VelociRAX Bike Rack Review

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Velocirax Bike Rack Review

Vertical bike racks are becoming more popular and the latest brand to hit the mountain bike market is VelociRAX. What makes offerings from VelociRAX stand out is each unit’s damper assisted hinge. The dampers allow the rack, without bikes or fully loaded, to gently descend to a level where the bikes can be removed or set into the rack. As of this writing, models vary in price from $699.00 [3 bikes] – $895.00 [7 bikes] USD. Models that transport four, five, and six bikes are also available.

Velocirax Bike Rack Review

We tested a 4x model and from the get-go it stood out as a sturdy, durable rack. Like all vertical bike racks, there is a mast that extends from the center of the vehicle hitch at a 90º angle and there are 2 crossbars parallel to the ground. The higher bar has baskets where the front wheels of each bike are secured. A bike’s rear wheel is fastened to the lower bar. Strong but pliable rubber straps are used to affix a bike’s wheels to the rack with studs attached to each bar.

The rack’s c-hoops or baskets are designed very well and only the front tires were making contact with the baskets – not the wheels’ rims. As opposed to hitch tray racks, we did not have to arrange our bikes in a certain order to prevent the brake levers from contacting another bike’s saddle, frame or rear wheel. This is one of the most appealing features of owning a vertically oriented bike rack. The bikes will not touch each other and therefore, bike’s can’t strike each other while being transported and cause damage.

C-loop for front wheel - Velocirax

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Velocirax - Lever for releasing the bike rack mast

To lower and raise the rack, you have to press a lever on the mast. An empty rack requires a bit of effort to get it it lowered because it is not weighted with bikes. Bikes are intended to be loaded when the rack is in its lowered position because you won’t have to lift them and this will help you access and affix the straps to the c-hoops for the front wheels, and crossbar for the rear wheels. Note that you have to load bikes from left-to-right so the wheels and bars “stack” at the proper slanted angle.

Top half of a loaded Velocirax bike rack
Anti-rattle adjustment bolt / Velocirax bike rack
Anti-rattle system for the Velocirax mountain bike rack

Another great feature we like with the VelociRAX is the anti-rattle bolt. This prevents the rack from clunking around in the hitch. Simply use a 17mm socket to tighten the bolt at the bottom of the hitch assembly and the rack will not bounce around. We’ve done a little traveling on dirt roads and everything remained tight and in-place. An additional benefit of the anti-rattle bolt is that a pin [with a lock] is used to attach the main assembly to your vehicle’s 2-inch hitch. The rack also features a loop on the mast so you can thread a cable lock or chain lock for protection against theft.

Loading a mountain bike into the Velocirax 4x vertical bike rack

When it comes to loading and unloading bikes, the VelociRAX outshines all the other brands on the market. You really can just wheel the bikes in and out of the rack. Once the bikes are secured to the crossbars, you simply push the rack into its upright position by applying pressure to where the top tube of a bike meets the stem and walk forward. Just think about it – your gangly kids can finally assist with loading and unloading bikes, And, they’ll probably like it.

A front wheel cradled in the Velocirax bike rack
Fastened front wheel in a Velocirax 4x bike rack
Loop for a bike lock on the Velocirax bike rack

Originally we thought that the rack was on the heavy side, but when we spoke with one of the VelociRAX owners, he told us that the racks are rated to carry up to 55 lbs. of bike per slot. Although VelociRAX recommends removing each bike’s battery during transportation, this means your e-Bikes can be easily and safely transported via a beautifully designed rack. Below, you can see the additional safety bolt that should be used when driving. It will ensure the mast stays in place during highway and off-road travel.

Assembly safety pin - open
Bike rack assembly safety pin - closed
Bike rack assembly safety pin - installed

All of the bikes in our family range from 27.5 inch to 29 inch wheel sizes, but VelociRAX boasts that their racks will accommodate wheel sizes as small as 20 inch. There’s a great FAQ/Info page that we strongly suggest you read on the VelociRAX website. It should answer all of your questions.

The rack even pivots so the mast will lower all the way to the ground and be completely out of the way. This was especially useful during our test period because we went camping and wanted to access the entire rear cargo area of our van. The baskets will make contact with the ground when the rack is in this position, so if you don’t want to scratch them, throw down a blanket or jackets to protect them.

Velocirax review - loaded 4x rack

We’re very impressed with the VelociRAX vertical bike rack. In our opinion, the company did their research and came up with a unique solution for making the chore of loading and unloading bikes easier. The dampers allow the rack to smoothly lower and raise, eliminating the need for one to lift a bike to a height so it’s crown can be set in a mount or its front wheel placed in a basket. It’s priced right, too. Compare it against other vertical racks – and you’ll see that a durable, easy-to-use rack that can carry up to 7 bikes costs a lot less than what you may expect.

Ten Great Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

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Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

Mountain Bikes for NICA Racers – Your little mountain biker isn’t going to be so little much longer. If those years of waiting for her or him to keep up with you have not already gone by, don’t blink. It will happen fast.

As your kids get older they will continue to enjoy outdoor adventures and learning new skills on their mountain bikes with your family. However, since friends will become increasingly important in your pre-teen/teen’s life, you’ll want to be sure that your mountain biking activities include friends.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders | Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

You may have already heard about the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Founded in 2009, NICA develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. American kids in grades 7-12 may have the opportunity to join a NICA mountain biking team. Participating on a NICA team leads to making new mountain biking friends and having even more fun on bikes.

