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Pearl Izumi Select Barrier WxB

I had been using the same Pearl Izumi rain jacket for nearly 12 years when I decided it was high-time for a new one. I chose the Select Barrier WxB jacket because it seemed appropriate for a commuter, not only because it’s reasonably priced but because it’s billed as “looser cut.” Unlike my old-school shell which was made from pretty basic nylon with a rubberized coating, the new jacket features a decidedly technical feeling fabric. It’s not only soft to the touch, it stretches to allow a full range of motion.

The quality of the construction is very high, with reflective accents, sealed seams and a waterproof zipper. The cuffs are elastic and the waist features an elastic draw cord. There’s an optional extended drop tail that stays buttoned up inside the jacket when not in use, and the detachable hood fits over your helmet.

My one big nit to pick with this jacket—it doesn’t have pit zips. Perhaps the designers felt that additional zippers would negatively affect the jacket’s water-resistance. Maybe it was a price point issue. Regardless, there have been several times that I’ve wished for a bit more breathability, yet I didn’t want to unzip the front of the jacket and let the rain get to my core.

The Select Barrier WxB jacket is available in black, true red (pictured) or screaming yellow and retails for $150. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, too.

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VeloSolo 15mm Wrench

An aluminum take on the classic, and sadly out of production, Campagnolo peanut butter wrench, and nothing more. I’ve been carrying around this VeloSolo wrench for a few months now—overall I prefer having a 15mm wrench on me that doesn’t have any bells and whistles besides leverage. The box-end wrench doesn’t feature a bottle opener or chainwhip, but is available in black, silver, gold, red or blue to match your rims. The size can interfere with certain dropouts or rack/fender combinations, but there are always going to be times where a given tool doesn’t fit the job. The wrench is noticeably lighter than common steel versions at just 75 g, and it makes people coo when they first see it. I like it, and while I wouldn’t recommend an aluminum wrench for everyday shop use, it seems no worse for wear after a few months in my repair kit. Available for $24 including shipping.

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Bicycle Belts

There’s no shortage of people repurposing and recycling bicycle parts. And that’s a good thing. These belts are made from a variety of tires ranging from 1 to 1.5” and they’re “one size fits all” at 50” in length with holes punched for 31” to 36” waists.

The construction and craftsmanship seem spot on, and I can’t really imagine a better material for a belt. I mean, if you consider the abuse a bicycle tire is designed to withstand, it’s quite likely that this belt will last a lifetime. Belts retail for $25 including free shipping in the US.

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