Giro Privateer R Shoes
Light and sporty clipless shoes are great... until you have to walk up or down some sort of rock chute or hard-packed ground, at which point you can often end up looking like you've done a few shots and are just learning how to walk. I actually remember having to take my shoes off in order to scramble up an off-trail rock roll in Sedona, Arizona, which felt pretty embarrassing at the time. The issue is that the soles of most cross-country worthy shoes are made with rubber that's about as soft as the rock you're trying to stay upright on, which makes the whole thing a harrowing experience. You'd think it'd be easy to just glue on a softer, tackier sole, but the issue has also been that the softer rubber would eventually delaminate and you'd end up with it flopping around.
Giro says that they've found a solution by co-molding a softer rubber with the nylon outsole, a process that is said to make a more reliable product than had they used glue to keep it in place. Besides the anti-fall on your ass outsole, the Privateer R ticks off the boxes required by any good cross-country or trail shoe: a reinforced toe box for reliability and to keep your piggies safe, a breathable microfiber upper, and a replaceable buckle with two Velcro lower straps are all present. You can pick between the black / orange motif shown here or a more old school looking black and gum combo, and Giro also offers an HV model in the latter colour for riders with wider feet who need a bit more room. Giro Truant Short
Giro's Truant lineup is the company's first serious effort into proper mountain bike apparel, and they'll be offering jerseys and shorts for both men and women when the range becomes available soon. The subdued but well thought out men's Truant short has a casual look to it, but it also sports a number of cycling-specific features. The 14" long inseam is over-knee when you're standing upright, but also not so long as to be annoying when you're spinning the pedals for hours on end, and the leg openings have been made roomy enough to fit over a set of knee pads as well. Built-in waist adjusters make it easy to tweak the fit, but there's also some belt loops if you want to go that route, while a stretchy panel at the back of the short lets you bend over without them getting pulled down. There's a set of regular pockets so you have somewhere to put your hands when you're standing around, as well as a single zippered side pocket that's high enough up on the leg to keep whatever you put in it from flopping around when you're on the bike. Sizing runs from 30 - 34, and 36, 38 and 40. Mondraker's Factor Kids Bike
It's a good time to be a grom. I was watching Tread and Retread on my parent's VCR and then going out on a 45lb steel department store bike when I was still in elementary school, but kids these days have it a hell of a lot better. Now they grow up watching Semenuk send it in Revel in the Chaos on iTunes, then if they're lucky they get to go for a ride on a bike like Mondraker's pint-sized Factor. This isn't some half-assed kid's bike, though, but rather a shrunk down version of the company's adult bikes, right down to the shape of the frame and the dual link Zero Suspension system. It uses an air shock to make it easy to adjust the spring rate correctly, both now and as they grow (a much better alternative to just not feeding your kid so they don't grow and you don't have to buy a new spring
), as well as a single chain ring drivetrain so they don't have to muck about with a front derailleur - in a few year's time there will be an entire generation of riders who have never had to learn how to use two shifters. The Factor comes from Mondraker with 24" wheels, but it has been designed to accept 26" wheels as well, letting your little guy or girl get the most out of the bike before you have to pony up for a new one. Rocky Mountain Maiden DH Bike
Yes, I know we've already shown you Rocky's new Maiden downhill bike
, but I couldn't just walk by this all-black beast without snapping a few photos. The 200mm travel frame is all carbon fiber, even the chain stays and the rocker link, and a smart adjustment system (including a spacer that mounts to the bottom of the head tube
) lets the rider run either 27.5" or 26" wheels. The bike employs Rocky's Smoothlink suspension system, a design that has the rear pivot located in front of and just barely above the rear axle. They say that it has been configured specifically for the demands of downhill riding, with a progressive stroke that's intended to split the difference between a linear design and one that ramps up quickly. The rear wheel has a nearly vertical axle path, with only 26mm of chain growth as the bike goes through its travel.
Except for the "entry level" Maiden Park, all of the bikes sport BOS suspension, a spec choice that stands out in the sea of RockShox and FOX equipped downhill bikes. According to Rocky, the decision to go with the French brand rather than one of the bigger players was partially due to the feedback from Vancouver area racers and shops who had been impressed with construction quality and on-trail feel of the company's products.