Including season-beating gear for bike and body
Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month. Including season-beating gear for bike and body.
Most wanted: Crank Brothers Synthesis E11 wheelset
Until now it’s been easy to group carbon wheel builders into two camps, the Stiffies and the Feelies: the former boast ultimate strength and stiffness, like Enve, while latter sing the praises of ride feel and trail cushioning, like Stans.
Crank Brothers is a little of both now, thanks to the Synthesis wheel programme that features a different tune to its front and rear wheels. The front has more compliance built into its design to improve cornering and damping on the trail, while the rear is stiffer vertically to give you some pop out of the corner and because it takes more of a beating as you ride. This makes total sense to us, because it’s the rear wheel where you’re much more likely to loose tension in the spokes, and it’s the rear where most of us add a few psi more air pressure to make up for the increased load it has to bear. And who wouldn’t want a more cushioned ride up front for rough descents?
It doesn’t stop there though, the Synthesis E11 wheelset we have here features mismatched rim widths front and rear: 31.5mm and 29.5mm respectively. Why those precise measurements? Crank Bros says it’s the optimum size for running 2.3 to 2.5in tyres, and to provides a rounded and wide profile on the front, paired with a squarer and faster rolling narrow profile on the rear. The spoke count is mismatched too, 28 front and 32 rear, and combined with the varied width should also help reinforce the tuning differences.
Crank Brothers isn’t the only brand known for innovation, exclusively partnering with Project 321 for hubs that use magnetic pawls to disengage. By using magnets as a pull spring (opposed to mechanical or magnetic push springs) to move pawls into the drive ring, the hubs can be less draggy and quieter, it’s claimed. Like a shouty hub? You can get a ‘Loud’ pawl design as an aftermarket accessory. There are 6 pawls and an amazing 144 points of engagement (every 2.5°).
Synthesis comes in three different options, this enduro line, a DH design and an XC or trail version, and you can get all three with a choice of Project 321 hubs or Crank Bros hubs for a lower price. We’ll be reviewing the E11s in a subsequent issue so keep an eye out to see if the twin tuned concept is a winner. 2pure.co.uk, £2,150
Mavic Deemax Elite Flat Shoe
The Deemax Elite Flat Shoe from Mavic uses sticky Contagrip on the sole for traction, and inside there are OrthoLite insoles and a dual density core. Mavic says it’s a roomy fit for comfort. £109, mavic.com
Vaude Proof 28
With high-frequency welded seams the Proof 28 pack is 100% waterproof, Vaude says. It features a detachable outer bag, a gear net on the outside for your helmet, and it’s made using climate-neutral manufacturing. £155, vaude.com
Topeak Swing-P DX Holder
Short on bike storage space? Topeak’s Swing-Up DX holder lets you store your bike vertically off the front wheel, and swing it flush with the wall for extra space. There’s a moulded rear wheel pad for wall protection too. £59.99, extrauk.co.uk
The Echo is an entry-level lid that Met says offers the same safety as pricier lids in its range. It’s made from polystyrene wrapped in a hard plastic shell, features Met’s Safe-T ratchet fit system and is designed to fit your goggles. £50, met-helmets.com
DMR Vault Brendog
“Big, flat, light, strong… matte black. Perfect for controlled chaos,” says Brendog of the DMR Vault Brendog edition. No need for us to add anything then, other than we got the naked finish instead. £110, dmrbikes.com
Vans UltraRange 3D
The Vans UltraRange 3D shoe is touted as blending style, comfort and grip, with a three-density outsole and original waffle rubber pattern with bigger lugs. Inside is Vans’ LuxLiner that’s claimed to increase stability and cushion your heel. £95, vans.co.uk
The market is awash with tubeless tyre sealant, and the latest is the MaXalami MaXSeal — it’s ammonia free and uses artificial latex and it’ll bung up to 7mm gaps, it’s claimed. £12.99, thecycleclinic.co.uk
Forget the bottle cage, Birzman has developed the BottleCleat, a clever twist-activated locking mechanism to secure the Birzman bottle it comes with. Neater than a cage, and it clips in and out to left or right. £9.99, i-ride.co.uk
Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm with Low Light Lens
Dark trails call for the lightest tint eyewear, like the Oakley Jawbreaker with Prizm Low Light lens with increased contrast, in pink. It’s got a full lens for maximum eye protection and air vents to help stop fogging. £165, uk.oakley.com
Altura Mayhem 2 waterproof jacket
Made from Altura’s own Stormshield material, the Mayhem is properly waterproof with a hydrostatic head of 15,000mm (that’s high), taped seams and waterproof zips to seal off any way in for the wet stuff. It’s designed to be very breathable too, and the fit is extremely MTB, by which we mean baggy, with a big hood that’ll fit over your helmet. £119.99, altura.co.uk
Alpinestars Tahoe Waterproof short
Waterproof shorts are ideal for wet-but-mild weather, the Tahoe short will shrug off all but the rainiest conditions thanks to a fully seam-sealed waterproof main shell. You also get a reinforced seat area to resist chaffing, a waterproof pocket and little snap on connecters designed for an Alpinestars liner short. £90, zyrofisher.co.uk
Scott Mtb Heater Gore-Tex Shoe
Twin this boot with a waterproof trouser and there is absolutely no way you can get wet feet. Hot, potentially yes, but wet, no. For starters there’s a Gore-Tex membrane, then to make sure Scott has covered the laces with a waterproof canopy. Definitely a shoe for big mountains or really bleak days. £189.99, scott-sports.com
Endura Baa Baa Merino Tech Multitube
Perfect for filling the gap between your helmet and your jacket, or stopping collar chaffing from your collar, a multitube is a winter essential for stopping flying mud. This one is merino so odour free, kind to skin and won’t soak up water. £16.99, endurasport.com
Patagonia Micro Puff Crew
Pre-ride fettling needn’t be a chilly affair, with a puffer jacket. Patagonia says this one has the best warmth for weight ratio of any of their garmets, packs down small and is filled with synthetic PlumaFill and packs down to wallet sized inside one of its own pockets. £220, eu.patagonia.com
Endura Hummvee waterproof sock
If waterproof boots don’t float your boat (or please your wallet) Endura has released a new waterproof sock without padding, meaning it’ll slip nicely into your regular shoes just like a summer sock. It’s very waterproof, breathable, stretchy and comes in five sizes to get a snug fit. £29.99, endurasport.com
Scott Shirt Trail AS
Designed for cool dry days when you don’t need a jacket, the Trail Shirt AS has a thin layer of insulation to protect you from windchill and feels soft and warm against the skin. It’s cut long at the back too for better mud coverage. £67.99, scott-sports.com
Not just another cut-out mudguard, the BFG comes flatpacked but has slits down the side to let you curve it around any wheelsize, tyre profile or weather condition: fast and flicky, get it as close to the tyre as you can; slow and sticky, back it off a bit for mud clearance. It comes with reusable zip ties too. £14, rideguard.co.uk
Specialized Hillbilly GRID 2Bliss Ready
Bring back some of that summer traction with a decent mud spike like the Hillbilly. It’s hard to beat this tyres blend of grip in loose conditions thanks and stonking low price. They roll well enough, shed mud like water and last well too. £40, specializedconceptstore.co.uk