Dirt Rag Magazine

First Look: New FiveTen Kestrel Lace

Say what you will about the enduro craze, but one thing we can’t deny is that many of the products being developed for racing have led to goods that are perfect for good ol’ fashioned mountain biking. One example is these new FiveTen Kestrel Lace shoes we found at Crankworx.


The Kestrel model was first introduced as a performance shoe that is lighter and stiffer than FiveTen’s more gravity-oriented models. It is built with a carbon-infused shank and closes with a BOA system. The new lace-up version, however, uses a more traditional nylon shank and traditional laces. The uppers are synthetic and the outsole features FiveTen’s dot pattern with S1 rubber. Both the lace and the BOA versions will be available going forward.


The Kestrel Lace will be available in both men’s and women’s versions and retail for $150 when they hit stores in February.


The best slopestyle run ever?

Video by Mind Spark Cinema and SRAM

Trick list

  • Opposite Truck Driver
  • 360 Downside Tailwhip
  • Backflip Double Tailwhip
  • Barspin
  • Cork 720
  • Backflip Tailwhip to Can
  • Backflip Barspin
  • Double Tailwhip
  • Double Truck Driver
  • Flat Drop Backflip
  • Barspin
  • Opposite Barsin
  • Cork 720


  1. Brandon Semenuk 93.8
  2. Nicholi Rogatkin 90.4
  3. Thomas Genon 88.0


Watch the full Red Bull Joyride replay at Redbull.tv


Inside Line: New Leatt Helmet, Packs, Pads and Gloves for 2016

Last year Leatt announced new helmets that were slated to begin shipping in 2015. As is often the case, even the best-laid plans don’t always pan out as expected. A fire at Leatt’s foam supplier delayed production significantly. Fortunately, these new lids will begin shipping in January of 2016.

6.0 Carbon and 5.0 Composite – $499/$399

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Helmets are a logical step for the brand that arguably popularized the the neck brace. Given Leatt’s focus on medical research, it comes as no surprise to the company workign to minimize rotational trauma to the brain. The MIPS system brought the concept of rotational trauma and resulting conclusions to our consciousness, so it’s great to see additional offerings serving this market.

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Leatt developed what they’re calling “360º Turbine Technology” to reduce impacts and rotational forces. These little discs not only absorb impact, but they also allow the helmet’s shell to move independently of the head. Additionally, Leatt’s in-molded shell and dual-density foam facilitate a 10 percent smaller helmet, which reduces rotational energy transferred to the head and brain by 20 percent. Turbine technology is said to reduce impact at the concussive level up to 30 percent and reduce rotational acceleration of the head and brain by up to 40 percent. Six helmet sizes available from XS to XXL.

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3.0 Cargo Pack – $179

Leatt has offered packs for a couple of years now, but those packs were a partnership with another company. For 2016, Leatt brought pack design and production management in-house. Packs will begin shipping in November 2015.

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The 3.0 Cargo offers three liters of water capacity in Leatt’s CleanTech bladder and ten liters of storage. Leatt’s 3DF CE Level 2 back protector should provide quite a bit of protection while the company’s vest-like chest harness secures the pack.

2.0 Enduro Lite WP – $139

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The Enduro Lite offers two liters of water capacity and five liters of storage inside its waterproof fabric and water resistant zippers. A CE Level 1 back protector provides confidence, and a weatherproof touch screen pocket protects your devices.

3DF Knee and Elbow Guards 5.0 – $75/$59

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Welcome to Leatt’s newest generation of 3DF viscoelastic knee and elbow pads. Not only is the new material 25% slimmer, it’s also considerably softer and more supple. However, under impact, it’s every bit as protective as the previous version. Pads will begin shipping in October.

3.0 X-Flow and 4.0 Lite – $50/$40

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Leatt’s gloves are totally new for 2016. The 3.0 X-Flow gloves (left in the above photo) offer Armourgel protection for the first knuckle, Clarino palm and mesh backing.

The 4.0 Lite glove (right in the above photo) includes Armourgel protection for the first knuckle and the second and third knuckle on the ring and index finger. A Nano grip palm offers palm protection and smart phone compatibility. Expect gloves to begin shipping in October.





Inside Line: Morpheus Conspiracy Downhill Bike

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Morpheus is proudly displaying an all-new downhill bike here at Crankworx and we caught up with company founder Michael Schwartz to get the lowdown.

This full carbon fiber rig is the first project where Morpheus sought expertise from outside the company to assist in frame design and suspension kinematics, “to make [the Conspiracy] a bike that goes against the other bikes in the category right now, we really had to seek help,” said Schwartz. “We worked with a new FEA program that’s used in Forumla 1 to test parts pre-season and that was extremely useful because we never had such a well-sorted bike from a first prototype.” Here, Schwartz is hinting at Morpheus’ previous downhill prototype, which the company ended up scrapping entirely because they couldn’t achieve the results they were looking for. “We wanted to accelerate the project because people have been waiting for a downhill bike for a long time from us,” Schwartz continued.

