The dust has settled from this year’s Crankworx Whistler, but there are still a number of new products that warrant coverage. Here’s a look at a few more things we saw between riding laps in the park.
Read more: Crankworx Bikes and Bits Roundup
Maxxis Dissector first impressions
On a fittingly dry week in Whistler’s bike park, Maxxis introduced their new Dissector. A rear-specific, gravity-biased tire by design, it’s said to be “super fast rolling” and best suited for dry conditions. First impressions from a couple of quick laps in the park on a fresh Dissector with DH casing suggested Maxxis is on target with the tire’s intended use. It’s currently available now, but only in 2.4-inch by 27.5 or 29. Casing options are currently DH and EXO, and pricing is on par with other Maxxis rubber, as are the weights.
Maxxis also mentioned that the Assegai will soon be available in 2.6-inch versions, but didn’t give a specific date.
New protection from Leatt
One of the more impressive new products unveiled at Crankworx was Leatt’s $70 1.0 “entry-level all-mountain” helmet. With the same Turbine 360 technology as their 3.0 helmets, it’s nice to see a helmet at this price available with such safety features. Similar in concept to Giro’s MIPS, but executed differently, Turbine 360 uses 3D molded, energy-absorbing discs that feel a bit softer than a pencil eraser to reduce rotational force caused by impacts. In addition, Leatt uses what they describe as in-molded impact foam to further dissipate impact energy. Styling is always debatable, but it doesn’t appear to be a less expensive helmet at first glance. The only thing seemingly budget is a rather flimsy looking adjustable visor, which is said to be flexible in the name of crash protection. Look for the 1.0 helmet in stores sometime this October.
A new Stealth protection range will be available later this year, starting with the Stealth Jacket. Claiming to be specific to mountain biking and not a crossover piece from their motorcycle line, the Stealth Jacket is designed to wear underneath jerseys, and has 3/4 arms. The low-profile piece looks to be relatively well-vented with a mesh body between its padding, uses soft, shock-absorbing Airflex material in the chest, back and arms, and its backplate can be removed for use with neck braces, or for better ventilation. Sizing has improved over similar pieces seen from Leatt and will be available in Small-XL. Pricing and availability are TBD.
Leatt is also updating the Airflex knee guards for 2020 by adding more ventilation through the 3DF material upfront. Availability will be sometime this October, pricing is still to be determined.
Budget-minded droppers and cranks from Race Face
Race Face introduced a new $200 Aeffect R dropper post, not including remote. The cable-actuated dropper is currently only offered with 125mm or 150mm of drop, and 30.9 or 31.6 diameters. Claiming to be an entirely different design than the previous Race Face droppers that didn’t seem to have the best track record of reliability, the Aeffect uses a hydraulic cartridge and still has infinite adjustment within its travel.
A six-month maintenance routine is said to consist of unscrewing the upper seal housing, sliding it up, wiping away any debris, greasing the seal, and screwing the seal housing back down. Just about any cable-actuated remote will work with the new dropper post, including the Turbine, or an Aeffect remote can be purchased for $40. Claimed weights are 540-grams for the 30.9x125x385 and 570-grams for the 31.6x150mmx425. Race Face says they’re currently in stock and ready to ship.
What the company is calling a mid-level all-mountain crank, the new Aeffect R is made of forged 7075 aluminum, and retails for $130 without bottom bracket. Available in a new, shorter 165mm length, they’re also available in 170mm and 175mm. Claimed weight is 632-grams with a 32t ring, and the cranks are available now.
Looking for a Shimano 12-speed compatible ring option? Race Face now has cinch system rings designed specifically for Shimano 12-speed chains in 28t, 30t, 32t, with more gear range coming later this fall. Expect similar pricing on the 7075-T6 aluminum rings to their current offerings.
Park pants from Dharco
The small Australian clothing company that signed Kyle Straight a couple of seasons ago was showing off a new pair of riding pants, in addition to 2020’s new colors. Yet to be named, and still unsure on what they’ll retail for in the US, Dharco does think they’ll be available in November. The black pants on display had one zippered pocket on the left front for easy park pass scanning, and another zippered back pocket, too. Without much of a cold-riding season in Oz, the pants are designed for downhill riding and are said to be very unrestrictive while pedaling. Fit is aimed to be on the slightly streamlined and slimmer side of the spectrum, and depending on just how breathable the pants turn out, they may be a great trail riding option for shoulder season riding in the cooler regions of North America.
Ever wished your kit would match your bike? Dharco offers protective decals and small fenders with the same patterns they use on their jerseys, gloves, and socks. Is that too much, or are they on to something? Including the jersey pictured, there will be a total of three new patterns to choose from in their 2020 line, which should be available sometime in November.
Customized Troy Lee Designs helmets
Troy Lee Designs has a concept store in Whistler Village, and during Crankworx, the first five people who bought helmets over the long weekend had the opportunity to have Troy Lee himself customize their helmet later that day. Troy Lee and another painter worked side by side in the store each afternoon on the customizing, hand-painting names, pinstripes and the like while fans and future custom helmet owners watched.
