VIDEO | Anthony Messere Rides Vancouver Island

Anthony Messere spent a few days riding Vancouver Island earlier this year. He approaches the island with his signature superhuman style in the edit from Fox Head.

Are we the only ones who think he should be riding with a cape?

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ENDURO DOMES | Helmets that Combine Coverage and Cool

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As enduro racing gains momentum in North America, a landslide of products catering to the “new” breed of renaissance rider has hit the market. Helmets are no exception, and just as the racing format’s proliferation has been a catalyst of the pursuit of the elusive combination of strength and lightweight when it comes to all-mountain bikes and components, expanding coverage and protection without sacrificing weight and breathability has become the mantra of enduro domes, expanding the selection of true mountain-bike helmets. Lucky then for the majority of riders, the format closely resembles what most mortals actually do on a mountain bike. So whether you’re looking to run goggles with your half-lid for the next stop of the World Series, or you’re just a weekend warrior looking for something better than a road helmet with a visor, here are eight enduro lids to keep you cool and covered.

 

Bell Super

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Even though it is the heaviest in the group at 390 grams, the Bell Super comes packed with enough features and a dialed fit to make the weight an afterthought. It provides some of the deepest rear coverage available in a half lid, but despite covering so much cranial real estate, features enough vents—25, to be exact—to keep you cool. Somewhat unique to the Super are the four brow vents just under the visor, designed to pull air in and through the internal channeling built into the EPS. The visor also offers 30-degrees of adjustability, which is not only nice when it comes to keeping a clear field of view, but actually allows room for goggles to rest off your face and under the visor. This, along with the integrated goggle guides, make the Super the most goggle-friendly of the bunch—and also leaves no doubt as to its intended demographic. Another standout feature of the Super is the integrated—yet removable—GoPro mount. Bell‘s Speed Dial fit system does a fine job of keeping things secure and comfy.

 

Uvex XP CC

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Although not the newest in the bunch, the made-in-Germany Uvex XP CC remains a solid performer in the all-mountain category. Formerly the XP 100, it gets a new name and colors for 2014. Despite full coverage and innovative who-woulda-thunk-it features like bug netting in the front vents and a Monomatic strap system allows you to micro-adjust strap tension on the fly, the XP CC is by far the lightest in the bunch at 260 grams. Thanks to something Uvex calls the IAS 3D+ system, one size fits all. While we were admittedly skeptical of a “one size fits all” claim on something as personal as a helmet, the fit system does its job well. Fore-aft length can be adjusted as can width, but the clincher here is the crown-height adjustment, which above all, seems to really allow you to find the just-right Goldilocks setting. Sixteen large vents help keep things cool and removable, washable, anti-microbial padding makes it easy to keep it clean.

 

Mavic Notch

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The French wheelmaker launched a line of technical apparel earlier this year aimed at the enduro trend that happened to include a new helmet very well suited to the discipline. Enter, the Mavic Notch. One of the lighter options in the group at 320 grams, the Notch is a ground-up trail helmet offering more coverage than Mavic’s cross-country offerings along with a unique rugged style.  Fit is dialed in courtesy of the Ergo Hold SL retention system, borrowed from the company’s road helmets to achieve maximum comfort and minimum weight. The anti-microbial liner fights funk and features a design that is continuos around the front brow with recessed channels for the straps for a seamless fit. A dozen forward-facing vents are coupled with large exhaust vents in the back for ventilation. The visor is fixed, which is fine as it doesn’t seem to obstruct field of vision, but riders looking for more room to run goggles may want to look elsewhere, although the visor is removable if doing so is more your style.

 

Giro Feature

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The Giro Feature has remained largely unchanged since its inception two years ago, but still finds a spot on this list for a reason—it is one of the lightest, offers some of the deepest coverage and is the most affordable. The In-Form fit system is among the more basic in the group, but does what’s mean to do and feels just fine. The Feature has 12 vents and internal channeling, but riders concerned with hot weather and longer rides may want to look at better ventilated options. But what the Feature lacks in ventilation, it makes with some of the most comprehensive coverage in the group and a round profile closer to a skate-style bucket than a spandex spear tip. The Feature also…um, features an adjustable visor. It all tips the scales at only 285 grams. Touché.

