Somewhere in between grinding steep climbs and effortlessly floating hairpin singletrack downhill, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter the dreaded “endo”. The end-over handlebars is a rite of passage for any mountain biker as he works up the ranks from cruising novice to dirt demon. At least, that’s what I thought before taking a spin on the new Yeti SB95 ($4,800 as tested) on a recent trip to Vail Mountain, CO.
Steep Climbs and Singletrack on Two Wheels
Kings of the Hill
‘Tis the season to be tempted by a whole new model year of mountain bikes, and we’ve got some good news. Dialing in your own personal style of off-roading has never been easier — once you wade through the overwhelming amount of options, that is. There’s a different bike for just about every type of trail and rider, and even some that claim to do it all. You need a bike best suited to the kind of riding you enjoy, but that also won’t keep you from the occasional change of pace (or any surprises the trails throw at you). As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked our favorites for racing enduro, downhilling, or just getting out for a weekend adventure ride.
King of the road
Al Capone, DB Cooper, The Sundance Kid. By riding Cannondale’s new Supersix EVO Black Inc. ($13,310) you join an exclusive cadre of criminal minds. Don’t worry, the Connecticut bike company hasn’t filled the bike’s tubes with any illicit substances (though the price tag might suggest otherwise). However, it tips the scales at a felonious 11 pounds, sitting well below pro cycling’s 15 pound weight limit. Despite its weight, the Supersix EVO is able to boast stiffness and aerodynamic figures that bike engineers dream about.
Your new chariot awaits
Across the cycling categories, excluding perhaps the penny-farthing, we seem to be in the middle of a boom in popularity. Cities are adding bike lanes and bike programs, all the cool kids are riding fixies, mountain bikes are gnarlier than ever — and the rest of us are riding road bikes. The popularity of road cycling owes in part to the low barriers to entry (everyone has roads), in part to the variety of awesome bikes available for riders of different skill levels and desired recreation, in part to the rise of the sportive or gran fondo — a cycling event that emphasizes participation over competition — and in part to all the really boss neon lycra. As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked out five great road bikes for all manner of rides, from entering your first century ride with friends to sasquatching a local crit.
Same country, new port
Pike Creek Whiskey was available stateside in the 90s. Slow sales soon put the importation experiment to an end, despite a budding cult following. Now, Pernod Ricard is reintroducing the spirit back to select American markets. Unlike typical Canadian whiskies, Pike Creek is finished in Port barrels, and left at the mercy of the elements in unheated warehouses. But is it really a different? Read our full review to find out.
A new Rebel with a cause
Canon’s Rebel line of DSLRs has always offered an impressive mixture of features while remaining completely approachable. The recently released Canon EOS Rebel T5i continues this tradition as the new flagship of the Rebel line. Like the EOS Rebel 650D before it, this shooter boasts an 18MP CMOS sensor, a 9-point cross-type AF sensor, a 3-inch 1.04m-dot touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD, and Full HD video mode, complete with continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking; these are all contained in a body that feels more professional than its predecessor.
Click to learn more.
The complete package either way
Kit lenses have a bad reputation for being the cheap training wheels of the photography world, built solely to make the DSLR buying process more approachable for thrifty consumers in search of a one-stop upgrade. These knocks against the category aren’t completely unfounded, but you shouldn’t let the general snobbery of experienced photographers steer you away from a good deal or convenience. There are a variety of kit lenses that are still a tremendous value and a great starting point for building a glass collection, whether they’re purchased with a camera or on their own. Here, you’ll find a few of our favorites across a variety of major brands and setups.
Meet the media manager of the future -- and it's not made by apple
Qvivo is a new cloud media service startup that claims to succeed where most others have failed in offering a dream streaming solution for video and music fans with large digital libraries. Starting at $1.99 a month, Qvivo offers unlimited cloud storage for movies, tv shows and music that can then be streamed through any modern web browser. We put the service through its paces and came away extremely impressed.
Bolster your photo app-titude
Whether you’re trying to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or just snapping a selfie of your abs (not again, Anthony Weiner!), utilizing a set of great photo apps is key. Give the Earlybird Instagram filter a break and read up on our five favorite photo apps.
