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's SLW2 system is used to dial in the fit.
There a spot for mud spikes, but the sole still isn't the grippiest option for trouncing around in the woods.
• 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
Winter'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.
• Available with new QuickClick mounting system • Ninja TC weight: 9 oz • Ninja Pouch+ carries a tube in a zippered pocket • www.topeak.com
Topeak 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
The softer compound and siping under the ball of the foot is intended to provide extra grip.
Looking for gum-rubber soled shoes to match your tires? Now you know where to look.
• Lightweight upper materials and minimal seams • Colors: black, navy • Sizes: 39-49 • www.pearlizumi.com
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. 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
• Open cell foam cylinders designed to create more linear compression curve • Two versions: Race and Comfort
Foam 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
The Rovr will keep food and drink chilled between 35° and 40° for up to 10 days.
A cloth bag pops up on top of the cooler for additional carrying capacity.
• 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
Looking 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
An insulated 3L reservoir keeps water cold even on hot summer days.
The pack is made from a waterproof fabric with taped seams and water resistant zippers.
• Keeps water cold for over 4 hours • Waterproof fabric with taped seams • Colors: black, brick, jade • $165 USD
Hydration 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
Granite's $19.95 USD Stash Tire Plug kit tucks into one end of your handlebar until you need it.
• 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
Weighing 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.