Since 2009, participation in NICA has grown 30 to 40 percent each year. There is an element of competition and racing. However, the purpose of NICA is to support student-athletes in the development of strong body, mind, and character through their efforts on the bike. NICA is a great experience for young riders. Here are 10 bikes that may work for your young rider as they become a NICA racer.

Hardtail/Front-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Mountain Bike NICA

Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Bike is a lightweight and efficient hardtail mountain bike. Your NICA rider will enjoy cruising the trails and shredding the single-track on the Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star. and. The RDO carbon fiber frame has internal cable routing. The 2-Star Niner Air 9 RDO comes with a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a hill-crushing 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain much easier. SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power so your NICA rider can descend with confidence. With the Niner Alloy wheels and Schwalbe tires, you’ll be able to set everything up tubeless for a smoother ride, better traction, and fewer flats. This hard-tail carbon mountain bike is fast and light and may get your motivated racer on the podium.

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Bike NICA

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Mountain Bike

REI’s Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 hard-tail mountain bike is an excellent trail machine for your NICA racer. Firstly, the 27.5+ tires provide great traction on the roughest of terrain. Secondly, a 1×12 SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain enables quick shifting and reduces weight. Thirdly, the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable control and stopping power. Finally, the X-Fusion Manic dropper seatpost and 120mm of travel delivers quick, smooth ups and downs so your NICA rider is ready to handle whatever the trail brings.

GT Zaskar LT AL Elite Hardtail Mountain Bike NICA

GT Zaskar LT AL Elite Mountain Bike

Your NICA rider will love this high-performing hardtail. The GT Zaskar LT AL Elite features GT’s iconic triple triangle frame construction. This trail bike is equipped with an SR Suntour Zeron 35 suspension fork which provides 130mm of travel. The SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 provides an excellent range of gears. The Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes will control your racer’s momentum in the most demanding conditions. The WTB ST i30 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tubeless Ready tires for outstanding grip and traction anywhere.

Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 Mountain Bike NICA

Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 is a hardtail trail bike. The lightweight aluminum frame provides a smooth, efficient ride feel. The 29″ wheels will roll easily over obstacles. Tektro mechanical disc brakes will provide your NICA rider with plenty of stopping power.  The 2×8 Shimano drivetrain provides ample gearing.

Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Women’s Mountain Bike High School Racing

Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Hardtail Mountain Bike

This hardtail bike offers your NICA rider the feel of control and confidence on the toughest mountain bike trails. First, the Sentier 27 VRW features a light aluminum frame. Second, this heard-tail mountain bike is equipped with 140mm travel Marzocchi Bomber to eat up any rough terrain. Third, the Shimano MT410 brakes provide ample stopping power. Fourth, the reliable Shimano 1×11 drivetrain gives your NICA racer all the gear range they’ll need to enjoy racing and training.

Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Kids

Orbea Oiz H30 2021 Full Suspension Mountain Bike NICA

Orbea Oiz H30 2021 Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The Orbea OIZ H30 2021 is an ultra-light full suspension mountain bike that can handle the most technical trails with ease. Firstly, the Orbea Oiz H30 has a hydroformed aluminum frame that is designed for increased strength and stiffness. Secondly, the H30 Oiz comes with a Shimano Deore/XT 1×12-speed drivetrain. Thirdly, the hill-crushing 10-51T gear range facilitates climbing and riding in rough terrain. Fourthly, the Shimano M6100 hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power for confidence and control. Importantly, the Fox suspension on the front and rear creates a smooth and efficient ride.

Salsa Blackthorn Deore Mountain Bike Full Suspension

Salsa Blackthorn Deore Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Treat your NICA racer well with this cross-country machine. The Salsa Blackthorn Deore Mountain Bike features a lightweight aluminum frame with progressive geometry prepared for the techiest of trails. The Shimano Deore 1 x 12-speed drivetrain can handle the toughest of climbs. The 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes will keep your NICA rider in control when they ride downhill. The progressive suspension creates a smooth and safe ride. This mountain bike features some great additions for your high school racer. First, downtube mounts accommodate a large water bottle and a pump. Second, this bike comes with the Salsa EXP Series Tube Strap and an integrated frame mount for your tube and tools. Importantly, the TranzX YSI05 dropper post is height-adjustable by 30mm—total travel varies by frame size—and includes a Shimano remote lever

Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 Bike NICA

Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 FS MTB 

The Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 Bike is a long-reach trail bike with progressive geometry providing both descending control and climbing power. Notably, the BallisTec Carbon frame is strong and light. The Fox Float Performance 36 Fork and Float Performance DPX2 EVOL shock will smooth out the bumps. The SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain provides a huge gear range for continuous power. Your NICA rider will appreciate the stopping power and control provided by Guide RE hydro disc brakes. The Jekyll Carbon 29 3 rolls on Stan’s NoTubes Flow S1 rims with Maxxis Assegai tires. This capable trail bike Includes Cannondale DownLow dropper seat-post with a sweet cable remote.

Santa Cruz Tallboy NICA Mountain Bike

Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike

The Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike is fast and maneuverable. Santa Cruz’s super light carbon XC bike has lots of things to make your NICA rider happy. Firstly, The Fox 34 Float Performance Elite boasts 120mm travel. Secondly, the Tallboy C XT has a 1×12 Shimano XT drivetrain. Thirdly, plenty of stopping power is provided by a Shimano Deore XT Trail Brake set. This Tallboy will definitely pedal all day, but it’s down for some shenanigans too.

Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29” 2021 Mountain Bike FS

Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Mountain Bike 

The Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Bike is an endurance race machine. This cross-country mountain bike has a stiff carbon frame that boasts 120mm of travel on the front and rear. Your NICA ride will appreciate the frame’s bottle cage mount, internal cable routing, and integrated chain-stay protector.

The FS 2 version of the Norco Revolver comes with a SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a huge 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain a breeze. SRAM G2 R hydraulic disc brakes provide confidence-inspiring stopping power so you can descend under control. With the X-Fusion Manic dropper post, you’ll be able to quickly lift and lower your saddle with the press of a lever. Whether your high schooler is descending steep and technical terrain or climbing steep hills, they will love this bike.

For more lists of the best kids bikes, check out our Kids Mountain Bikes page

Transition Scout Review

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Mountain biker Teagan Heap shows off her Transition Scout

Transition Bikes was born in 2001 and the company has grown to become one the industry’s favorite brands among mountain bikers because of its ability to cater to riders within its region of origin and beyond. That’s a beautiful thing when your testing grounds are one the world’s best places to mountain bike. If your family is ready for rocks, roots and ruckus, you’ll have to put the Transition Scout on the list for your kids’ next bike. Get the build options, live pricing, and availability from the Transition Bikes website.

Mountain biker Teagan Heap shows off her Transition Scout

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Who Is The Transition Scout For?

The bike is designed to get your family up, across, and down aggressive trails. Its 27.5inch wheels, low geometry and availability in a x-small frame size means the Scout will fit riders as short as 4ft 10in tall. Keep in mind that Transition is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington. The owners of the company live there and the Scout was created to thrive on the area’s terrain and trails. The full-suspension bike was built for steep, loamy descents, roots, tight turns, and jumps.

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Transition Scout review - rear triangle
Linkage detail - Transition Scout Review
Transition Scout V3 - Geometry Illustration

Updated Geometry For The V3 Scout

Billed as longer, lower, slacker – the SBG (Speed Balanced Geometry) for the Scout is its foundation for fun. Not everyone can dash through the trees or send freeride lines like Hannah Bergermann. That’s why this generation of the Scout has angles and measurements suited for agility and stability at varying speeds.

X-SmallSmallMediumLargeX-Large
A. REACH410435460485510
B. STACK577590604617631
C. EFFECTIVE TT LENGTH534564593623652
D. SEAT TUBE LENGTH350360390430460
E. EFFECTIVE ST ANGLE78.2°77.7°77.2°76.8°76.4°
SADDLE HEIGHT FOR EFFECTIVE ST ANGLE560600660720780
ACTUAL ST ANGLE72°72°72°72°72°
SEAT TUBE OFFSET AT BB6363636363
F. HEAD TUBE LENGTH95110125140155
G. HEAD TUBE ANGLE64.0°64.0°64.0°64.0°64.0°
H. CHAINSTAY LENGTH430430430430430
I. WHEELBASE11531185121712481280
J. BOTTOM BRACKET DROP1818181818
K. ESTIMATED BB HEIGHT337337337337337
L. STAND OVER HEIGHT665665673686698
M. FORK OFFSET3737373737
Side view - Transition Scout Review

As with other bikes in the current Transition line-up, the Scout features acute angles along the length of the frame’s tubes. This is achieved through the expanded polystyrene molds during the bike’s fabrication and carbon lay-up process. We can’t recall this design approach before. Aesthetics can be bound to one’s own preferences, but in our opinion, it’s kind of bold and different. And, it works.

Front triangle - Transition Scout
Transition Scout

Set up from the factory to run 140mm of travel in the back, the Scout is also compatible to run at 150mm. For most on a bike in this category, 150mm of travel in the front is plenty. On their website, Transition says you can swap out the fork for +/- 10mm but anything beyond that will affect the bike’s handling.

Riding The Transition Scout – By Teagan Heap

My Scout it custom built. I have some super rad sponsors who make the best gear out there, so I started with a small frame.

Transition Scout Review - three quarter view

DVO takes care of my suspension and they custom built the internals to my weight and riding style. It’s optimal to have suspension that works when you are a small human. A Deity stem with Speedway carbon bars, saddle, grips and pedals are on my Scout along with Maxxis tires. The TRP brakes provide a ton of control and power, which lets me run them really close to the bar. I also use their 12 speed drive train with a 32t Wolf Tooth sprocket.

Getting power from the pedals is done through 155mm Canfield cranks – pretty rad that they make such short cranks! I run Onyx hubs. They rooooollll for days. The engagement always being right there and not having any drag, especially when you barely weigh anything is something else. Headset and spacers are taken care of by Wolf Tooth, which is a super sick way to tie in all your colors. Plus, my dad likes the headset. Something about the dust seal keeping him from having to clean it all the time.

Air time on the Transition Scout

Even though the Scout hails from the PNW, it works all over the place. For this write-up, I put it though its paces in Sedona. We ended up picking some sweet exposed trails to ride with some slippy technical features. I’ve ridden there before on some of my old bikes, and the Scout was so much better. I’m beyond stoked on how sick it handles everything I throw at it.

Controlling the Transition Scout on a technical climb

When choosing my trail bike for this pedal season I had a couple of choices from Transition and decided the Scout was the best option. The reason I chose to go with the Scout was due to it being slightly shorter travel, making it super efficient on climbs, while it still keeps a super slack head angle. For me, the bike needs to feel pretty close to my downhill bike. You never know when you’re going to have to get sendy! A 29er is just too much wheel for my riding style and the longer travel trail bikes start to get too deep into the downhill bike category.

