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Quick Vic

Breakdown: Autodromo Prototipo Vic Elford Edition

Autodromo, the automotive-inspired watch (and sunglasses, and driving glove) brand, pays tribute to the great chronographs and the innovative cars of the 1960s and early 1970s with its new Prototipo ($625). We break down the Vic Elford Special Edition.

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Resurfacing

Meet the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2

As a tech-minded individual, you appreciate a solid hands-on experience with any device before you purchase it. You storm your local electronics haunt and play with display models for hours on end before making a decision. But you’re still here reading because you want the deets up front from a reliable (thank you) source. With this in mind, we must first explain that no matter how many of the glorious specifications, design and interface highlights and general accolades we spout over the next page, we simply won’t be able to scratch the surface (huzzah!) of the technological nerdery that makes up Microsoft’s Surface 2 ($449) and Surface Pro 2 ($899) tablets. But are we ever gonna try.

Best-Buy-Promo-Logo-Gear-Patrol This Post is Presented by Best Buy.
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PRECISE TO WITHIN A GNAT’S EYEBROW

Breakdown: Bulova Precisionist Chronograph

We know you competitive types. For timing grocery runs down to a thousandth of a second, the Bulova Precisionist Chronograph ($799) is one of the most impressive timepieces out there. More specifically, the Precisionist is one of the most accurate watches that doesn’t receive regular timing signals from a remote atomic clock. We break it down.

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The right tools for any of his many jobs

12 Guys of Christmas: The Do-It-Yourselfer

Handyman, craftsman, mister-fix-it, Dad. Call him what you like, but the Do-It-Yourselfer on your list gives his all for you, no matter the task. Be honest: that beautiful new deck that causes envy in the eyes of all your friends would’ve been a creaking pile of splinters were it not for him, and you’d probably be sharing space with Fido out in the yard — in the K9 condo he designed and built no less — had he not stepped in to save your recent en suite experiment. Like most men of his ilk, your handyman rarely receives anything more than a hot coffee to start his day and a cold brew to finish it, which is fine by him. Isn’t it about time you gave him something more? Here are a few gift ideas that should ensure your calls for help continue to get answered.

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Let's Luxuriate

JetBlue Mint

When it comes to flying, passengers seem to enjoy reflecting on the so-called “golden age of aviation” which, as far as we can tell, just means any time before present day. On any cross-country flight you’ll hear fliers reminisce on days of lax security standards as they’re digitally cavity searched or on the lost glamour of air travel as they’re entombed between the impressive combined girth of 17A and 17C. And it’s true. Flying today sucks. Even first class today sucks. Where’s the $1,000 value in a couple extra inches of legroom and three ounces of booze? Jet Blue tends to agree. The New York-based carrier just introduced an impressive new trans-continental service featuring their totally revamped take on first class: Mint.

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Impeccable Silence

Stay: Bulgari Hotel London

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since London last christened a new luxury hotel. Standing inside the Bulgari Hotel London, though, you’d be hard pressed not to call the wait well worth it. Nestled in London’s Knightsbridge neighborhood, home of the wealthiest of London’s wealthy, Bulgari’s latest hotel has quite clearly taken a different path than its brethren: better design, less bling.

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Power to the people

Tested: Stages Power X9

Power was the single metric I was looking to improve during the lead-up to La Ruta. I became power savvy by establishing my baseline watts at lactate threshold and VO2 Max during the F.U.E.L. testing we covered in Part II and then had the next six months to train against these numbers to improve fitness and manage nutrition on long rides. Yet I still had just one gap in my arsenal of gear: a power meter for my mountain bike. The Stages Power X9 ($700) is both new and affordable relative to other power meters, so I decided to give it a test run.

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Gear worth its weight in...

Kit: Fool’s Gold 100

Competing in endurance mountain bike racing requires a significant amount of time on the bike. There are days when you eat your breakfast and lunch on the go, get on your bike before the sun comes up and even get lost in the woods trying to find six hours worth of trails. We all settle into distinct collections of gear to make the bike our home, but for us, this kit offers the perfect blend of performance, durability and comfort.

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Reflecting on the best

More For (Mirror)less: 6 Best Mirrorless Cameras

When in 2004 Epson released the R-D1, the world’s first mirrorless digital camera, photographers weren’t sure what to make of it. Ten years later every major camera company has thrown their proverbial hat into the mirrorless ring. In fact, with digital sensors equal to those found in DSLRs, interchangeable pro-quality lenses, and magnesium-alloy construction, mirrorless cameras are quickly becoming the choice of many professionals looking to downsize their gear. It’s safe to say 2014 will be the year of the mirrorless camera, and we’ve rounded up our favorites to help you prepare.

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Slowing down to the speed of fish

Tested: Sage Circa 589-4 Fly Rod

When we wrote about the Sage Circa ($775) for our fly rod roundup last spring, we hadn’t yet tested it in depth. Our trip to Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte, CO, provided the perfect opportunity to test out the 589-4 (5wt, 8’-9”, 4-piece) rod.

