Swear by: RaceFace Atlas riser bar, Park CT5C chain tool, SIS Hydro tabs

Another in our series of mini reviews based on the tried ‘n’ true stuff that we swear by. This time it’s dirty stuff.

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RaceFace Atlas riser bar

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It’s a wonderful when you find a handlebar that’s the correct shape. Bars can be a bit like saddles in that what works for one rider may not work for another. But I reckon you have to have some pretty odd shoulders and arms not to get along with the classic rise and sweep combo of the RaceFace Atlas. 8 degree rearward sweep, 4 degrees upward sweep.

The small amount of rise (1/2″) puts my controls where I like them and having that bit of rise enables you to slightly tweak-rotate the sweep angles into your sweet spot. Bob on.

Not only is this bar the correct shape it has the correct ride feel to it. It’s mostly stiff as heck but it isn’t as harsh as some carbon bars can be. I like slim grips and prefer to run my suspension firm so this lack of trail-sting is much appreciated.

A word about width. These bars come as 785mm wide. That’s very wide. I ran them for a few weeks at 785mm but have recently cut them down to 765mm. 20mm sounds like nothing but it makes a difference. The bike is now just a little bit more poppy and less plough-like at the front.

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Park CT5C Mini Chain Brute chain tool

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I just don’t trust the chain tools that you get on multi tools. I’m sure multi tool chain tools these days are much better than they were a few years ago but my bitter experience experience of them in the 90s has put me off them for life!

I always take this pocket size separate chain tool out with me on rides. I’m much more about usability than weight-saving when it comes to trail tools. I also use the Park CT5C as my home workshop chain tool too because it’s so capable.

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SIS Go Hydro tablets

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I’m one of those modern oddball MTBers who have gone back to riding with a water bottle rather than having a reservoir bladder in my backpack. I never used to drink whenever I had a rucksack bladder. I’d spend the day carrying around far too much water (2 litres of water = 2 kilograms) and hardly take a sip.

I can’t really explain why I drink more with a bottle. Maybe because it’s more visible? You can always see a water bottle on a bike but bladder hoses are out of your line of sight, lost in your peripheral vision.

I like to drop one these tablets into my water bottle when heading out for a ride. On longer rides I take some extra tablets with me in a little ziplock bag. I get energy from snacks and sweets so this stuff is just to keep my hydrated well. It’s nice to have a bit of flavour in your drink too. I like the cola versions (which have some caffeine in them too for a bit of a boost).

It’s noticeable how much fresher I feel after the first hour or so of riding now that I actually drink liquid and hydrate properly. Much more worthwhile than wasting hundreds of pounds on a shiny new bit of kit.

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