A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is an occasional 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.
Long rides on hot days can leave you thirsty for cool water, and when you're a couple of hours in, water typically has had time to warm up to the outside world. Hydro Flask's Downshift pack use their "Cold Flow" system to help keep your drink water (or whatever liquid you're drinking) cool. The pack has an insulated 2 liter reservoir that slides into a neoprene sleeve coated with a reflective lining to keep the heat out and coolness in.
The pack also situates the water lower down, helping keep the center of gravity low as possible rather than up the entire length of your back. The back panel provides space between your back and the pack to allow airflow and dissipate heat. There's storage in the pack for gear, an additional soft pocket for glasses or a phone, helmet attachment loops, and sternum/hip straps to keep the pack in place.
Topeak D-Flash Fenders
• Flat printed MTB fenders • Four models - Down tube, seat tube, fork, saddle rail • topeak.com
It seems as if fenders are a dime a dozen...maybe even 11 cents, but Topeak have managed to put a unique spin on the plastic polypropylene fender by offering a different yet simple design. The D-Flash fenders are flat-printed and, according to Topeak, inspired by origami. The four different styles work on a variety of bikes and can attach to the down tube, seat tube, fork, or saddle rail.
The fenders all have reflective 3M printing on them for added safety. Fenders arrive in a flat sheet and then riders follow instructions on the back of the fender, folding along the lines, to finish molding the fenders into shape. They attach to the bike using included velcro strips and are simple to install or remove. The larger size and shapes seem as if they'll do a good job of keeping water off of riders, and at $10-$15 USD they're very affordable.
Boyd Cycling prides themselves on being a family-owned and run company that's incredibly passionate about riding bikes. Owner Boyd Johnson spent years racing before deciding to open his own company. The model is to stay small, which enables them to keep the cost of their carbon wheelsets as low as possible. Boyd's Ridgeline wheelset is one of several mountain and road wheelsets the brand offers and it's designed around the Trail/Enduro crowd with a 30mm internal width rim.
The wheels feature 32 spokes in the back and 28 upfront. The wheelsets are handbuilt and utilize Boyd's Tripel hub with 102 teeth and 6 pawls that simultaneously engage to give 3.5-degrees of engagement. Endcaps and freehub bodies can be swapped out without tools which also allows easy cleaning of the hubs. I'll be putting these wheels through their paces in the coming months with a full review coming down the road.
CushCore Bead Dropper Tire Lever
• Rubberized handle • Thumb flange • Plastic lever
Tire levers are a pretty basic design and concept. There are plastic ones, metal ones, plastic with metal inside, and a host of profanity when they don't work in the first 30-45 seconds of use. CushCore have debuted their own version of the toolbox staple to help with the installation of inserts and tires. There's a large rubber handle, a flange for your thumb to provide more power and leverage, and the lever itself is plastic to help avoid scratching fancy rims while being comfortable to use.
After wrangling DH tires onto rims for years and breaking more than enough levers in the process, this seems like a nice solution to help make the process of tire installation a bit easier...especially for those who use tire inserts. $19.95 is a bit steep for a tool that I've always considered to be more or less disposable but, with the lifetime warranty, I think it's worth a shot to save some bloody knuckles and cursing.
Light & Motion Vis 360 Pro
• 600-lumen headlight, 25-lumen taillight • Multiple power settings • Helmet mount, head strap mount options included
The Vis 360 Pro is designed for people that do more than just ride bikes. While there is an included helmet mount, there's also a head strap to use without a helmet. The light provides more power than most standard non-bike headlamps making it a good choice for other outdoor pursuits.
The light can be mounted to a handlebar, helmet, or GoPro mount. It features multiple power levels ranging from 600-lumens at full power down to a 70-lumen option that can provide up to 12 hours of power. The light is waterproof and rechargeable through a Micro USB port. I have to say that although this light will provide more than enough power for trail riding, I'm more stoked about the features it offers for off the bike. Headlamps are notoriously weak and having one with a little extra power will prove to be quite useful in many situations.
If you’re the kind of rider who likes to rock the same pants on the trail as in the pub, then DUER’s jeans might fit the bill. Their ‘All-Weather’ jeans have an 18,150mm waterproof membrane inside, as well as a DWR coating on the outside.
If that seems a bit overkill, they also have a ‘Performance Denim’ version that offers plenty of stretch, and like all DUER jeans have an extra seat gusset to prevent the dreaded blowout.