The Transition Scout is an excellent trail bike for kids 4'10" and taller
Getting the wheels of the ground aboard the Transition Scout

The Scout pedaled up very well making the techy climbs not as difficult and the steep bits easy – probably because of how slack the bike is! I have ridden this bike all over Bootleg as well. It’s super poppy when you have to bunnyhop and miss rocks, or just bump jump a trail section for fun.

My Scout has a 175mm dropper post. I could probably have a 200mm because the seat tube on the Scout is designed to be long. This is so you can actually get your pedal height AND get the seat out of your way completely on descents! The Transition Scout is definitely my all-time favorite pedal bike. It lets me keep that DH fun but in a way that lets me pedal it everywhere, too.

Sendy in Sedona - Transition Scout Review
Teagan Heap - Mountain Biker

We owe a big thanks to mountain biker Teagan Heap for helping us with this review. Follow Teagan on Instagram @teaganheap to keep up with her adventures throughout the season. Teagan would like to thank her sponsors: Transition Bikes, DVO Suspension, Maxxis Tires, Canfield Bikes, Onyx Racing Products, Deity Components, TRP Cycling Components, Wolf Tooth Components

Bontrager Avert Women’s Mountain Bike Rain Jacket Review

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Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review - featured image

Lightweight enough to toss into your pack with your other gear, but with enough protection from the elements, the Bontrager Avert Women’s Rain Jacket will keep you dry on rainy days and warmer on those slightly crisp rides. MSRP is $169.99 USD and you can get it on the Bontrager/Trek website.

Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review - featured image

Available in three different colors, olive, black and cardinal red, as well as an array of sizes ranging from extra small to double extra-large – this women’s jacket was designed for durability and comfort.

Water beading upon the Bontrager Avert Women's Stormshell MTB rain jacket
Hydration pack on the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review

It’s made of Stormshell waterproof fabric that has a 37.5 membrane that keeps you dry. The material is very breathable, ensuring that you won’t overheat on those hot, muggy days. With that said, the light protection that it provides makes the Stormshell jacket a great warm outer layer should the weather cool off a little while you’re out riding. After all, it’s rated for between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the temperature down even more with a a base layer like the Bontrager Vella Women’s Thermal Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey.

The jacket weighs less than half a pound. Normally, I just stuff it into my hydration pack, but it folds up well into the built-in pouch, too. The hood is compatible with various helmets, so you don’t have to make a decision between keeping your head dry or protected. The roll and click BOA adjustment system is a great amenity for this women’s rain jacket.

Hood over mtb helmet on the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
BOA hood adjustment system - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket

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Hood down detail - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
YKK Zipper and seal tape detail - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket

There are two pockets that both zip shut, giving you an extra place to keep your valuables. Plus, the semi-fitted style allows for plenty of movement without bulk, so you won’t have to worry about the jacket getting bunched up when moving on the bike. It’s comfortable when I wear a hydration pack as well.

On the bike with the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
The Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket is flexible and comfy

My Experience With The Bontrager Avert Women’s Mountain Bike Rain Jacket

I have been using this jacket all season long and it’s been my favorite for cycling, running, and walks when the weather has been less than ideal. It’s small and light enough that I hardly notice it when it’s in my hydration pack. During a couple of NICA team rides that ran a bit past dusk late in the season, I simply dug this out when the temperature fell and was comfortable on descents at elevation.

During a heavier than expected rain storm in Moab last spring, the jacket performed very well. The YKK AquaGuard zipper and taped seams stopped water from getting inside and I really like the over-sized hood. The elasticized sleeves and waist cord are still springy.

Thanks to the Bontrager Avert Women’s Stormshell Jacket, you won’t have to wait for those perfect sunny days to head out on the trails.

Camelbak Flow Belt And Podium Bottle Review

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Podium bottle, 21oz - and Flow hip pack

It’s crucial to stay hydrated while riding. The main problem with water bottles is that they’re hard to access. You often end up having to stop mid-trail in order to remove them from the holder on the frame of your bike before you can take a drink. This makes it less likely that you’ll drink enough water during your excursion. The Camelbak Podium Flow Belt 21 oz takes care of that problem. The MSRP is $44.95 USD.

Podium bottle, 21oz - and Flow hip pack

Camelbak is known for their hydration solutions. They make both backpacks and belts, like this one, that are utilized by mountain bikers, hikers, runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Made of proprietary waterproof materials, Camelbak bags often have a built-in bladder that holds water, or they have an ingenious pocket and an easy to access water bottle, like this model.

The bottle does not wiggle around on this Camelbak accessory belt
Camelbak Flow Hip Pack and Podium Water Bottle

Camelbak Podium Flow Belt Specifications

Dimensions13 x 44 x 11cm / 5.1 x 17.3 x 4.3"
Gear Capacity2L / 120in³
Fits Waist / Hips28-46 in / 71-116 cm

The Camelback Podium Flow is a lightweight belt that attaches around the waist. It’s easily adjustable, thanks to the nylon strap and buckle system. Along with the built-in zippered pockets, there’s an elastic sleeve that securely holds a water bottle (included with the belt), that slips in and out easily. You no longer have to awkwardly reach for a frame-mounted, water bottle holder.

Flow label on Camelbak hip pack
Interior of Camelbak Flow hip pack

Both of the included pockets were designed with utility in mind. The top zippered compartment contains handy spaces that hold the various tools that you may need in order to adjust your bike on the side of the mountain or other trail, while the front, smaller pocket holds keys, energy gels, and more.

