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OMNI – The Smartest Safe Cycling Helmet

Coros OMNI smart cycling helmet is designed to help you get the most enjoyment and awareness out of your ride while enhancing safety. Coros OMNI – helmet, smart remote, and mobile app – delivers smartphone connectivity, two-way audio, and instant accessibility, all packed into a high performance, multipurpose helmet. Open-ear bone conduction audio – no wires, no earbuds, no safety compromises – links to your music, friends, bike mates, navigation, and ride data to enrich the ultimate riding experience.

Features Include:

• Open ear bone conduction two-way audio.
• Smart remote for hands-free control.
• Auto LED safety illumination feature.
• App Data share with STRAVA™ and MapMyRide.
• Impact alert sends GPS location to emergency contact.
• Rain, water, sweat resistant (IPX5).
• Aerodynamic 18 vent cooling design.

The helmet is currently going through crowdfunding on Indiegogo and you can reserve one starting at $129. As of today it has raised enough money to meet their goal and will begin shipping next month.

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Something For Those Dark Winter Nights – Lonely Mountains: Downhill

Megagon Industries an independent studio from Berlin, has announced its new PC/Mac game Lonely Mountains: Downhill. In a pixel art style, Lonely Mountains captures the essence of downhill mountain biking. The project is currently on Kickstarter and if you signup for their newsletter here you can download a 1 minute fully playable demo.

I spent a little bit of time with the demo and I must say it is a ton of fun. It’s not a trick game like some extreme sports games that I’ve played before. Instead Lonely Mountain focuses on route find, control and speed. This dynamic makes the game much more believable and I think it will have great replayability because of its open world design.

It’s so much fun even in its one minute version. The demo only includes one mountain, but the full game should have several. Check out the video below and then download the demo.

Imrider Polyamide Flat Pedal Review

The internet has opened us up to a world of products that you would never find in your local bike shop. Some of these products that come from no-name companies are admittedly, crap. Others however can a really good deal and allow you to save money to spend elsewhere. A product that I discovered recently falls into the latter category.

The Imrider Polyamide Flat Pedals come from “Imrider” who I have been unable to locate a website, phone number or other contact information for. However these pedals are available on Amazon.com for about $20 so I’m not too concerned about making any warranty claims. Flat pedals need to have a few features. They need a well shaped platform and grippy pins that will hold onto your shoes. They also need to be durable yet light and have bearings that will allow them to spin freely. The Imrider pedals really check all of these boxes.

These pedals have been spending time on my StumpJumper FSR 29er. So they’ve taken their share of crashes, bashes and hard hits.

The Imrider feature a plastic (polyamide) body with metal, screw in studs. These screw in studs do an excellent job of gripping flat pedals shoes. I ride with FiveTen Freerider shoes and my feet feel extremely secure on these pedals. I find that if I position my foot wrong on the pedals I need to consciously lift my foot of and reposition it. In addition Imrider even throws in replacement studs if you break one. I’ve bashed these pedals several times and they are no worse for the wear.

The conditions I ride in on a regular basis can be hard on pedal bearings (wet, muddy, sometimes sandy). These pedals however, have stood up to multiple months of daily riding and are as smooth as when I purchased them. At 179 grams per pedal these pedals are very similar in weight to other popular plastic bodied pedals such as the Race Face Chester.

Overall the Imrider Flat Pedals make a great buy for the weekend warrior mountain biker. They would also be great to put on that second bike that you lend to friends that want to ride with you. For the money, I don’t think you can beat these pedals.

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Pros:

  • Cost
  • Quality Construction
  • Very Good Grip
  • Competitive Weight

Cons:

  • Not a fancy brand name
  • No warranty

Specialized Releases New Rockhoppers for 2018

The Rockhopper line of bikes from specialized has been around for a long, long time. Specialized has updated these entry-level bikes for 2018. Some of the changes include a refined frame design that shaves weight and internal cable routing.

They have also reworked the geometry of the bike. Notably, the Rockhopper moves from a 71° to a 69.8° head tube angle and the chainstays have gone from  442mm down to 435mm. Here is a size medium comparison of the 2017 and 2018 versions:

 2018 Size Medium2017 Size Medium
STACK605mm624mm
REACH418mm412mm
HEAD TUBE LENGTH95mm100mm
HEAD TUBE ANGLE69.8°71°
BB HEIGHT312.5mm310mm
BB DROP57.5mm64mm
TRAIL82mm80mm
FORK LENGTH, FULL506mm505mm
FORK RAKE/OFFSET51mm46mm
FRONT CENTER676mm657mm
CHAINSTAY LENGTH435mm442mm
WHEELBASE1104mm1091mm
TOP TUBE LENGTH, HORIZONTAL595mm615mm
BIKE STANDOVER HEIGHT775mm810.4mm
SEAT TUBE LENGTH430mm445mm
SEAT TUBE ANGLE73.8°72°

The 2018 models also feature new component builds at prices ranging from $490.00 to $1100.00. The lower end models feature triple chain rings, coil spring forks and mechanical disk brakes which put them in the category of bikes that a mountain biker will quickly outgrow. The higher end models feature air forks, 2x drive trains and hydraulic brakes that make them a bit more respectable bikes. However you will be pushing near the $1000 mark for those builds and that point there are a ton of much better specced bikes available from manufacturers that don’t put “Specialized” on their downtubes.

