Check Out: A New Helmet, Flat Pedal Shoes, Multi-Tool & More

Sep 14, 2018
by Alex Evans  



A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is a monthly round-up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.





Polar V650 GPS Bike Computer

Polar V650 with H10 heart rate monitor

Polar V650 with H10 heart rate monitor
The touchscreen is vibrant and easy to use, even when you're moving.
Polar V650 with H10 heart rate monitor
Studying your heart rate is interesting and can provide some insight into how you're actually pushing it on the trails!

Features

• 2.8" colour touchscreen display
• GPS and map navigation
• Compatible with Bluetooth Smart power meters (Stages, Rotor, Powertap, 4iiii & Trainingpeaks)
• Barometer with real-time vertical ascent display
• Adjustable bike mount
• All data is uploaded to Polar Flow, Polar's proprietory training app that's compatible with Strava
• Compatible with Polar heart rate and other cycling sensors
• Displays Strava Live Segments
• Stores 450 X 450 KM map area from OpenStreetMap
• £229.00 (with H10 heart rate sensor) / £189.50 without.
polar.com


bigquotesEven if you're not a statistic geek or thrive off beating your mates on Strava, a GPS bike computer can be a great tool to use to have more fun on your bike. It's fascinating watching your heart rate fluctuate on climbs and descents and with the V650's in-built route guidance and mapping you can head out into the unknown without the fear of getting lost or missing the turning that'll take you to the land of brown pow. Even at 230 quid, Polar's range-topping V650 is only a smidge over Garmin's bottom of the range colour-screen navigation GPS and cheaper the rest of their range.Alex Evans




Smith Forefront 2 Helmet

Smith Forefront 2

Smith Forefront 2
There are two large vents at the top of the helmet, and another one at the back that should provide improved airflow over the original version.
Smith Forefront 2
The Koroyd material now extends further down the rear of the helmet for extra crash protection.

Features

• 20 vents, internal air channels
• Aerocore in-mold construction, Koroyd skeleton
• VaporFit adjustable fit system
• Seven color options
• Three position visor, camera / light mount compatibility
• Weight: 388 grams (size M)
• $200 USD, $230 with MIPS
www.smithoptics.com

bigquotesThe second generation Forefront receives extra Koroyd (the honeycomb shaped material that's claimed to provide better impact protection than EPS) at the rear of the helmet, along with more generous venting over the top of the head, which should help keep things a little cooler on those midsummer rides. Smith are best known for their sunglasses and goggles, so it's not surprising that the Forefront 2 is designed to work well with either eye protection option. There are MIPS and non-MIPS versions, but realistically, if you're already shelling out $200 for a helmet, it seems silly not to scrounge up the extra $30 for the potential benefits of that low-friction slip plane. Mike Kazimer




Bontrager Ion Pro RT Light

Bontrager Ion RT

Bontrager Ion RT
Bontrager Ion RT
Bontrager's Ion Pro RT doesn't take up much space, but it's bright enough for trail riding, with three brightness levels and two flashing modes.

Features

• 1300 lumens via high-power CREE LED
• 1300LM-1.5hrs, 800LM-3hrs, 400LM-6hrs, night flash-26hrs, day flash 22hrs
• Includes adjustable handlebar mount
www.trekbikes.com

• Connect with Garmin and Bontrager ANT+ devices for always on, battery status, and control
• USB rechargeable
• $99.99 USD

bigquotesLike it or not, the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it's time to start thinking about bike lights. Bontrager's Ion RT is bright and easy to use, with a run time of 1.5 hours in the high setting and 6 hours in the low setting. The Ion Pro comes with handlebar mount, but there is a helmet mount kit available separately. Even if you're not planning to be out after dark, it's not a bad idea to toss a little light like this in your pack, just in case. Mike Kazimer





Spurcycle Tool


Spurcycle tool, bits, and case.
3x9.5cm and 90g in weight. Small enough to tuck into the pocket without a lot of jangling around.

Features

• Titanium tool
• Chromed S2 steel bits
• 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, T10, T25, Phillips2
• USA Made
www.spurcycle.com

• X-Pac case
• Handle slides for desired position
• Magnetized
• $69.00 USD

bigquotesThe Spurcycle Tool is a well-made and thought out tool that should last a lifetime. The sliding handle makes it versatile and the bits are magnetized when in the socket - nice when dealing with smaller bolts. Yes, it's more than twice as expensive as a lot of other options but you get what you pay for.Daniel Sapp




Ride Concepts Livewire Flat Pedal Shoes

Ride Concepts shoes

Ride Concepts shoes
The Livewire shoes use a sticky outsole that Ride Concepts developed with Rubber Kinetics.
Ride Concepts shoes
The insole has two thin layers of D30 incorporated into it to provide extra impact protection.

