Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month
This month brings us new rubbers, slippery plastic hats, clever timepieces, booties, patella protectors, oily whisky, widescreen goggles, dinky inflators, summery threads…
Vee Tyre Attack HPL tyre, £60
Tyres designed for dry and dusty trails haven’t been very useful for most UK riders, who are more used to that sticky, wet dust we call mud. But if last summer’s weather is anything to go by, dry tyres could well become a thing, and the new Attack HPL from Vee Tire Co has been designed to excel when the only moisture around is dripping off your nose.
Aimed at DH and enduro racers it’s got some seriously aggressive tread going on, the idea being it can bite through dust and keep traction. Incidentally, HPL stands for Hard, Pack, Loose – we always thought hard and pack were mutually inclusive – and uses a tread pattern that Vee Tire claims ‘excels in dust, loam and dirt’.
The Attack HPL comes in a single 2.5in width, but both 27.5in and 29in diameters, and all versions are tubeless-ready. With a focus on gravity riding, casing choices include a fully reinforced dual-ply called Gravity Core, as well as a lighter single-ply option termed Enduro Core. And to ensure maximum grip, Vee has wheeled out its softest 42A Top 40 rubber compound for the Attack HPL.
As for the tread pattern, the central blocks are ramped for reduced rolling resistance without compromising braking traction. Side knobs are siped to promote predictable grip levels at varying lean angles and confident on-the- limit control.
There are elements of Magic Mary to the edge knobs, and shades of Minion DHF to the centre blocks, but equally the Vee Attack manages to avoid being a copy of either. The sturdy sidewalls should help eliminate squirming during high cornering loads too.
Fox Flexair Summer Riding Kit, from £50
It’s that time of year coming up when we expose our forearms and a few inches of calf to the sun, and to celebrate Fox has released a new Flexair range including shorts, jerseys and trail pants. Designed for warm weather, the Flexair idea is to combine well ventilated designs with flexible and robust materials, and still let you ride in style.
Does it work? Fox has been crushing it for a few years now, developing some of the best riding kit around in terms of both style and substance – last year’s Flexair Pant and the waterproof Ranger version both won our MTB trousers of the year awards.
This year’s summer clobber promises to continue in that vein. The Flexair Short (£110) is built from four-way stretch fabric, with laser-cut holes to improve airflow, a ratchet closure and long 13in inseam to prevent the dreaded gap betwixt pad and thigh. It comes in four colours and seven sizes too.
The Flexair jersey (£50) has a brilliant cut to it that really works for riding, with a dropped tail back panel to stop it riding up, and flatlock seams for comfort. Interestingly it also features abrasion resistant sleeves, made from a tougher material designed to shrug off foliage that has a habit of narrowing the trails in springtime.
Specialized Tactic III MIPS helmet, £90
Now available in snazzy new colours, the Specialized Tactic III MIPS is lightweight, well vented and comes with extended coverage at the back and a MIPS liner for extra protection. Micro-adjust dial fit, four colours, and Angi crash sensor mount (sold separately).
Garmin Vivoactive 4S Smartwatch, £259.99
Garmin’s Vivoactive 4s smartwatch comes in six colours and two case sizes. More importantly, it’ll track your ride via GPS, measure heart rate, calories and sleep. You can use it like a debit card, check WhatsApp, and it’ll even remind you to drink more (water).
Ride Concepts Hellion Elite shoe, £129.95
Ride Concepts’ own tackiest rubber DST 4.0 Max Grip is now available on the Hellion Elite shoe. D3O insole, antibacterial lining, reinforced heel and toe box, it comes in khaki or black, weighs less than the standard Hellion, and uses a fully gusseted tongue.
IXS Trigger Race kneepad, £129.99
This new Trigger Race kneepad from IXS uses a combination of removable Xmatter foam inside, and a flexible hardshell on the front. You also get foam padding on the inside knee and antibacterial mesh. Comes in five sizes.
StokedCW jersey, £39
StokedCW is a UK apparel company based in Northumberland. It’s been going for two years making casual and riding gear and its latest jersey comes in limited edition nebula colour (or black) and is made from diamond-pattern polyester to increase wicking.
Peaty’s LinkLube Wet lube, £2.99
Peaty’s LinkLube Wet might look like ditchwater, but it’s actually a biodegradable blend of oils and waxes, we’re told. It’s for the wettest ride conditions, comes in multiple size bottles with twist-top caps, and bizarrely, smells like an Irish coffee.
Sweet Protection Firewall MTB goggle, £89.99
The Sweet Protection Firewall MTB goggle uses a TPU-frame and triple- layer foam, while the big lens is the brand’s own RIG design and uses a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating to shed muck. Amethyst lens blocks 75 per cent light, so it’s for summer riding.
Hutchinson Griffus 2.4 E-Bike tyre, £56.95
With sidewall reinforcement and double layer 66TPI carcass, the new Hutchinson Griffus 2.5 E-Bike tyre is for enduro or e-bikes. Features Race Ripost E-Bike specific compound, with more durable rubber on the edges. Comes in both wheel sizes, 2.5in only.
Birzman Macht shock pump, £39.99
The Macht shock pump from Birzman is made from CNC’d aluminium, it features a big bleed valve behind the 1in gauge so you can quickly fettle your pressures, and an air-lock attachment to prevent air escaping when disconnecting.