2017 Pinkbike Awards - Apparel and Protection of the Year Nominees

Dec 4, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
PB Awards

Best Apparel and Protection Nominees


This year's Best Apparel and Protection Nominees are from POC, Fox, and Bell. The Swede's latest Joint VPD System Knee pad promises to be one of the comfiest ever, Fox's ProFrame helmet should be the best ventilated full face to date and Bell's Super DH does what the public has been suggesting for years - it looks like a normal helmet with real certification and has a removable chin-bar - now that wasn't too hard, was it?

All three of the nominees stand out for different reasons, but who will be crowned?








Why it's nominated:

The Swedish brand's latest knee pad features a polyamide yarn taken from their winter pants that is tear resistant against ski edges. The main hunk of protection comes from POC's VPD (visco-elastic polymer dough) polymer and, well, that's about it, no velcro straps or fasteners as the fit is taken care of by elastic and a dash of silicone grip. Mike Kazimer was a fan of the minimalist design and their superb comfort on all-day rides.

From the review:
bigquotesYes, the Joint VPD System knee pads are one of the more expensive options out there, but that price is backed up with an unsurpassed level of comfort. They're light, well-made, and most importantly, can help save those vulnerable knees during a crash. I'd love to see a more DH-oriented version with additional side protection, but as it is, cost aside, for everyday, all-round usage, these pads are tough to beat.  Mike Kazimer







Why it's nominated:

The Proframe appeared just before the Enduro World Series kicked off last spring and was an instant hit with the racers. Fox basically took a decent looking full-face helmet, then chopped out as much material as possible while retaining downhill certification. The chin bar is also made to absorb some impact force in the event of a front door dismount.

Extremely lightweight, at 750 grams, and superbly vented to keep your head cool and lungs oxygen-rich when your rev limiter hits the redline on brutal enduro stages.

From the press release:
bigquotesOur downhill DNA sparked the creation of our first ever all-mountain focused full-face helmet. Over two years in the development process, the Proframe has been tested and proven by our elite team of mountain bike athletes. You'll see it showcased in our upcoming full-length movie and throughout the year in races all over the world. We are excited to launch such an amazing new product, which brings the Iconic Fox attitude and aggressiveness to the world of trail riding. - Mike Redding, MTB Sports Marketing.







Why it's nominated:

It's taken a long time but Bell has finally answered many riders demands – a 2in1 helmet with a removable chin bar that simply looks like a normal mountain bike helmet, instead of something that appears to have been designed purposely to make people laugh at you.

The Super DH has full downhill certification with the chin bar attached, plenty of ventilation, a magnetic Fidlock buckle and the latest MIPS Spherical system.

From the review:
bigquotesOverall, the Super DH is an impressive addition to the convertible helmet category, with an excellent fit and cutting edge impact protection. I'll be putting more time in on it over the next few months, but so far my first impressions are very positive.  Mike Kazimer



It's that time of year again, where we look back to honour the most outstanding athletes, innovators, products, and achievements of the year. 2017 was an important year for mountain biking, with some major business and product paradigm shifts underway, as well as some of the most impressive athletic performances in recent memory.

Only products we actually used this year are eligible to be nominated for the 2017 Pinkbike Awards. The nominees are hotly debated by our senior editorial team to arrive at consensus. We will roll out the nominees first, before announcing the category winners later this month.

As always, we want to know what you think—what are your top picks for the year?








91 Comments

  • + 88
 What, no $700 rain shell?
  • + 121
 Pinkbike price whining is like being assasinated by a sloth... it kills you very, very slowly...
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: you are my true inspiration
  • + 20
 @DonaldTrumpOfficial: new favorite novelty account. (or this really explains how crazy trump is because he takes advice from waki)
  • + 10
 @DonaldTrumpOfficial: at this point i wouldn’t even be shocked if Trump was commenting on Pinkbike. You know with all that winning we have going on lately.
  • + 7
 @nyhc00: @DonaldTrumpOfficial is so rich that he can buy a $7k rain jacket, that would be way bigger and way better than your stupid soggy rain jacket. Believe me.
  • + 47
 @donaldtrumpofficial