Features

• Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 high grip rubber outsole
• D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology
• Gusseted tongue
www.rideconcepts.com
• Molded toe and heel protection
• Colors: charcoal/red, charcoal/orange, black/charcoal
• $100 USD

bigquotesRide Concepts is a brand new company, and they're kicking things off with three flat pedal shoe models. I only have a couple of rides in on the Livewire shoes, but so far they're comfortable and grippy. That's a good start - we'll see how they hold up to a few more months of hard use. Mike Kazimer



MENTIONS: @trek / @SombrioCartel


Must Read This Week

73 Comments

  • + 26
 Nice how the MIPS version of the forefront is only an extra 7.5% on the price. Other helmet companies take note.
That bit of yellow plastic is not worth paying double for!
  • + 2
 I have now bought 2 helmets with mips for my kids (had no choice since all helmets of those models had ot) and I can see how the system has progressed over a just few years. From a big clumsy sweat generator to a thing meticulously tailored to vents. Now, can someone remind me what became essentially a plastic net do? I kind of get it in a fullface, but for those vented helmets? Give me a break with this bullcrap.
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: Indeed

I've had my forefront 2 for a couple of months now and really like it. Fits well, looks good and breathes better than the old one...
I didn't get it with mips, because i don't like a helmet to wobble around on my head even when its fitted correctly
  • + 9
 @T1mb0:

I really want to know - which allows the helmet to move more relative to my skull: my hair or the mips?
  • + 2
 MIPS is over engineering. Read this article on MIPS

helmets.org/mips.htm
  • + 4
 @SJP: I shave my head so it can't be my hair that causes a mips helmet to wobble around Wink
  • + 4
 The MIPS adds 15% to this. 30 over 200

My brain, to me and my family, is worth infinitely more than any price of a helmet on the market. You don't have to spend crazy amounts though... Bell will have at least 1 or 2 coming for less than $100 cad! And a few under $80 for kids!
  • + 4
 @mikeyorange: given you believe it works. I used to say 10 Hail Marys every night before going to sleep and thought of myself as a responsible citizen. Then I realized there is no man in the sky.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: even if MIPS helps a little, it's worth it... MIPS isn't the end all, be all, but every incremental increase in protection is warranted. A lot has changed in recent years and more will in the next few, and that's a good thing.

You can decide what is right for yourself but I've seen enough people with head injuries to know that money isn't an object to me to provide the better protection to my brain/head.
  • + 3
 @mikeyorange: I believe that MIPS is an incremental improvement. The hair comment is also valid.
My friend just got a new MIPS helmet, and a bunch of us were laughing about how that little bit of yellow plastic cost him an extra $60. It's not new tech anymore. The r&d must have been paid for a thousand times over. It should be an extra $10 by now!
  • + 1
 Still overpriced
  • + 3
 @jaame: the issue with MIPS is that for me it is like the eco food label. It makes it easier for less informed folks to think better about their choices, “label is there I’m cool!” but it’s rarely a reality and in case of eco food - often the opposite effect. Long before POC made their slide system, their rep told me that it is better to have a good helmet without mips than a shitty helmet with. Ok in case of most high end helmets this comment is irrelevant, but in case of cheaper ones, especially those for kids, well, quite relevant.
  • + 16
 $69.00 for a multi tool is insane man.

It looks awesome, and no doubt works well, but realistically, am I going to spend $70 on a multitool, no.
  • + 7
 Especially when it's just a couple of bits of bar stock (albeit Ti) and the pack of the driver bits you get with every cheappo screwdriver set in Machine-Mart.