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Well sorted, indeed. The Conspiracy’s fit and finish looks spectacular. It’s truly light-years ahead of the previous prototype and this sample was on-par with some of the best in the business.

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During initial prototyping, Morpheus entertained the idea of making a bike that offer 26- and 27.5-inch capability. Ultimately, they decided on 27.5 because they were able to hit their geometry targets while also taking advantage of the inherent traction advantage of 27.5. Choosing one wheel size also simplifies construction significantly.

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The Conspiracy’s geometry falls right in line with what’s developing as the “standard” range for bikes in this category; 17.1-inch chainstays, 13.6-inch bottom bracket height and a 63.5-degree head tube angle.

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Notice that chainstay pivot? Yep, it’s a Horst Link, which is now free to use after the patent recently expired. Morpheus calls its suspension design Optimized Performance Suspension (OPS), but didn’t offer any further specifics.

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Though it’s designed as a race bike, Morpheus sought to maintain a lively feeling suspension to maximize fun in the bike park too. Schwartz wanted a bike that’s at home smashing rock gardens and hitting the jump line.

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Another of Morpheus’ key targets for this bike was affordability. As a smaller, consumer direct company, Morpheus has less overhead than many of the large manufacturers, so they’re able to offer a competitive package to the end consumer. The Conspiracy frame will retail for $2,495 with a Fox X2 shock and the standard build with a Rock Shox Boxxer, Vivid rear shock and mid-level Race Face components. Even the premium build, which is said to weigh less than 35 lbs., will retail for $5395 with a Fox 40, Fox DHX2 rear shock, Race Face Carbon components and DT Swiss wheels for $5,395. Expect bikes to ship in February of 2016. If all goes well, you might even see a few of these in action at Red Bull Rampage this year.




First Ride: Rocky Mountain Maiden World Cup

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A little over a week ago Rocky Mountain announced its new Maiden downhill bike, and we brought you up to speed on the details here. As we hoped, we were able to ride a few laps aboard an early-production Maiden World Cup at Whistler.

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After a period of downhill bikes trending steadily slacker, the market seems to have leveled out between 63 and 64 degrees, which is right where the Maiden plays. Even in the slackest 63-degree setting the Maiden struck a comfortable balance of maneuverability and stability, particularly combined with the very-short 16.7-inch chainstays.

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This was my first ride aboard BOS suspension and I’m thoroughly impressed with the Idylle Air model spec’d on the World Cup. This air-sprung fork is very supple, and soaked up Whistler’s extensive braking bumps and bomb holes incredibly well. It also provided a well-controlled and comfortable ramp up to end of stroke.

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Out back, the BOS Stoy RaRe was very well matched to the fork, soaking up small chatter and big hits without breaking a sweat.

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In designing the Maiden, Rocky Mountain invested a lot of time and energy in minimizing the impact of braking force on the rear suspension. The company’s patented Autonomous Braking design “[balances] anit-rise, caliper rotation, and instantaneous inertial brake transfer values” to keep the rear suspension active when braking. That’s a bunch of tech-speak, but in a nutshell, most all of today’s downhill bikes squat under braking, which firms up the suspension a bit due to being deeper in the travel. Combine that squat with caliper rotation and you can end up with grip-slip under braking. On the Maiden, I couldn’t believe how composed and neutral the bike felt under braking. It was astonishingly smooth under even the worst braking bumps.

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Although all of the complete bikes are spec’d with 27.5-inch wheels, the Maiden offers some interesting options to make it 26-inch compatible. By installing a headset spacer and utilizing the lower rear axle position, the geometry is optimized for 26-inch wheels. With 26-inch wheels and fork, the trail number is nearly identical to that of the 27.5-inch setup.

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The Maiden’s Ride-4 chip is similar in concepts to Rocky’s Ride-9 chip, but simplified substantially. The chip’s four positions subtly adjust geometry, but are said to have a negligible impact on suspension performance. We didn’t have time to play with the settings, but look forward to doing so in a future long-term review.

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Photo by Adam Newman

In all, I’m very impressed with the Maiden. It was easy to ride and very intuitive from the moment we rolled in the park. The suspension’s performance on small bumps and braking bumps was nothing short of astounding, while the big-hit performance far more capable and I am able to push it. The Maiden seems like an incredibly well-designed and executed bike. I’m sure looking forward to getting my hands on a long-term test sled. Look for production bikes to begin shipping in October.