Racing with the Camelbak Flow/Podium hip pack

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Here's how the Camelbak Podium bottle opens and closes
There's a lot of extra belt on the Camelbak Flow hip pack

Even when fully loaded with a full water bottle and plenty of tools, it will stay in a comfortable position around your waist. Plus, the mesh back panel is breathable, limiting sweat from building up when you wear it.

The Camelbak hip pack is comfy and functional

Available in several different colors, including all black, a camo combination named camelflage and brown seal, and a lighter mineral blue and silver, you’ll be able to choose the shade that best matches your bike, riding gear, or protective clothing. No matter the color, the Camelback Podium Flow has built-in reflective patches that make it easier for vehicle and other bikers to spot you in the dark. Camelbak really thought of everything when they designed this hip pack, waist pouch… whatever you want to call it.

Camelbak Flow / Podium hip pack

Keep It Rolling With The Camelbak Podium Flow Belt

Both our lads like this accessory a lot. We had to pick up one for our youngest when our oldest was flaunting it on rides and at races. The bottle stays put in its pouch because there is a quality elastic holding it in place. These have been put through the wringer over the course of a season. The zippers are durable and have not broken down. Overall, this is just a well-designed product that works great for both the lads. They carry snacks, tools and extra tubes in them – sometimes a packable rain jacket.

Prevelo Alpha One Review

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Prevelo Alpha One Review

Your child’s first pedal bike will need to be designed so it’s “easy” to ride. It will need to have the right saddle height, reach, and bar width. The cranks, wheels and pedals all need to be the proper dimensions. If you have a child who is about 3-5 years old and ready to pedal – look no further than the Prevelo Alpha One. This single-speed 14inch wheel bike retails for $359.00 USD on the Prevelo website.

Prevelo Alpha One Review

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Your little one has mastered the balance bike and perhaps has a friend or sibling who can ride a pedal-powered bike. For many, the Prevelo Alpha One is going to be your kid’s second bike. It has the geometry and build that are two of the keys to learning how to ride a real pedal bike. Your child’s ability and will are going to help turn those keys and unlock a fun, new world of riding bikes together.

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Overview Of The Prevelo Alpha One

standover height icon

SADDLE HEIGHT

15.6 – 17.5 inches

drivetrain icon

DRIVETRAIN

Single Speed

wheel size icon

WHEEL SIZE

14in

weight icon

WEIGHT

~13.45 lbs

Set Up For the Prevelo Alpha One

Of course the Alpha One has kid-sized everything. From the cranks to the brakes, the bike is set up for smaller feet and hands, shorter arms and legs. As opposed to the Alpha Zero, Prevelo’s balance bike, the Alpha One has a front brake as well. This is a great additional opportunity and natural advancement for building one’s skills and bike control. We also like the bashguard on the front chainring as well as the quick-release seat post collar.

Prevelo Alpha One bike badge
Hand on bar - Prevelo Alpha One
Prevelo Alpha One saddle
Prevelo Alpha One rear dropout

Be Sure To Get The Freewheel Option When Ordering The Prevelo Alpha One

The Alpha One comes with a coaster brake installed as the default build, but a freewheel option is available and perhaps preferable to most customers. Our kids had coaster brake bikes when they first learned to ride. That was over 10 years ago and we simply didn’t know any better. But in our opinion, going from a coaster brake bike to freewheel bike could be a cumbersome switch or unfavorable learning curve for children who have balance bike experience.

Add-Ons And Color Options

All the add-ons and options for the Alpha One include: a kickstand, the aforementioned freewheel kit, custom color grips, a bicycle bell, rider name lettering, USB rechargeable lights, the Prevelo Trade-Up Club Membership, a riser bar, and a 13t or 15t rear cog. The bike ships with a 14t rear cog.

Internal cable routing, clean welds and optional colors make the bike visually appealing to both parents and kids. Available colors for the Alpha One include: Speed Silver, Power Purple, and Braap Blue.

The Prevelo Trade Up Club

Learn About The Prevelo Trade Up Club

Prevelo also offers a Trade-Up Club Membership. As of this writing, the cost is $69.00 USD. The program allows you to save money when sizing-up while your kids continue to ride a Prevelo. Get all the detail and terms by visiting the Prevelo website.

Prevelo Alpha One - Rear Tire/Wheel

Geometry/Numbers For The Prevelo Alpha One

Prevelo Alpha One Geometry Illustration

Click the photo to enlarge it

A Wheel Size14"
B Wheelbase26.3 in / 667 mm
C Effective Top Tube Length13.7 in / 349 mm
D Head Angle69°
E Seat Tube Angle70°
F Chain Stay Length10.7 in / 271 mm
Weight (including pedals)14.4 lbs / 6.5 kg (13.45 lbs / 6.1 kg with freewheel kit installed)
Minimum Saddle Height15.6 in / 397 mm
Maximum Saddle Height17.5 in / 445 mm
Bottom Bracket Height6.7 in / 170 mm
Gain Ratio3.7
Standover (ground to top of top tube)14in / 355.6mm