Make it in stainless for 1/4 of the money and I'd keep one strapped under my top tube all the time.
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: i would think the quality of the bits of similar quality to the handle. I wouldn't touch my bike with cheapo bits on a Machine-Mart set, would you?
  • + 2
 You can get the ratcheting Silca for cheaper and that's all TI
  • + 4
 I retract my statement, Silca is not TI, still cheaper.
  • + 3
 @ZappBrannigan: the silca tool is actually so nice to use, I'll sometimes even use it over proper T-handles.
  • + 2
 @spaceofades: Oh yeah, I love the torque tube add on too, especially since I went to Renthal stems and they are finicky about torque.
  • + 3
 Topeak Ratchet Rocket FTW
  • + 1
 @ZappBrannigan: Do you have a link to this? Thanks!
  • + 1
 @Jaguar83: silca.cc/collections/silca-tools/products/t-ratchet_kit sold out right now, but there are a few resellers
  • + 10
 How come every new company with their new products is putting price tags so high? Dear companies, first you have to do is to establish yourself before you take my money.
  • + 11
 1300 lumens is hella bright considering the average motorcycle headlight is at 700 lumens and 1200 on high beam.
  • + 7
 This light is fantastic
  • + 3
 @allenfstar: does it have a helmet mount, or better yet, a GoPro mount?
I’d love to ditch the cord to get 1000+ lumens on the helmet
  • + 2
 @ReformedRoadie: Both. There are helmet mounts available, and you can combine some of the Blendr mounts from Bontrager to effectively get it on a GoPro mount

www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipment/cycling-accessories/bike-lights/bike-light-accessories/bontrager-helmet-mount/p/13492
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: bonntrager's nerve rally helmet has a magnetic gopro/ light mount that's included in the helmet and its fantastic
  • + 6
 As my 1Gen Smith Forefront Helmet has been the most comfortable helmet I’ve ever owned, I’ll probably end up with the new version at some point. But looking at the colors on the website, I hope they bring back some brighter colors (only shades of white or black listed). As someone who rides in hunting terrain for almost 4 months of the year, I really enjoy my bright orange helmet.
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer - grippy? That would be huge. So far, every non-5.10 shoe review I've read basically has nice things to say but then ends in something along the lines of "not as grippy as 5.10". Would be nice to see a bit more choice for those of us who like our shoes to actually stick to our pedals. Full review coming?
  • + 5
 Hate to be a downer Spurs cycle tool.

Well I use something similar, BUT, I also have the option of making it a screwdriver style tool for places and jobs that won't take an L wrench. And mine costed 6$, I've removed some damn stubborn pedals with a cheater bar on it.

Rethink the design. The price. But mostly, the design.

You can hire my brain later...
  • + 1
 Yeah, the long shank handle should also have a mount for the bit, to like you said, use in a screwdriver fashion. Besides, why not just carry a few hex wrenches bundled in a rubber band? Pennies man.
  • + 1
 @MikerJ: solid looking tool just has a design flaw

Not to mention it can be made in under an hour using basic tools (as I did) using a couple sockets and a 1/4inch socket driver.

That also opens just carrying a couple sockets for you hex wrench needs.(8,10mm comes to mind)

Pair that off with a few multi purpose nuts and bolts/machine screws zip ties, couple tube patches, some elctrical tape, spare derailleur hanger and cable, few links of chain, parks chain breaker, small 4" needle nose pliers and a c02 inflator.

My kits about as big as a phone and I could do any bike repair in a pinch.
  • + 8
 Seems like a waste of a perfectly good marketing push to launch your line of shoes without selling them anywhere...
  • + 2
 I've been thinking the same thing. I've noticed they've been advertising on nearly every MTB site too. Looked at them and my girlfriend is in need of some flat shoes she liked the looks and the price and went to buy them and boom no where available yet so she will most likely buy some 5.10
  • + 2
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: or stop thinking you're cooler than everybody because you have different shoes. Vans are soft and don't grip, they suck.
  • + 2
 I contacted the company on one of the social media platforms and inquired, They informed me that the shoes will be available to purchase by November 1st. I think that this is a pretty big hype machine at work but I am for sure stoked for a battle between RC and 5.10 because I am in the market for a new shoe for next season.
  • + 7
 It’s a $230 helmet that isn’t full face. Ridiculous
  • + 4
 very ridiculous. I'd rather by a $100 fox helmet and be settled.
  • + 3
 They have more price point options. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. They will sell regardless.
  • - 4
 @andnyleswillriot: You working for Smith? ha
  • + 2
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: nope. Just not one of the many tools on this site who bitch about the price of everything. It’s as if everyone is surprised still. Brands know the market and the demand in that market, pretty simple.
  • + 2
 @andnyleswillriot: i'm in that bunch of poor, bitchin' tools then i guess ha. I'm not a doctor so my parts are alloy.
  • + 2
 Of course they'll sell. When they're on sale at Jenson for $100 plus a 15% off coupon. I don't know how many $200 helmets and $200 jackets and $100 pairs of shorts that I've bought for less than half of their asking price, at which point they resemble decent value.
  • + 1
 But bees will make babies in the little pentagons and you can have a whole family on your head. That's worth at least the $85 markup from other high end half shells isn't it?
  • + 1
 @bizutch: Free honey. The good stuff is expensive. Get a stand at your local farmer's market and make that $85 back right quick. So artisan. So crafted.
  • + 2
 One thing not mentioned about the forefront 2 that it no longer looks super wide and bulky from the front. They’ve slimmed down the design a ton. That and the improved airflow make it a stellar helmet, the sunglasses integration is even a bit easier than the first generation.
  • + 2
 These new compact light units are sweet!
No cables to come undone , light weight and
Plenty of light.
I find the lumen ratings to be more of a suggestion.
If it's rated for 800 lumens or more you good to go.
Word of warning: Almost all of these units burn for about one hour at full power.
After plenty of research I purchased a Fenix and BC 21R . It's rated at 880 lumens . More important you can change the battery. All these lights use cr18650 batteries that can be found for as little as five bucks!
  • + 0
 Oooh...being able to carry a second battery is pretty snazzy. That way if you get a dead cell or it doesn't charge well (cause Asian quality is a roll of the dice)...you may actually get out of the woods.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: I like the M-Tiger lights, www.rakclighting.com, I have had the Theia for about a year and its been flawless, TONS of light and long running six cell batts, it is heavy, but no one is setting PR's at night typically anyhow.
  • + 1
 I always liked the look of Smith Helmets but their chin straps aren't very comfortable, and have a flimsy feel to them. If they could just come up with a better Y bracket design... Sticking to my Bontrager Lithos for now.
Also, 60$ for a multi tool? Check out the Topeak Ratchet Rocket, lots more features and a friggin' ratched for less money.
  • + 1
 The RC livewire shoes look promising. I like the thoughts of D30 but wouldn’t it make sense to put it on the exterior of the shoe too. Maybe around the ankle or toe?

