Pinkbike Product Picks

Jan 31, 2014
by Jordan Carr  
SOL Escape bivvy

Being prepared in the backcountry is something many riders often neglect, despite the fact that one wrong move on a sketchy section of trail could leave them injured and far from civilization. However, there are some small items can help make a night stranded in the wilderness survivable, and possibly even comfortable. The SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) Escape bivvy is a great lightweight piece of survival gear that can be stashed discretely at the bottom of your pack, ready to be pulled out when things go from bad to worse. SOL says that its proprietary ultralight fabric traps heat in but also allows moisture to escape, while the shell shields you from rain, snow, and wind. Waterproof seams paired with a drawstring hood closure and side zip system mean you can seal out the elements entirely. The high-visibility orange exterior makes it easy for rescuers to spot you, even in areas with dense tree cover, thereby drastically increasing your chance of survival. At 241 grams, the Escape bivvy is light enough to live in your pack while being relatively unnoticeable on a daily basis. And although it's not something you hopefully need to use often, it could be the one piece of equipment that will make a survival situation much more feasible. MSRP: $50 USD www.adventuremedicalkits.com

The Escape bivvy packs down to a size a little larger than a water bottle. The reflective interior throws back one's body heat inward while expelling moisture outward away from the body.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes No, it's not a glamorous piece of equipment, but the SOL Escape bivvy is an item that could make a miserable survival situation much more tolerable. After hundreds of big rides, we can say that we've rarely been stranded on the trail. But our preparedness and rarely used survival kit are two key items that allowed for a calm, relatively comfortable night sleeping in the dirt. Rolling up to the size of a soda can, the Escape's ultra light weight makes it a great addition to any backcountry enthusiast's pack, and it's nearly unnoticeable once packed. Having said that, we usually reserve it for big rides that take us far from home, rather than carry it with our everyday gear. Being prepared for the worst could be the difference between life and death, and the SOL Escape will keep you warm and dry even in the worst of conditions. - Jordan Carr




Boombotix Boombot Rex speaker

For some, music is a required part of any activity, and having a portable speaker that can go along almost anywhere is what makes the Boombotix Boombot Rex portable speaker a nice addition to the gear bag. Pairing with nearly any electronic audio device, the Boombotix Rex can be used with either Bluetooth or hardwired in using the included audio cable. Recharging is done via a simple USB cable, and it charges completely within about one hour from a standard laptop. A sleek clip on the rear of the speaker allows it to be fastened to almost anything; pockets, packs, vehicle sun visors, you name it. Boombotix also offers a 1-year no questions asked warranty, just to make sure you use the speakers along with every activity you do. Additional accessories include a $40 USD bike mount that sits on the handlebar. Colors include limited edition tigerwood (shown), brushed aluminum, white, green, blue, and pitch black. MSRP: $120 USD www.boombotix.com

The Boombot Rex's small size make it super portable for great sound quality no matter where you are. It offers full compatibility via Bluetooth and audio outputs, and volume and tracks can be adjusted via your device or on the speaker itself.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes Probably not a riding accessory for everyone, the Boombot Rex is a speaker we found ourselves using a lot around the house and traveling rather than when actually riding - do you know any mountain bikers who would mount it to their handlebar? Us neither. Pairing the Rex with our phone or laptop provides much higher quality sound than the built-in speakers in either device, and we found the Bluetooth technology to be easy to connect to any device and consistent, even when we moved the speaker or device twenty meters away. Using the Boombot Rex while traveling gave us great quality sound in almost any space. We used it everywhere from hotel rooms to hut trips, and it has survived many travels when stuffed in the bottom of a bag. This ultra portable speaker is also extremely resilient - it survived a few accidental drops on concrete and trips into snow banks with no damage to the speaker's functionality. If you are a music junkie and need decent quality sound wherever you are, the Boombotix Boombot Rex is a great purchase. - Jordan Carr




iXS Carve knee guards

iXS's Carve knee guards are part of the Swiss company's gravity collection, intended for any time there's the chance of a solid impact with the ground, a tree, or some other unforgiving object. They extend slightly below the knee, with the bulk of the protection provided by iXS's X-Matter slow rebounding open cell foam, which is designed to provide a high level of impact absorption while still remaining flexible enough for unencumbered pedaling. There is also padding on each side of the knee, although this padding is made from the more traditional foam rather than X-Matter. The Carve is a slide on type guard, with a hook and loop strap at the top and bottom to secure each one into place. A silicone strip at the top is intended to keep them from slipping down, and a stretchy mesh back panel helps with ventilation. Sizes: S, M, L, XL. MSRP: $95.95 USD. www.ixs-sportsdivision.com

