Pinkbike Product Picks

Sep 14, 2012
by Brad Walton  
Teva Links shoes

Teva brings years of watersports-oriented footwear design to the bike industry with their Links shoe. Beginning with an emphasis on pedal interface, the Links Spider 365 rubber outsole has been designed to provide grip in all conditions. The outsole tread design, with it's prominent pedal pin placement, also incorporates directional, non-slip toe and heel patterns for hike-a-biking. Small functional features to the uppers include rubberized toe armor, a heel shock pad, and a rigid heel stabilizer for protection and to keep the foot centered within the shoe. To top it all off, Teva has taken their watersports expertise and made the Links highly water resistant thanks to their hydrophobic Ion-mask technology. The Links comes in black with teal accents, and includes black and teal colored laces. They are available as a regular or mid-height model (tested), and sell for $110 and $120, respectively. Sizes 3-11.5, in half sizes, as well as sizes 12, 13, 14. They are also available in a women's version. Teva

Teva Links Mid Shoe
Technical details and subtle styling make the Links Mid a great choice for those that prefer the freedom of flats.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesTeva brings a solid contender to the flat-pedal market with the stiff-shanked Links shoe. Offering more arch support than the competition for our sasquatch-sized 13's, we'll take the tradeoff of slightly less pedal feel underfoot in trade for reduced foot fatigue at the bottom of the descent. The Links narrow sole may not be fit for all feet, but again, we appreciate the comfort of less shoe overhang on the pedal. Heel stabilization is less of a concept than a reality in the Links, and several off-the-bike experiences and botched landings can attest to the benefits of a mid-height shoe. This added height comes at no cost to ample ankle mobility, and we found no discomfort riding the tall Links Mid through the heat of summer. Though the sides of the upper shoe seem mostly waterproof, the mesh toe cover area is certainly not. As for pedal traction, the Links Spider 365 rubber doesn't offer the nearly clipped-in feel of a Five Ten, but we found it to be more than adequate, and in some situations, better. Behaving more like a skate shoe (yet far grippier than basic rubber), the Links sole is easy to negotiate changes in foot placement on the pedal, and hiking traction in adverse conditions is a vast improvement over other offerings. Whereas the competition holds firm on bargain-bin pedals, Links riders will want to invest in a quality variable pin pedal. That being said, Links is more susceptible to wear based on the aggressiveness of pedal pin placement. Laces are of appropriate length and capped off at the ends with metal. Although this keeps the laces from ever fraying, riders will want to tuck in excess lace to keep the tips from audibly slapping crankarms at every rotation. Links won't meet the sure-footed standard for all riders, and may not be the best choice for competitive downhill racing, but we like the versatility that they offer for general purpose mountain bike endeavors.
- Brad Walton



Race Face Ambush knee pads

Race Face has revised their top-end, D3O-equipped Ambush knee pads with open-back construction, so now there's no shoe removal necessary. D3O shock absorbing padding allows for the pad to articulate around the knee for ease of movement, but upon hardens nearly instantly upon impact, with the molecules bonding together to disperse energy away from the knee. Perforated neoprene allows for breathability along the inner and outer sides as well, and an integrated stabilization pad centers the knee and keeps the them in place. Adjustable elastic straps at the top and bottom prevent slippage. The Ambush pads come in stealth black, and are available in sizes S-XL. MSRP: $89.99 USD Race Face

Race Face Ambush Knee Pad
While ease of use was the idea with the newest rendition of an old favorite, the Ambush pads stay true to their roots as one of the best fitting and most durable, protective knee pads we've seen. As seen on the lower right image, a total of 5 hook and loop closures per pad make sure that these won't blow off on impact.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe second coming of the Ambush's continues the legacy of superb fit and superior impact protection that we have come to love in Race Face's top end knee pad, but now with added shoe-removal-free design. The Ambush pads have already proven their durability after several seasons of injury-free wipeouts. Although the new pad design isn't quite as simple, it's much faster to put on and remove for those that still tie their shoes, and they go nearly unnoticed until called upon. Unlike some of their competitors, the Ambush pads don't dodge the bullet when it's wearer goes bouncing and sliding down the trail. Despite many crashes, the tough front material is unphased. Our favorite part of this protective armor is the padding on the inner and outer knee that protects from side impacts, especially from encounters with the top tube of the bike. Now that the Ambush pads have the convenience of leaving on our shoes, we're likely to wear them on rides we wouldn't typically even bring pads for.
- Brad Walton