Prevelo Alpha One – Specifications

FRAME6061 heat treated aluminum alloy custom formed tubing
FORKAluminum alloy blades with chromoly steerer tube - 35mm rake
SEAT CLAMPAluminum alloy with toolless adjustment
FRONT BRAKETektro aluminum V-brake
REAR BRAKETektro aluminum V-brake & coaster brake
FRONT BRAKE LEVERTektro aluminum short reach
REAR BRAKE LEVERTektro aluminum short reach
CRANK SETPrevelo anodized alloy 3-piece square taper with 85MM crank length.
SPROCKET25T with double chain ring guard
BB SETSealed cartridge
HEAD SET1 1/8" threadless
RIMAluminum with grinded sidewalls
FRONT HUBLightweight alloy 1-piece forged CNC with low profile rounded hex bolts
REAR HUBSteel with integrated coaster brake - 14T cog
TIRE & TUBEKenda Small Block Eight Pro 14 ×1.5
SADDLEPrevelo small kid saddle
HANDLEBARPrevelo Aluminum - 470mm wide x 50mm rise - 22.2mm to 19mm taper
HANDLEBAR STEMAluminum 30mm extension
GRIPKraton rubber
PEDALSComposite with 9/16 chromoly axle
Prevelo Alpha One pedal, crank, bashguard
Quick release seat post collar - Prevelo Alpha One

Riding The Prevelo Alpha One

We found the perfect candidate to ride our Prevelo Alpha One. Derek’s a lad just shy of 5 years old who had never pedaled a bike on his own who had a year of balance bike riding under his belt. This was truly the perfect applicant for the job.

Inspecting the Prevelo Alpha One

After inspecting the bike for a moment, we adjusted the saddle height using the quick-release seat collar and Derek mounted-up. We were sure to play it safe and have the saddle low enough so the rider could easily plant both feet on the ground. He pushed around with his feet on his own for a bit so he could get used to the bar width, kid-sized grips, and the hand brakes.

The reach is an important fit factor for kids' bikes
Hand on bar - Prevelo Alpha One
Foot on the pedal - Prevelo Alpha One

Our first task was to see if Derek could coast down a gentle slope with raising his feet off the ground and then resting them on the pedals when he felt safe and confident. Getting his feet off the ground was easy enough. His balance bike experience enabled him to do this on the third try. Getting Derek to rest his feet on the pedals only took another 5 minutes or so.

Next was pedaling. This concept can tough for a kid to grasp initially. When you take a moment to think about it – it’s foreign at the very least. The physical motion that takes place when pedaling a bike involves alternating the force exerted from left-leg to right-leg in a constrained circular motion. This is one of those things that you really have to simplify when instructing.

Getting both feet on the pedals

Watching this take place in-person with a new rider who’s ready to try this and figure it out is really rewarding. Derek and his mom were both shocked when he got a couple of full rotations on the pedals. From there, it’s just a matter of maintaining forward momentum while safely controlling the bike.

Pedaling for the first time - Prevelo Alpha One

With each attempt, Derek was able to go farther and farther without having to put a foot down. We were on a paved bike path and our demo rider soon learned how to use both hand brakes evenly while making turns and even climbing slight hills.

Taking the Prevelo Alpha One to dirt

Our next location with the bike was a small skills park. We were excited to see that Derek was ready to take the Alpha One to dirt and build upon his skills.

Riding the Prevelo Alpha One

He rode the bike with confidence. As opposed to being on a wide-open paved trail – some of the terrain was bordered with weeds and sagebrush. The Kenda tires did a fine job on the dry, loose dirt and our rider was able to handle weaving the bike through the channels of trails.

Inspecting the repair stand at the skills park

It was great to see how Derek was able to brake evenly with both front and rear brake on the Alpha One. This being his first experience with handbrakes, he simply took it as fact and used them as instructed.

Prevelo Alpha One Summary

We were beyond stoked to see a kid ride a pedal bike on his own for the first time with the Prevelo Alpha One. Derek’s mom was always close by and she shouted with joy when he took off on his own.

Due to your child’s size and abilities, your kid’s first pedal bike may not be the Prevelo Alpha One. The company also offers bikes with 16inch wheels and 20inch wheels. Although they’re different sizes, they still serve the same purpose: enabling kids to have fun on bikes. The Alpha One is definitely the right tool for the job if you have a young child who’s ready to give it a shot. If you want to ensure success, start with a balance bike such as the Prevelo Alpha Zero. This will properly prepare you daughters and sons to build the foundation necessary to advance to pedaling.

Taking off on the Prevelo Alpha One

Introducing The Specialized Carbon Hotwalk

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Specialized Carbon Hotwalk - Balance Bike for Kids

Would you pass up the opportunity to make something like this if you had the resources to do so?

Specialized Carbon Hotwalk - Balance Bike for Kids

From Specialized…

The team at Specialized just built the ultimate first bike. Full carbon and only 2.1kg/4.63 lbs… Now don’t you wish you were younger?

On December 3rd, cycling fanatics will be able to share their love of carbon race machines with the future performance rider in their lives. The new super lightweight Hotwalk Carbon features a purpose built carbon frame for better handling and more control. No details were spared on this build, including a lightweight FACT 9r carbon frame, fork, and handlebars. The wheels are carbon, too, and feature Rhythm Lite tires with super-light casing. The grips feature a 38% smaller diameter, offering a better grip for little hands. And to top it off, the Hotwalk Carbon is equipped with a Low friction Body Geometry Saddle, with an integrated carrying handle.

Starting as a daydream napkin sketch, the Specialized team quickly took action and utilized their decades of knowledge in carbon layups to bring this bike to life. Because, hey, if the parents get to play around on the best bikes all day, why shouldn’t the kids!

And yes, of course it’ll cost you, just a cool $999 USD. What was that about the N+1 rule? Gotta start ’em young 😉

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Specialized Carbon Hotwalk in the shop

Chill – It’s Still Just A Balance Bike

The first real, good kid mountain bikes were one-offs created by parents, designers and/or craftspeople who had the skills, tools, and materials to bring an idea to life. Our son’s first quality purpose-built kid-sized bike was made out of a need from moms and dads who worked at major bike brands.

