Check out the world’s first stand-up bike, stepper paddleboard, wooden bike, 1,000-mile running shoe and other uncommon gear that help make the great outdoors even greater.
Stand up and ride
Cycling’s fun but can include neck pain, backaches and chafing. Enter Elliptigo’s new SUB, a stand-up bike, which ditches the seat and raises the handlebars to position you upright. The result: a fun, comfy joyride at near-normal bike speeds. I happily rode it for hours, including on steep dirt trails, and only stopped because it was dinner time. It folds up in five seconds and fits in a trunk — no need for a car rack.
Info: $799. www.elliptigo.com
A hardy sole
The average running shoe sole lasts just 300 miles — and less on a trail shoe with soft, grippy rubber. The Inov-8 TerraUltra G 260 off-roader claims to triple the durability to 1,000 miles by embedding the sole with graphene, a super-thin, flexible derivative of graphite said to be 200 times stronger than steel.
Info: $150. www.inov-8.com
Everysight Raptor projection sunglasses are the first to put all your performance data (speed, heart rate, power, etc.) directly across the lens, rather than tucked in a corner, letting you keep your eyes on the road. The 3.46-ounce model also includes email connectivity, voice/tap command, photos/video and an eight-hour battery life on a full charge.
Info: $499. www.everysight.com
Hobie Cat, longtime maker of pedal-powered kayaks, now transforms a stand-up paddleboard into an aqua-stepper. With handlebars, a patented foot-pedal/fin propulsion system and hand-grip rudder controls, the Mirage Eclipse is stable, simple (just push the pedals) and so fast (maximum of 5 to 6 mph) that regular SUPers I passed gawked in fascination. It assembles in 30 seconds and can be used as a regular SUP without its bars and pedal-fins.
Info: $2,495. www.hobiecat.com
A better baby jogger
Combining childcare with proper running form is now possible. Instead of pushing a baby jogger ahead of you with arms frozen in place, the Kid Runner carriage tracks behind you via a waist belt, allowing your arms to swing free. You might even forget it’s there altogether — and get a better training effect from pulling the extra weight. The Kid Runner includes quick-release wheels for easy storage, an adjustable-length, carbon-fiber linkage to dampen shock, and an attachable dog leash.
Info: $895. www.kidrunners.com
Arms-up wet suit
Featuring an “arms-up” construction designed to be more comfortable than standard wet suits, the Roka Maverick Comp II fullsuit positions a swimmer’s arms overhead in the crucial, extended, “water grab” phase of the freestyle stroke. The entry-level suit uses respected Japanese Yamamoto neoprene with a unique 1:3:5 buoyancy profile (1.5 millimeters on shoulders, 3 millimeter core, and 5 millimeter hips and legs).
Info: $350. www.roka.com
Stand and cast
The inflatable Sea Eagle Fish SUP 126 lets you sit or stand while fishing. With its 12-foot-6-inch length and 40-inch-wide base, it stabilizes casting while upright or angled in the swivel seat. The SUP includes two rod holders, an electric-motor mount, a pump and dedicated backpack, and a two-bladed paddle that fits into a built-in paddle pocket.
Info: $799-$1,199. www.seaeagle.com
The hiking turbocharger
Why should your legs do all the work? Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles let a hiker’s upper body share the load, then fold up for storage into three 15-inch aluminum sections connected by a built-in tent-pole-like cord. Features include 8 inches of length adjustability, a sweat-absorbing cork grip, padded strap, carbide and rubber tips for trail and street trekking, and a wide basket for snow trekking.
Info: Starting at $139.95. www.blackdiamondequipment.com
Electric-assist bicycles, increasingly seen on bike paths, are now headed for the trails. The 44-pound Pivot Shuttle is the cutting-edge of e-bikes — lighter, techier, more efficient and pricier than most full-suspension e-mountain bikes. Its Shimano drive system includes a battery rated at 1,000 charges (double most others), electronic gear shifting, and a smooth, lag-free STEPS E8000 motor. Unique software lets you adjust, diagnose and fix the bike via your cellphone. The bike features 5 inches of bob-free suspension travel, meaning the bike won’t bounce up and down with the force of the pedaling. It also has burley wheels with super-wide-flange hubs, a dropper seat post, and a low center of gravity for great handling. Available with 29- or 27.5-inch wheels.
Info: $10,000. www.pivotcycles.com
In the search for ideal weight, power and comfort, bike frames have been made of titanium, magnesium, aluminum, steel, carbon-fiber, you name it. Then, in 2007, Ken Wheeler, an aircraft designer and bike tourer, discovered that the best vibration damping, durability, strength and stiffness came from a hollow bicycle frame made of … wood? The Renovo John Day road bike, built of ash, bubinga, birch and walnut woods, has rave reviews for its smooth ride and stunning looks. And all-round performance on both pavement and gravel.
Info: $4,095. www.renovobikes.com