In the end it feels like the Rockhopper still fills a price-point in the Specialized lineup without providing anything special. The updates make it an improved bike, but probably not the best bike for the money.

New Kickstarter Promises to Make Tubeless Tire Inflation Easier

The Swiss company milKit is hoping to make the next time you need to seat a tubeless tire a little easier. If you don’t have an air compressor seating tubeless tires can be a challenge. The milKit tubeless booster is a water bottle sized device that acts as a reservoir that can be charged and then provide a high volume and pressure burst of air that is needed to seat tubeless tires.

Since it can be charged by a mini pump and is relatively small it seems like a viable solution for trail side fixes. In addition they are proposing an add-on that will allow the reservoir to double as a hydration system. If you want to find out more you can check out their kickstarter page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1611955820/milkit-tubeless-booster

Platypus Hoser 3.0L Hydration Bladder Review

Like many mountain bikers I wear a backpack with a hydration bladder on almost every ride. I find backpacks with water to be the most comfortable and convenient way to stay hydrated on the trail. A bonus is I never need to worry about how many water bottle holders I have on a given frame.

The Platypus Hoser 3.0L has been serving as my hydration bladder in my Osprey Daylight pack that I most often ride with. At around $25, it’s an extremely affordable system. So I kept that in mind while testing.

The Hoser has a very simple bladder construction with a handle on the closed end for easy carrying and easy to read measurements along the bladder itself. This handle has come in handy many times when lugging water round while it is out of the pack and I’ve even hung the bladder up in my van during long road trips for easy access.

The opposite end features a screw top closure that has proven very durable and leak free. This screw top closer where the drink tube connects is also the only filling location on this bladder. Unlike some other brands that feature a much larger opening for filling this opening is about the same size as a soda bottle. Practically though, I never found this smaller filling connection to be problematic. In fact, I often found it to be easier to fill than the larger opening on my son’s Osprey bladder.

Smaller twist off filler that also serves as the hose attachment.

The drink tube and bite valve continue the theme of simplicity. The bite valve is a simple silicone sealing valve similar to what is found on some water bottles. There is not shutoff or other components in the bite valve so I have run into trouble with leakage from the bit valve. If I am not careful about how I route the drink tube I’ll end up with a wet shirt and pants as the valve slowly leaks while I ride. Even worse though, after a ride if I set the pack down with the bladder higher than the bite valve the entire bladder will empty slowly onto whatever surface I have left the pack on.

The drink tube and bite valve and also one integral piece which makes cleaning more difficult. This also means that when the black mildew grossness eventually takes over either portion, the entire tube and bit valve assembly must be replaced.

The bite valve is secured to the pack with an alligator clip and button snap. This works well enough but can be cumbersome to take on and off while riding. Also there is the chance that the button and come unsnapped from the drink tube leaving you without a way to attach your bit valve to your pack. This happened to me personally while testing and is kind of a bummer. I eventually did away with the alligator clip completely and just looped the hose through the strap on my Daylight pack.

I did away with the included clip and just looped the hose through my backpack.

Overall, even with its faults I would say this hydration bladder is a great value. I’ve abused the hell out of it and it’s never burst, leaked or otherwise failed. I’m considering upgrading mine to a better bite valve and continuing to use it as my daily driver for hydration.

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Pros:

  • Cost
  • Quality Construction
  • Easy to Use
  • Nice Filler Cap Design

Cons:

  • Alligator clip is easy to lose and hard to use
  • Bite valve doesn’t have an off position
  • Hose is hard to clean

Mountain Bike Multi-Tools For Under $30

Multitools are pretty essential in mountain biking. We mountain bikers beat up our bikes more than almost any other type of cyclists. Having a capable tool at the ready can easily mean the difference between a fun trailside repair and a very, very long walk home. Here’s our round-up of some quality multi-tools that can be had for less than $30.

Crank Brothers M19

The Crank Brother’s M19 is a 19 function folding multitool that features almost every tool you could want for most trailside repairs. The m19 includes a chain tool, 7 hex wrenches, 8mm and 9mm open wrenches, 3 screwdrivers, 2 torx drivers and a selection of spoke wrenches. You will find that tire levers are missing from this list. If you carry separate tire levers in your flat kit though this tool may be the perfect fit for you. In addition it comes in a variety of colors to match your bike or kit.

  • chain tool
  • spoke wrench: #0, 1, 2, 3
  • hex wrenches: #2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
  • open wrench: 8mm, 10mm
  • screwdrivers: phillips #1, phillips #2, flat #2
  • torx: t-10, t-25

Topeak Hexus II

The Topeak Hexus II is a 18 function multi-tool that features a folding design and cleverly packed tire levers. The Hexus II also uses magnetic bit attachments to save space and allow one piece of the tool to serve multiple functions. As a RedDot design award winner, at a reasonable price, I would keep this one on your shortlist.