 

Urge Endur-O-Matic

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Even if you couldn’t see a single logo from afar, there’d be no mistaking an Urge helmet for anything else on the market—the Endur-O-Matic is no exception. The closest to being a full-on gravity lid sans chinbar in the group, the Endur-O-Matic offers the most coverage by far. There are only eight vents that give one the sudden “urge” to go bowling, but they are said to be positioned to create a Venturi Effect (air is accelerated as it moves through smaller spaces) along with the inner channels. The Gangsta Pad anti-sweat system mimics a bandana over your brow to keep the drips away, and along with the rear padding, does a fine job of wicking moisture for what looks to be such a sealed dome.

 

Troy Lee Designs A1

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Well known for its full-face offerings, Troy Lee Designs made a splash earlier this year when it returned to the half-lid game with the wildly styled and wildly popular A1. While the custom moto-inspired graphics and anodized hardware certainly make an impression, function leads form—as evidenced by three years of development and several scrapped prototypes. The goggle-friendly visor has 50 millimeters of adjustability, and a one-piece liner is as plush as we’ve ever seen in a bicycle helmet. Although Troy Lee Designs says more colors will be released throughout the year—we already saw a matte version of the Black Cyclops color at Sea Otter—the existing designs seem to be a love it or leave it affair for most riders. Regardless of how you feel about the graphics, once on, all else is forgotten. The A1 just feels right. The deep-fitting shell seems to cradle your skull just right. The retention dial will probably work for most melons, but there are also three height positions resulting in 20 millimeters of crown-height customization. The A1 weighs in at 340 grams without the visor, which, while not wispy, is quickly forgotten on long rides due to both the fit and cooling of the intake and exhaust vents and internal channeling.

 

Fox Head Flux

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One of the most popular helmets in the all-mountain/enduro category, the Fox Head Flux offers deep coverage with an aggressive look. It’s 352 grams is well ventilated thanks to 20 openings. In contrast to most “dial” fit retention systems, Fox Head‘s Detox fit system utilizes a ratcheting strap in the rear. Style and comfort lead the way as reasons this helmet continues to be a best seller.

 

SixSixOne Recon

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The SixSixOne Recon is a great option for more comprehensive protection in a sleek, lightweight package ready for all-day romps. The Recon weighs in at a tidy 300 grams and features matte graphics that stand out without being obnoxiously loud—a feat more difficult than it sounds. The straps anchor at the edge of the helmet, so they don’t rub your face or tussle with the liner over which one gets to hug your head. Eighteen vents and internal channeling provide “active” ventilation. The Recon shares the Detox ratcheting fit system with the Flux.

by Don Stefanovich

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‘SHRED IT TO GET IT’ PHOTO CONTEST | Winners Announced

Daniel Posadas. Ukiah, CA

Daniel Posadas. Ukiah, CA

Reno Toffoli. Devil's Backbone, CO.

Reno Toffoli. Devil’s Backbone, CO.

Willy DeLa Cruz. Mountain Creek Bike Park, NJ.

Willy DeLa Cruz. Mountain Creek Bike Park, NJ.

Congratulations to Price Point‘s “SHRED IT TO GET IT” photo contest winners, Daniel Posadas, Reno Toffoli and Willy DeLa Cruz.

Each of them will receive a Fox Head jersey autographed by Cam McCaulTyler McCaulAnthony MessereBrett Rheeder and Josh Bryceland.

Fox Head jerseys autographed by Cam McCaul, Tyler McCaul, Anthony Messere, Brett Rheeder and Josh Bryceland.

Stay tuned for your chance to win more #bikeswag from Price Point.

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VIDEO | 2013 Fox Head Gear Tested by Kirt Voreis and Tyler McCaul in Bend, OR

Check out Fox Head athletes Kirt Voreis and Tyler McCaul ripping trail bikes on some sublime singletrack in Bend, OR as they put the 2013 Fox Head all-mountain and trail gear through its paces with some exhaustive R&D.

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 1

The Link goes on location at the Sea Otter Classic in the pits of Laguna Seca for a sneak peek at all the new bikeswag being unveiled.

Answer Gentlemen’s Collection Bars

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Classy as always, Answer proudly displayed its Gentlemen’s Collection of bars with dignified designs such as paisley, plaid and houndstooth. The bars are a manly 780 millimeters wide with 4-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep. The graphics for each bar are hand-laid ensuring no two are alike. The Gentlemen’s Collection features a military-grade anodized finish to ensure the bars don’t fade or scratch.