Troy Lee Designs D3 CF helmet

There is no arguing that TLD's D3 helmet is seen throughout the DH scene as the go-to lid. The D3's carbon fiber shell exceeds all industry standard safety tests, and creates one of the lightest choices in full-face protection for all-day comfort. A dual-density shock pad system secures fit, while twenty high-flow intake and exhaust ports allow for ventilation. Machined titanium visor screws reduce weight and look sweet. The D3 has a removable, replaceable, and washable MX-style comfort liner with CoolMax and Dri-Lex. Quick-release cheek pads aid in emergency helmet removal. Includes a protective helmet bag and two adjustable D3 visors that allow for custom height placement. Available in a variety of color schemes from subtle to day glow. Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL. MSRP: $450 USD. Troy Lee Designs

TLD D3 CF Helmet
Carbon fiber may not be everyone's first choice for DH components, but there's nothing lighter and with as much impact protection for your head. You're going to want to use the included helmet bag to keep it in tip-top form, however.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesAlthough the paint scheme on our test D3 CF looks a bit like a sponsorship by America's favorite fast food joint, the underlying carbon fiber weave that shows through screams 'baller'. Cosmetics aside, this thing is built to spare your brain cells, and the advanced design and fit does just that. The D3 doesn't sit on your head; your head fits into the D3. Beware that when trying on the D3, fit should be tight at first. The initial fit nearly squeezed out our eyeballs, but within a few rides the cheek padding packs out to offer the most snug, movement-free fit of any DH helmet tested. Thanks to the gram-shaving carbon design, the D3 isn't much more noticeable than a standard open-face helmet either. Visibility is excellent, as is goggle compatibility. The back of the D3 extends high for plenty of freedom of movement - although we did not test the helmet with a neck brace, Whistler has been packed all season with riders rocking a D3/brace combo. The traditional D-ring buckle is about the only thing we don't like about the D3, as it takes longer than negotiating a simple snap buckle. Having said that, there's no chance of breaking a D-ring. Fortunately, we weren't able to test the impact protection that the D3 CF claims to offer, but we feel confident in knowing that the D3 has passed all the standard safety tests and is endorsed by the fastest racers on our planet.
- Brad Walton





