We made the annual trip to Towcester in England, within audible distance of the famous Silverstone F1 and MotoGP circuit, to check out the latest and greatest road, mountain and gravel bike kit to land on, or originate on, the shores of Brexit Island. Topeak, Maxxis, Transition, Hope, DMR, Rapid Racer Products, Fasthouse, Crankbrothers, Endura, ABUS and Ride Concepts all had something newsworthy to show, while Industry Nine and Surly held their cards somewhat closer to their chest. More to come from those brands but, in the meantime, here’s what’s new!
Topeak Handlebar and Bottom Bracket Stashed Tools
The Topeak Plug N’ Tool Mountain stows a multi-tool and tire plugging tool safely away inside your handlebar such that both are accessible in a heart beat. They come with variable sizes of expandable rubber bungs that secure them in place to prevent rattling. This one retails at £57.99. There is a Topeak Plug N’Tool Roadie version which is shorter to fit inside drop bars; that one will set you back £54.99.
Hollow bottom bracket axles also present usable real-estate for tool storage, and Topeak are looking to fill yours with their BB Hide N’ Tool. The compact, 7-function multi-tool comprises a T25, 2/3/4/5mm Hex Keys, a Flat Head screwdriver and a chain tool compatible with chains up to 13 speed. Integrated magnets secure it in place. Part with £57.99 to get your hands on that.
Endura MT500 Koroyd x MIPS Full Face Helmet
Endura has finally added a MIPS liner to its top-of-the-line MT500 Full Face Helmet. The rotational impact protection system complements the Koroyd Core and EPS energy dissipation elements. The MT500 Full Face without MIPS does remain in the range at £199.99, but the MT500 MIPS is now the premium offering at at £219.99. It is ASTM-Certified for DH MTB. No weight is published for this one, but Endura says it is lightest in class.
Endura MT500 Burner Flat and Clipless Winter MTB Shoes
Launched for the first time just last year, Endura expanded its line of MTB Shoes to include a waterproof offering for the worst that winter has to throw at us. The Endura MT500 Burner Flat and Clipless MTB Shoes retail at £159.99 and £169.99, respectively. Both get a gaiter-like velcro closure north of the wearer’s ankle, with a durable, fully waterproof yet breathable ExoshellFW membrane making up the main barrier between your feet and the elements.
Like the rest of the MT500 Burner range from Endura, these winter MTB shoes get an EGM foot-bed to maximize comfort and power transfer. The Clipless version sees an offset cleat box with plenty of longitudinal adjustment. Like the MT500 Burner Shoes we tested last year, the Flat Pedal option benefits from Endura’s proprietary StickyFoot rubber outsole, which is legitimately sticky, by the way.
DMR O’Dub Signature Handlebars
The latest from DMR are the O’Dub Signature Handlebars developed in close collaboration with the brand’s sponsored rider, Olly Wilkins. Available in both 31.8mm and 35mm options, these aluminum bars have a spiral butting profile, said to make them stronger than bars with a more traditional butting profile. Get them in a 20mm, 35mm or 50mm rise, with a 5° up-sweep and an 8° back-sweep.
The DMR O’Dub Bars get detailed measurement graphics at the bar-end and clamp regions to aid bar positioning. The 31.8mm versions go for £75 while the 35mm versions retail at £80.
Transition Patrol Ohlins Framekit
In the UK, at least, the Transition Patrol is now available in a frame kit boasting Ohlins suspension components. Thanks to the new Ohlins TTX22.m2 Side-By-Side Coil Shock with its well-packaged dimensions, the Patrol can run this coil shock with no worries regarding clearance. It is paired with the Ohlins RXF38 m.2 fork. We await pricing info on this one.
RRP ProGuard 2.0 Bolt-On
Still under development is Version 2 of the RRP ProGuard Bolt-On. The update seeks to solve a few compatibility issues that troubled the original ProGuard. We were shown a 3D Printed Prototype at CORE Bike; we are told the shape may change for production, but only subtly.
The sides of guard extending outward toward the Seal Guard will be chamfered to improve clearance in a bid to prevent fork CSUs bottoming out on the guard. Also, the slotted mounting points now have more scope up/down adjustment. The ProGuard 2.0 will add compatibility for a minimum of 8 new mountain bike forks including those from X-Fusion, the EXT Era, Ohlins RXF 38, Rockshox Domain, Zeb, Pike, and Lyrik. Multiple adapters will be available to ensure a good fit.
