear
  • Moisture blocking neck, sleeve and waistbands
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Huge rear pocket
  • Offset zipper

Continue to page 2 to read full reviews of the Giro Terraduro shoes, Acre The Supply Hauser pack, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket and the Giro Neo Rain jacket »
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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • A J MacDonald Jr says:

    Nice gear. No sleeping bags or tents on this trip?

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Nope, we packed minimally. Had the luxury of staying with friends and family every night along the way! It was awesome. Allowed us to carry just a backpack and shred gnar.

    – ASS

  • grant says:

    I crash a lot. Expensive helmet -sure. Insanely expensive jackets seem like a really poor gear choice for someone like me.

  • Donal Kern says:

    my good retired friend Harry says-“there’s no such thing as bad weather-just bad gear”.
    Having worked retail for many years in an outdoor shop- I can attest t this. I have used a $40 she’ll and a $ 300 shell. Both worked great. I have also driven a Suzuki Samurai off road- as well as a Land Rover Discovery. Both worked fine. I would take the Land Rover anyday.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    There’s an old adage I always go by – “buy cheap, buy twice” – it has never failed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the expensive product on sale. That Mountain Hardwear jacket is 50% off right now on their website. Suddenly a $320 jacket is $160…seems like a bargain to me.

    – ASS

  • Highway68Hillbilly says:

    That Acre backpack is pretty sick. I really like their stuff. Acre is a youthful company that represents quality and craftsmanship. I like that.
    The rest is just a trip to REI and a swipe of the rewards card and voila, you will look bitchin. Like, Kurt.
    Too bad one can’t simply buy talent to write well and mash pedals too, or I’d swipe my REI card for that.

  • Tommy says:

    Haters Gonna Hate ASS. Wear whatever fancy jackets you want bro.

  • RM says:

    Kurt, it seems like it’s not just the Angry Single Speeder who’s Angry.
    I’m pretty sure that everyone buys the best gear they can given their personal budget. My motto has long been that good quality gear will always be worth the investment provided that you actually use it. I have no regrets about buying very expensive Arcteryx ski pants. If they don’t last a lifetime at least they have a life time warranty. Same with my Saris bike rack. If the Haters want to buy something no one else wants they should be able to get it pretty cheap!

  • scott says:

    I don’t get it, I can buy just as nice stuffs at kmart or walmart. I gots a bike at walmarts for $350 and it does has suspensions and parts just as goods as 1,000,000 bikes. you guys are soo stupid. why buy jackets for $350 when you cans wear 25 cent trash bag, stuff it with free newspapers and wrap feet with duct tape.

  • sean says:

    People. Never trust a guy who wears a disco ball on their head.

  • bob says:

    Good to have you back and great reviews rather than the A$$ments which are more like advertising. Agree with you about quality where every last ounce of performance needs to be considered; one can’t afford less. Where there’s more latitude Eddie Bauer satisfies me with about 90% of the performance for a third the price.

  • Joe says:

    Regarding the Terradurros: I got a pair about a year ago and they also delaminated within a month. Giro replaced mine within a week. Apparently they found that there was an issue with the glue being used and switched to a more durable formula. They issued a warranty replacement announcement on their website.
    My replacements have been without issue since. I’ve been riding and hike-a-biking them on many of the same trails as Kurt, and can attest to their traction and toe box protection, especially on granite and other rocks. But I wouldn’t call them light. They are also a little narrow for my foot. But now Giro offers a High Volume model (‘wish I had waited). Also, Giro’s arch fit kit works great in these shoes if you’ve got picky feet.

  • dbabuser says:

    I’ve had the same experience with the Terraduro’s as Joe, but my 2nd pair also delaminated. Apparently you need a pair built after the initial production run, with a date code on the inside of the sole. My 3rd pair has been flawless so far.

  • Taylor says:

    On the shoes I noticed you said the outsoles started delaminating after only a week. How bad was this? Not hatin’ but that seems like a reason to not buy them.

  • donjuan says:

    Can’t say enough about high quality equip from XTR to Arcteryx. I sent my 6 year old Sting Ray jacket in for repair and Arcteryx did 5 times the amount of repair I requested. Any stitch which looked worn, was re-stitched, small tares fixed, all under warrantee. Patagonia has always had a similar policy backing up their quality and product support.

  • Mike says:

    Always amused when a single brand/model of an item manufactured by a dozen companies in many variations is deemed “essential.” Hyperbole like this undermines credibility.

  • Peper says:

    The article makes it all sound good except those shoes. Many of the reviews on those shoes are finding the exact same shortcomings.

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