Check Out: Fork Foam, New Shoes, Tool Holders, a Luxury Cooler & More - April 2019

Apr 19, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  



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.



Northwave Raptor GTX Shoes

Northwave Raptor GTX

Northwave Raptor GTX
Northwave's SLW2 system is used to dial in the fit.
Northwave Raptor GTX
There a spot for mud spikes, but the sole still isn't the grippiest option for trouncing around in the woods.


Features

• Carbon reinforced sole with a stiffness index of 8.0 and natural rubber tread
• Water- and windproof Gore-Tex Pique membrane
• Sizes: 37 - 49
• $239.99 USD

• SLW2 dial features step-by-step and full release in a single button
• Climaflex collar made of elastic Gore-Tex Rattler membrane and insulating neoprene
www.northwave.com


bigquotesWinter's in the rearview mirror for most of the Northern Hemisphere, but that doesn't mean there won't a few more chilly, wet days before summer time arrives. Northwave's Raptor GTX shoes are fully waterproof, and work best when temps are around 30-40° F (-1 to 4° C). They have a very roomy fit, which will work well if you're planning on wearing extra thick socks, but sizing down may also be required for the best fit.

Northwave aren't the only company that use an XC-style sole on their wet weather shoes, but I wish someone would come up with a flatter, more hiking boot inspired design. As it is, the Raptor's can be a little slippery if you're clambering over slimy rocks and roots. All in all, the Raptor GTX shoes do what they were designed for - keeping water out, and warmth in, which helps make it possible to start measuring those rainy day rides in hours rather than minutes.



Topeak Ninja Bottle Cage-Mounted Accessories

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Topeak Ninja TC Mountain
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Topeak Ninja Pouch

Features

• TC Mountain tools: 2-L / 2.5 / 3 (2 pcs) / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 10 mm Allen / T10 / T25 Torx, Phillips / Flat head / spoke tools / chainbreaker
• Ninja Pouch: $34.95 USD. Ninja TC: $59.95 USD

• Available with new QuickClick mounting system
• Ninja TC weight: 9 oz
• Ninja Pouch+ carries a tube in a zippered pocket
www.topeak.com


bigquotesTopeak recently expanded their Ninja series, which includes all sorts of clever ways to carry tubes and tools on your bike. The Ninja Pouch Mountain is a water bottle cage with a zippered pouch underneath it that holds a tube, keeping it from getting covered with mud and grit. It won't fit every single frame out there - you'll want to make sure there's enough clearance between the bag and your shock - but it's a convenient solution for stashing a without relying on velcro straps.

The Ninja TC Mountain is another option in the lineup. Instead of a tube, it holds a full-featured tool inside a plastic case that sits underneath a bottle cage. The case rotates when it's time to use one of the 23 tools, and if you can make sure that it's 100% rattle-free by backing off the dial for the chain tool a couple turns so that it sits snugly against the side of the case





Pearl Izumi X-Alp FLow Shoes

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The softer compound and siping under the ball of the foot is intended to provide extra grip.
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Looking for gum-rubber soled shoes to match your tires? Now you know where to look.


Features

• Elasticized lace holder
• Dual density outsole
• $100 USD

• Lightweight upper materials and minimal seams
• Colors: black, navy
• Sizes: 39-49
www.pearlizumi.com


bigquotesPearl Izumi bills the new X-Alp Flow as a shoe for "trail riders who push the boundaries," but that might not be the most accurate description. You'll want something more robust, and with a stickier sole, if you truly are pushing the boundaries - the X-Alp Flow shoes are very light and flexible, and better suited to more casual rides, or taking laps around the pumptrack. They are super comfortable, though, and I'm a fan of the gum rubber / navy color scheme. There's also a black and grey option if you're looking for something a little more subdued.





DeanEasy ABS Fork Kit

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Features

• Open cell foam cylinders designed to create more linear compression curve
• Two versions: Race and Comfort

• Compatible with 32-36mm stanchions
• Price: € 40.90
www.deaneasy.it


bigquotesFoam tire inserts, foam fork inserts... What's next, foam frame inserts? DeanEasy's ABS Fork Kit is designed to go into the positive air chamber of any fork with stanchions between 32 and 36mm in diameter. The idea is that the foam will give the fork a more linear compression curve, with increased mid-stroke support. The Italian company also claims that the foam reduces the amount of vibration that reaches a rider's hands, but I'm a little skeptical about that one. The foam does make it possible to run lower pressures without losing bottom out resistance due to the amount of space it takes up in the positive chamber, but given how well modern air forks perform I’m not entirely sure there's a need to fill them with foam.




