Custom Build: Do-All Singlespeed ‘Backcountry Bike’

Five Ten Kestrel Shoe. $180


FiveTen is known for its exceptionally sticky shoe rubber and a comfortable flat-pedal style shoe. Making a move into the clipless market, Fiveten’s Kestrel takes the best of both worlds and offers a stiff yet comfortable shoe that you can ride as you like. We paired the Kestrel with eggbeater pedals and then rode them bareback on flat pedals. The shoe securely wraps around the foot using a BOA closure system.

Kitsbow All Mountain Gloves. $120


At $120, these gloves better deliver. Fortunately, we can vouch that they do. The anatomy of the hand is more complicated than the foot, where finger length and palm width make finding the perfect fit…well…less than perfect. For its new glove, Kitsbow, known for producing high-end bike kits, was inspired by auto racing. Using Pittards leather, mesh fourchettes (the gussets between the fingers), and softshell materials over articulating joints, the All Mountain Glove forms to your hand for a custom fit over time.

We were impressed by its breathability on long uphill climbs in the later afternoon summer heat and loved that you can work a phone with the gloves on. To get the custom fit, gloves run small and will stretch over the hand. The rub? Sizes run small to large and may not fit thick-fingered hands well.

Kali Protectives Maraka XC Helmet. $190


Protecting the noggin has become a booming business over the past few years. MIPs innovated in protective spaces with force dispersive low-friction regions. But they aren’t the only name in the head game. Kali Protectives took a similar (but different) path to the same end game, fusing the helmet shell to dual-density foams in a corrugated fashion. The result is an ultra-light lid that spills heat exceptionally well.

We tested the Maraka and loved its wide mouth vents, which swiftly flowed air across the scalp, keeping us cool-headed on long rides over 90˚. As for the effectiveness of the dual-density foam? The science data adds up, but there are just some aspects we prefer not to field test!

Revelate Feedbag. $39


We’ve long been fans of Revelate Designs, but the Mountain Feedbag might be our favorite component of its bag line. The Feedbag straps to either side of the stem and velcros snug around the handlebar. A clip keeps the bottom from swaying and out of the way of the cables.

With enough room for a water bottle, two bars, a toolkit, pry bars, and a spare tube, the Feedbag replaced our saddle bags and kept our inner monster fueled all summer long. The best part? You can now avoid the sold-out line at Revelate and purchase the Feedbag at REI.

Light and Motion Urban 850. $180


Packing 850 lumens in the size of a (large) lip-balm stick, Light and Motion’s Urban 850 was capable of throwing high beams for 2 hours (6 hours on low beam). This proved awesome for rapidly shedding elevation during early morning descents. Our only rub was that, while on high beam, it was too bright while road riding with the peloton. Read our full review of the Urban 850 here.

Steve Graepel

Contributing Editor (and Gear Junkie Idaho Bureau Chief) Steve Graepel is allegedly a crook and a thief, conning his friends to steal away time from their families in pursuit of premeditated leisure, which typically involves a bike, a pack-raft, skis, running shoes, climbing rack, or all of the above.

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