Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month

Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month: unprofessional enduro bikes, golden shafted droppers, sticky hiking boots and much more!

>>> MBR Trail Bike of the Year 2020

Privateer 161, £2,989

There’s an old adage that says you should always strive to under-promise and over-deliver – something Privateer has obviously taken to heart with its first bike, the 161. Back in autumn 2019 the fledgling brand promised to make a frame and shock with very generous geometry and sizing, and a proven suspension layup, all for sensible money. Now, midway through 2020, you can buy the bike as a full build; the geometry and numbers look just as impressive, and the sub-£3,000 price tag makes us wonder how it’s been done.

Bold thinking and sensible choices explains it. The 161 frame is made not from carbon but 6066-T6 aluminium, which is no surprise on a bike this reasonably priced. But the brand has used off-the-peg tubing where it can, and only made its own where it can’t. There’s only one build on offer – there are plans to introduce a Fox suspension build – which cuts down on the amount of parts to store. That build scrimps where it can while lavishing the bike with premium components where riders will appreciate them most. The top-end RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork and Super Deluxe Ultimate shock may jar with the mid-range Shimano SLX drivetrain on paper, but who cares if they perform well on the trails?

We need to ride the bike first to see if Privateer has overdelivered, then, but it’s looking pretty good so far. Next on the wish list is a shorter-travel 141 trail bike version; keep your eyes peeled for details later this year.

Fox Transfer dropper post, £369

Fox has a new version of its Transfer dropper post – the stack height has been reduced, so your saddle sits lower, and it has shortened the overall length and the insertion depth. The aim is to let you run a longer-drop post in the same frame.

It’s done this with a completely new clamp design that cunningly reduces the post’s stack height, while the overall length of the Transfer is 30-50mm shorter too, depending on the drop length you go for. Taken together those changes are a big deal because it means your saddle can be lower when you slam it right down for descents. It also means you can squeeze in more drop and potentially upsize, from a 150mm to a 175mm say, gaining more range of movement.

The new head has the happy side effect of being easier to adjust, so you can fit or fettle a new saddle with less faff. There’s also a new 1x lever to complement the post, and you can get it with a Kashima or Black Anodised finish.

It’s not all roses though, one of the biggest complaints of the old post was that you couldn’t service it at home, or indeed your LBS; instead it had to go back to an official Fox service centre, in the UK that’s Silverfish. This is still the case with the new fork, so factor in £89 more for an annual service. The post costs £319 for the black finish or £369for Kashima, but bizarrely that doesn’t include the lever, at £69. Add it all up and the Transfer is one smart-looking but pricey post… as it’s always been.

Bare bones

Kali Invader, £169.99

Kali’s new Invader helmet is a one-piece construction with huge air vents for maximum breathability. It’s designed for trail use and weighs a scant 640g but passes motorbike chin bar testing. Adjustable visor, Fidlock closure, multiple sizes.

Mountain hiking

Five Ten TrailCross Mid Pro, £129.95

Not your normal Five Tens, the Trail Cross Mid Pro Mountain Bike Shoes are for big-mountain adventures not bike park laps. They still sport Five Ten’s Stealth Phantom rubber outsole, and use a textile and mesh upper.


Vision express

100% Armega, £119.99

The 100% Armega goggles provide extra coverage and visibility and sport the brand’s HiPER contrast-enhancing injection-moulded lens, while triple-density foam boosts comfort. Comes in nine colours, features an interchangeable lens, and nose guard.

Wide load

Hunt E-Enduro E-MTB Wheelset, £429

Hunt’s latest product is called the E-Enduro E-MTB Wheelset – no prizes for guessing what it is. The rim is built from tough 6069-T6 alloy, it has more material in the rim bed than Hunt’s Enduro Wides, spokes are triple butted, and there’s a stronger hub too.

Punk rock

Granite Punk CO2 Caddy and Inflator, £18.95

More compact and less effort than a pump, the new Granite Punk CO2 Caddy and Inflator weighs just 24g, and works with both 16g and 25g C2 canisters. Designed for use with a frame strap, like the Granite RockBand.

Knees up

Pearl Izumi Elevate Kneepad, £119.99

Pearl Izumi’s Elevate kneepad uses D3O for impact protection in a slip-on design without straps that uses elastic and silicone grippers to keep it in place. It offers long thigh coverage and is made from Cordura® four-way stretch fabric with CE level 1 protection.

Chain line choice

Nukeproof Horizon Chain Guide, £59.99

The Nukeproof Horizon Chain Guide uses a machined aluminium back plate for strength and a composite and rubber top guide to cosset your chain. Comes with bashguard or just the guide and uses stainless steel hardware.

Fresh Prince III

SDG Bel Air 3, £54.95

mbr favourite the Bel-Air has an update; the third generation 
is subtly different with a snub nose, shorter length, lowered profile, 
undercut relief channel, injection-moulded EVA foam, and a tidier look.

Fast Torquer

Torq Hydration, £9.99

Designed for intense exercise of less than an hour’s duration, where you sweat buckets, Torq Hydration is ideal for your lockdown home workouts. Each sachet makes 500ml of drink and is absorbed faster than water, Torq says.