78 Comments

  • 76 2
 Where's the everything button
  • 18 0
 Right! Last few PP have been crap, this week they have one of everything I want!
  • 11 41
flag sngltrkmnd (Sep 14, 2012 at 10:23) (Below Threshold)
 Where is the "none of these" button?
  • 7 0
 @racecase double upvote
  • 3 0
 agreed. I hope they put one in.
  • 12 14
 @sngltrkmnd are you gay or something?
  • 4 5
 @flamesrock300 Slurs and bigotry aren't welcome here.
  • 25 1
 The D3 is the most comfortable lid I've ever owned. I've got the 2012 Steve Peat replica and it's awesome. I'd recommend it to anyone.
  • 8 0
 I've got it too! Brilliant fit, superb design, love it. If I ever wreck that one, I'll definitely get another D3 (maybe another design?), no matter the price. And it's one of the few helmets in which my head fits (XXL...)
  • 6 21
flag Bullitproof (Sep 14, 2012 at 1:51) (Below Threshold)
 why not compare it to a poc? i know it costs about 2 as much but its definately a more "unique" helmet...
  • 18 9
 poc to expensive n ugly! Love the d3 n have two of them, d3 ftw...
  • 8 3
 yea poc are expencive as hell but look sick i reckon
  • 5 3
 Annnnnndddd here come all the people with comments about pic helmets are better... Yet they remain ignorant of the fact that they look stupidly plain compared to the D3 and they're more pricy for the same thing.... So with the D3 u get a sicker looking helmet for less money and get the same or better quality out of it.... That is all.
  • 5 0
 2 quite bad concussions, 2 smashed d3's. It fits so well and does not move around, I don't want to think where I'd be without it. Both helmets were unusable after the crashes but I'm still getting a third.
  • 2 0
 POC don't build a true XL (61-62) helmet yet and the Cortex last shape is more square than the D3.
  • 4 0
 pretty sure the POC lids cost about the same as the D3. Either way, I can't afford either of them!
  • 2 0
 I own 661 evo cuz I'm damn poor, but it does its job too, who needs expensive helmets
  • 2 0
 POC helmets are the safest mtb helmets available. And they cost about the same as a TLD... That's why I love my POC. Plus I think they look sick in my opinion! Even though riding isn't a beauty contest...
  • 3 0
 and to be honest, you get the mlti impact feature with poc, where as one big blow to the d3 and its an expensive wall hanger!
  • 1 0
 @bullitproof ...... U clearly came here just to put ur 2 cents on how much u like ur POC lol, d3's have "dual density" shock pad system... U can take multiple impacts, I crashed hard twice today with mine and in the past few weeks I've taken some good spills on it... Including a one foot tabletop I did on a 35 ft jump and (don't ask me how) it went to shit and I ate shit... Aside from scratches, the lid is in fine condition
  • 2 1
 Yeah but all it takes is for you to drop a carbon lid whilst holding it and its technically broken.
  • 1 0
 that's not true at all.
  • 3 0
 Actually, manufacturers would prefer you replaced your helmet from crashing in it, to dropping it. If the interior foam is compromised then the helmet isn't going to do an awful lot. unless you want the plastic/carbon acting as a cushion!
  • 2 0
 Yep as stated in the manual, the helmet is a one impact use only and to be replaced. Even my Motorsport arai is a one use only and that includes simple drops. I don't know any true helmet company that will condone multiple hits, but I recon that's to save there asses from lawsuits. Personally depending on the level of impact the lid receives, I'd most likely reuse mine after an impact.
  • 2 0
 If I replaced my lid every time I crashed, I'd be buying new ones every couple of weeks...
  • 1 0
 Well duh but that's just what the manufacturers say, there's no getting around it. That's your choice that you don't most people don't as its expensive.
  • 19 0
 I wish I could afford a d3... Frown
  • 3 1
 Get a composite one online for a clearance price ? You'll pay 300 max for it
  • 1 0
 what's the weight difference between a D3 CF and Composite? I can't find any credible numbers.
  • 7 1
 Oh wow 300, thats so cheap...?! I wish I could afford a composite one for a clearance price Frown
  • 1 0
 I paid 300 for my carbon, I'm sure you may find a composite for 200, maybe less.
  • 4 0
 I wish I could afford that too Frown
  • 1 3
 whats the point if the carbon? i got a medusa composite and have no helmet weight issues
  • 1 0
 Maybe just for looks, I like the pinstripe one, but there's honestly not much difference in weight
  • 1 0
 Only downside with carbon is dropping them technically renders them useless as whilst the carbon is strong on impacts, after one they get very weak.
  • 4 0
 The d loops are actually a lot faster to do up than a snap Buckle the d3 has a strap long enough to allow you to loosen it enough to take the helmet off with out unthreading the loops so all you need to do is pull on the strap to tighten it and it is easy to get the right tightness compared to a normal buckle! Why does no one get this!
  • 3 0
 I get it, Dirt-time...I get it Smile
  • 2 1
 Disagree. A buckle is on/off. Requires no adjustment once it's initially set.
  • 1 0
 buckle requires 2 hands d loops require one I guess it comes down to personal preference anyway but i find d loops to be a lot quicker to do than buckles and I really hope troy lee dont change this!
  • 1 0
 i also prefer D-loops. there's a reason its the only system you'll find on an mx helmet
  • 3 0
 After walking away from a crash at high speed this summer at WP Trestle and destroying a TLD Shaun Palmer in the process I picked up the D3 Carbon (yellow pinstripe). It saved my life and as a result is the only full face helmet I'll ever own. Have pictures of the Palmer in my profile gallery.
  • 4 1
 teva gave me and a buncha friends each a pair of teva shoes and i swear they will not disappoint! feet feel glued to the pedals when they need to be!
  • 12 27
flag Worm-Burner (Sep 14, 2012 at 0:18) (Below Threshold)
 No cleat, No good...there's not enough cleats in my neighbourhood....
  • 9 1
 I like the water resistance factor, my 5 10's soak up water like a sponge. After am extremely wet ride they feel much heavier, and take forever to dry unless I use the boot dryer.
  • 11 1
 How do I either A.) get a free pair of Teva shoes from Teva or B.) become one of your friends?
  • 2 0
 i have a pair of them and they are awesome. just the other day i was riding back from class in a rain storm. everything was wet...besides my feet.
  • 3 0
 One of the better product picks in a while, good job! I have a carbon d3 and it has saved my head recently in a very hard crash, I would not use any other DH helmet.
  • 1 0
 I´ve had the ambush. after 3 rides without a crash the seam became loose, so that i saw the orange pad underneath. that´s not what i call a "top-end" product. otherwise they were comfortable and i really liked that they were easy to put on. i´ll try the oneal "AMX Zipper Knee Guard" next.
  • 1 0
 way higher quality than the 661 evos (old ones) IMO... i got the new digs and 2 crashes and zero damage, 661 was falling apart even without crashing
  • 1 0
 -- Where is the option for : EVERYTHING!!

