Welcome to another installment of Staff Picks from our Outdoors and Fitness team. Every other week, we select our favorite pieces out of the gear we’re testing, mainstays in our kits, as well as items on our wish lists. It’s like a sneak peek at the gear we’re testing and what we’re stoked on. Have something you think we should check out? Or just want to say hi? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Ever since riding Yeti’s SB4.5, my eyes have been opened to how capable shorter travel bikes can be. Naturally, when Yeti launched the SB100 last week, I got pretty excited. The SB4.5 is my all-time favorite bike, and the prospect of another slack, spry, short-travel 29’er is worth getting excited over. On most of the east coast, these short-travel bikes excel in rolling, technical terrain where pedaling efficiency and nimbleness are valued over being able to take five-foot drops. So there’s no reason that the SB100 won’t crush in that kind of terrain. I’m also pretty interested to see how the Step Cast version of Fox’s 120mm 34 performs. — AJ Powell, Assistant Editor
If you’re looking for something similar, but the pick above isn’t quite right, try these alternatives: Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL ($5,200) | Transition Smuggler ($5,999)
Priority Bicycles Classic Plus
As a newbie to the world of bike commuting, I’m thrilled that the Gear Patrol offices offer bike storage. No longer do I have to fear losing my bike while working, nor do I have to figure out where the closest Citi Bike hub is (although I’ve heard the app makes it simple). I’m currently riding a step-through model from Priority to test its Never Flat tires (stay tuned!), but after a few days of riding, I’m excited to test out a slightly more technical bike. While commuting is not a race, my dream is to not get passed 100 times on my way to work — it makes riding over the Williamsburg bridge slightly demoralizing. As for the Classic I’m testing now, it makes getting groceries home a breeze (thanks to the basket) and to and from brunch way more fun. — Meg Lappe, Staff Writer
If you’re looking for something similar, but the pick above isn’t quite right, try these alternatives: State Bicycle Co. Elliston Deluxe ($469) | Brilliant Bicycles Astor ($300)
Specialized S-Works Diverge
I’ve been a mountain biker and a bike commuter for years, but it wasn’t until recently that I slid into a stretchy kit and went on a real road ride. I was immediately transfixed; road cycling presented a more-adventurous alternative to driving with greater access to pedestrian-only paths. As I learned more about the sport, I came across adventure and touring bikes — machines built to relocate between pavement and trails. I can’t count the number of Instagram rabbit holes I’ve buried my head in that continue to fuel my desire for a longer two-wheeled adventure ride far from painted roads and reflective signage.
I’ve yet to head out on any such trip, but the skeleton of a plan exists. If I had my way, I’d make the journey on Specialized’s S-Works Diverge, a highly-praised (albeit pricey) adventure bike that balances adeptly between road and trail. The build includes a 1×11 drivetrain and a feature called Future Shock, which minimizes vibration and bottoming out on bumps with a finely-tuned spring housed between the stem and frame. The Diverge is also equipped with a nifty box at the bottom of the frame called SWAT that can fit an extra tube, CO2 canister, tire levers, an inner tube valve extender and a multi-tool. — Tanner Bowden, Associate Staff Writer