For reactive gas-phase environments, including combustion, extraterrestrials atmospheres and our Earth's atmosphere, the availability of quality chemical data is essential for predictive chemical models. These data include reaction rate coefficients and product branching fractions. This perspective overviews recent isomer-resolved production detection experiments for reactions of two of the most reactive gas phase radicals, the CN and CH radicals, with a suite of small hydrocarbons. A particular focus is given to flow-tube experiments using synchrotron photoionization mass spectrometry. Coupled with computational studies and other experiment techniques, flow tube isomer-resolved product detection have provided significant mechanistic details of these radical + neutral reactions with some general patterns emerging.