Dirt Rag Magazine

Press Camp 2017 gear: helmets, sunglasses and packs

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 Rover-1

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.

Smith Rover-2

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 reservoirs-2

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

Ryders Eyewear-2

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-1

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.

Ryders Eyewear-3

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.

Thule GoPro-2

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.



New Archi Enduro RR helmet from Urge

Urge is a company that has long focused on the enduro market, and the Archi Enduro RR (Race Ready) helmet was specifically designed for the world’s toughest enduro events and the riders who race them. The design is intended to provide the lightest weight and best ventilation possible for long enduro stages with plenty of uphill pedaling.

Enduro RR helmet

The Archi RR is made from a mix of glass and linen fibers. The layup of the materials is designed to better spread impact shock waves around the helmet so that less is transmitted to the skull.

Ten vents are designed to provide ventilation even at low speeds, and redesigned cheek pads should allow better airflow around the ears. The wide front opening of the helmet was shaped to work with all googles on the market. “Gripping pads” on the sides of the helmet help hold the goggle straps in place.


  • Weight: 990 grams (2.2 pounds)
  • Sizes: XS (53-54 cm), S (55-56 cm), M (57-58 cm), L (59-60 cm), XL (61-62 cm)
  • Price: $300
  • Available: May 15
  • More info: Urge Archi Enduro RR



RockShox updates base-model suspension forks

RockShox updated its entry-level suspension forks with offerings from 80 mm to 140 mm. Variations on the theme are found primarily in travel, hub compatibility and weight. BOOST and 27plus compatibility arrive on the scene while forks for 9 mm quick releases and 26-inch wheels are still available.

Recon Silver

Recon Silver RL – $235-$295

Crown and lower legs from a RockShox Reba paired with steel upper tubes
Motion Control damper with available remote
Lowers: 15×100 mm, 15x100mm Boost or 9 mm quick release
Weight: 1960 grams (27.5 version)
Travel: 80, 100 or 120 mm
Spring: Solo Air
Steerer: tapered
Wheel sizes: 27.5, 29/27plus, Boost models for both
Available: May 2016

Sektor Silver

Sektor Silver RL – not sold aftermarket

Motion Control damper with available remote
Lowers: 15×100 mm, 15x100mm Boost
Weight: 2190 grams (29 version)
Travel: 130, 140 or 150 mm
Spring: Solo Air
Steerer: tapered
Wheel sizes: 27.5, 29/27plus, Boost models for both
Available: May 2016

30 Gold

30 Gold RL – $345-$425

Motion Control damper with available remote
Lowers: 9 mm quick release
Weight: 1841 grams (27.5 version)
Travel: 80, 100 or 120 mm
Spring: Solo Air
Steerer: tapered
Wheel sizes: 26, 27.5, 29
Available: May 2016



New product roundup from Frostbike

Frostbike is an annual dealer gathering hosted by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the parent company behind several brands such as All City, Foundry, Salsa, Surly and others. The event takes place at QBP headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late February and allows shop owners and media types to gather, drink beer and talk shop.

With the Taipei International Cycle Show and Sea Otter looming, not to mention the countless company-specific product launch events now usurping big trade shows, there was not a glut of new product to be explored. Here are some of the new and noteworthy products we stumbled upon.

Frostbike DR Web-1

Whisky 9 Carbon Handlebars – $140/$150

Whisky Parts, QBP’s carbon components brand, used a slate of custom, one-off bikes to showcase its new wheels, seat posts and handlebars, including its new 840 mm carbon mountain bike bars that are ready to be cut to size. Models will be flat or feature a 25 mm rise with 31.8 or 35 mm clamp diameters. The bars are estimated to arrive in June.

Frostbike DR Web-6

Manitou Machete fork

A new Manitou fork, the Machete, was spotted hung on Heller Bike’s entry-level Shagamaw hardtail (we previewed the bike last week). Not much was said about the Machete at Frostbike—Heller said its new carbon plus bike is the first to be spec’d with the fork. The version on the Shagamaw is 130 mm with an air spring and 6 mm bolt-on axle. The whole bike pictured here retails for $2,000, so we imagine the Machete will offer a reasonably priced option for plus-tire bikes. Look for more information on this, soon.

Frostbike DR Web-8

Five Ten Freerider EPS with Primaloft – $140/$150

The Freerider is a waterproof, insulated flat-pedal shoe designed for rides on cool, wet mornings and cold, snowy days. The Primaloft insulation is found on the shoe’s fully gusseted tongue and from the instep forward. The heel, instead, features closed-cell neoprene to retain heat and repel water. The sole is Five Ten’s Stealth S1 tread. Men’s U.S. sizing will go from a 14 all the way down to a 5, which is roughly a women’s 7. Available in standard rise for $140 or as a high-top for $150. Look for the shoes in August.