What’s a nearly broke watch collector in love with the IWC Ingenieur Automatic to do? In this week’s Want This, Get This, we searched for an affordable alternative — and found one in the Christopher Ward C20 Lido.
Don't Mind If I Ducati
In the world of thrilling machines, Ducati registers somewhere between Ferrari and Alfa Romeo — this on two wheels, of course. Offering bikes ranging in price from $10,000-$30,000 and covering a range of “yeah, that makes sense” to “humans aren’t supposed to travel that fast”, the brand has a legacy and heritage dating back to 1926 that it maintains with pride today. This is especially obvious in the 2013 Ducati Monster 796 ($10,000).
Full body, full wallet(?)
You know the pinnacle of wine-making remains in France. Well, so do all those newly minted Chinese millionaires, and they’ve driven the price of Old World red wines sky high. This is especially true for top-end Bordeaux, which carry the highest cache among French wines. Those of us without a state-sponsored fortune, trust fund, or impending Wall Street bonus, however, have to look elsewhere for quality wine. Here are two splurge-caliber choices, made in the same style, of the same grape — merlot — though one comes without the inflation of appellation.
For The Ski Bum In Denial
Every year for Memorial Day a few die-hard friends and I skip the barbecues to indulge our powder habit one last time. Summer skiing is our way of throwing a middle finger to the sun before our precious snow melts for another year. The festivities begin with early morning hikes above the treeline and finish with goggle-tanned, smiling faces telling stories of epic wipeouts and slushy runs around the campfire. Here’s the gear we used to tackle the last runs of the year.
Some cars take it to 11. This takes it to 13.
Six hundred ninety-one horsepower. All-wheel-drive. A gearbox so mechanically high strung you instinctively quiver before each pull of the shift lever. And of course, the obscene sheet metal geometry. Enormous in every direction and specification, it makes us pause and wonder if this is what pornographic design is. Welcome to the Lamborghini Aventador.
From Baby Daddy to Father
It’s the scariest and most exciting thing a man will ever face: fatherhood. Suddenly there’s the pressure of knowing this human life is wholly reliant on you, the hope of being just like your father or the fear of the same thing. It’s the moment when BC becomes AD, a distinct frozen moment when a corner is turned and there will forever more only be a “before” (child) and “after”.
For many of us, Father’s Day means finding the right gift for Dad. But now some of us will be receiving gifts as well, and so without further ado, we introduce New Father’s Day — along with a wish list for the sleep-deprived new dad to make the beginning of this next lifetime easier.
IF YOU LIVE TO BE A HUNDRED
Hope you’ve been taking care of yourself. The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar ($189,000 in rose gold, $213,000 in platinum) won’t need to be corrected until the year 2100 (only one in four century years is a leap year — 2100 is not). That’s 87 years of being entirely correct; not even your better half can beat that. We break it down.
Lighten the load
When it comes to choosing the right laptop, everyone seeks three necessities: a sleek profile, high performance, and most importantly, portability. A weighty — or worse, bulky — portable computer can take a heavy toll on the body and make daily commuting a pain in the ass; yet everyone from business buffs to college grads wants a machine powerful enough to meet computing needs. We’re fortunate to bask in a beautiful balance of both virtues thanks to the latest leaps in laptop engineering. From convertibles to high-end subnotebooks, we sifted through the market to find the best laptops weighing in at under four pounds. Just remember, they’ll probably make you look fat in comparison.
Once you get one, the only fault will be yours
There are a lot of tennis racquets out there. Some are endorsed by pros, all tend to have either slightly badass (T-Fight) or buzzword scientific (YouTek Graphene Instinct Rev) names, and a reassuring amount fall into the same moderately affordable price range. We’ve sorted through them and found five great ones across the player spectrum. Pick your favorite up, string it with your synthetic gut of choice and try not to shank that backhand down the line. The new stick should help.
Nothing can stop you, save a dead battery
Gadget-obsessed as we are, even we sometimes bristle at the sheer number of fitness apps available for download. How much help do you really need with physical pursuits? It’s summer — run some laps; swim a bit; hike across an embargoed Caribbean country. There’s no substitute for sweat, no matter what version of iOS you’re running.