iXS's Carve knee guards worked best for bike park and shuttle assisted riding.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesMost of our time with the Carve knee guards was spent in the bike park or on shuttle rides, and in these situations the pads worked well, remaining securely in place and offering enough protection for all but the most brutal of wrecks. Luckily, we didn't have too many hard bails while wearing them, but they definitely saved our skin more then once. Whether it was coming in a little too hot and laying it down in a corner, or slipping a pedal and smacking the stem or bars, the Carve knee guards certainly earned their keep. We did take them out for a few rides that had longer, seated pedalling sections in between the downhills, but found that they would occasionally chafe at the back of the knee due to the back panel material bunching up and rubbing. For this reason, and due to their slightly bulkier cut, they work best on rides with minimal seated pedaling, or you could always slide them down or stash them in a pack until the next downhill portion of trail. As far as overall durability goes, the knee guards have held up well, without any major rips or blowouts. There is some abrasion at the top section, just above the the main pad, where the lower portion of the hook and loop closure has been rubbing the fabric below it. It's a minor detail, but if the closure's material was less rigid this abrasion and wear wouldn't happen. It would also be nice if there was a way to take the pads on and off without removing our shoes, but since they seemed to be best suited for bike park laps this isn't as much of an issue as it would be for a more trail riding oriented knee guard. - Mike Kazimer








116 Comments

  • 100 9
 It's not just my eyes right, but 2 of the 3 products are not really mountain bike specific?

I was thinking of getting a new frying pan for camping trips, could you review those next please?

Smile
  • 215 1
 Fox are already ahead of the game with there Kashima non stick pans.
  • 26 2
 They are a bit 'buttery'; any low cal versions?
  • 13 21
flag XCNewfie (Jan 31, 2014 at 4:10) (Below Threshold)
 Marzocchi has their nickel plated non stick pans. Pretty low cal. Razz
  • 16 3
 I have a new jock strap.....lets review this
  • 29 5
 ..and none of them is enduro specific..c'mon, pinkbike! what's wrong with you?!
  • 11 1
 I kinda like this set...
  • 9 5
 I agree with dglass... if i'm out chillen all day in the mountains i bring my speaker for the top of the climb..
  • 14 2
 I don't think speakers belong on the trail. Maybe while building. But wear headphones if you are riding. I do like seeing a more broad variety of products though.
  • 7 0
 Maybe is you just ride the park or trail centres, the bivvy is no use, but outback and beyond, then it's useful thing to have in case of emergencies. I agree though, speaker??!
  • 5 5
 The problem with headphones is you can't here what's going on around you, like a faster rider trying to pass or cars on the road. If you are riding with speakers you can still here what's going on around you as well as your music.
  • 15 0
 other people can hear your music as well... in some cases that's rather unfortunate, I prefer to hear the environment over some dudes skrillex, seether or lady gaga.....
  • 6 0
 Finnrambo makes the best argument for silence and shutting off your i crap
  • 1 0
 hahahaha @mountainbiker929 if you need to hear riders behind you or cars maybe you shouldn't listen to speakers either??? I understand you're point but I still think it is quite silly. You could also ride with headphones turned down to hear other things around you.
  • 1 0
 I agree...I never listen to music while I ride, speakers or not. I find music distracting and I think it detracts from the experience of being in the woods, but if someone is listening to music I would rather the be able to hear me trying to pass :-)
  • 4 0
 theres anything more annoying than being in the mountain next to a guy with his speakers in full volume?
Please Pinkbike dont give them any other ideas
  • 2 0
 Headphones cool to ride with at a reasonable volume just not a busy trail.
  • 7 0
 Shame on pinkbike for making people feel like its ok to blast their music on the trails, its so shitty that some people think that's ok.
  • 1 0
 I have the IXS pads, ditto on the review including the concern about the velcro/hook and loop making a mess of the fabric at the top of the pads. Other than that... comfort outta the bag, best for bike park laps, five chillies
  • 50 3
 spring is coming. please review bird feeders, garden hoses, and lawn mowers
  • 42 2
 I would like to see an Enduro specific BBQ grill reviewed. I've gotten along just fine with campfires but campfires are not Enduro specific.
  • 10 0
 You know what else is not Enduro? Hikers. Hikers are not Enduro. Also Matt Damon... not endruo. Brats and cold beverages? Yes. Enduro.
  • 3 0
 ...and how about a good post enduro hot tub, I don't know which one to bring with me.
  • 1 0
 see it's really funny to me how at least one "enduro specific" comment is posted on almost everything, and it's almost like there's a 50/50 shot of them getting crazily negged or well propped.
  • 26 0
 They should review a pole that could be used to clothesline riders who go down the trail with a speaker mounted to their bikes.
  • 6 2
 yeah wear headphones if you need music.
  • 10 1
 I hate it when people bring portable speakers to a ride. For me it's about getting out into nature and getting away from the noise / chaos of the city. If I want to hear anything disrupt this, it's the sound of the branches, rocks, and loam as I cruise by. When I hear someone blasting music on the trail, it's noise pollution. And I say that even if I like the song. If your playing music at your car before / after your ride, go ahead. If you've got headphones on, that's your thing. But, PLEASE don't bring speakers out on a ride.