The ProGuard 2.0 will be made from a slightly stiffer material than the original (they don’t say what), but will have the same impact protection properties. The intention is to produce a mudguard that will remain in tact even if you do have a big crash. The Seal Guard itself will be larger, offering up a greater surface area for the rubberized patch that will interface with the fork, also ensuring that splashes from a rapidly rotating front wheel don’t make it onto your fork stanchions and onto the wiper seals.
There will be a Mini version (shown), a Standard version, and we are told that the extra stability provided by the new design will allow for a Max Protection version, RRP’s longest mudguard.
Hope Pro 5 Hub and Center-Lock Rotors
Hope launched the Pro 5 Hubset at CORE Bike, improved over the outgoing Pro 4 with a higher number of POEs for faster engagement, reduced drag thanks to a new zero-friction labyrinth seal and lighter springs, as well as a stiffer hub shell with larger bearings inside the freehubs for improved load capacity and durability. Key to that was a widening of the pawls such that they occupy a lot more of the space available; that leaves each pawl with less wiggle room, reducing the risk of damage to the ratchet under high torque loads. Oh, and Boost for Boost, the Pro 5 is said to be just 4g heavier than the Pro 4.
New for the Pro 5 is the addition of center-lock options. In line with that, Hope is adding more center-lock floating rotors to the range; the floating rotor options shown here will be available from 140mm up to 220mm, and are all 1.8mm thick. The soon-incoming standard center-lock rotors from Hope will see a thicker option, too.
Ride Concepts Accomplice
Ride Concepts has a new mountain bike shoe for 2023; the Accomplice, available in both flat and clipless models. This one slots into the lineup between the Livewire and the Hellion, retailing at £119 for the flat pedal version and £129.99 for the clipless model.
The tongue, if you will, has more of a sock-like design wherein it encases the ankle about 360°, giving it the look of a modern trainer. It is bestowed with the grippiest 4.0 DST rubber that Rubber Kinetics has to offer in the classic hexagonal lug pattern.
Fasthouse x Bell Full 10 Helmet
Apparel brand, Fasthouse, continue their collaboration with Bell to finish the new Full 10 Spherical Helmet in classic Fasthouse fashion. For those not familiar, Bell updated overhauled its premium downhill offering, replacing the long-standing Full 9 with the Full 10 Spherical, our review of which you can read here. Our tester, Steve Fisher, was impressed by the carbon-shelled helmet’s ventilation.
“It is excellent! Air does flow very well through the helmet, and this lid is easily one of the coolest full faces I’ve worn. While riding I could feel air moving around my ears, on top of my head, and up over my forehead through the front intakes. The huge exhaust vents in the back must do their job because this helmet doesn’t hold in much heat, even after several bike park laps on a hot summer day” – Steve Fisher.
There is no premium to pay for this alternative branding and colorway; the Fasthouse x Bell Full 10 Spherical Full Face DH Helmet retails at $650 USD.
Crankbrothers Stamp Street Shoes for Kids
Crankbrothers is expanding their line of apparel for children with the Stamp Street Shoes in UK Sizes 2 & 3. These retail at £105, a good chunk cheaper than the adult counterparts due to the fact that there is no VAT charge on clothing for children.
ABUS YouDrop Convertible Full Face Helmet for Kids
ABUS showed a convertible full face helmet designed for children in the form of the YouDrop. Shame about the name of that one, but it is a relatively reasonably priced full face option for your little shredder at £99.99. It has an in-mould EPS construction and features one of the simpler mechanisms for chinbar addition and removal that we’ve seen, and should be relatively easy for kids to learn quickly. You simply push a button on either side of the main helmet body to release the chinbar. To reattach, you just slot it back into the mechanism until you hear it click into place.
Recommended head size for the ABUS YouDrop FF is 48-55cm with the ZoomAce head cradle also featuring height adjustment. In addition to the Velvet Black seen here, it is also available in Midnight Blue, Chalk Grey and Sage Green.
There is also a regular, open face ABUS Youdrop that retails at £69.
What’s in the i9 Box?
Among the usual Industry Nine bling was this mystery box containing a soon-to-be launched new product. Let the speculation commence!