New pads from Dainese
There’s a new Trail Skin Pro kneepad on the way, which will be the Italian company’s third generation of their most trail-riding appropriate pad. The new design boasts a 55% open front, allowing approximately 10% more airflow than the previous generation. They’re also using a more malleable compound for the front panel, as well as a different pattern to further improve ergonomics and flexibility while riding. The Italian company claims their material is different than D3O, and absorbs 85% of impact energy. In addition, there’s a bit more side protection, an air vent behind the knee, and slightly beefier velcro closures than the previous models. One thing we did notice was that the abrasive side of the velcro still faces in towards the skin, and there still appears to be no overlap with the velcro section. In other words, unless the pads fit with perfectly aligned velcro surfaces, the back of the knee will be exposed to the abrasive section of velcro. Dainese claims they orientate the velcro this way to avoid sticking or rubbing to shorts, and that if there’s any type of gap in the velcro closure, the pad is too small or being worn improperly.
Dianese also has a new upper body protector with a built-in, 700ml hydration reservoir. Said to be modeled after the aerodynamic hump found in their motorcycle racing suits(which are for aerodynamics), the small reservoir is said to provide a bit more protection while offering some extra fluid carrying capacity. The Rival Vest has shoulder, chest and back protection, but does not have any kind of storage capacity beyond the fluid reservoir. Look for the vest and new Trail Skin Pro sometime this February.
New shoes from Five Ten
Five Ten introduced the new Trailcross model at Crankworx. Designed to be “a great hike-a-bike, bikepacking, and all-terrain shoe”, the flat-pedal compatible shoes use Five Ten’s S1 Dotty pattern for the main pedal contact zone, and more of a paddle-type pattern on the front and back of the sole for better traction while walking up or down trail. The shoes have a full layer of EVS for more comfortable walking, and four drain ports in each shoe to drain water from the otherwise waterproof sole.
The uppers are made from hydrophobic materials that are said to very quickly dry any remaining moisture that didn’t drain out of the ports. They should be available now, and retail for $130.
A Trailcross Mid are aimed towards trail building, and offer ankle protection by way of thin D3O padding. The drain ports found on the Trailcross shoes are plugged, leaving water management up to breathable material in the uppers, along with the snug-fitting ankle cuff. Five Ten says they’re designed for dry climates, but are working on a similar shoe with Gore-Tex for colder, wetter environments, as well as a women’s version. MSRP is $150.
POC launches new kneepads
POC’s System Lite knee pads will be available this March, and are a lighter, more ventilated version of their current offerings. New VPD also replaces the old stuff and is claimed to be both more malleable than POC Air Pads, yet also better at dispersing impact forces. They should retail for around $90.
Also new from POC is what they’re calling a mid-range helmet. The Axion will retail for $150, and has similar styling to the Tectile. It’s an in-mold helmet with POC’s 360 fit system, and an adjustable visor. It will also be available in March, coming in 3 unisex sizes and eight color options to choose from.
IXS launches the lightest DH-rated full-face helmet
Claiming to be the lightest DH-rated full-face helmet on the market, IXS launched the Trigger FF at Crankworx. With a claimed 600-gram weight for size small and 660-grams for the M/L, the helmet is as much about ventilation and svelte feel as it is about protection.
On a good note, IXS’s X-Frame one-piece subframe is molded into the helmet, making the chin bar part of the main body. However, there is no MIPS-style rotational force diffuser, so that’s something to keep in mind. The Trigger FF has a 3-position adjustable visor, a ton of ventilation, and is available now in small or M/L for $249.
Shimano updates trail shoes
We got a sneak peak of Shimano’s latest updates to their current trail shoes that’ll hit the market this fall. The AM9 gets a bit more ventilation, a more streamlined velcro lace flap up top, a slightly narrower overall width, but with a touch more room in the toe box. There’s also a bit more grip on the sole for improved off-bike climbing(apologies, I didn’t get a picture of that).
Retail on the AM9 clipless shoe will be $160, and for $130, the lace-up AM7 gets similar streamlining for 2020. For smaller riders or groms, Shimano’s GR5 is now available in sizes down to 33. The flat-pedal shoe is designed for gravity/enduro-style riding, is a lace-up, and will retail for $100.
Bontrager rolls out the Rally shoe
Bontrager released their new Rally shoe, which is an all-mountain style kick that retails for $150.
The clip-in shoe features a reinforced toe box, synthetic leather uppers, and an abrasion-resistant coating on the heel and toe caps for added durability. There’s also a shock-absorbing EVA midsole, and and traction points for climbing and descending trail on your feet.
In the best sort of Sham-Wow kind of sales pitch of Crankworx, a buddy all but dragged me back to his van to show off a new Nezium chamois liner. The mesh undershort’s distinct feature is a pocket for your rocket, similar to Saxx underwear.
There’s also an upside-down style pocket large enough for my iPhone 7 with case on the right leg, and a strap on the back that’s said to hold a water bottle or tube. Nezium almost lost me with the name of this undershort, but The Game Changer retails for $65, is available in sizes XS-XL, and comes in yellow, teal or black.