At this year’s Press Camp in Park City, Utah, Smith introduced a new helmet, Camelback launched a new protection hydration pack, Ryders Eyewear showcased its fog-free lenses and Thule showed us its GoPro-specific backpack. Keep reading for details on all of those new and nifty goods.
Smith Rover Helmet
Smith’s first mountain bike helmet, the Forefront, was launched a few years ago to much attention for its unique looks, use of multiple new protection technologies and its steep price tag. Now, Smith has added the Rover, a lower-cost MTB lid with a removable (but not adjustable) visor that will retail for $150 without MIPS and $180 with MIPS. The Rover is available in stores now in eight colors.
The Rover still features a comfortable, 360-degree fit system and the striking green honeycomb protection lining from Koroyd. Instead of full coverage, the Koroyd (a rather expensive material designed to reduce skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries) is strategically placed where crash impacts are most likely to occur. Light and camera mounts aren’t included, because whatever you already have should work at the top of the helmet, where there is no Koroyd blocking the vents.
On the road/adventure/commute side, the Smith Route is now available. It’s basically the same helmet but designed to look sleek without a visor.
Camelbak KUDU 8 Liter Pack
The KUDU is a few years old but as Camelbak’s first and only pack with built-in back protection, it’s a standout. Camelbak will be introducing a smaller, 8-liter version later this year that will retail for under the $200 mark where the current smallest KUDU sits. The breakdown is 3 liters of water and 5 liters of storage.
A plethora of straps keep everything together and an internal tool roll provides organization. The back protector, which is removable, is rated at CE Level 2 (for motos) and is flexible, lightweight, breathable and capable of taking multiple hits.
The double chest straps up front help keep the back protector snug and secure. One waist pocket is zippered, the other has an elastic flap closure (that one will fit an iPhone 6). We snagged one and will bring a review, soon. So far, so good.
Updated Hydration Reservoirs from Camelbak
Camelbak’s reservoir line got an update that was about five years in the making. Flow rate was increased by 20 percent thanks to a larger tube and a 45-degree (not 90-degree) angle on the bite valve. The bite valve has a new on-off flow switch that’s self-explanatory. Also updated is the handle, which is easier to hold and slips into pockets on the updated packs for security and stability.
The best update, in my opinion, is the cap. If you have ever had an entire water bladder leak out all over your car/back/wherever, you know how annoying some of them can be to properly and securely close. Camelbak came up with what they call a “pickle-jar” closure. Just put the cap on, turn and it’s sealed—no fiddling with alignment required. It really is that simple.
Ryders Eyewear With anti-FOG Lenses
As soon as I hear a claim like “these lenses will never fog,” my B.S. antennae goes up. But I received a pair to wear during Press Camp and, low and behold, Ryders antiFOG lenses actually work. They carried me through several steamy rides. I look forward to testing them this winter while fatbiking with a balaclava.
Ryders Eyewear started out as a family-run mountain bike sunglasses company and is now owned by one of the most high-tech lens manufacturers in the world. That gives the company access to some pretty impressive technologies, including the military-grade anti-fog treatment it adapted for its cycling lenses. Ryders elected not to polarize all of its riding lenses because it believes some glare is useful, allowing you to see things like ice patches and puddles.
Some frames will feature rimless tops, which are intended to provide unobstructed views from a crouched, looking-up position, as well as ventilation. Rims on the bottom can also help protect your face in the event of a crash. Sunglasses with antiFOG lenses start at $79 for clear up to about $150 for lenses packed with multiple technologies (too many to explain here; you can still get polarization and photochromatic if you want it). Many models feature adjustable nose pieces and low-profile stems that work well with a wide variety of helmets.
Thule Legend GoPro Backpack
This product is pretty self-explanatory. It’s also not brand-new, but it still raises eyebrows and gets some people excited. If you believe that your ride didn’t happen unless you posted a video of it to your favorite social media account, check out the Thule Legend.
The Legend retails for $200, has integrated mounts both front and rear, keeps all of your camera accessories well organized and protected, and can carry up to three GoPro cameras in a crush-proof compartment. It also has a hydration bladder compartment (though one is not included). Get out there and get rad.
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