Rovr Rollr 45 Cooler

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The Rovr will keep food and drink chilled between 35° and 40° for up to 10 days.
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A cloth bag pops up on top of the cooler for additional carrying capacity.


Features

• Rotomolded, elevated body with an airtight gasket and thick foam insulation.
• Certified bear resistant
• $369.95 USD / BikR attachment: $54 USD

• 9-inch all-terrain tires
• Keeps food and drink cool for up to 10 days
rovrproducts.com


bigquotesLooking for the perfect cooler to complement your EarthRoamer? The Rovr Rollr 45 might just fit the bill. It keeps food and drink cool for up to 10 days, has 9" wheels for off-road excursions, and a pop-up tote bag for hauling blankets or other accessories. It's certified bear resistant, so your microbrews will stay out of the paws of any hungry forest creatures. There's also an optional bike attachment for those days when you want to take your picnic extra deep into the woods.




Hydro Flask 10L Insulated Hydration Pack

Hydrapak

Hydrapak
An insulated 3L reservoir keeps water cold even on hot summer days.
Hydrapak
The pack is made from a waterproof fabric with taped seams and water resistant zippers.

Features

• Keeps water cold for over 4 hours
• Waterproof fabric with taped seams
• Colors: black, brick, jade
• $165 USD

• Articulated back panel to promote air flow
• 3L insulated reservoir
• Sizes: S/M, M/L
• Weight: 3lb
www.hydroflask.com/journey-series


bigquotesHydration packs may not be as ubiquitous as they once were, but longer missions still require more gear (and snacks) than you can fit in a fanny pack. Hydro Flask's new line of packs (there's a 10L and a 20L model) hold water in an insulated bladder that slides into a neoprene sleeve with a reflective lining, a combo that's claimed to keep water cool for over 4 hours. The exterior of the pack is constructed from a waterproof fabric with taped seams to keep that stash of PB&J sandwiches nice and dry.




Granite Stash Tire Plug Kit


Sea Otter 2019
Sea Otter 2019
Granite's $19.95 USD Stash Tire Plug kit tucks into one end of your handlebar until you need it.

Features

• Handlebar-mounted tire plug kit
• Includes 2x 1.5mm, 2x 3.5mm tire plugs
• $19.95 USD

• Dimension: 30 x 30 x 96mm (large cap) / 21.8 x 21.8 x 96mm (small cap)
• Color: orange
• Weight: 35-grams
www.granite-design.com


bigquotesWeighing just 35-grams, Granite's Stash Tire Plug kit tucks into one end of your handlebar while their tiny chain too can slot into the opposite side. It’s small and invisible, so you’ll forget you have the kit until you need it.

The $19.95 USD Stash Tire Plug Kit includes a tire reamer, a tire fork, and four tire plugs. The kit also comes with two end cap sizes to allow seamless installation with open-end grips or lock-on grips.





109 Comments

  • + 65
 Finally a hydration backpack that doesn't have millions of straps and zippers and logos and panels and pockets.