  • Chain Tool
  • Chain Hook
  • Screwdrivers: #2 Phillips / Flat Head
  • Spoke Wrenches: 14G / 15G
  • Tire Levers:
  • Torx: 25
  • Allen Wrenches: 2, 2.5, 3; 4, 5, 6, 8

Lezyne RAP-20 

The Lenzyne rap 20 come with 20 different functions, all of which fold out from the main body of the tool. Some of the unique tools include a bottle opener (a very common trail ride need) and a disc brake shim. You get one tire lever in this tool instead of two however.

  • Spoke Wrenches: Mavic Mtv, 3.22, 3.45
  • Hex: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm
  • Torx: T25, T30
  • Tire Lever
  • Open end 10mm
  • Screwdriver: Phillips & Flat Head
  • Bottle Opener
  • Open End 8mm
  • Disk Brake Wedge
  • Chain Breaker: (8/9/10/11 speed)


Park Tool MTB-7

The Park Tool MTB 7, does not fold out in the same manner as many of its competitors. Instead it uses a somewhat odd sliding method that splits the tool into two parts. The advantage of this is that you can potentially use tools on both halves at the same time. Strangely the MTB-7 features a knife, but doesn’t feature a chain tool.

 

  • Hex: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 8mm
  • Torx: T25 ® compatible driver
  • Screwdrivers: Flat blade and Philips
  • Tire levers (2)
  • Spoke Wrenches: 0.127″, 0.130″, & 0.136″
  • Box End Wrenches: 8, 9, & 10mm
  • Chainring nut wrench
  • Dust cap remover
  • Serrated knife
  • Bottle opener

That’s our round-up of nice mountain bike multi-tools for under $30. Have another one you would suggest? Let us know in the comments.

 

Diamondback Goes Carbon With Its New Release

Diamondback has released (pun intended) it’s new Release 4c and 5c carbon trail bikes. Diamondback is not the most flashy mountain bike manufacturer these days but it appears that with these latest bikes they may be starting to change that perception.

Relative to other carbon train bikes on the market the 4c rings in at a very easy on the wallet price of $2,999. And Diamondback isn’t skimping on the build kit to hit that price point. The Release 4c features a Fox 34 Performance Float 150mm travel fork out front and a Fox Float DPS EVOL LV supplies the rear suspension.  Rounded out with Shimano SLX drivetrain, Deore brakes and a KS LEV S dropper this bike is pretty well specced out of the box. The 27.5 wheels and other touch points are Diamondback house brand, which can be expected at this price point.

This carbon framed bike features the same Level Link suspension platform that the previous aluminum Release series bikes have. This suspension system looks very similar on the surface to Santa Cruz’s system VPP system and I would expect it to perform pretty well. The bike features a slack 66.0° head tube angle combined with a 425mm chainstay length which should make it a pretty fun bike to ride.

The 5c takes all of this and cranks it to 11. The build kit features SRAM XO1 Eagle,  SRAM Guide RS brakes and RaceFace Arc30 rims. In addition you get higher end Fox suspension on the front and rear and RaceFace touch points. Even with XO1 Eagle this superbly specced bike still retails for only $4,399.

If you want to go all out, you can also custom order your own build using the Diamondback custom studio online. All of the Diamondback’s bikes are available for sale in a direct to consumer model that delivers the bike to your doorstep almost ready to ride.

You can find out more over at Diamondback’s site.

Urge BP Announces New Affordable Trailhead Helmet

Urge Bike Products, known for their distinctive helmets with unique venting has announced a more affordable option on its lineup of helmets, the Trailhead.  The Trailhead helmet features 18 vents and weighs in at 288g in Medium size while providing some very robust back of the head protection. This makes it a pretty lightweight helmet for the price. For example a Giro Chronicle weighs in at 385g and the newly announced Bell 4fourty weighs in at 338 Grams .

It uses a click wheel style retention system and will come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. The helmet will also be available in four colors, white, grey, black and green with a flexible and removable visor.

Urge says the helmet will be available in November for a retail price of 59€ or approximately $70 USD.  Check out Urge at https://www.urgebike.com/

Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance

Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance

When your bike breaks you have two options. Fix it or take it to the shop. We all know the most cost-effective solution is to fix it yourself, however, if you’ve never worked on a mountain bike you may not know where to start.

Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” by Lennard Zinn is a paperback book that is a perfect companion for your garage.

Lennard Zinn’s expert advice makes quick work of mountain bike repair. Newcomers and experienced mechanics alike will benefit from the hundreds of illustrations, the exploded views of how components go together, and Zinn’s practical, time-saving tips. Zinn’s friendly advice and years of experience make tackling even the most daunting task fun and easy.

The book covers everything from the basics with instructions for regular maintenance and all the way through advanced repair with instructions on:

  • Integrated-spindle cranks, clipless pedals, suspension forks, internal headsets, hydraulic brakes, hub and cassette overhaul, and much more
  • Problem-solving for frozen parts, stripped threads, missing pieces
  • Tubeless tires, sealant systems, flat repair, tire sizing and choice
  • Wheel building and general wheel maintenance and repair

You can get a copy of this book in Paperback for $17.70 on Amazon and a pre-order is available for the 2017 edition that is due out in December.