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Connect to your bike

Double Click: 10 Best Road Bike Shoes

If you’re riding a bike for exercise or hobby, chances are you’re clipping in and experiencing the pleasure of an efficient ride with optimal power transfer. Though we have three contact points with the bike — pedals, saddle, bars — the connection to the pedals via the shoes is the only one that’s mechanical, so it’s essential that the shoe fits properly. There’s no single good choice — there are a lot of them, at different budgets, with different materials and closures. We’ve picked out 10 road bike shoes that cover the spectrum, letting you become one with the bike. Namaste.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Size doesn't matter

Don’t Call Them Small: 6 Great Mid-Size Watches

Big watches still rule the timepiece landscape, but, like dinosaurs and SUVs, their days may be numbered. Much to the relief of small arms (and those who don’t need to compensate with their wristwear), a growing crop of reasonably sized watches are popping up. While 40mm would have been considered gargantuan 40 years ago, nowadays it suits most wrists well and looks appropriate with a variety of apparel. Here are our favorite six watches with diameters at or below 40 millimeters. Big watches, watch out.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Board meeting

Surf’s Up: 5 Great All-Around Surfboards

Choosing a surfboard is no simple matter. There are lots of factors to consider, like the shape of the board, the size, rocker and rails, tails and fins. There are eggs and fish — and we’re not talking about breakfast options. The ideal board for beginners is long, wide and thick since it’s stable for both paddling and for taking off on a wave. Here are five that fit that description to a T.

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Slopes? We'll take our water flat, thanks

Kit: Waterskiing

Sprinkler, fire hydrant, beach or pool: they’re all great ways to cool off when the mercury spikes. Then there’s waterskiing. Often overshadowed by its alpine brother, waterskiing is a heck of a lot of fun and doesn’t require donning a neck warmer. There’s nothing like carving a perfect turn and throwing up a 15-foot wall of spray behind you, all under sunny skies and, preferably, with some bikini-clad babes close by. Here’s the gear you need to get there.

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Bump the bass -- and finish that report

Front Row Seat: 10 Best Desktop Speakers

The majority of us have become extremely comfortable with the mediocre phonics that ooze through the speakers of our laptops and PCs or the less-than-stellar resonance produced from our headphones. This is sad, seeing as how providing a significant audio boost can transform your desk into the ultimate home entertainment console.

For those seeking a more potent and louder alternative to their built-in receivers or noise-canceling cans, we assembled this collection of awesome stereo monitors sure to have your ears ringing. No, they don’t have to break the bank (though they certainly can, if you’re the splurging type). From portable blasters to music studio amplifiers, each is Bona fide audio hardware powerful enough to enliven any Netflix, Spotify, or Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sessions at the computer counter. Now get jammin’.

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Uncomplicated, for your wallet

Buying Guide: Affordable Complications

Watches that simply tell time are a dime a dozen, and sometimes close to a dozen a dime. But start adding more functions and things can get complicated — and expensive. While we’re just starting to forgive the quartz watch for dealing a near death blow to our beloved mechanical timepieces, there’s no denying that when you want more bang for the buck, battery power is the way to go. You’ll pay dearly for dual time zones, flybacks, alarms and tide trackers on the mechanical side of the fence, but if you’re willing to put up with a tick-tick-tick seconds hand, we’ve found five watches that are happy to complicate your life for under (or around) five hundred dollars.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Just add water

Kit: Diving the Bahamas

While we love diving for its ability to transport us to an alien world, defy gravity and commune with nature, we also love it for the gear. Diving may be the most gear-intensive sport out there, with the possible exception of mountain climbing. Without your mask, you don’t see, without your tank and regulator, you don’t breathe, without your dive computer, you risk a nasty case of the bends. For our recent trip to the Bahamas, we packed along our favorite warm water diving kit, a collection of necessities, safety backups and just a little bit of style.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Telling shit from Shinola? That's easy

Time On Our Hands: Shinola Runwell

Here’s the thing about Shinola: it gives off the right appearances, the right ethics, just the right amount of chip-on-the-shoulder pride; and then those things end up also being true, rooted in concrete examples like a city and the fingers of idealistic workers (who, outside of watches, also build excellent bikes) or abstract things like the American Dream. So it is with the Shinola Runwell ($600), the brand’s flagship watch, which found its way onto my relatively inexperienced wrist with an obvious, immediate question: was this an American watch (the American watch) worth buying?

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Attacking the mountain in style

Kit: Ultimate Mountain Challenge

The Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Summer Mountain Games is one of the most unique multi-sport events in the world. You’ll navigate white water, race up and down the ski slopes of Vail Mountain Resort on your mountain bike and in your running shoes, and finish with a grueling road bike time trial up to 9,500 feet in Vail Pass. Of course, it’s also the perfect excuse to update aging gear and even splurge on a great bike or even a paddle board. Here’s a look at the gear that got us through the race.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Tick-tick-tick

Five Quartz Watches We Wouldn’t Be Ashamed to Wear

While haute horlogerie is all about insane complications these days, even basic mechanicals are lots of fun when we get to peek under the hood. But quartz watches? They give one the feeling of an absolute black box: no clue what goes on in there.

