In late March, Gabe introduced this staff picks feature for our blog. While this is only the second in the series, it’s part of something that ought to happen regularly. They are to include concise and personal product reviews that highlight what we are most interested in and adore. Maybe around this time next month there’ll be another one of these.
You can also view the following in our webstore.
Paul Touring Canti
These were a recent upgrade for me. Maybe it was a Christmas present for myself; I can’t remember. I already run the Shimano CX70s on my race bike and wanted to try something different this time around. The Pauls are, without a doubt, a step-up from the 700 series Shimano XT units that were previously on my touring bike. Some people want to stop while others want modulation. In my opinion the Paul Cantis offer excellent abilities in both fields. I cannot speak for the Neo-Retro model which we sell, but these cantilevers shine above anything else (in the same ballpark) I’ve used. If you’re like me and using this on a proper touring rig with racks, Paul also fabricates these handy adapters that provide a more secure attachment, depending on your setup.
Mavic Open Pro
Some folks say the Open Pro is the platform for an all purpose racing and training rim. Well, it can do it all, more so than just the aforementioned applications. For example, we recently ordered a 28-hole model for a guy wishing to lace it to a dynamo hub for his road bike. I once had a 32-hole set for my race/year-round wheels. Angus even rocks a set on his townie. The Open Pro is a jack-of-all-trades, in some respects. If you’re in the market for a wheelbuild, consider this as one of your best options.
D-b spokes are where it’s at. With two different thicknesses throughout its composition, they remove the weight penalty of their straight-gauge relatives and provide greater strength at the ends. Simple as that! Any given wheel needs more support at the rim and the hub flange. Why use something basic and add dead weight to your wheels?
Chris King 2Nut headset
If you’re on the upgrade path, or your current headset is approaching the end of its lifespan, Chris King Precision Components ought to be in your sights. In the case of headsets, I align myself with the “set it and forget it” philosophy. I have one installed on four of the bikes in my quiver. I can’t say enough good things about King’s products. Most of the industry and the market feel the same way.
SONdelux dynamo hub
I have the Wide Body version on my bike. Either model builds up a beautifully strong wheel and one that rolls effortlessly and reliably. Schmidt Maschinenbau produces components for the best lighting systems available. I still find it hard to believe how little resistance there is on their hubs, especially when comparing them to what else is out there.
For a while I was riding the Arione saddle but after a while came to realize I wasn’t getting the support I needed. I splurged on a version of the Aliante (as pictured above) with full carbon rails and matching upholstery for my old road bike. Aside from the Brooks I’m still breaking in, the Fizik Aliante is the most comfortable saddle I’ve spent money on. Now I’ve switched it to another bike and have noticed how similar it feels to an old Concor I ride. We stock the VS model which adds a center channel for pelvic relief. As far as synthetic material saddles go, Fizik’s stuff has a lot of competition but is well worth the consideration.