I have tried and own the helmet and the knee pads. I can vouch for the helmet! I had a face first helmet to ground experience.
The D3 probably saved my face from being smashed into a pulp. Afterwards I just replaced the visor... SOLID

I would like to try out the shoes, no one really sells them? bad distributing...
  • 1 0
 Just bought a composite D3 Medusa for $178 to replace my worn out Remedy... I can't wait to try it out. It is a snug fit, but I've been told it will come in after a few rides.
  • 2 0
 I'll bet the size 14 Teva is a US only size. Most Canadian shoe distributors only bring in 13s and if they do bring in any 14s it's only a few pairs in one style Frown
  • 4 0
 Cut your toes off?
  • 3 0
 America's favorite fast food joint colors? Guess ya'll have never heard of Germany.
  • 2 0
 No way, I literally just bought a d3 with the same design today haha. Such a rad lid.
  • 1 0
 I'm using that d3 (same colours) for about almost 2 and a half month. It looks sooo good, and worth the money. Best helmet i have had.
  • 3 0
 DAM. Now I want to return my Links lows and get the mids!!!
  • 1 0
 Wow. Can't belive it this is the first product picks were I would love to try everything but I own a D3 but still No complaints this week
  • 3 0
 My next shoes are definitely going to be Tevas.
  • 1 0
 the review of the D3 said that you should buy a size that feels very tight because the cushions compress a lot. can anyone atest to that?
  • 1 0
 I've got both the TLD D3 & the Teva Links and love them both. Don't plan on changing a thing until the next models come out.
  • 2 0
 Damn I love that D3. I'll have one in that color thank you.
  • 1 0
 i've got that exact d3..so perfect! comfy, light, takes a good hit and it looks sexy as you like!
  • 2 1
 Is the guy wearing the Ambush pads naked???

Looks weird...

I'm not comfortable looking at the picture anymore Frown
  • 14 0
 Haha! We loved how the pads emphasized our rippling glutes on the clothing free trails without covering too much skin. Race face provides the best naked ride protection in the industry. Join us next week as we review the new Race Face Man Sling.
  • 1 0
 Good knee pads! I have them, so comfy and I haven't crashed in them yet but they seem solid.
  • 1 0
 TLD should also provide extra visor screws, its the only part commonly going missing.....
  • 2 0
 troy lee d3 carbon Ronald McDonald edition.
  • 2 0
 D3...Yes.
  • 1 0
 would like to give the race face ambush a whirl! much more convenient
  • 1 0
 I wanted to vote for everything. finally nice picks again
  • 1 0
 wow a product pick with things i might actually buy! nice..
  • 1 0
 love my tevas cant wait to get the mids
  • 2 0
 love my flimsy 661.
  • 1 0
 Love my Yellow Zap D3.
  • 1 0
 Love my Troy Lee D3
  • 1 1
 try?? D3!! buy?? non

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