MTB Products under $50 | Reviewed

MTB Products under $50 | Reviewed


Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re all
getting back up to speed after a long winter. We’re also getting our bikes back up to
speed, which means many of you have just spent all your money. So today I’ll be reviewing some products
that only cost two figures. In fact, the most expensive one falls short
of $60. First, The Clug which I’ve seen for as low
as $15. It’s a mountain bike stand that you can
put high up on the wall to mount your bike vertically. Or low down to just stand it up. Installing the clug is pretty simple. You just screw in this outer shell, and then
pop the inner piece inside of it. I was really excited to mount a clug to the
lower part of my work bench for making cockpit repairs at ground level. You need to be forceful to get a knobby 2.5
into the clug, but it’ll work all the way down to a 2.0. I like it, and I think the price is fair considering
how functional and low profile it is. Next up, a compact chain saw. Not like, a chainsaw. A chain, saw. It’s basically an open ended chainsaw blade
with nylon straps on the ends, with a neat little carrying case that you can either throw
in your bag, or strap to your belt. It works like this, pretty simple. Like any saw it can be a workout, but for
its size it can’t be beat. You can find pocket chainsaws like these for
as little as $10, but sometimes you get crappy handles or low quality blades. So far, this one has been well worth $22. For clearing trails or for camping, I think
it’s a good low tech solution that barely weighs anything. The next product is called hiplok, which is
a reusable zip tie sold for $18 per pair. This one has a key, and this one uses a combination. While they’re probably great as reusable
zip ties, they aren’t so secure. With any tool, you can break a hiplok quickly
and with very little effort. In fact we were able to break one with a cheap
pair of scissors. These were given to me at Sea Otter by hiplok’s
rep, and I’m not totally clear on what their application is for bicycles. I wouldn’t lock up a helmet with this let
alone a bike. But if you need a cleverly designed reusable
zip tie for something other than security, hiplok exists and it does what it promises. Next, we’ll take a look at some cageless
water bottles which promise lower profiles and better retention than typical bottle cages. The Fidlock costs $35, features a twist release
and a magnetic latch. This bottle from Fabric costs $11, and just
hooks on to these little nubs. Both come with everything you need for mounting. I’ll be testing these today on the underside
of my downtube. So it’s safe to say that if they survive
here, they’ll fare even better on the inside of a downtube. Let’s start with the Fidlock. The “cage” features a latch and two magnets. Just hold the bottle close to it and it snaps
into place. The only way to get it back off is by deliberately
twisting the bottle. Pretty innovative. The mount does hold the bottle away from your
frame a bit, but no more than a cage would. Let’s see how secure it is. The Fidlock held up in my tests, and even
took some damage during a crash. The Fidlock does wobble a bit, but I saw no
evidence of it shaking loose, even while plowing through rock gardens and hucking ledges. Since my prior solution was a cage with a
strap around it, this is a much more elegant solution. On to the Fabric bottle, which mounts using
these little plastic nubs. You just slide the bottle over them and the
pressure keeps it in place. Without a complex latch, it holds much closer
to the frame than the fidlock. The bottle itself, if I’m being honest,
is pretty ugly, but it’s only $11. Let’s see how it fares. You know what? I think it wobbles less than the fidlock. In fact, it held up just as well in all my
tests. But this was a brand new bottle with freshly
installed nubs. I suspect that these will wear with repeated
use, and grow less effective at retaining the bottle. Fidlock, on the other hand, uses a mechanical
latch, which should perform more or less the same over time. But at three times the price, you’re definitely
paying for this feature. Personally I’ll be using the fidlock since
the mechanical retention mechanism gives me more confidence, and the design is more refined
overall. With that said, I really like both of these. They offer better retention, a cage that’s
practically invisible when not in use, weight savings, and in the case of the fabric bottle,
cost savings. If you ride with a bottle, using either of
these seems like a great option. Next, Tubolito. This is a $30 inner tube, folks. Now I personally run tubeless tires and only
use inner tubes for emergencies. For that reason I carry one on my frame at
all times. Not that I’m a weight weenie, but this thing
is hefty, while the Tubolito is a third the size and weight. To me, this is its practical application:
cutting down on your cargo. In fact, its size opens up a whole slew of
new mounting options that weren’t possible before. Time to see what this thing is all about. It turns out the tubolito isn’t stretchy
like a normal tube. Without a tire holding its shape, it sort
of pops out like a balloon animal. It’s better to inflate it while it’s inside
a tire. So if you use your tubolito for an emergency
repair, it probably won’t go back to it’s original size and shape afterwards. Still I’m always refining my no backpack
setup and will be carrying a tubolito with me from now on. Speaking of strapping crap to your bike, you
can get these OneUp EDC straps for $15 per pair. While you could use some electrical tape,
self stick straps, or any number of things, these are a little neater and a lot more secure
than anything else out there. Just pull back on the strap as hard as you
want and this little nub will hold it in place. At $15, it’s pretty expensive for a strap,
but you get two of them and they are remarkably robust. Now for a tool that I think more of us should
own: Master Link Pliers. These are made by Park Tool, and I have two
pairs of them: One on my bench, and one in my car. Not only can they effortlessly release a master
link, but they can also snap it back together. At $15 they’re right in line with what you’d
expect a good specialty tool to cost, and if you wrench on your own bike they’ll save
you some hassle. This is the Topeak Ninja Mountain which is
a water bottle cage featuring an integrated tool. In another video I reviewed the road version
of this, which came with a pretty barebones tool. Not this one. The mountain version comes with an extremely
capable multi tool, built into a clever little compartment on the back of the bottle cage. The whole thing costs about $50, and I think
it’s cool. But I’m not crazy about the cage, which
didn’t stack up well against other cages in my tests. In fact, I’d rather just review this surprisingly
good tool, which is the Topeak Mini 20. It has every hex size you could want, including
a rare 10 mill. When would you even need that? It has a tire lever, a bottle opener, chain
tool, spoke wrenches—Hell, it even has a piece of wire for holding your chain in place
while working on it. To top it off, it’s seriously slim and has
just enough leverage to get the job done. My only complaint about the mini 20 is that
it’s hard to flip the bits out, so you need to remove the chain tool in order to push
from the other side. Maybe it’ll loosen up over time. It’s also $35 which is on the upper end
of compact multi tools, but for all its capability I think it’s worth it. Another product from Topeak is the Smartguage,
which is simply a digital pressure gauge. All floor pumps have built in gauges so most
of us don’t have a need for this, but sometimes it’s nice to just check your pressure before
a ride to make sure you bike is on point. The Smartgauge has a rotating head so you
can easily see the screen, and it even has a bleed valve to let air out as you’re checking
it. At $25, you could almost buy a floor pump
for the cost of this, but I have several friends who swear by it. My only complaint about the smart gauge is
that the pressure doesn’t update in real time when pressing the bleed valve. Other than that, I really like it. The next product is called a Micover, which
is a little furry thing you can put over your camera mic to reduce wind noise. They come in packs which include these adhesive
pads. You position the mic hole in the little donut
area, and then install the dead cat thingie over it. Here’s what my GoPro sounds like without
the micover installed. Listen and you can hear the wind rushing over
the mic. Now let’s try with the micover. These things work amazing, which is why we
pay $20 freaking dollars for a pack of them. It seems like a ripoff for some little fuzzy
things, but I haven’t personally found a more elegant solution than the micover. So there you have it, a bunch of mountain
bike products under $60. Even if you don’t have $60 to spend, you
can still ride your bike without reusable zip ties and crazy light inner tubes. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.