The sport has aged well, and with more and more 1st generation mountain bikers having families of their own – the market is growing for quality bikes and gear for kids.

Obviously, this bike was designed and created as project that can be akin to a concept car that that graces the pages of Motor Trend or Car And Driver. But like all things in the mountain bike world – if you have means, then there is a premium product for the having.

Riding the Specialized Carbon Hotwalk

Prevelo Alpha Zero Review

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Prevelo Alpha Zero - Review

Can you imagine the beginning a long, enjoyable story that will take several decades to consume? If the equivalent to this saga is the start of your little one’s enjoyment of cycling, then the preface can take place upon the Prevelo Alpha Zero.

Prevelo Alpha Zero - Review

Prevelo:  Website | Instagram | Facebook

The Alpha Zero is Prevelo’s 12-inch wheel balance bike/run bike engineered for kids who, on the entry side, are about 18 months old and up. It has a standover height of just 7 inches and a minimum saddle height of 11.5 inches. The maximum saddle height for the bike is 14.6 inches. MSRP for the Alpha Zero is $199.00 USD.

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A Quick Overview Of The Prevelo Alpha Zero

standover height icon

SADDLE HEIGHT

Min ~11.5 inches

drivetrain icon

DRIVETRAIN

None – It’s Push-Powered

wheel size icon

WHEEL SIZE

12in

weight icon

WEIGHT

~8.5 lbs

The Prevelo Alpha One Is Minimal. And That Makes It Huge.

When we normally do a bike review, we pour over the specs in order to inform readers of all the details. In this case, the facts are minimal because the bike is minimal. The drivetrain consists of your kid’s feet, legs, and gumption. In the beginning, slowing down the bike and braking will be done with the aforementioned items. After the beginning, your little one will learn how to use the rear Tektro v-brake on the bike controlled by a hand lever on the right side of the bars. The cable for the brake streams neatly from the lever and it’s internally routed through the down tube. It’s nice looking.

Seat collar on Prevelo Alpha Zero

Colors And Add-Ons

The bike’s looks are classic and will appeal to both girls and boys. Color options for the frame include Speed Silver, Power Purple, and Braap Blue. When shopping on the Prevelo website, you can also add optional: colored grips, a bike bell, rider name lettering, or USB rechargeable lights.

The Prevelo Trade Up Club

Learn About The Prevelo Trade Up Club

Prevelo also offers a Trade-Up Club Membership. As of this writing, the cost is $69.00 USD. The program allows you to save money when sizing-up while your kids continue to ride a Prevelo. Get all the detail and terms by visiting the Prevelo website.

Hand brake detail - Prevelo Alpha Zero
Prevelo Alpha Zero - Top Tube Badge

Start With This Balance Bike Instead Of A Pedal Bike With Training Wheels

The Prevelo Alpha Zero is made to introduce your kids to the concept of balancing on a bike without the distractions of pedals or the safety net of training wheels.

The same will or gumption that drives your children to propel themselves along by walking or running the bike as they’re firmly planted on the saddle is going to allow them to progress.

Once comfortable with the physical demands of achieving basic angular momentum, your child will discover that if the thrust is increased, she/he will be able to keep both feet off the ground longer and glide greater distances without their feet touching the ground. In our experiences, this has been the most important skill that enables a young rider to safely transition to a pedal bike with confidence.

Having the right tool for the job is important. Again, that’s where the Prevelo Alpha Zero comes in. It’s made to fit small, young children. It’s made to help them succeed.

Cockpit view - Prevelo Alpha Zero
Rear end - Prevelo Alpha Zero
Tire tread detail - Prevelo Alpha Zero

Geometry For The Prevelo Alpha Zero

A Wheel Size12"
B Wheelbase22.9 in / 581 mm
C Effective Top Tube Length11.6 in / 295 mm
D Head Angle67°
E Seat Tube Angle69°
F Chain Stay Length8.9 in / 225 mm
Prevelo Alpha Zero Geometry Diagram

Click the photo to enlarge it

Prevelo Alpha Zero – Specifications

FRAME12"
FORK22.9 in / 581 mm
SEAT CLAMP11.6 in / 295 mm
REAR BRAKE67°
REAR BRAKE LEVER69°
HEAD SET8.9 in / 225 mm
RIMAluminum with grinded sidewalls
FRONT HUBLightweight alloy 1-piece forged CNC with low profile rounded hex bolts and sealed hub
REAR HUBLightweight alloy 1-piece forged CNC with low profile rounded hex bolts and sealed hub
TIRE & TUBEKenda 12 x 1.75
SADDLEPrevelo balance bike specific saddle
HANDLEBARPrevelo Aluminum - 375mm wide x 50mm rise - 22.2mm to 19mm taper
HANDLEBAR STEMAluminum 30mm extension
GRIPKraton rubber

Riding The Prevelo Alpha Zero

It isn’t complicated. It’s just fun. Our rider rode this bike for better part of the summer and his confidence grew as the season went on. The Prevelo works on grass, concrete, pavement, gravel, and dirt. The absence of a top tub on the bike makes it super easy to get on and dismount. The quick-release seat post collar allows one to adjust the saddle height as needed without the needing a hex key.

The Prevelo Alpha Zero even works on grass

Getting familiar with the Prevelo Alpha Zero in safe, controlled surroundings.