And that Spurcycle tool looks promising. I like the magnets idea tup
  • + 1
 I have 3 Smith helmets. They are the best fitting helmets for my head shape. I have the forefront 1, which mostly use in the winter because I found it hot. A session, which is my go to for any mountain bike ride - better ventilation and cheaper than the forefront 2. And a network for road biking. I also fully attribute the forefront 1 and mips as the reason my friend and the ride guides head coach is still alive after a horrific crash this time last year.
  • + 2
 don't know why they are calling it a multi tool, it isn't its a hex wrench essentially and god help if you need to try and get into a fiddly area
  • + 1
 Will the glued on soles of RC shoes hold up? I'd look at a long term test before buying. I had hit and miss with 5.10 but there is no better alternative when riding flat and wanting to stay on the pedals.
  • + 5
 RC's signature shoes?
  • + 5
 Yep, they come with a 20 page user manual.
  • + 1
 Did PB get a special colorway on the Forefront2 to review? I really like the one pictured in this article, but don't see it as an option on the Smith website.
  • + 1
 I put together a similar tool for moto use. Google “sliding t-handle” and you can snag the pieces you need for about $20 total.
  • + 2
 Dont get the bit and pieces tool... Last thing i want is to accidentally drop one of these pieces while repairing the bike.
  • + 2
 The RC shoe line up looks great. I would buy the Wildcat but, they have no half sizes.
  • + 2
 SMITH helmets are by far the most comfortable to me. I wish they would drop a full face!
  • + 1
 I'm so excited to try out those Ride Concepts! From those who have tried them, they sound like serious competition for that brand with numbers in the name!
  • - 1
 I wouldn't get the Forefront 2 for retail pricing. I got it on a Pro deal. That being said, I can see why Smith would charge that much. It's extremely well made. Probably the nicest half shell helmet I've ever had. It fits awesome and is highly adjustable. It's also the lowest profile helmet ever. No mushroom head. As far as airflow goes, I have a lot of hair so I barely notice the difference with 39 vents and 13 vents. I'll sweat regardless. It's a premium product and it shows. And it has a lifetime warranty, which is awesome. For someone who needs a new helmet every 4-6 months due to it falling apart from regular use, I can see this one lasting a lot longer.
  • - 2
 Ricky Carmichael's shoes look good minus the logo which is fixable. Smith helmet to make you a turtle head for $200. Like the Polar GPS. Polar is the only product that gives you accurate heart rate and calorie info, yes throw your Garmin or fitbit in the trash. That is coming from the head trainer or RDV- Google it.
  • + 0
 Thanks for the advice, I’d never heard of that before bro!
  • + 1
 I need a light for night rides,also nice to see an insole you might not just toss in the trash
  • + 1
 Those Ride Concept shoes look sick! Hope they make a clip in shoe soon.
  • + 0
 Any time broby

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