Welcome to our weekly roundup of small parts, gear & accessories reviews. These are the things we’ve tried and (mostly) liked, and can quickly convey their merits in a few paragraphs. This week we reviewed:
- Rider Box subscription nutrition
- Eggtronic Laptop Power Bank
- Park Tool IR 1.2 Internal Routing Cable Kit
- Silca T-Handle Hex & Torx wrench set
RiderBox subscription nutrition for cyclists
Subscription boxes are nothing new, but The RiderBox is one of few aimed directly at cyclists and packs a heckuva lot of goodies into it for the price. For as little as $25 per month (with an annual subscription), you’ll get one box every two months that’s filled with sports nutrition, training gear, and other goodies.
Our sample box came with 10 items with a total retail value of ~$56, including compression calf sleeves and a neck gaiter to block the sun. It’s a great way to sample new stuff, and each box comes with discount codes to get deals on the items you want more of. You can even check out some of the items coming up in the next box if you’re sample curious, or get 6- and 12-month gift subscriptions for your favorite cyclist.
BONUS: Get $10 off your first RiderBox if you order in May 2021 using code “BIKERUMOR” at checkout!
Eggtronic Powerbank for Vanlife laptopping
If you’re heading out for a while and need to “work” remotely…and we mean remotely…then you’ll need power. Or maybe you’re just off riding for a few days and want easy portable power to top off a phone and GPS cycling computer each evening.
For that, there’s the Eggtronic Laptop Power Bank. Packing 20,000mAh of juice, it’s enough to recharge all your little devices. Or plug a laptop into the 45W USB-C outlet and bring it back to life. An 18W quick charge USB-A port will jumpstart your smartphone quickly, and a standard 5W port handles the rest.
I used it on a recent road trip when my Macbook Pro was almost dead. With the power bank starting at 74%, it kept my battery level stable for another 90 minutes of CPU-intensive Photoshop editing while background tasks ran on WiFi. For those of us who work on the road or just need a little insurance against getting stuck without power, it’s a very affordable safeguard at just $69.99 (usually discounted on Amazon).
So, technically, I’ve had this IR 1 kit for years. The latest version is the Park Tool IR 1.2, which adds a fourth cable to it with dedicated Shimano e-Tube wire attachments. The original three remain, giving you dedicated feeding lines for hydraulic brake hoses, shift cable housing, and brake cable housing.
Each one has a magnetic bit on the opposite end. You attach the line that you want to run through your frame or fork to one end of the cable, then stick the magnetic end into your frame.
Use the included magnetic “wand” to help guide the IR 1.2 internal cable through the tube or to the exit port you’re trying to use. As long as your frame holes are 6mm in diameter, the magnetic ends should fit through them.
The design and function is excellent, as we’d expect from Park Tool. The cables are coated to slide easily through the frame, and the attachment points hold the wire, hose, or cable securely. It’s a great tool. However…
Even with as many bikes as we get in to review, or parts to install, I’ve probably only used this a dozen times in five years. It’s been a lifesaver when I have needed it, but it’s a bit hard to swallow the $66 price tag for something that mostly lives in a drawer. Shops should definitely own one (or more) of these. Everyone else? Only if you’re constantly building new bikes from scratch. For most replacements, you can just use the current cable or housing to guide a new one into place.
Silca T-Handle Folio hex & Torx set
If you’re going to buy a set of tools, quality ranges from nearly-disposable Harbor Freight landfill fodder up to premium bits like Silca’s forged T-handle Hex and Torx wrenches. Please, please, please, choose the latter. Buy it once, use it for life. Because these are amazing.
Silca’s T-Handle Folio is $185 and worth every penny. They come in a folding case, which serves not only to store the tools if you want – I keep mine in slots in my workstand as the case is more for organization, really, as the tools can slide out and I prefer to keep them immediately accessible. But, it does make it easy to drape them over a top tube if you’re making repairs in the field.
The best way we can explain why quality matters is to let Silca’s owner Josh Poertner explain it for us:
What sets the Silca T-Handle tools apart are two features. First, they’re forged as one-piece for the main body, so they’re strong. Second, the tops slide in either direction.
This last point means you can slide the handle closer to bolt for better leverage and less “overhang”, particularly helpful for high-torque items like stuck pedals or crankarm installation bolts. Or you can slide them further out to help get it into tight spaces (or just use the handle for even more distance.
Detents on either end keep them from sliding out, and a spring-loaded ball helps hold it centered when you need a proper “T” shape. The set includes 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8/10mm Hex and T25/T30 Torx sliding T-handle tools.