I'm thinking you'd be leaning towards really small gloves as product of the year
  • + 3
 We must all be pissed off that its winter. Because everyone is grumpy AF right now.
  • + 5
 @nyhc00: you know donaldtrumpofficial is registration as a Russian rider right?
  • + 5
 Chill out folks, that sloth bit is from John Oliver. If someone doesn't know who he is, please do world a favor and subscribe to his channel.
  • + 3
 @mattvanders: Woah, that’s big news. Are you secretly Robert Mueller posting on Pinkbike as well?
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: John Oliver is complaining about Pinkbike price whiners now? That would be hilarious to watch. Maybe I'll turn my price complaining up a notch or two to make sure he has plenty of material.
  • + 30
 Really enjoying my fox proframe
Rode it during the summer in so cal heat without a overheating head issue
and i am a hill climber
I take some shit from other cross country guys but i dont care
i have some nice scratches on it that would have been on my chin / cheek
two thumbs up !
  • + 20
 o k s o u n d s g o o d
  • + 2
 It's still a compromise though, just like the Bell super 2/3r were. The super dh looks to have finally ticked all the necessary boxes.
  • + 3
 @DC1988: yeap, the looks are really great, finally!!
I think they have two distinct crowds, Bell for those who climb for a long time a descend for a reasonable amount of time, the Fox suits riders who have a mix of up and down on short bursts and they go out for a 20 km ride with short intervals. The group I ride with is mostly made up of Bells and Mets, I'm the only one wearing a Fox, most of them don't ever remove the chin cause it would take a lot of time on short hills/downs that we have around. I think the Bell is also an excellent compromise if you don't have a XC/trail helmet and you want both for separate events or challenges. I first bought a IXS Trail, so my Proframe has one job only and it has done it tremendously well in sunny Portugal.
  • + 2
 @t-stoff:
I wanted to buy a Switchblade but it didn't fit well, same with the proframe so I ended up with the super 3r. I use it for enduro racing but in the bike park I'll still always use my proper full face helmet, even if I had a super dh I still don't think I'd use it for uplift riding.
  • + 20
 I am on the edge of my seat. Who will win?
  • + 5
 I'd love to see a "best of the bunch" type look into different protection pieces.
I'm struggling finding good elbow pads.
Wanted to love the POC system for DH, but they seem a little light on protection but I love the fit... VPD 2.0 has been good, but they have trouble staying put... TLD slips down too... Leatt 3df 5.0 seem good, but the lycra wants to let them spin around.. still looking..
  • + 5
 ^this. never tried a pair of elbow pads that fit well
  • + 2
 I like elbow pads from Dianese. They fit well and perform well too.
  • + 2
 Classic Roach 1pc. forearm and elbow pads. The only ones that have ever fit and stay in place in a crash. Love'em
  • + 1
 Fox Launch work well and are comfortable.
  • + 1
 @woofer2609: Hell yeah dude. Do you mean the old all-fabric and padding ones? I still have a set somewhere and I also have the knee/shins in brown. I sold the DH trousers to a collector on Ebay years ago....


Actually I saw the pic you have up. Mine don't have the red highlights - sick.
  • + 2
 Kinda hard to do a review like that when all of those products are fit dependent and will work differently on different people.
  • + 1
 Try ixs hack evo, I have their knee and elbow pads and they are very good. Two traps and shaped so they don’t move around
  • + 1
 Best of the bunch?