And Pinkbike, please don't encourage this behavior.
  • 1 0
 Amen MrPink51
  • 4 1
 I bought a pair of the ics carve last summer.I rode about about 400 miles of xc and am with them. They are very comfortable, never chaffed and I forgot they were on most of the time. Way better better than my fox launch pros. Even worked well over top of thermal winter tights. awesome
  • 1 0
 Are they really worth $100 though?
  • 1 0
 I only paid 60 at cove bike shop.Smile My knees are priceless, I can't afford not to take care of them.
  • 2 0
 I'm recovering from a bail that split my patella into 3 seperate bits- assuming i get to ride again, any knee-guars news is of interest. @reelchef67, are you a skinny or beefy knee type? I'm the latter and would like to find something good for hella pedalling. Thx!
  • 1 0
 Im a beefy knee type. i have "thick" legs..
  • 4 0
 Riding alone in the back country is fun, but have a scape plan just in case...always let someone know your ride plan. I carry a 1st aid kit w/ space blanket and a small lighter.
  • 2 0
 I own the carves and they are okay comfort wise. I've worn them from 1 to 4 hour ride with few problems. Occasionally I notice them but not much and not when the trail becomes more involving. Mid shin up is covered and knees are surrounded and is this regard they are more comfortable than others of a similar protection level I have tried and they still look good and clean up easy.
  • 4 2
 my boombot rex is the the best i take it riding, snowboarding, and out to the park or the tail gate party. ive totally destroyed mine on a dh run sent to to boombotix with a picture and they fixed it no problem. cant say enough good things about this speaker and company.
  • 2 14
flag cmacboombotix (Jan 31, 2014 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 yea you really took advantage of that warranty policy...
  • 12 1
 Cmaxboombotix, you just took a comment that made your company look good and made your company look awful posting a negative reply about him getting it warrantied. Ya you warrentied it, but now we all know you are chaffed about it. Great Job. PS You are VP of Marketing! WTF!
  • 1 0
 boombotix.com/support/warranty ...It's your own Policy, you even ''strongly encouraged'' people to to post Pictures, video, and/or a good story. So stop whining!
  • 1 0
 WOW, guess they don't know not to shit where they eat. @ cmacboombotix - this guy just made me want to buy your product, your comment has just changed my mind, and negated anything good said about your company.
  • 1 0
 Ha, should have posted pics! Facebones is a true brand ambassador, and I'd fix/replace his speaker once a week for the next year with a smile. Didnt mean for y'all to think it was and offensive comment!
  • 3 1
 I rigged up another version of the Boombotix to my DH bike and rode with it all summer at the bike park. It was actually safer than earbuds, and everyone who saw it was pretty stoked. It was loud enough for myself, but not so loud it bothered other riders. The audio pickup in the video is all from the speaker.

I understand on a serene xc trail this might be annoying, but in a bike park it was right at home.

