Pinkbike Product Picks

Apr 11, 2013 at 21:00
Apr 11, 2013
by Alasdair MacLennan  
 
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O'Neal Stormrider shorts & jersey

New to the 2013 O'Neal line up are the Stormrider short and jersey, aimed towards gravity riders or anyone who wants a tough set of riding gear. We first saw the Stromrider while at Eurobike in 2012 but as with all things, the looks don’t mean anything if the fit and feel isn’t right. The shorts feature zippered pockets on each hip and thigh, a back pocket, and a further Velcro pocket on the left thigh which has a fitted elasticated cord for holding lift passes. Not much use for off season in Scotland, but as soon as the lifts open up around the world, it's no doubt going to prove a useful feature. All the pockets are deep, and the two hip pockets feature long toggles for easy access without removing your gloves. The jersey sleeves come down to cover your elbow, and the shorts reach your knees properly while being baggy enough that even bulky knee pads don't feel restricted or awkward beneath them. A padded waistband features a Velcro and snap closure, and twin adjustable tabs to fine tune the sizing. A mesh lining and stretch panels in the crotch complete the picture. MSRP: €74.99/€39.99. O'Neal Europe


<br />O’Neal Stormrider<br />
Stormrider kit is both comfortable and practical thanks to a multitude of pockets, both Velcroed and zipped. A lift pass pocket with elasticated clip is great for bike park riding (bottom right).

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWith sizing clearly cut to accommodate any armour you choose to wear, it's all comfortable gear, even with core protection, or bulky knee pads. The multitude of pockets and the reasonably stiff construction has meant reaching for these shorts more than any other over the winter months, regardless of bike. For downhill they're a great choice as there are numerous pockets to stuff vital things into, a painful omission from many downhill kits, and for trail riding the pockets are supported well enough that you don't feel a set of Allen keys, car keys or phone bouncing around everywhere. We're fans of the bold colouring, the cut that is more downhill than cross-country, and the toughness. The only downside is that you either need to like the blue seen here, or the alternative of black. A few more colour options would no doubt widen the appeal further, but that aside, they're great for all manner of riding styles, especially with summer just around the corner.
- Alasdair MacLennan



POC VPD 2.0 knee pads

POC have made a strong name for themselves in recent years, with their bold and striking styling making them stand out from the competition. Is it a Swedish thing? You can certainly see styling cues between POC and the other Swedish brand doing its best to take over the world. The VPD 2.0 is POC's latest knee pad, and another which uses the POC VPD visco-elastic foam (VEF) to dampen impact forces. It’s the same stuff used by several other companies (although it differs from D3O) and works by having micro pockets of air which can move freely when flexed slowly in normal bodily motion. But strike it hard, or quickly, and these cells ‘lock up’ to provide significant impact absorption. What this means is that the protection is soft, flexible and unobtrusive in use, moulding itself to the contours of your body to provide great fit and comfort. Yet when you crash, the armour will harden like a non-Newtonian fluid (think thick cornflour/water mix) to provide all the protection you need. In most pads this material is used for the front portion of the pad only, simply replacing the plastic/PU foam insert. But POC take this further and utilize the characteristics of the foam more than any other by extending the insert to cover both sides of the rider's knee, rather than just relying on normal foam. As with any good pad the front is wrapped in an aramid (Kevlar) reinforced material so that it’ll stand up to repeated crashing, while the rear is stretchable mesh to allow for breathability. This creates a sock which does a significant portion of the work to hold the pad in place, with two small elasticated Velcro straps, above the knee and above the calf, to hold it in place.
MSRP: €120 / $120 USD. POC Sports


<br />POC VPD2.0 Knee<br />
Scott Laughland rides the POC VPD2.0 kneepad (left) with detail shown of inside (top) and outside (bottom).