What about a cup/jock? Boost spacing. . . enduro. . .
  • + 10
 Leatt DBX 3.0 Enduro v.2
  • + 6
 Spot on. I'm amazed we have here totally old-school (protection wise) plain styrofoam helmets, with no mention of companies that actually innovate in this area, like Leatt, Kali and the like. Disappointing.
  • + 8
 No Kali? They were the stand out helmet company for me this year. Safety matters.
  • + 1
 Kali didnt do anything new or innovative this year, there are plenty more helmets I would put up before them
  • + 8
 Plus they still look kind of goofy and everyone knows mountain bikers only really care about looking cool
  • + 7
 Little confused about that as well, their technology seems to be the most advanced.
  • + 3
 @flowmotiontours: Their QC blows. Maybe it's changed, but a few years ago I saw three helmets off the shelf at an LBS with off center mouthpieces. My knee pads cracked without a crash, and were replaced for warranty. I'm steering clear of Kali in the future.
  • + 8
 Is the Bell Super DH even available yet?
  • + 15
 No. 2017 award for a product available January 2018.
www.bellhelmets.com/cycling/helmets/dirt/super-dh-mips
  • + 7
 @BBrook: I'm not sure whether to upvote for irony or downvote for ineligibility.
  • + 1
 Has the review even been published yet? If so, i missed it.
  • + 1
 @BBrook: PB staff: "Trust us guys, game changer, seriously. You kind of have to because none of you have seen one in person. Good times."
  • + 1
 @OriginalDonk: Yep - product of the year goes to something no one can buy yet.
  • + 3
 Better knee pads: those that slide when you crash instead of grabbing the ground, getting pulled out of the way, and exposing your knee to damage during anything more than a slow-speed crash. Also, VPD, SAS-Tec, D3O... is anyone else noticing how poorly they absorb impact when it's cold out? And how heavy/dense they are? I'm off the Kool-Aid... loving the Leatt Enduro knees. IXS Dagger also good. POC Bone are awesome for park/shuttle/DH. I'm just surprised that such a non-functional design got nominated for product of the year... I would think that this nomination was reserved for more universally appreciated and/or innovative products. Not a product that doesn't work for so many...
  • + 3
 "It's taken a long time but Bell has finally answered many riders demands – a 2in1 helmet with a removable chin bar that simply looks like a normal mountain bike helmet, instead of something that appears to have been designed purposely to make people laugh at you."

Haha so true. The Super 2R/3R and Met Parachute look goofy as hell compared to the Proframe, Switchblade and Bell Super DH.
  • + 3
 I rocked the full-face MET Parachute full time for 2017 even in 30+ weather and XC trails - can't say it was always the most comfortable on crazy hot days, but I never regretted it. Tried on the Proframe in-store and initial impressions are that it could offer even more protection with even better airflow. If that's the case, I want one....so, can't wait until I break my Parachute? I guess? Knock on wood?
  • + 2
 Bought a Fox Proframe as I thought it is an awesome idea. It looks great in the pics BUT........when it arrived I realised that its bloody massive, I looked like "Darth Helmet" from Spaceballs. Sent it back and got an IXS XACT for half the price which looks way better.
  • + 3
 I bought one too, its massive compared to my MET Parachute!
  • + 1
 Guess it's the pads for the win since the Bell won't be available until January and the Proframe has issues not addressed publically.
FWIW. Got the proframe when first introduced after a violent crash on the previous helmet that cracked the chin bar. Pro's: It feels solid while on the light side and plenty of airflow. Cons: allows bugs of any size entry to your mouth and head; came out of the box with the retaining Velcro circles at the lower back of the helmet torn off from the foam, which had to be reapplied with glue; the top center retainer of the visor has to be constantly pushed back into the helmet; lastly the chin strap constantly has to be retightened and loosens on its own. The rubber band does nothing to help it. I contacted fox via email with pictures of helmet flaws and receipt and have yet to here from them and, honestly just gave up.
Good Luck POC!
  • + 2
 I'm not sure if it should necessarily win, but my god am I glad that the Super DH actually makes me want to have the chin bar installed as opposed to the terrible styling of the other Bell models
  • + 4
 Proframe? Looks cool but im no wearing one. 8ve seen what happens in testing those. Super dh ftw.
  • + 2
 Five Ten Freerider EPS High? Finally a shoe for inclement weather that keeps your foot dry and warm for those who don't ride clips.
  • + 3
 Only IXS Kneepads for me. Try them
  • + 1
 I went from the POC Joint VPDs to IXS Flows. No comparison in comfort, the POC pads are easily the most comfortable kneepads I've ever worn. They also have very thin padding, so if it's rocky I'd be on the flows every time. Ideally I'd have kept both because damn those POCs are comfy.
  • + 1
 I tried on the POC VPD and wanted to love them like I love my POC helmet, but I thought they were uncomfortable. I went with the IXS Flows as well.
  • + 1
 @Levelheadsteve: They've got shitloads of products with the word VPD in their name, including all of their kneepads. "POC VPD" means nothing.
  • + 2
 @AgrAde: @Levelheadsteve Flows are not very protective. For me, all it takes is one crash at moderate speed around a corner, where the pad moves out of the way, tears, and my knee gets hurt. I wouldn't call them protective for hardpack or rocky terrain. Maybe more protective than VPD Air, but barely. But certainly comfortable. Just not enough pad for me.
  • + 1
 @erikkellison: I'm definitely happy with my flows for trail riding. They're tight, the padding has reasonable coverage and they stay put in a crash. I love the strap being at the bottom.

