Knog's Blinder Arc 5.5 puts down massive quantities of light, and it is only 100mm long and 32mm wide, so it functions well as a head lamp. A polycarbonate helmet mount fits the included 25mm handlebar clamp.
|Knog kicked a game winner with the Blinder Arc 5.5. The beam pattern is wide enough to keep the corners in sight when the light is handlebar mounted and to provide ample peripheral vision. For moderate paced trail riding, one unit is more than sufficient. For high-speed work, one on the helmet and one on the bars could provide enough illumination to allow most riders to forego the purchase of a mega-buck high-output system. Internal electronics keep the light output steady and provide an illuminated 'fuel gauge' in case you need a mid-ride status report. High and mid-beam run times matched Knog's published numbers and topping off the charge after most rides rarely took more than an hour or three. The size and shape of the Blinder Arc make it easy to stash in about any pocket or pack, and with its silicone gripper, the Arc 5.5 makes an excellent flashlight. The one downer we found was that the straps included for mounting the Blinder Arc's helmet mount are too simplistic. Once the powerful hook and loop ties are in place, they hold the lamp securely, but without a buckle to help tension the straps, mounting the carrier can be a hellish task. That said, the Blinder Arc 5.5 is a well made and powerful light for those searching for a lot of illumination from a compact and versatile package. - RC|
We liked Kali's original Hasta glove and the new version proved to be equally comfortable and functional. Those who prefer gloves without padded palms will like it.
|Kali's Hasta glove is a straight-forward design that puts in a good performance for riders who want a reasonable measure of protection and an unencumbered feel at the controls. Most of us at Pinkbike prefer gloves without palm padding and external armor, but it is nice to know that after bashing through Southern California's nasty underbrush, that the new gloves from Kali have not been perforated. Initially, the thumbs felt a bit tight, but they took a shape after a few rides and became quite comfortable. My hands are average for medium gloves and they fit comfortably snug, with a little room left in the fingertips. The gripper fingertips do a reasonably good job of operating a touch screen and feel good on the brake levers in wet and dry conditions. Durability is well above average - with a no holes or tears after three winter months of riding. There are a lot of gloves to choose from - some very good, some not so good. Kali's Hasta gloves definitely belong in the very good column. - RC|
An extra row of transition blocks was added to give more consistency to the SE4's cornering performance. The difference can be felt immediately, as can the angled center tread, which rolls surprisingly fast.
|We ran the SE4 Team Issue tires mounted tubeless on Bontrager Rhythm Pro wheels at 30psi in the rear and 28psi up front. The tires fit tightly on the rims and aired up easily with a floor pump. As mentioned, the outer diameter measured 29.25 inches (743mm) and the tire at its widest point was 2.25 inches (57.2mm) which was plenty wide, as the cornering blocks of the tire are large and aggressively spaced. Bontrager says that the SE4 tread performs best in rocky and loose soil, or in loamy conditions, but its performance graph clearly shows that it is an all-around performer, which we agree with. For comparison, they handle much like the Schwalbe Hans Dampf. The SE4 tread stops on a dime and claws its way up technical climbs with relative ease. The only situation where we were caught out with the SE4 tires was on rock-hard dirt, where the edging tread tended to drift a bit and was occasionally reluctant to get out of deep ruts. When the tires did slide, though, it was a very controllable feel. At 1010 grams and stretched over a big 29er wheel, the SE4 Team tires feel a bit sluggish under acceleration, but the angled center blocks and a surprising amount of suppleness in the casing, allow the tire to roll effortlessly and to maintain speed. The key to the tire's low rolling resistance can be attributed to its 'Core Strength' casing design that features three anti-puncture layers of a thin, tough fabric: one on each sidewall, and a central strip beneath the tread. There is about a 12-millimeter space left between the tread and sidewall reinforcements which allows the casing to easily deflect over trail irregularities like a lighter weight single-ply tire would. The blend of the reinforced sidewall and supple upper casing gives the SE4 tire the secure feel of a DH tire in hard corners and for off-angle landings, but with the straight-line speed of an XC/trail tire - and that pretty much sums up what is good about Bontrager's new Enduro tire. - RC|
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