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesPOC stick to bold, simple shapes, and as such appeal to many precisely because they’re different from the majority of the alternatives. In the case of the VPD2.0 kneepads they not only look good, but they work well too. The wraparound VPD2.0 provides the most protection of any knee pad we’ve tried of this type with significant side protection, yet is flexible and doesn’t restrict movement when in use. The lower strap is situated so that it sits above your calf, and thus in the thinnest portion of your leg, which is also very effective at preventing it from sliding down without resorting to pulling the pad up too far and creating bunching. It also allows for better blood flow to your calf muscles when pedalling, as on some pads you can certainly feel the constriction if you have the strap tighter than ideal to keep it all in place. When it comes to cost, there’s no escaping that they’re a bit pricey. Very pricey in fact at €120, but they go a long way to mitigate that by being so unrestrictive while offering full protection in a more complete package than much of the competition. If we were nit-picking we’d have to say that the small straps place reliance on the actual pad being sized correctly. This can be a problem if you don’t try before you buy as they come up a little larger than their stated size. A large in most, we’d have definitely been better going for the medium. Overall though, the VPD2.0 is a great pad that is very easy to recommend thanks to the fit, comfort, and protection offered. The price is high, but if you can afford it, the performance more than outweighs this downside.
- Alasdair MacLennan



Bluegrass Grizzly Lite

Yes, it’s another enduro product review, and unashamedly so. As with the products in some other recent reviews, this product has been created for the middle ground of riding; not quite downhill, yet also clearly not cross country. With full downhill back protectors usually being quite bulky affairs, it’s definitely A Very Good Thing that companies are getting in on the action to provide armour for the riders wanting something to protect themselves without resorting to something quite as restrictive as a full on back plate. This D3O offering from Bluegrass is light, thin, and flexible, all wrapped up in a lightweight and stretchy mesh vest. The front is zipped, and so thin that it’s barely noticeable. The back features a slightly harder wearing material to provide resistance to abrasion and the padding is removable for washing so that it doesn’t start to smell worse than camel breath after a few weeks of riding in the sun. The padding itself is split into three segments, two thick pads (right at C2 level) and another down at your coccyx, while the central segment protecting the majority of your back is made from corrugated D3O to allow for flexibility. It’s slightly thinner than the other sections and allows for a hydration pack to be worn comfortably which is pretty vital for all day riding. MSRP: €149.95.Bluegrass Eagle


<br />Bluegrass Grizzly Lite back protector<br />

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesAlthough targeted at enduro riders (and no doubt will be pushed hard to racers through the Bluegrass Enduro series), the Grizzly Lite forms a very versatile piece of armour. Although we’d hesitate to suggest wearing it for full on gravity riding in lieu of something heavier duty, it’s an ideal option for those days when you really don’t want to be getting bogged down with lots of protective gear, or when you’re riding trails not tough enough to warrant dressing up like a Ninja Turtle. It’s a supremely comfortable protector that’s barely noticeable once on, and in the few offs we’ve had with it, protection also seems sufficient despite the minimalistic design. The mesh material the majority of the vest is made from keeps you well ventilated and certainly helps you to forget you’re wearing it.
- Alasdair MacLennan