vimeo.com/51099386
  • 2 0
 You forgot to mention that Boombotix offers a 1 year no-matter-what warranty. This warranty was a huge seller for me when I purchased my own Rex speaker. You can get completely mangled and destroy your speaker and they will take care of it. They encourage a highly active lifestyle and want to hear your stories. Also, I clip this guy to my backpack shoulder strap and have had no issues with it falling off or anything. It has even seen some impact from falls and is still bumping tunes down the trail. It is the ultimate trail party machine.
  • 5 1
 Someone recommend me a comfortable, wear all day, non bulky, pedaling knee pad?
  • 2 1
 Just picked myself up a set of G-form knee pads. Super comfy but coming from bulkier DH style pads fir AM use i was a little concerned about their protection. I can now however confirm that they work. Planted my knee into a bunch of roots last weekend in a crash Im certain would have been a test for my DH pads and they absorbed the impact just fine and didn't slip or spin. Definitely recommend!
  • 5 1
 POC Joint VPD's FTW! comfy, light and can definitely take the hits... plus after a while whatever the playdough like substance inside them is called starts to mould to your knee (stretch in my case ha!)....get a pair!
  • 1 0
 The iXS Dagger. I was skeptical when they were first handed to me but they stay put, breathe, and take the hits either from a direct hit onto your knee, or a missed pedal to the shin. Also, you can still pinch the seat with ease for no handed move or bar spins. Solid price at that.
  • 1 1
 I had Gforms, crashed in Wales on slate, they ripped up and twisted around my knee, knee was cut up, pads torn to shreds, and they pinched at the back whilst pedaling. Thanks but no thanks.
  • 1 0
 Leatt 3DF are really comfy for long pedalling spins and a great fit: factoryjackson.com/2013/07/07/review-leatt-3df-knee-guards/#.Uutw2_l_sm8
  • 2 1
 If gforms arent that good then (ive only tried some for about 20Mins) I run raceface ambushs, D30 pad, so it goes hard on impact, little bulky is the only problem, but superb comfort and protection, I forget I have mine on even after a 3 or 4 hour ride in them
  • 2 0
 Fox Launch Pro or Bluegrass Bobcat Knee, both not too bulky, pedal well and suitable for everything. Any less of a pad and you may-as-well well go back to Gforms.
  • 1 0
 I've been looking at the Bluegrass pads, they look great, but the reviews left on the CRC website mention the straps tearing at the ventilated material when pedalling, have you had the same problem with yours?
  • 1 0
 ive try many of these fox it too bulky and raceface are a bit too slippy for peddling all day i run 661 evo knee breathable and ive taken then on 4 hour ride with occational adjustment and their burly enough for dh racing get em their awsome
  • 1 0
 I owned the bobcat knee they were ok there a bit bulky around the knee I crashed in them and they slipped around resulting in my knee hitting the floor straps never tore though.
  • 3 0
 These are the ones that iXS makes specifically for trail: www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/ixs-flow-knee-pads-2014/rp-prod88347 For what it's worth, Vital reviewed these, and said they were so good that they used them for full on DH. I was going to buy these, but one of the new pieces of Dianese gear for this year look like the same idea, but more comfortable, So I'm trying to wait and check those out first. www.dainese.com/us_en/multisport-summer/trail-skins-knee-guard.html?cat=104&subcat=112
  • 3 0
 I a huge fan of the TLD's. Super comfortable, no chaffing, and they stay put when I crash. From longer trail rides to the bike Park I honestly forget I'm wearing them when I'm riding.
  • 1 0
 GForms are OK for a very specific body type… Long and lean. I'm no muscle-bound weight lifter, but yet the XL knees were super tight on thighs but very loose (meaning will bunch and chaff) behind the knee.