Oh and I stuck on an old ESI grip in my fork. Saved me $40. Pro tip from a non-pro right there.
  • + 16
 Thats clever, I always wondered what you could actually use those grips for?
  • + 9
 Very Arc'Teryx in its appearance, which is nice to see. Camelback seems to be streamlining their packs as well. Check out the new Mule LR 15 - the redesign looks ace.
  • + 5
 Those foam inserts are awesome! I really missed the performance quality of my old just and Girvin forks... Wait! No I don't.
  • + 1
 @Duderz7: I've got one of Formula's Neopos in my pike. Believe (some of) the hype, they do what they're claimed to.
  • + 1
 @fielonator: any issues with them degrading? Just put some in my Lyrik
  • + 2
 You must be joking. See the price - 160$. This is a pure stealing. Hydra Flask is a synonym for expensive and not also worthy products. A lot of bluff, everage design, lack of functionality and high pricing.
When I see the Hydro Flask logo I jump away like when I see the snake.
  • + 1
 @Agleck7: I haven't checked, hopefully it won't make a mess. I didn't know they disolved until I'd fitted one. Fingers crossed!
  • + 17
 Bear “resistant”?! What on earth does that mean? Instead of it taking 4 seconds for a bear to get into it, it will take 9? This is the kind of marketing crap that lets stupid people get bears killed..
  • + 11
 In this case, the cooler was certified by this organization: igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products. I think you're still supposed to have a lock on it for it to be fully bear-safe, though.
  • + 66
 @mikekazimer: Uhhh what if the bear knows the combo?
  • + 2
 @justincs: roshambo for the cooler goods
  • + 0
 @justincs: Don't put your stash or brews in, the rest is NP
PS Big bears don't need combos.
  • + 6
 What beer to bears drink? Low carb? Light beers? Craft beers? Scotch? Just put stuff in there they won’t eat or drink and now it’s bear proof. If your silly enough to keep a full salmon then it’s your fault. Unless he has been sub contract by other animals.
  • + 6
 @T-Bot: that sub contracted animal sounds smarter than the average bear
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer: i think we have bigger problems if that bear can open a combination lock
  • + 19
 To be fair, when I was little we were backcountry camping in port Alberni and a bear got a hold of this old ugly blue metal igloo cooler with a clasp larch thing. Bear swatted it and pried and clawed that cooler but couldn’t get in. I think my folks still have that cooler somewhere, and that happened in like ‘87 or something. Only drawback was the bear instead ate my little brother, but the cooler impressed.
  • + 1
 Two words.....opposable thumbs.
  • + 1
 It should have a self-destruct system just in case. Wink
  • + 1
 @T-Bot: what do you guys know about bears? I know all I have to do is outrun one australian
  • + 5
 @weebleswobbles: If you want to outrun an Aussie, leave a "Whistler room for rent" ad on the trail. Guaranteed they'll stop to read it.
  • + 1
 @rrolly: f@ck that's gold!
  • + 2
 @T-Bot: Russian Imperial Stout. Strong enough they can feel it and it adds weight for winter.
Also honey-wheat because duh.
  • + 1
 @tooladdict: Thanks for finding that article and linking. I was gonna look for it to link as well. I have original article from local paper taped to my garage fridge. My old man worked @ Rainier brewery for 25+ years and always likes that one.
  • + 1
 It will protect against a bear that is not hungry but not a hungry bear?
  • + 14
 Is it supposed to function the way neopos does? Or are we really going back to elastomers
  • + 6
 Yes, the concept is similar, although DeanEasy claim it "takes advantages of more features and principles," whatever that means. Both companies are using a foam that compresses as the fork goes through its travel, although DeanEasy is using open cell foam, and Formula uses closed cell.

If you put the DeanEasy in a syringe and push the plunger it stays the same size, but if you do the same thing with Neopos it shrinks due to the increased air pressure.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: isn't the special part of the neopos the material's rebound speed? Did the rebound speeds seem similarly slow between both?
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer: They out here puttin foam in they chambers now. da fuq
  • + 2
 @freestyIAM, I don't have a Neopos on hand to compare, but they both rebound fairly quickly.
  • + 7
 @mikekazimer: Whats the story with foam particulates? We all know over time and compression and having oil on them, those things will eventually start to fatigue and then break down. I'd be interested in how those micro/small particulates effect the fork. You don't want those clogging the equalization ports etc and creating additional friction against the seals/piston.
  • + 20
 Awesome, now I can turn my Pike into a Judy DH!
  • + 3
 DeanEasy is closed cell foam?@mikekazimer:
  • + 4
 @MatLup1986, it's actually an open cell foam, which is why you're supposed to run a stack of them as opposed to the Neopos solution. As far as I can tell, with the Deaneasy it's not the air pressure compressing the foam, it's the fork itself. The amount of volume still ends up reduced as the fork goes through its travel, so it's a similar principle to Neopos, but a little more rudimentary.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: for when your Suntour fork isn't loud enough on rebound? (I know, wrong leg)
  • - 2
 @yzedf: This reply wins the day. Omfg how did he know!?
  • + 1
 You can if you want
  • + 16
 @mikekazimer: Neopos is an entirely different concept. Neopos is a closed cells foam; this means it will compress with air and this is why Neopos changes the behavior of the air, which is, from our point of view, the most important innovation of this technology. An open cells foam do not compress with air since the air goes through it. We just want to highlight the substantial differences between the two systems; it is a crucial point for us because the two technologies, regardless of their performances, are not comparable.
  • + 1
 @rideformula: Thanks for clearing things up!
  • + 1
 Yeah im confused by these. If they're open cell foam they wont effect the spring curve. And i don't see open cell foam offering much in the way of mechanical reaistance when the air piston actually contacts it either. Neopos looks really clever, but im not sure what these deaneasy things will actually achieve...
  • + 1
 @MatLup1986, that’s what I mentioned in my earlier comment - that video is showing the difference between closed cell (shrinks under increased air pressure) and open cell foam (stays the same).