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56 Comments

  • + 36
 I'll be honest those pink clothes confused me. I looked at the pictures on the right and thought it's spring and time to shave those legs but never mind it's a guy. It's all good! PS: I like those knee pads!
  • + 7
 "no way was that a guy....scrolls back up, get the f* outta here. Those are some skinny legs bro..."
  • + 4
 At first I thought your comment said, "..time to shave those legs but nevermind it's a gay"
  • + 1
 Hahahaahaaa well I'm not sure if gay people shave their legs or not
  • + 8
 I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that was a female....
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  • + 15
 POC does two things right in my opinion... their VPD pads and their Trabec helmet. Other than that don't bother. Their Cortex flow not only sounds like a tampon, it fits like an alligator bit your head. And their shorts??? WTF? $100 for board shorts that wiggle themselves off while you pedal?! Nope! But damn, those VPD pads are heavenly (used them for over a year now) and the Trabec helmet is what I had been wishing for for years. Super safe and has tons of vents (on the inside). I have a big head BTW and it fits perfectly.
  • + 6
 The VPD 2.0 pads are pretty sick. I have some and love them. I don't think about having them on. The DH Leg bone pads articulate at the knee, so they flex with, rather than rub against your knee.. Those are pretty fly too.
  • + 1
 I just got my first bike, and got a bunch of gear as well. I got the VPD 2.0 knee pads, and the Trabec helmet. I got to use them this weekend for the first time, and although I don't have any experience with any other helmets or pads, I'm really impressed. The helmet fits great, looks awesome and it provided what I feel to be very adequate protection. The kneepads are extremely comfortable and the dough seems to be a great little piece of usable technology. I got both for about half off, but in the future I would definitely pay full price for them. I also bought some of their Index Flow gloves and I'm liking them as well. I wear a wristbrace and they fit well underneath and feel pretty comfy.
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Hi there ! We see a lot of knee pad reviews, but not a single KNEE BRACE REVIEW. Having broken my knee ligaments twice (combined instability, there's nothing left in there pretty much), I have decided not to go through surgery once again so for one year now I'm riding with a Donjoy brace. If this solution proves to be quite functional and light, it's not especially designed for MTB resulting in a lack of protection (no knee cap/pad). The solution is to go with two sizes of kneepads, one to go on the "OK" knee and one to go over the kneebrace, but that's not near to perfect. From what I see, there are a lot of possibilities around coming from MX for example, but are they light enough to pedal all day long for example (all-mountain/enduro use) ? These products are not cheap, testing them all to compare is not that easy as they are quite specific products, and it's hard to find any MTB relative overviews to help you choose at least a direction to look at. The TLD Catalysts X seems to be quite interesting as they are looking light, low profile (not interacting with the saddle while riding) and have an integrated kneecap, but do they provide enough support for a combined knee instability like a Donjoy does perfectly ? I know that's a specific question, but really, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this case.
  • + 2
 you might want to give ortema a chance: www.ortema.de/de/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=6&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=49
they are pretty good at this stuff and their products are high-quality.
  • + 2
 I saw these at the local Yamaha store but they still don't have any padding for the knee. I've used a cheap brace under 661 DJ Pro knee pads but, I want just one thing to put on my knee with maximum bracing and maximum protection. For $700 bucks a pop they should provide everything you need.
  • + 1
 Hey KRVZ! Just read your comment, too bad for your knee...which ones have you broken? "Lateraux", "Croisés" ou le tout?!
Looks like the TLD should be a good compromise for you : i looked at the other ones (including Donjoy), as you said they don't offer any kneecap protection, or the MX specific products won't probably allow you to pedal comfortably enough...
And as far as I remember, Fairclough wore one Catalyst for a while after knee surgery... (of course, easier when sponsored by TLD!)

Also you should read these :
motocrossactionmag.com/Reviews/News/MXA-TEAM-TESTED-TROY-LEE-DESIGNS-CATALYST-X-KNEE-B-8136.aspx
  • + 1
 "le tout" (everything) the last time it happened while flexing my leg the opposite way it should normally do ! The good thing about the Donjoy is that it's light and gives an excellent support, it (on the model I have, the tallest model, with the most straps you can get Big Grin ) prevents any twist and doesn't allow my knee to "pop out".
The Catalysts looks interesting though I'm not sure about the twisting issue as it doesn't have a frame running along on both sides of the knee, but rather over it. They say it's protecting/compensating for the PCL, wich means it basically just limits the extension of the knee, but doesn't seem to prevent twisting. I will ask directly to TLD.

As you say, motocross products are OK for downhill, but to pedal it's not super comfortable. And most of the time these are quite bulky.

Finally found this as being compatible with the Donjoys : www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc/DonJoy-Patella-Shin-Impact-Guard-p6067.htm >>> super ugly & expensive for one kneepad you have to change on a regular basis...