I love my d3o 661 knees. Wear them for every kind of riding. A tad bulky for long pedally rides, but they stay in place well as, at least on me, they sit right on top of the larges part of my calf muscles and don't move.
  • 1 0
 agreed and there not badly priced
  • 2 0
 pads are objective, try g form, 661 d3o, fox launch on poc vpd, you'll like at least one of those
  • 1 0
 I'm actually really glad you guys reviewed the SOL bivy. I didn't know you could get an emergency bivy that actually allows water vapor out (short of spending $150+ on a bivy sack). I have the cheap mylar kind, and I'm sure if I spent a night in that I'd be soaked in the morning.
  • 2 1
 i've been looking for a durable speaker with a clip. when i'm doing jumps and sessioning, i like having music playing. something that could attach to my camelbak is awesome. will buy.
  • 1 0
 Do it. I have had a couple of boombots and they clip perfect on the chest strap of my dakine bag. Take it with me every time.
  • 3 0
 Can vouch. Only if he picked better music though!!!
  • 1 1
 U wot m8? It was hip hop day!! We'll do some Devo next time you roll thru!!
  • 2 0
 If you need a good speaker my UE Boom has been amazing. It's super loud & takes a beating. Just don't get a Beats Pill. Same price & it's crap.
  • 2 0
 Outdoor tech turtle shell is way more tots than that speaker, they even have a handlebar mount for the odt! Imo
  • 2 0
 I think a a Coleman Emergency Blanket would be a cheaper and lighter alternative compared to the SOL bag
  • 3 0
 Any generic mylar blanket will be cheaper but they won't be high vis orange on the outside nor will they be bags you climb into. Try keeping a mylar blanket wrapped around yourself in any sort of wind and keep any heat inside.
  • 3 0
 The SOL bag is also made to be much more durable and reusable compared to an emergency blanket.
  • 3 0
 what's the speaker and phone have to do with biking?
  • 4 0
 sometimes my investment banker needs to get ahold of me during rides. buy buy buy! sell sell sell!
  • 1 0
 I ride solo in the woods a lot and find myself riding without earbuds for fear of wild animal attack. Instead I ride with a playlist on speaker. One step up from a bear bell I guess. Plus I get my own shred soundtrack. I also stop and take lots of trail photos. Sometimes I even record a strava section or two. Not to mention the option to call for help. Not sure if I'd upgrade to a speaker but so far I haven't surprised any animals or been left in the lurch. I treat my phone as a piece I usually don't ride without.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter - LOL, that's what I yell at people when they are on the phone out on the trail. Seriously man, the call can wait. Enjoy the ride and call them back later.
  • 11 10
 Magazines test what is provided for them to test, if you don't like it, BUY stuff for the magazine test with your own money. Otherwise STFU.
  • 2 0
 I actually like this weeks picks, nice to see something different that CAN be associated with biking
  • 3 0
 Who the f*ck is gonna ride around with speakers on their bars?
  • 2 1
 if you bring your loud speaker on the trail Be prepared if you come across me as I will rage and deliver a flying elbow the likes of Jimmy superfly snukka
  • 1 0
 I have the Bombbot Rex and it sound great! Just know if you have a black berry you can control the vol from the phone. The vol control does work on the base model speaker.
  • 3 1
 rock and roll with the BOMBOTIX!!!!
  • 1 0
 SOL makes a much smaller "emergency" bivvy, why choose this giant bivvy to include in the Product picks?
  • 1 0
 Probably because that's what was given them for free. Unless I buying it for actually backpacking in as well, can't see myself using anything more than a cheap survival blanket.
  • 2 1
 Is PB turning into the online equivalent of Mountain Bike Action (the magazine) by chance, with these reviews?
  • 4 1
 We review everything for everyone and if you don't see something you like this week, there is always next week, or the one after. What would you like to see in here - give me 2-3 examples?
  • 2 1
 more chicks....and beer
  • 2 1
 im with dr, i think ive seen one product pic where there was one thing in it that slightly caught my interest in the last couple of years.. most of the other stuff ive never even heard of / knew it existed.
  • 1 1
 - Jumpman - What is your style of riding then?
  • 4 1
 dh, street, and a little bit of djs.

eventually id like to build a trail bike and get back out on it (i just used to ride single track on my dj). im a no frills, less is better/more kinda guy.

i know its been mentioned before, although it wouldnt fit under pb product pics.. but what if you did back to back testing for stuff (forks, shocks, helmets, other proctective stuff, etc). i rarely ever see that now a days and its always nice to see something like that. i dont ever get to ride other bikes or try out any other parts, other than what ive already got.. youre going to laugh at me, but i just rode a niner for the first time less than a week ago.
  • 2 1
 so you'd rather they review stuff you know all about? haha, lay off it.
  • 2 0
 it doesnt matter if ive heard of certain said company or not. its about relevance to me.. and yes, if you actually read my comment, you would have known by know that i dont get to try out anything.. other than what i own.
  • 2 0
 review the Redalp Enduro
  • 2 0
 ^ id defo read that review Smile
  • 2 0
 Please review. Emerald forkSmile
  • 2 0
 $95 for knee pads?? Seriously, who comes up with these prices??
  • 2 0
 eventually i will be in the market for pads. but when i saw that price, i thought the same as you did.
  • 1 0
 I have the bivvy, add a mummy bag and a sleeping pad and its a great combination
  • 1 1
 Does someone knows where to find some chest or bike speaker? I love ride with music
  • 1 0
 Where are the baggy shorts and flat pedals?
  • 1 0
 Who names a company SOL? Seriously!
  • 1 0
 It stands for Survive Outdoors Longer
  • 2 1
 Nobody can please pink bike users apparently
  • 1 0
 Combine the 3. Problem solved.
  • 1 1
 What about a size of that iXS Carve pads? Compared to an iPhone?
  • 2 1
 Which model iPhone, they are different sizes? How about with a more common measuring unit, such as centimetres or inches?

I suspect you could use knees as a measuring unit in this case, I'd say they cover the knees and a bit more.

(sorry I didn't get much sleep for the last 6 months) Smile
  • 1 0
 I suspect the different sizes (S, M, L XL) all come in slightly different sizes:

products.ixs-sportsdivision.com/en/mtb-gravity-selection/lower-body-armour/ixs-carve-knieschoner.html
  • 2 2
 Speakers? really? maybe among the next picks, will be disco ball.
  • 2 2
 Dumb products dumb article
  • 1 1
 Those knee guards look like crap
  • 1 1
 661?
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