Taking on a pump track with the Prevelo Alpha Zero

Little kid – big world. You gotta have guts to hit pump track. Think about it. If these rollers were scaled up for adults, these would be serious obstacles. The right fitting bike makes all the difference.

Dressed to the nines on the Prevelo Alpha Zero

With a proper sized bike for this age category, your rider should be able to straddle the bike with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Climb mode on - Prevelo Alpha Zero
Getting ready for the next leg of the ride
Looking good on the Prevelo Alpha Zero - a balance bike for kids

Riding Off Aboard The Prevelo Alpha Zero

If you have a young one who is ready, or soon to start cycling, the Prevelo Alpha Zero is a must-have balance bike. It’s sized right. It’s priced right. It is made so children can begin to learn the fundamentals of riding a bike. The kid sized saddle, handlebars, and grips are specifically designed to make your kid comfortable when they take the plunge into the world of bikes.

Following dad's lead on singletrack aboard the Prevelo Alpha Zero

Shred Til Bed Book – From Kids Ride Shotgun

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Reading the Shred Til Bed book

From the makers of the Kids Ride Shotgun bike seat comes the most captivating page-turner of the year: Shred Til Bed – The MTB Animal Alphabet.

Reading the Shred Til Bed book

A-B-C… Don’t worry. We won’t ruin the ending. This hard-cover book has 52 pages of wonderful illustrations featuring members of the animal kingdom mountain biking across terrain that would send Curious George back to the hospital.

Shred Til Bed - Cover
Shred Til Bed - Gg

Written by Kids Ride Shotgun Co-Founder, Dan Necklen – along with art by Mike Hearsey, the book cleverly pairs mountain biking vernacular with animals that begin with the same letter.

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The illustrations are a a lot of fun and you can keep your kids engaged with the sport rain or shine while introducing and/or reinforcing a tad of extracurricular learning.

Shred Til Bed book - Kk
Ll - Shred Til Bed book from Kids Ride Shotgun

PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 Dropper Post And Loam Lever Review

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PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 dropper and Loam lever review

We subjected a PNW Rainier Gen 3 Dropper Post and PNW Loam Lever to a 13 year-old lad who does his best to put his bike through the wringer over the course of a season. This trio of participants rode hard from Virgin to Bend to Port Angeles. Not one of them gave up. Click the jolly red buttons below to get a live price. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 dropper and Loam lever review

Ahhhh… the dropper post. Over the last few years, this accessory has become mandatory for mountain bikers. With the press of a lever, you raise your saddle to get optimal leg extension on the pedals and then a couple of seconds later – another quick actuation, and the saddle is out of the way for the descending. Doing this over-and-over along a ride adds up. Doing it over the course of a season for avid riders and the count is easily in the tens of thousands if not billions.

PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 dropper post detail

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Right off the bat, we have to let you know that PNW has differentiated itself from other brands by integrating a tool-less travel adjust system. Over the range of 30mm in 5mm increments, you can reduce the travel of the Rainier Gen 3 post. This is cool because as you know, kids grow. Yes – of course you can raise the post out of the seat tube to adjust the height until the minimum allowance of the post is in the seat tube. But if you get the post for your kid early enough, you get over an extra inch over the course of a growth spurt. Very cool.

How The Rainier Gen 3 Tool-less Dropper Adjustment Works

Like your office chair with a similar feature, you just want the dang things to work. Sure, we don’t subject our chairs to dozens of up-and-down cycles over the course of a rigorous shift at the desk, but you get the point. Maintaining a dropper is to be expected, so we were sure to use the dropper for several months before letting you know what we thought about it.

PNW Components Loam Lever Review

How To Install Your PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 Dropper

The Rainier Gen 3 Dropper

With a number of diameters and travel lengths to choose from, it’s simple to find the right model – say one with a 30.9 mm diameter and 150 mm travel. The post consists of a sealed air cartridge designed to hold up to plenty of use. It has internal cable routing, as well as a shortened overall length, meaning that you won’t have to worry about it being too long for the seat tube of your bike.

Installing the Rainier Gen 3 was simple. We liked the fact that the head of the derailleur cable gets attached to the base of the post instead of the lever. This makes it a lot easier to measure, cut and just crimp a cable tip.

PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 Dropper Post Review
PNW Components Loam Grips and Dropper Lever

The Loam Lever

The Loam Dropper Lever is both stylish and functional. It comes in your choice of colors, as long as they’re gray, red, black on black, or even a cool black with seafoam teal accents. It has an ergonomic handle that features an injection-molded pad. It adjusts in two different ways, ensuring that you can comfortably move your seat to the correct height. The lever weighs a mere 32 ounces without the clamp and is compatible with several popular droppers other than the PNW Components Rainier Gen 3. Get bonus style points by adding matchy-matchy PNW Loam Grips to the ensemble.

On the pedals with the Rainier Gen 3 dropper and Loam lever from PNW Components
Descending with the PNW Components dropper and lever

You Will Like This Dropper Post And Lever

The PNW Rainier Gen 3 Dropper and Loam Dropper Lever have held up very well for our kid across six months of heavy use in the desert heat and PNW moisture. We have had no issues with the post sagging, slowing down when traveling, getting stuck in place. It just works. The Loam Lever is still buttery-smooth and has even survived a couple of above-average crashes. We have not had to do any maintenance or adjustments and we are looking forward to seeing how the combo continues to perform. If you’re done with bleeding a dropper or having reliability/maintenance issues with other brands, the offerings from PNW Components are definitely worth a look.