Answer Gentleman's Collection

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Further adding to the allure, Answer says these are limited edition, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

 

Sun Ringlé 27.5-inch Wheels

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Sun Ringlé expands its wheel line with 27.5-inch (650b) offerings in both the Charger Pro SL all-mountain and—adding to the signs of changing times—A.D.D. downhill wheels. Both feature Stan’s NoTubes BST Technology.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The anodized hubs of the A.D.D. downhill wheels look as good as they sound.

 

Manitou 27.5-inch Forks

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Manitou‘s trail forks gets all-new lowers, graphics and are now available in 27.5-inch (650b) sizes to fit the emerging crop of middle-wheeled bikes.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Minute Pro and Marvel Pro are available with up to 140 millimeters of travel. Expect a 160-millimeter all-mountain fork with 34 millimeter stanchions in the near future.

 

Fox Head Rampage Pro Carbon

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Rampage Pro Carbon tops Fox Head‘s helmet lineup with carbon-fiber construction, 17 vents and tips the scales at only 1,145 grams.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Colors range from subtle to not so much. We spotted a few of these on the race courses already on pros and amateurs alike.

 

Race Face Narrow-Wide

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Race Face designed its Narrow-Wide chainrings to be run as single-ring setups and eliminate dropped chains and the need for chainguides. The name refers to alternating-width teeth similar to SRAM’s XX1 X-Sync. Narrow Wide will play nicely with while adding a touch of color to XX1 setups.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Rather than the ramps of traditional two and three-ring setups designed to drop chains for smoother shifting, the Narrow-Wide design holds onto chains with a Kung-Fu grip.

 

Crankbrothers Mallet DH

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

When Crankbrothers redesigned its popular mallet to be lighter, it resulted in slightly less platform real estate. Gravity riders lamented, so Crankbrothers introduced the Mattlet DH, featuring the refined internals of the new Mallets with a larger platform resembling the original design. They still come in at a respectable 470 grams per pair.

 

Zipp Wheels 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher

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The 202 Carbon Clincher is the lightest wheel in the Zipp lineup at a scant 1,375 grams per pair. Designed to combine aerodynamics with low weight, the 202 combines the 32-millimeter rim depth of its predecessor with a more aerodynamic Firecrest profile and now has a wider 25.4-millimeter max rim width, resulting in an impressive all-around road wheel.

 

Kenda Turnbull Canyon and Honey Badger Tires

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Developed with cross-country legend Tinker Juarez, the Kenda Turnbull Canyon tire is named for the Southern California trail network where Tinker is notorious for the self-inflicted torture of his training sessions. The XC/marathon tire will be available in 2.0 width in 26, 27.5 and 29-inch incarnations.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Honey Badger is Kenda‘s new do-it-all trail tire designed to grip as well on slimy Northwest roots as in the dry and loose of the Southwest while retaining fast-rolling characteristics. Climb all day? Descend some serious chunder? Like its namesake, the Honey Badger don’t care—as the letters stamped in the tread will remind you. Currently available in 2.2 widths for 26, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels, look for a 2.4 downhill Honey Badger soon.

 

Fox 34 TALAS CTD, Float X Rear Shock and Float 40

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

FOX displayed its new 34 TALAS CTD and Float X rear shock on the wildly popular Santa Cruz Bronson C, further iterating their intended all-mountain/enduro purpose.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Float 40 RC2 announces FOX’s commitment to air springs taking center stage in its gravity forks going forward. Completely revised lowers feature air-bleed valves and shave 1.15 pounds from the previous 40, resulting in a sub-6 pound dual-crown gravity fork—impressive.

FOX stopped by Price Point headquarters to give us an in-depth look, so be sure to stay tuned for a full review.

 

Shimano XTR Revisions

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Shimano overhauled its XTR brakes with magnesium calipers and carbon levers, dropping 40 grams per wheel and resulting in the company’s lightest hydraulic brakeset to date. The rotors see finned Freeza technology trickle-down from the 203-millimeter gravity realm where it debuted, to a full range of cross-country sizes, improving cooling and shaving weight.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Get your glue, kids. A new carbon tubular XTR 29er wheel also saw daylight for the first time in Laguna Seca.

 

Five Ten Freerider VXI

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The redesigned Contact Outsole of the Freerider VXI allows full pin contact for maximum grip, but lacks tread on strategic areas of the sole to allow repositioning without lifting the foot.

 

To be continued…

Stay tuned for continuing Sea Otter Classic coverage.

by Don Stefanovich 

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