@gabriel-mission9, the open cell spacers do still take up volume, so they will affect the spring curve. And they’ll compress under force (as opposed to increased air pressure), which will make them behave differently than plastic volume spacers. But I’m not really sure why they went with open cell foam over closed cell foam either.
  • + 0
 They explain the system on their website including the difference with Neopos.

www.deaneasy.it/absforktune/#1546949006696-7754bdae-8591
  • + 3
 @vinay:
So, throw all that science and physics stuff that the engineers who design suspension forks use to determine compression and rebound speeds out the window and put something in your fork that renders your valving pointless. Good idea...
  • + 5
 Seem like cheapo Pink Panther Butt plugs
  • + 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: Ehrm, not sure what you're going on about. Yes it will change how the fork behaves. Those perfectly happy with how their fork behaves shouldn't install it. Those who like what it claims to do could give it a shot. Same goes for third party modifications by MRP, Vorsprung, Push etc.

@mikekazimer : I didn't quite make it through the kind of English on their website. My guess is though that the air will make it into the foam as the fork compresses and pressure increases, but it will always lag behind. So with quick small hits (like trail chatter) it will act like you have a really small air chamber keeping your fork high in the travel. During bigger compressions the air in the chamber (outside the foam) will stay higher than it would statically be in that position and during rebound, it will be lower instead. So that will give you more support mid stroke during compression and put less force behind the rebound. That's just my guess about what open cell foam would do inside an air chamber. It is actually a much simpler solution of what I thought up five years ago or so. I wanted to have a second floating piston in the air chamber which would be damped, basically achieving the same as what I thing open cell foam will do too. Except you can't really tune the foam, but then again you can use different (combinations of) foam cells so that will give you your tuning. Would be cool of someone from Deaneasy would come over to the comment section sometime to explain what it does exactly. I'm mostly guessing here.
  • + 1
 The 90's called...they want their elastomers back.

Seriously, the industry moved away from "foam" to metal coils or air as a spring for good reason!
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: yeah they will take up a bit of air volume. As its open cell it'll only take up as much volume as the amount of plastic used to make the foam though. Id hazard a guess that this isnt much more than 1 or 2 cc. Ie not enough to do anything much. I could be wrong. And i havent felt how stiff the foam is but as id put good money on the mechanical resistance when the air piston actually contacts the foam being "not much".
Id be interested to see a review, but as you say open cell foam seems a very strange choice
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: Look at the foam as a separate air chamber where air from the main positive chamber flows in and out, but with a slight delay. So with very fast movement it would be like a volume spacer, with very slow movements it would almost be like the foam isn't there. Just like a sponge. If you quickly submerge a sponge in a bucket of water, the water level would rise. Then once it is saturated, the water is almost back to normal. Then when you lift it out of the water it will take a lot along with it so the water level will be lower than what you started with. Until it has leaked everything back into the bucket. So a typical hard plastic volume spacer would be like a rock in water, Neopos would be like a submerging an air filled balloon (it compresses with increasing ambient pressure but it doesn't absorb anything) and this ABS system is like a sponge.

The actual volume of the material itself doesn't matter too much indeed. Would be nice indeed to have an actual article and/or review of the product. People currently seem to be comparing it to either an elastomer spring or to the Neopos system. It is very different to both of those though considering the volume it occupies I can imagine it does function as a spring material too.
  • + 2
 @deadbeat-son:
LMFAO.
Spot on.
  • + 9
 I have the pearl izumi shoes, and do not recommend them. As stated they are great for casual rides and they are much cooler than my previous shoes, but the grip is garbage. Going back to five tens or maybe try those Ion Raids...
  • + 4
 That's too bad. I was considering them as they seem well priced and look pretty good. Oh well. Thanks for the report on your experience!
  • + 2
 That's strange, I've been using them for nearly a year now with bulletproof neutron pedals, and find there is more than enough grip, even for light dh use.
  • + 1
 They're really light and have a bit more support than Freeriders, but yeah the grip is far inferior.
  • + 3
 @reborn10speeder: yes they don’t have the grip of 5.10’s, but I got sick of wearing out my $120 5.10’s in a season. So far so good on the Pearls. Adjust your pins a bit maybe and make sure your dropping your heals.
  • - 2
 Pearl Izumi should stick to the same part of the market as Rapha. Flat pedals are out of their depth. 240$ bibs and 350$ wind jacket is what they are good at
  • + 9
 Holy crap - someone (other than Innovations) actually made a reasonably priced tire plug kit. Legit shocked
  • + 3
 Granite's product line looks pretty good
  • + 1
 @StevieJB: It's not the plug kit that's innovative it's the implementation and the price
  • + 1
 What about that reasonably priced cooler though?
  • + 5
 "Pearl Izumi bills the new X-Alp Flow as a shoe for "trail riders who push the boundaries," but that might not be the most accurate description."

