Roadgear Ultra Hi-Tec Digital Air Pressure Gauge - CR Tested

Roadgear Ultra Hi-Tec Digital Air Pressure Gauge $70
A tire gauge needs to meet three criteria before it gets the Z-Man seal of approval: It has to be sturdy, dead accurate and, above all, easy to read.That the Ultra is well made is beyond doubt. The innards are protected by a sturdy case and rubber boot, and the hose is heavy-duty. It connects to the gauge with a nice swivel that allows you to rotate it relative to the tire, so you're always looking straight at it instead of craning your head like that kid in The Exorcist. The tire chuck is industrial-strength and locks to the tire valve so you can hold the gauge; a bleed button lets you adjust the air pressure. Punching the "on" button allows you to switch the readout between psi and bar pressure. The blue dial incorporates a digital readout (to the nearest 10th) in the center of the face and a numerical scale (0-60 in 1-pound increments) along the perimeter. Backlighting makes the gauge easy to read even in the dark recesses of my shop. There's a one-minute memory, too, in case you didn't get a good look or, like me, you suffer from CRS (Can't Remember Stuff). I compared the Ultra with a calibrated test gauge, and it was spot on-in fact it was able to read lower pressures than the test instrument. On the nitpicky side, the tire chuck is in line with the hose rather than at a 90- or 45-degree angle. It works great when you're checking a tire that has the stem at an angle, not so great if the stem points straight up and there's a brake rotor in the way. My other whine is that the Ultra is priced at the top of the heap. In its defense, though, you're getting a hell of a good gauge. -Mark Zimmerman
Xena XN15 Disc-Lock $104
I'm pretty lazy when it comes to bike security-I'm wont to shut down, turn the key to "park" and hit the bricks. Disc locks' small footprints always seemed appealing in town, but the flimsy units I'd sampled in the past felt more like window dressing than deterrents. Then there was that time I attempted to ride off with one still mounted... All was forgiven when I got my paws on the Xena XN15. We're talking heavy metal: 4 pounds of high-grade steel with a 14mm carbide-reinforced locking pin. Xena claims the XN15 is built to weather even brutal hammer attacks (logos on the box tell you it's certified throughout Europe). I slipped the XN15 onto our V-Star's brake disc and pushed the locking pin closed. Because it's self-arming, that's all there was to it. When it came time to sound off, the Xena delivered. Microprocessor-controlled movement sensors trigger a 110dB siren that's not so much a wail but enough of a shriek that it can't be ignored. I had to remove the lock just to save myself from aural torture. Any self-respecting thief should run away, too, but I was concerned that the shriek only lasted about 25 seconds. It's powered by six button-cell batteries with a claimed life of eight months (a replacement set is included). The XN15 isn't as loud as I expected, but it's shrill and sensitive enough to discourage casual passersby from messing with your ride. It's a bit pricey (though you can find it for less than the MSRP) and I'm not sure how it'd do against a sophisticated assault, but it's easy to carry and a snap to use. I give it a thumbs up for medium-duty security use. -Andrew Cherney
Fieldsheer Adventure Pant $180
For cruiser riders there aren't many pants that offer comprehensive protection without making one look like a roadracer. Fieldsheer manages to bridge the divide with the Adventure Pant. The highly abrasion-resistant outer shell is 1000-denier Teflon-coated Maxtena with ballistics cloth on the knees and seat. For impact protection there's CE-approved armor in the knees (adjustable for height) and memory foam in the hips. And for nighttime safety there is reflective Phoslite piping on each leg. The Adventure Pant includes a removable, insulated liner with full-length side zippers. For comfort there are stretch panels in the crotch, above the knees and behind the lower leg. There are two front pockets, and the pants close with an array of Velcro, zippers, snaps and a button. Though each leg has a zippered gusset at the bottom, we needed to take our boots off to get in and out of the pants. Last, the Adventure Pant has a waterproof and breathable lining that keeps the rider completely dry in the rain (we can attest to its effectiveness). We find the Adventure Pant quite comfortable, and the fit adjustments are very welcome. The liner provides good insulation, but we discovered that without jeans or long underwear underneath, the nylon could be perspiration-inducing. On the plus side, the pants fit easily over a pair of jeans for quick changes at the office. We'll rate them three-season-they're ready for our fall, winter and spring riding adventures. -Evan