Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month
Coiled Foxes, airy Foxes, Yankee lids, dirt sneakers, magnetic pedals, electric tyres, Firewall goggles and much, much more in this month’s Hot Stuff.
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Fox DHX2/Float X2 Factory shocks, £719/£739
Coil versus Air. It’s a suspension debate that’s as old a mountain biking itself. And rather than settling it once and for all, Fox has simply fanned the flames with the introduction of its latest DHX2 coil and Float X2 air shocks.
It’s no secret that the Fox Float X2 brings a coil-like feel to any enduro bike; all with the added convince of adjusting the spring rate with nothing more than a shock pump. And even though Fox made massive gains in narrowing the weight difference with its lightweight SLS coil springs, the equivalent Float X2 is still 236g lighter than its coil-sprung sibling. Still, with 25lb rate changes, dialling in the perfect percentage of sag on the DHX2 has never been easier.
For 2021 the most obvious change is to the layout of the DHX2 shock, where the shorter reservoir makes the piggy-back design compatible with even more frame configurations. It also gets a new bump-stop, for increased progression and end stroke control. But the real suspension wizardry is hidden inside and relates to the damping. Not only has Fox matched the range of adjustment for high-speed compression and rebound to its Grip2 forks, it also introduced Variable Valve Control (VVC) to the high-speed rebound circuit of the DHX2. So Rather than simply preloading a shim stack or poppet valve when you screw in the HSR adjuster, VVC enables Fox to adjust the effective length of the shim covering the high-speed valve which in turn changes the leverage on it shim. Without seeing how VVC works in practice it sounds incredibly complicated but the upshot is, the available range of damping adjustment more closely represents changing to stiffer or lighter shims, just like you would if your stripped down your shock to get a custom tune. The latest Float X2 gets all of the same upgrades, and with the addition of low-friction air seals and a revised 300psi max-pressure rating, choosing between coil and air has never been more difficult. What a problem to have though.
Schwalbe Eddy Current tyres, £64.99
E-bikes place unique demands on components. So it’s fitting that there’s a rapidly expanding range of e-bike dedicated parts to meet the needs of riders turned on to pedal-assist bikes. And Schwalbe was one of the first to launch e-bike dedicated tyres. Based on its long-standing Super Gravity casing, the Eddy Current tyres offer increased sidewall strength and support, without the additional weight of a full-on DH casing. Baked onto the robust casing is Schwalble’s latest ADDIX Soft rubber compound for enhanced traction, without being so gooey as to be an additional drain on the battery.
What makes the Eddy Current tyres unique in the Schwalbe range is that they are designed as a pair, with dedicated front and rear tread patterns. Both tyres get a block tread designs with bigger-than-normal knobs to enhance traction and puncture protection, where the tread on the rear is more tightly spaced for maximum dive in turbo or boost mode.
The size range is pretty unique too, Schwalbe offers 2.6in options in both 29in and 27.5in. There are also 2.8in options for 27.5in and a solitary 29×2.4in Eddy Current front tyre for e-bikes running mixed wheel sizes. But don’t think for a second that the Eddy Current is just and e-bike tyre – Amaury Pierron proved that it is much more versatile that than, and with an Eddy Current on the rear of his Commencal DH bike he rode to victory at the 2019 World Cup Downhill in Ft Bill with no assistance. Other than a chairlift of course.
Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet, £180
This A2 helmet from Troy Lee has a special colour scheme to celebrate 40 years of artistry: called Born From Paint Limited Edition it harks back to the early days of TLD with Greg Herbold, Brian Lopes, Leigh Donovan, and Missy Giove.
Ride Concepts Vice shoe, £89.95
With a new hexagonal outsole design dubbed Fuzion, the Ride Concepts Vice shoe is designed to let dirt jumpers and slopestyle riders get closer to the pedal. Hit the ejector switch and D3O insoles will help cushion your landing.
Magped Enduro pedal, €149
The Magped Enduro pedal doesn’t use conventional cleats, instead there’s a powerful 150N (200N for heavier riders) magnet on one side that attracts a steel plate you mount to your regular clipless shoe. Backing it all up are 8 and 11mm pins in case you miss your engagement.
Funn Equalizer stem, £59
The Equalizer sounds like a bad Arnie film, but it’s actually a short stem from Funn, available in 35, 42 or 50mm lengths. Forged then machined from 6061 alloy, you can run it either way up to raise or drop your bar by 10mm.
Ergon DG1 Evo Factory grip, £35.99
Available in regular and slim, the DG1 Evo Factory grips from Ergon fit just like your favourite jeans. They are every bit as confortable too, the top-end Factory version boasting German rubber with improved damping characteristics for enhanced comfort and control.
Sweet Protection Firewall MTB Rig goggles, £89.99
Sweet protection says its new Firewall MTB RIG goggles are for gravity riding or racing, meaning they have lots of ventilation. The frame is made from flexible TPU plastic, with triple layer foam, and the lens features hydrophobic and oleophobic coating.
Crank Brothers Stamp 7 pedal, £129.99
Uniquely, the Crank Brothers Stamp 7 comes in both small and large sizes to match your feet, and at just 13mm thick its very low profile too. Built from T6 alloy it uses fully sealed Igus LL-glide bearings and there’s even a grease port.
Kask Defender, £470
The Kask Defender helmet weighs a claimed 750g, features 18 vents, and has been built with an extra-wide field of vision, which combined should give it a light and airy feel. Carbon shell, replaceable air filter in the chin guard, multiple padding sizes.
Phizz is a new sports drink loaded with 19 vitamins and minerals. It’s hypotonic too, which means it rehydrates you faster than water, and the rlectrolyte solution with sodium and glucose also helps increase absorption.