Thanks anyway !
  • + 1
 Y'a pas de quoi! Take care!
[Reply]
  • + 9
 I had the original POC knee pads, and they have been brilliant for 2 seasons of heavy use in Whistler. Definitely been eyeing the VPD2's for a while. Definitely going to be getting a pair in the coming weeks.
  • + 1
 It would be nice to see a quick comparison to the previous model in the review, mine are sliding a little bit during riding, the new version with the lower strap should be perfect.
[Reply]
  • + 10
 those pink shorts are just too sexy for me to handle
[Reply]
  • + 10
 POC pads no-brain-er
  • + 9
 POC anything no-brain-er
  • + 3
 POC 2.0 just did not work for me. The stitching on the bottom is made of nylon like material. It rubs my underneath my knees to the point I stopped using them. It did not go away after 3 rides, so I just gave up on them. They look nice and offer good protection and lot of people like them, but I also read similar comments to mine. So definitely try them before you buy!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I think POC pads are designed extremely well. I bought a pair not too long ago and wanted to love them, but they just rubbed on my leg wrong and weren't comfortable. Even with this flaw I would still recommend them to anyone to give a try. Now I just wish I could find a POC Cortex Flow to try on and possibly get for my next helmet.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I own both POC knee pads and elbow pads finally I found them here in Canada half price at the bike show for $79.99 each
And WOW I never dreamed I could find such great pads I honestly completely forget I am wearing them and after years of making constant adjustments to my pads on the trails I couldn't be more stoked for the upcoming season of total comfort.
Spend the money trust me its worth it!!
  • + 1
 Been riding them for 6 months and they have been great. Was sold on them after seeing my buddy fall 10 feet into a creekbed landing on his knee on a boulder. He got up and was able to walk his wrecked bike out the remaining 20 min's. Would strongly recommend running them with the shin pads. No chance of slippage, unlike my old POS RaceFace armour.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i can say that poc's protection is spot on!! i bought the most expensive jacket the poc vpd 2.0 jacket with elbow, shoulder back and front protection end of last season (got 30 euros off at least)...i can recommend poc to anybody...of course it is a lot of money but you dont actually feel almost anything. i think its worth it...i even sometime wear it when i go dirtjumping (i am a little sissy with dirtjumpbikes and bigger doubles compared to bikepark jumps).
and with that jacket nobody can say that it is bothering while riding anymore. it works well with the neckbrace as well. really the most comfortable jacket i have ever worn (came from oneals hellraiser).
so thats why the poc kneepad is maybe worth a try and even worth the money.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I just ordered those POC knee pads and was worried your review would make me regret it before I even got them Smile
  • + 3
 I think I found my new knee pads. My old fox ones have served me well but they are a hair bulky
  • + 2
 I've got them they're top stuff Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'd like to know how the POC pads work under a set of knee braces. That's the only reason I've stuck with my 661's, because they work well fitting under my Don Joy brace.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 But does the bluegrass top accommodate a neck brace?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Actually put something other than clothing or protection on product picks
  • + 0
 Are you asking them to, or saying they did? Because it was all clothing/protection.
  • + 0
 what else can you really put on?
  • + 3
 Erm.. Bike parts.
  • + 2
 yeah but not really cheap ones... though I guess a set of bars and grips and pedals could be put up
  • + 1
 I was saying how they never put bike parts on product picks. And they need to.
  • + 2
 I agree, How many helmets, knee pads and tops do they expect us to need?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 "Remember when was the last Pinkbike Products PIcks? Pepperidge Farm remembers"
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  • + 2
 POC does the best knee pads i ever had!
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  • + 2
 i have the poc's, they are ace just sayin'
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  • + 2
 I recently got the VPD 2.0 long version and are stoked with them!
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  • + 2
 Can I just say that's a great shot of the Scott Gambler? haha
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  • + 1
 Less clothes, more shiny bits!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What's with the lump in the guys back...
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Ohh and that dude in the pink looks like he just got fart bombed lol burn that outfit bro! Other than the knee pads
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  • + 1
 Stretchy muscle t? No thanks..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Maybe do a review of the G-Form knee pads? They seem pretty killer
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I can finally ditch the camelback and still have back protection
[Reply]
  • + 1
 scott looks terrified !! lol
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Prop me if you thought the girl was bending over! Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 0
 manufacturers can we have some nice kelly green riding shorts please
[Reply]
  • - 1
 The POC knee pads are really over priced £105 fox have get pads for £40
[Reply]

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