Specialized Dissident full-face helmet
Specialized's brand new Dissident helmet employs a carbon matrix shell that keeps the weight down to a cool 1000 grams, making it one of the lightest full-face helmets on the market that also carries a ASTM DH certification. Thirteen forward facing vents (including the two small channels above the goggle opening
) and seven exhaust openings at the rear of the helmet are combined with internal channels to create air flow, with each large opening covered by sturdy wire mesh. Inside you'll find completely removable padding that allows you to wash the stink out, as well as clever designed-in channels for headphone wires. As if the carbon helmet's bling factor wasn't high enough already, Specialized has spec'd titanium D-ring buckles on the chin strap as well. The Dissident is also the first mountain bike specific helmet to be compatible with Shock Doctor's novel helmet Eject removal system. An air intake connector is positioned discreetly at the rear of the helmet for an EMT to connect an air device, allowing an extremely thin air bag between the head and helmet shell to be inflated. This slowly pushes the helmet off of the rider with minimal movement to the neck, helping to reduce the chance of further injury from having to pull the helmet off. The helmet Eject kit
doesn't come stock with the helmet, but it can be purchased online for about $60 USD and easily installed. On top of the usual certifications, it also carries a ASTM DH rating that means that its chin bar has been rated to take hard impacts without deflecting too much. Two colour options are available: DragBoat black (shown below
) or Team Carbon, and sizes include small, medium, and large options. MSRP $350 USD. www.specialized.com
The Dissident a light, comfortable, and is compatible with the novel Helmet EJECT system.
|Thankfully, we haven't needed to test the Dissident's helmet Eject feature, but the system has been proven in motocross and other auto sports for years now. We did wear the carbon shelled helmet quite a bit and were very impressed with its comfort, though, with no hard spots or strange discomfort to report. Fit is always a very subjective thing, of course, but we were pleased with its comfort regardless. The medium sized helmet's fit is a touch snug compared to some other lids, even when broken in, but we'd still say that it is very agreeable. That cozy feel plays a part in how stable the Dissident is when getting rattled around on rough terrain - there was zero shifting of the helmet on our heads when in use. Despite a lot of talk about the helmet's impressive venting, we never really found it to be cooler than any other full-face out there, but certainly no hotter either. The Dissident weighed in at 1007 grams on our scale, but it is the helmets comfort that puts it at the top of our list when talking about full-face lids. The helmet Eject system compatibility also scores it major points. Factor in its $350 USD asking price, which is quite a bit less than some other carbon fiber helmets, and we'd say that the Dissident is a winner. - Mike Levy|
Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Fizz tablets
Anyone who is prone to cramping should pay attention because these small tablets are intended to prevent that horrible sensation of your muscles locking up, a feeling that can quickly have you writhing on the ground in pain. Sodium and potassium are only part of the picture when it comes to limiting the chance of cramping, with electrolytes also playing a large roll. Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Fizz tablets have been designed to provide a substantial amount of those all-important electrolytes in a concentrated form that surpasses what an energy drink can offer, but without the ingredients that your body receives from other fuels - each tab contains just ten calories and roughly a single gram of carbohydrates. Drop the dissolving effervescent tablets, one or two per bottle, into your water and drink on a regular basis throughout the ride. Available flavours include grape, peach, lemon-lime, grapefruit, mango, and an un-flavoured option for those who prefer a no taste. Each tube contains thirteen tablets and retails for $4.95 USD. www.hammernutrition.com
Prone to cramping? These tablets are the answer.
|We were first introduced to Endurolytes Fizz tablets a bit too late - we were already cramping hard when a friend suggested that we drop some of her tablets into a bottle. While rescue was a few hours too late at that point, we made sure to pick some Endurolytes Fizz tablet for down the road. No, these are not nearly as interesting as shiny new bike components, but we have to say that it was likely the best money we've spent in quite awhile. After years of struggling to stop, or at least limit cramping (including drinking insane amounts of water, other supplements, and voodoo remedies), these small tabs are the only thing that we've found to be effective. We use them on nearly every ride that lasts more than a few hours, and we're convinced that they have been a huge blessing - we haven't had the slightest twinge of a cramp since, even on cross-country rides lasting over five hours. While we are huge fans of Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Fizz tablets, we also know that the majority of riders out there aren't as prone to cramping as we are. If that's you, count yourself lucky. But if you're like us and have ended laying on the ground in pain, we wholly recommend giving these small fizzy tablets a try. - Mike Levy|
Five Ten Freerider Pro Danny Macaskill shoe
Five Ten's newest signature mountain bike shoe is based on their popular Freerider offering, sporting a casual look that won't have people staring at your feet if you wear them out with your normal, non-cycling friends. Despite their leisurely appearance, the black and blue kicks do sport some features aimed at keeping your feel feet safe while riding: a sturdy TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane
) toe cup adds protection up front, and a TPR (thermal plastic rubber
) heel cup performs the same job out back. The soles are stiffer than what is found on some of Five Ten's other offerings, and they've added foam cushioning and an under-the-ankle cuff to the build. The uppers are manufactured with leather, and the lace holes employ metal reinforcement rings to keep them from pulling through down the road. The sole is, of course, Five Ten's sticky Stealth rubber. Men's sizes run from 2US (33EU
) to 15US (49.5
) in half size jumps, and a women's version is offered in 3.5US (33EU
) to 11US (42.5EU
) in half size increments. MSRP $134.95 USD. www.fiveten.com
Lighter than the popular Impact, the Freerider Pros are comfortable and stand up to abuse.
|Our Freerider Pro shoes have seen a lot of miles due to us running platform pedals on some of our all-mountain bikes, meaning that they have likely been put through far more abuse in the longrun than if we were using them solely for shuttle runs on the downhill bike. It is for this reason that we've become fans for the slightly stiffer than average sole that Five Ten has utilized, helping to prevent our feet from flexing over the pedals too much during long rides. They feel every bit as sticky as any other Stealth rubber equipped shoe despite that moderately more rigid sole, meaning that we never found ourselves wishing for more traction. They have also stood up quite well, not showing much wear from crank rub (our wonky ankles make for an odd foot position on the pedals, inflicting more crank rub than usual), and the stitching has proven to be robust enough to not be a concern. Sizing also feels spot-on, with our 10.5US feet fitting just right in the 10.5 Freerider Pro shoes. We like the fact that they are a lighter option than the burlier Impact Low model, but our only wish would be to see the mid-weight Freerider Pro feature a raised protective section that covers the inside of the ankle bone. At $134.95 USD, they are not inexpensive, but worth the money of you don't clip-in and are looking for a middleweight shoe. - Mike Levy|