And yet, admittedly, sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get out of your seat, especially when your seat is on a patio in the sunshine and there’s a cold beer on the way. Since there really is an app for that, we’ve done the work for you, finding the best in three categories: apps that help you set and achieve goals, apps that help you maximize your workouts, and apps that help you maintain a healthy diet. We hereby endorse bringing your phone to the gym (or wherever it is you work out) this summer, because nobody can blame a guy for wanting to look good.
When venerable Swiss marque Blancpain introduced its first diving watch in 1953, it was thought that 50 fathoms, or 91 meters, was the deepest a man could dive on SCUBA. Hence the name of their groundbreaking timepiece, arguably the world’s first purpose-built dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms. Now, Blancpain’s back at it again with their cheekily named X Fathoms ($38,700, limited edition). We break down this leviathan.
Two that slice and dice
It’s practically every boy’s dream to own a sports car. Good news: it’s a lie that you have to either win the lottery or inherit a family fortune to afford one. Both machines here couldn’t be more different with regard to country of origin, styling and amenities — and they’re separated by 125 horsepower and over $35,000. What they both deliver, as we’re about to show you, is true driving pleasure. But which one’s for you?
Little Big Sound
Listening to music surely isn’t seasonal — but listening outside is. Now that the warmer, more relaxing months are upon us, it’s time to invest in a Bluetooth speaker that will just as easily perform backyard barbecue DJ duties as it will rainy day basement dance offs. Gone are the days of guarding against every fatal spill or doggy dry-off shake. A new crop of portable boomboxes presents rugged, well-designed and, yes, decent-sounding speakers. We size up five (plus one) of our favorites.
Go here first, then kick the bucket
Dr. Clint Lanier and Derek Hembree make a great point in the introduction to Bucket List Bars: Historic Saloons, Pubs and Dives of America ($17): travelers all too often settle for the first pub, bar or saloon they see and are subsequently faced with aloof service, microwaved grub and a beer list straight from a frat house party. No more, they declare. Their collection of watering holes — though with its faults — provides at the very least a superb starting place for the thirsty traveler. Read on for our full review and excerpts from the book.
In the Oktopus's Garden
Watches, especially dive watches, tend to follow a set formula: black dial with white markers, round case, rotating bezel. But while we like classic aesthetics, sometimes it’s nice to see a watch company pushing at the edges of design, whether it be through a splash of color, a new case shape or an innovative function. The Linde Werdelin Oktopus II (~$9,873) checks all these boxes.
The screen of your dreams
If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, leaving your gadget desires unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. In this installment, we put the Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD and the Panasonic TC-PST60 head to head.
This is not a toy
“WARNING: Use Only In Case of Real Emergency.” These words are engraved on the caseback of the new Breitling Emergency 2, and you’d better take heed. Pull out the antenna to impress your buddies at your backyard barbecue and two things will happen: (1) a helicopter will land on your patio, and (2) you’ll pay an unpleasant fine for setting off a false search and rescue mission. We break down the watch that will save your life.
Call it the “Goldilocks of Bags” if you like, though sometimes it seems like more of a “Unicorn of Bags”: the perfectly sized and properly priced duffel can be elusive (hell, brands can’t even decide one way to spell it). When the occasion calls for light packing in something that’ll easily fit in the back seat or sling comfortably over your shoulder there are myriad options, but how many of them can be considered worth a buy? What follows are 30 of the best duffel bags to fit every budget. These represent a vast array of materials, styles, colors and purposes, but suffice it to say each of these duffels is just right.
Make like Stirling Moss
It’s hard to believe how different a hot commute in hair-pulling traffic can be from a balmy mid-afternoon drive on an open road in the countryside — both in the same car. Nothing brings back the freedom of summer like a great drive, and unless you’re cursed with a 36-month lease of a kiddie-hauler that now smells like sour milk, it’s high time you planned just such a trip. Now it’s time to get you equipped.
It's hot to hatch
In the States, we know that size still matters. And just like dinner portions, Americans love their bigger cars and trucks. But times, they are a changin’, and the current crop of hatchbacks just goes to show that manufacturers are putting in a lot more thought, time and money into developing small cars that work big. Driving a hatchback no longer makes you look like you were holding the door when they were handing out real cars. The combination of solid styling, creature comforts and great fuel economy (and, sometimes. wickedly good performance) has young and old alike turning to 5-doors options. We drove five of the best for a month and came away with a new appreciation for the hot hatch.