Calling that colour navy- also not the most accurate description
  • + 5
 Hook that cooler up to a DH rig for some frosty mid-run PBR's and some dialed air maneuvers
  • + 5
 “Luxury coolers”? As if the Yeti coolers went excessive enough.
  • + 2
 I know we have had the whole "Why are there coolers that cost this much" discussion quite a bit, but I just did some quick googling and I can buy a mini fridge and a generator for around the same price.
  • + 1
 10 days kept cold in a cooler is kinda BS. Coming from the person that owns an OTTERBOX \ YETI cooler, on average if you live in SoCal the ice will last a max of 3 days. Ambient temperature really matters. It may last longer if you local bike park is in the east coast though. That being said, it definitely last longer than the run of the mill coolers.
  • + 2
 Who cares about anything else??!! I towable eski! Thats the (dangly region of a mans body) right there.
And its bear proof meaning not much in most places but its a cool blag.
I want one. Now.
  • + 4
 So, what does Formula think of these foam inserts? Is it anything like Neopos?
  • + 3
 Those pearl izumi shoes look great...for pushing a stroller and sipping a starbucks while gossiping with the other moms
  • + 4
 bag plug is nice, cheap, light, usable
  • + 2
 I’ve been using ESI Chunky grips as my volume spacers on my old RS Revelation, works great. Fits nicely in the top of the 32mm stanchion and does not slip down.
  • + 2
 Does it make your fork go wooooooo wooooooooooo!!!
  • + 3
 Alcoholism level 9000. I'll take two please.
  • + 1
 Hopefully the PI shoes are built for comfort! The price isn't horrible, and they sort of look alright.
  • + 0
 Ugly ass northwave shoes fit for road weenies, and a cooler even more expensive than a yeti, I think the dentists will line up for
  • + 1
 I once put water in a yeti cooler, and it turned to ice. That's the only cooler I need.
  • + 2
 Keep cold for up to 10 days. Already fell for that bullshit once..
  • + 1
 Id love it if this foam fork inserts were suitable for 38mm stanchions, aka my marzocchi 66
  • + 2
 Call it the High 5 cartridge kit.
  • + 1
 Those must be the most pretentious flat pedal shoes out there. Work best with Ti axles
  • - 2
 From someone that rode elastomers in their forks in the 90's and saved all my paper round money to afford them. Shall we just conclude that this is a sh*t idea. When they are dampened they feel dead and when they arent dampened they will punch you in the face through your stem.

God, have we learnt nothing at all.
  • + 3
 Wise words. However, when I saw yet another thing that you can do to your fork to improve it's performance, I was like where's the buy it now button.. I am the problem
  • + 2
 Trying to sell a winter shoe in mid April? Good luck.
  • + 10
 Winter starts in 6 weeks for the southern hemisphere.
  • + 1
 @thesharkman: Yeah it does. But does it get cold enough for winter shoes in Australia, NZ or South Africa?
  • + 4
 @nozes: you know you can ski in at least 2 of those countries, right?
  • + 1
 @PhillipJ: Yes I know. I'm not saying there's no real winter in the SH, but somehow I don't recall seeing pictures or videos from your countries with people riding in full winter gear, that's all.
  • + 2
 I am not sure but I heard rumours about next year having also a winter...
  • + 0
 A cooler that keeps things at 40 degrees is a heater. It doesn't get to 40c here
  • + 1
 The foam stuff could easily wreck your fork. Stupid idea
  • + 1
 I thought it's beer resistance
  • + 1
 So Topeak just copied Specializeds SWAT cage. Lawsuit in..... 3 2 1
  • + 1
 What PSI is the foam or is it still Durometer?
  • + 1
 Manitou elastomers
  • + 0
 But they are Pink like my Din_
  • + 0
 Elastomers FTW!!! hahaha
  • + 0
 Seriously?
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