So sure, we’d rather go mechanical, but to overlook quartz watches is to ignore unique performance and a form-follows-function vibe in some pretty cool purpose-built watches. Quartz timepieces are, by their very nature, more accurate and often more comfortable to wear than their mechanical forebears. Sometimes those traits are welcome, like when you’re swinging a golf club, marching into battle or just lifting a cold one on a hot afternoon. We take a look at a few electromechanical beasts that would add some much-needed variety to your watch box.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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The Gear for Rainier

Kit: Climbing Mount Rainier

To take on our recent ascent of Mount Rainier, we rounded up some of the latest and greatest mountaineering gear. And after two days, 9,000 vertical feet of climbing and weather that ranged from downright scorching to subzero wind chills, we’ve got a thing or two to say about each piece. So whether or not you plan to use any of this gear in your urban, or more rustic, adventures, you can be assured we’ve put it all through rigorous testing in a worse place. Just don’t take an ice axe on the subway.

limits-promo-logoThis kit is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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WELCOME RACE FANS

Breakdown: Tissot T-Race Touch

In this age of touchscreens, electronic this, and digital that, you might be thinking the good old analog timepiece — you know, actual hour and minute hands pointing to numbers on a dial — might be in grave danger. This is especially true in racing applications where hundredths of a second are pretty important. As if to reach an accord, the recently released Tissot T-Race Touch ($575) combines the best of the digital and analog worlds. We break it down.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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I, Growbot

Breakdown: RoboReel

You know those videos from the 50s promising a future of flying cars and robo-butlers by the year 2010? Well say hello to what we’ve managed to conjure up in those 60 years: the RoboReel ($649). We break down the “water” iteration of this spherical helper.

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Jump in, the water's fine

7 Great Affordable Dive Watches

You’ve been bequeathed plenty of hard-earned watch knowledge from Gear Patrol’s Timekeeping team. So, what’s taking you so long to get out there and buy your first real timepiece? A diving watch is a great way to start — a good one can toe the line between dress and active, suit and wetsuit, and they certainly follow the current large diameter trend. Before your wallet gets intimidated (some timepieces tend to do that), remember that you don’t have to take out a loan or hit the jackpot to get a great dive watch. Gear Patrol shows you seven great watches, all under $1,000 — many well under. Who knows, maybe strapping on a dive watch will get your dormant mojo going this summer and get your certified for the beautiful open water.

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The world’s smallest, lightest DSLR

Canon EOS Rebel SL1: Big Shots, Small Package

For as long as digital SLR cameras have been around it’s been assumed that their image quality and versatility came at the expense of weight and size. Canon shifts the balance — equalizes it, really — with their new EOS Rebel SL1, the world’s smallest, lightest DSLR. There are no sacrifices made to trim down: a powerful 18-megapixel sensor and full HD video recording are proof of that. What’s more, the SL1 is compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, allowing you to get the perfect shot, whether that calls for 8mm or 1,600mm. With the EOS SL1, Canon has shrunk the DSLR down to something that you’ll want to carry every day. They’ve given you access to the top-tier shooter you need every time there’s an important moment to capture. So what, specifically, makes the EOS Rebel SL1 such a compact powerhouse? We break it down on the next page.

canon-logoThis post brought to you by Canon. When only the best will do, expect Canon. Long Live Imagination.
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Feel the need...the need for one speed

The Best Single-Speed Bikes for Every Rider

Single-speed bikes have recently enjoyed a comeback in popularity due to their straightforward aesthetics, ease of use and relative lack of maintenance. Although not ideal for hilly areas, single speeds are excellent for urban riders because of their simplicity: they have no derailleur, no gears, and with fixed-gear bikes, no freewheel mechanism (the thing device allows riders to coast, leaving them to use their legs to slow down in tandem with a front brake — some daring types run no brakes at all, using only their leg power to stop the bike).

With the warm weather upon us and more people than ever hitting the streets for their commute to work — or the bar — it’s about time you got in on the action. Here are our 10 favorites. We’ve left no gear unturned, including everything from the most hardcore, feature-laden commuter to the most bare-bones fixed-gear track bike.

limits-promo-logoThis roundup is part of a new original GP series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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See you in T1

Kit: Ultimate Triathlon

For gearheads and Quantified Selfers triathlon is a chance to ride bikes that look like DARPA prototypes and collect more personal information about themselves than a Stasi collaborator, respectively; for Alphas it’s a chance to get ripped and grab bragging rights; for some people it’s just a fun way to get in shape. Whatever the reason, the tri gear is abundant. Sure, you could swim in your skivvies, hop on your Schwinn for the bike leg and run in some old Nike Mac Attacks — but we’ll do you one better with this kit.

reboot-logo-gear-patrolPresented by REBOOT, the world’s most advanced all-natural antioxidant booster. Learn more at no-oxs.com.
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A new Rebel with a cause

Canon EOS Rebel T5i: Entry Level, Redefined

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.

canon-logoThis post brought to you by Canon. When only the best will do, expect Canon. Long Live Imagination.
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Industrious engineering

Want This, Get This: IWC Ingenieur Automatic or Christopher Ward C20 Lido

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.

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Lighten the load

Super Models: The 10 Best Lightweight Laptops

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.