If I was after a DH pad I'd choose their other one with two straps and side protection.
  • + 1
 @AgrAde: VPD Air.
  • + 2
 Seems like a slow year in the bike industry. Cant say there is a game changer item out of the 2 categories that are posted.
  • + 0
 uhh internal gearbox?
  • + 3
 @otto99: One its not new... and 2 its not in either of the categories that are posted.
  • - 1
 @Squamishboz: ya but you said it's been a slow year which it hasn't.
  • - 1
 @Squamishboz: plus new evoke innovations
  • + 0
 Too much focus on BOOST and other "innovations" that are making us replace stuff without actually improving anything tangible...
  • + 2
 Look more carefully. There are many new pumps on the market...
  • + 2
 Endura MT500 II jacket? Super breathable. Designed for biking. Not stupid expensive like a lot of recently reviewed options.
  • + 2
 Sorry, I really dig styling of some of Bell's products, but the color schemes are for the most part fugly.
  • + 1
 New Super DH still has the giant mushroom look without the chin-bar... and the old Super 2R looks fine with the chin-bar. So, apart from the better DH certification, meh...
  • + 5
 I disagree with the old super2r part. Thing looks pretty goofy. Switchblade or a fullface, nothing else.
  • + 1
 after getting a bell super 2 the fit of the helmet is so poor i cant wait till i smash my head into the ground with it to justify replacing it. With the poorly designed retention system in order to keep it on my head I have to keep it so tight to my head that it gives me headaches as well as I had to reinforce the stupid restraint height adjust thing in the back with twist ties since the detents on it aren't strong enough to keep in in place from just even a little trail chatter. I think i'm going to pass on any bell convertible helmets (even though I love my switchblade)
  • + 3
 @vtracer: or smash your head on the ground with no helmet ,change your head shape to a regular
  • + 1
 Isn't the only reason the 2R didn't get the DH cert because it has so many air vents?
  • - 2
 the fox helmet is pointless. where is the point of a removable chin bar in a helmet that doesn't offer the ventilation of a half shell like the met parachute. the knee pads offer no side protection and no Velcro straps means fitment sucks.
  • + 1
 It's not a removable chinbar so it isn't a compromise on protection...
  • + 1
 That new Bell helmet does have me intrigued but so does the Giro Switchblade.
  • + 1
 I've used the POC Joint VPD knee pads a few times. They've made my knees hurt after riding. Not fun.
  • + 2
 What, no Trojan XXL ribbed for her pleasure?!!
  • + 2
 @otto99 Except nobody uses lbs outside of North America
  • - 8
flag otto99 (Dec 4, 2017 at 16:31) (Below Threshold)
 Ya but North America is the only one that matters
  • + 1
 POC knee pads sound Great! Hope I win some!
  • + 0
 Bell for sure! The fox Proframe no way! you’ll swallow rocks looking like a cosmonaut on your way down the trail.
  • + 1
 What about Alpinestars Products?!?!?!
  • + 1
 Seriously, Dainese Trail Skins 2 are the game changer.
  • + 1
 Fox proframe is amazingly comfortable for me. Best full face ever
  • + 0
 Proframe helmet pretty much made the removable chinbar obsolete.
  • + 1
 Fox Proframe helmet
  • + 0
 They need to make knee pads for fat guys legs..
  • + 1
 Nominate this
  • + 1
 Nice Helmets. Both.
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