Photo Gallery: Crankworx Dual Slalom racing

Photos by Justin Steiner and Adam Newman


The racing here at Crankworx took center stage Friday night as the threatening rain clouds hovered overhead but never dampened the action.

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The dry and dusty course was running fast as rookie Dakotah Norton, left, came out of nowhere to take the win as challenger Martin Maes took a spill on the first heat of the finals and couldn’t finish.


On the women’s side Jill Kintner held off all the competition to take her third straight victory. Even with fresh stitches in her arm runner up Anneke Beerten collected enough points to lock in her title as the 2015 Queen of Crankworx.

Photo gallery

Click on the magnifying glass to see photos full size.


Inside Line: First ride with the new Giro Montaro helmet

Photos by Justin Steiner

Giro has had a huge hit on its hands with the Feature, a great all-purpose trail helmet that doesn’t break the bank. The new Montaro builds on that success with several new technologies that make it more of a premium product.


The first key design priority on the Montaro was making it more easily compatible with goggles. Giro says it is one of the few half-shell helmets on the market that can perch a pair of goggles on your forehead below the visor. To make it work the visor tilts really far up with several detents along the way, making it unnecessary to lock it in place with screw tension at the pivots. The vents along the rear of the helmet are also lined with a rubbery plastic that helps hold the goggle strap, a nice touch.


Ventilation was another key aspect of the design, and the Montaro has Giro’s Roc Loc Air retention system that keeps the body of the helmet suspended slightly above your head, allowing air to move in and through more easily. If you do end up warming up and sweating, you should notice a lot less of it ending up in your eyes thanks to the super-absorbent brow pad that uses the kind of material you’d find in a ShamWow. If you pull it out and squeeze it in your hand a rather disturbing amount of sweat comes out.


Other features include a clip-in GoPro mount, easy to adjust straps and a MIPS liner on all models. There are eight colors and three sizes for the standard Montaro and three colors and two sizes in the women’s Montara version, which is otherwise identical. It will go on sale for $150 this October.


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In action


Photo Gallery: Crankworx Whip-Off World Championships

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As a first-timer at Crankworx, most everything about this event is eye-opening. From the overall turnout to the the diversity of the crowd, I’ve come away impressed. While there are plenty of incredible events, including Saturday’s legendary Red Bull Joy Ride, the Whip-Off World Championships was one of the events I was most excited to watch and shoot.

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First of all, these jumps are HUGE.

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Secondly, this world-class crew of riders makes it look so stylish and so easy.

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Beyond whips, there’s no shortage of attempts to stand out. This year we saw a cow suit, a dude wearing flip flops, another dude wearing nothing but a sock on his dangly bits and Lars Sternberg competing on his Transition Klunker.

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Repeat women’s winner Casey Brown has won this event so many times she’s lost count.

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Andreu Lacondeguy took home the men’s title. Watch for our exclusive interview with him in the next issue of Dirt Rag, #187.

When I first showed up at Whistler [for Crankworx], I just wanted to send it as hard as I could. I was 16 years old and I didn’t care much about anything. My hair was long and dirty. I was hung over and riding in a Misfits T-shirt. I won qualifiers and then overjumped the biggest step-down on the mountain when I tried to flip it and landed in the hospital. Those days were crazy, and we were all a little out of control.

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Whip-Off Worlds is definitely an event worth seeing in person someday.

More Photos


Inside Line: Easton and Race Face announce dropper posts

RaceFace-Easton Dropper

Two new players are set to enter the dropper seatpost market later this year. In a parallel move, Race Face and Easton announced the release of new dropper seatposts. Though the posts are mechanically identical, they will be branded independently as the Race Face Turbine and Easton Haven.

The infinitely adjustable post mechanism utilizes a licensed version of 9Point8’s hybrid hydraulic and mechanical system that’s operated by a standard shift cable. A spring-loaded mechanical brake locks the post in place. When the lever is actuated, brake tension is reduced to allow the post to move. In the event of a failure, the brake will remain locked in its current position.

Easton-RaceFace Dropper Lever

The internally routed cable offers a quick connector to ease shipping and potentially facilitate moving the post between bikes. The standard remote lever can be used on the left or right of the bars and an upgrade lever for use with single-ring drivetrains will be available separately for $60 in a variety of colors.


Posts will be available in four lengths (350, 375, 415 and 440 mm) and three travel options (100, 125 and 150 mm). Expect the posts to be available in November for $470.

From an aftermarket standpoint, this announcement may seem a little strange due to the shared product platform. But, considering both Race Face and Easton are owned by parent company Fox Factory Holding Company, this seems like a wise move for the OE market. Now both companies can provide manufacturers complete cockpit spec within each brand.


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