Protection, be it for the brain or body, continues to be one of the hottest and most innovative segments in the cycling industry. Mtbr combed the halls of Interbike’s Mandalay Bay Convention Center to dig up the latest and greatest in new protective offerings. Here in no particular order is some of the best we saw.
With a company history rooted in motorsports, Italian protection maker Dainese is well versed in the art of functional safety products. They’ve subsequently transferred those skills to the MTB world, with a host of skin savers, including the unique TrailKnit Pro Armor Tee. All by itself, the humble base layer serves a critical on-the-bike role, wicking moisture away from your skin, which depending on the weather, can help keep you cool or from getting chilled. But Dainese has taken this protective theme a step further, adding a pair of Pro Armor shoulder pads and multi-layer crash absorb back protector. The beauty of the system is that both can be removed when not needed, leaving you with a functional piece of lightweight technical clothing.
The same flexible protective material used in the TrailKnit Pro Armor Tee features in the newly updated version of the Trail Skins 2 Knee Guards. Top line features include excellent range of motion and a high degree of breathability, while at the same time meeting all safety standards. There’s also additional side padding. Retention is handled by a pair of micro-adjustable elastic bands.
Both pieces above rely on the Dainese Armoform, which is based on the concept of fractals, a natural-looking reoccurring pattern that’s often spotted in nature. Essentially it’s a hard, polyethylene shell that dissipates shock over a wide area. The structure itself is a series of ribs with a thicker, tighter pattern in high impact zones, and a shallower, more tapered design at the edges for better flexibility and mobility.
For more burly adventures (think bike park, shuttling, and/or DH racing), the Dainese Armoform Knee Guards offer additional protection , while maintaining a solid level of articulation. They use the same thermoplastic polyethylene shell, but in a much denser pattern to deal with harder impacts. There’s also an articulated joint at the top of the guard, allowing it to extend when the knee bends, but not compromise protection. Retention is via a pair of elastic bands with silicone grippers, and there’s a calf power strap for additional security. These are the knee pad of choice for pro DH star Danny Hart.
Finally, Dainese has launched an array of on-bike apparel, ranging from sharp-looking casual riding jerseys and shorts, to its Altitune Collection of foul-weather gear, including the Aria-Lite Windbreaker (left above) that weights just 27 grams and folds into its own pocket for ease of carrying. A water repellant coating makes it an effective defense against variable weather. More info at www.dainese.com. — Jason Sumner
Bell Super 3R Helmet
The helmet that ushered in the current generation of removable chinbar technology (and has been our go-to during the summer riding season) has gotten a refresh for 2017 with a focus on fit. After hearing some riders complain about the 2R’s pressure points around the temples (and yes, it’s definitely tight), which often forced a size up, Bell has removed and reconfigured some of the padding to alleviate this issue. The new 3R also added a Float Fit retention system and incorporated MIPS slip plane technology. There are 23 vents, plus an additional 6 in the chinbar, and the three-buckle attachment system carries over from the previous generation. Safety certification is for standard bicycle use, not DH. There are six color options (plus some new options in the Joyride women’s line). Sizes run S, M, and L to ensure plenty of choices. Price is $230 with availability set for October. More info at www.bellhelmets.com. — JS
100% Eyewear and More
The first pair of sunglasses that 100% released where the Speed Crafters. These outlandishly styled glasses appealed to the TLD crowd, but were too flashy for most. That’s why they’ve launched the new Speed Coupe. These sunglasses offer more muted styling with similar performance and retail for between $155-175 depending on lens choice.
In addition to performance eyewear, 100% launched some casual eyewear pieces. Their sunglasses start at around $90 and top out at $195. The Type-S pictured above retails for $130.
The final bit of news from 100% was the launch of their new clothing line. Developed with input from the Giant Off-Road team, the trail and DH kits will be available in time for next season. For more, visit www.ride100percent.com — Saris Mercanti
The new Interceptor is Kali’s top of the line enduro helmet. In addition to unique safety features, it has an adjustable visor for goggle storage and a modular breakaway mounting system for accessories. Claimed weight is 360 grams and the helmet has 24 vents. At launch, two shell sizes will be available: S/M and L/XL. Price is $180.
Also new at Interbike was the MacDuff. This skate style helmet shares the same DNA as the Viva, but instead of multi-density EPS foam, it uses a self-healing acrylic foam with carbon nanotubes. What makes this material interesting is that it’s significantly lighter than EPP, which is the dominant material used in helmets designed to withstand multiple impacts. Retail for the new helmet is set at $100. To learn more, visit kaliprotectives.com. — SM
Smith ChromaPop Sunglasses and Goggles
Already this year, Smith launched a pair of new helmets. Next up they’ve brought their ChromaPop lens technology to performance sunglasses and goggles. These lenses are designed to cut color confusion to the brain, while delivering high def clarity so you see nature as it was intended to be. ChromaPop was first used in more casual shades, but is now available for Smith’s Arena, Arena Max, and Asana performance models.
Shred heads can also get Smith goggles spec’d with the high zoot lens, which is now available in the lightweight Squad MTB and burlier moto-oriented V2. For more information visit www.smithoptics.com. — JS
Sena Smart Helmet
Sena is among the premiere manufacturers of hands-free communication devices for motorcycling. In recent years, they’ve also branched out into other sports with their new integrated camera and communication products. At Interbike, they were showcasing a new smart cycling helmet with a built in HD camera capable of capturing 1080p at 60 frames per second. The helmet also houses a Bluetooth intercom system that can be used to play music, make phone calls, transmit directions/notifications from your telephone, and/or communicate with friends. Final price is not set yet, but they’re also developing a base level model without the camera. For more info, visit www.sena.com. — SM
Lizard Skins has launched a new range of full fingered gloves. Our favorite is the Monitor HD, which features strategically positioned gel padding across the back of the hand to provide extra protection against trees, rocks, or whatever else you inadvertently come across on the trail. The palm is made from a perforated suede for breathability and rash resistance, and the fingertips are touchscreen compatible. The gloves are available in sizes S-XXL, with select colors available in XS. Retail is $35. They also offer more trail or XC oriented versions of this glove that are less protective but offer increased breathability. To learn more, check out the Lizard Skins Virtual Trade Show Booth. — SM
Orange Seal Tire Sealant
Okay, tire sealant wont help you in a crash. But it can definitely make it easier to get to the bottom of the trail after a hard fall. Think riding, not walking with a puncture. Texas-based Orange Seal was founded by a group of friends from the high tech industry who thought they could create a better product than what was currently on the market. They worked on their formulation for about two years to create a new sealant. The goal, said Orange Seal president John Vargus, was to seal larger puncture and sidewall slices, seal porous sidewalls, last longer, and create a permanent plug from the inside out. It’s also non-corrosive and bottles come with a handy dipstick that can help you know when it’s time to add more sealant. For 2017, they have three formulations, regular, longer lasting endurance, and sub-zero for the fat bike crowd. For more information visit orangesealcycling.com. — JS