Frostbike DR Web-14

Bont Vaypor

Bont Cycling is best known in the skinny-tire world, but these fresh, ultra-lightweight kicks caught our eye immediately. They feature a carbon sole that can be molded and re-molded to your feet multiple times and a fairly aggressive tread. Since these shoes are prototypes, we don’t know much about them yet. Expect to spend about $400 for a pair when they become available.

Frostbike DR Web-10

Surly Dirt Wizards in 27plus and 29plus – $80/$90

Mountain bikers have a love-hate relationship with these aggressive-tread tires. When the Dirt Wizard was introduced as a 26 x 2.75 tire, it was a rare 26plus(ish) option. Our web editor happily runs them on her old Surly Pugsley with 65 mm rims in all conditions. They have phenomenal grip but the original versions are infamous for weak sidewalls.

Now, the Dirt Wizard is available in 27.5 x 3.0 (60 TPI with Nylon sidewall protection) and 29 x 3.0 (60 and 120 TPI with Kevlar beads). The tires feature a new rubber compound that is designed to be more durable while still offering the grip and feel of a softer tire. Extra protection has been added to the sidewalls and the tires are now tubeless ready.

Frostbike DR Web-13

Rever mtb1 brakes – $164.99 (complete kit for one wheel)

Rever’s mechanical disc brakes are not brand-new, but they were updated for Frostbike and we simply like the idea of high-end mechanical disc brakes that are designed to be easy to service. Why? If you’re riding in extremely cold temperatures, extra-grimy conditions, foreign countries or doing long-distance bikepacking, hydraulic disc brakes might be more fuss and trouble than they’re worth. Rever’s brakes feature dual-piston design for better adjustment, stopping power, modulation and easy installment. The brake pads can be swapped without removing the wheels or disconnecting the cables. Each kit has everything you need to set up one wheel, including a 160 mm brake rotor and a beautiful, machined lever.

Frostbike DR Web-9

Problem Solvers Super P-Nut

This little guy was designed to improve single-wall tubeless setups. The oversized nut is intended to enhance the valves stability to eliminate leaks. It’s also easier to tighten by hand. Available soon.

Frostbike DR Web-2

All City Log Lady – $900 (frameset), $1500 (complete bike)

The only new mountain bike to be debuted at the show was the first dedicated dirt beast in All City’s lineup. All City is probably not a name familiar to mountain bikers—it’s a sister brand to Surly and Salsa under the QBP banner and has long made steel-only cyclocross, road and track bikes.

The quirky Log Lady, named for a character on the early 1990s TV show “Twin Peaks,” was heavily hyped in the run-up to Frostbike. The bike is a full-rigid singlespeed made from All City’s proprietary A.C.E. steel tubing. It utilizes 27.5 wheels and can fit up to 2.8-inch tires (depending on your rims; max tire width is officially 2.4 inches).

The frame is corrected for a 100 mm suspension fork, has a 44 mm headtube, disc brakes, short chainstays and a 30.9 seatpost diameter. The bike ships stock with a 32 tooth crankset and 18 tooth rear cog. Tires are 27.5 x 2.25 Schwalbe Rocket Rons on tubeless-ready Alex VOLAR rims. The bike is expected to arrive in shops in June. Geometry chart below:

Log Lady geometry




Heller Bikes launches the Shagamaw

Updated March 1 with information from the bike’s official launch at Frostbike 2016.

Shagamaw Web 2-1 

Heller Bikes, the carbon-only mountain bike brand from Quality Bicycle Products (also the parent of Surly and Salsa, among others), announced its presence at Interbike in 2015 when it dropped a fat bike on us. Heller has now added to its quiver by releasing the “Shagamaw” into the wild: a 27plus/29er carbon hardtail that can take up to a 130 mm fork. With Boost spacing, the bike can also accept 29-inch wheels with tires up to 2.5 inches wide. Frame details include internal cable routing, room for a dropper post and Shimano Di2 compatibility.

Shagamaw Web 2-2

A Shagamaw is half grizzly bear, half moose. Heller Brand Manager Bobby Dahlberg said to expect more mythical creatures coming soon from the brand. The idea behind Heller is to give local bike shops a way to diversify their options and better relate to their local markets. Dahlberg said that Hellers—hung with good forks and basic components—are great out of the box but worthy of future upgrades, when and if you can swing it.

Shagamaw WEB-1

The top-end build (white frame) includes a RockShox Yari 130 mm fork, SRAM GX1 rear derailleur, TRP Slate 4 brakes, Trans-X dropper post, Formula hubs, WTB Scraper tubeless-ready rims and WTB Bridger 27.5 x 3.0 tubeless ready tires. All of that rings in at 29 pounds and a price of $2,600.

The entry-level build (blue frame) features Manitou’s new Machete 130 mm fork and a Deore rear derailleur paired with a Microshift 10 speed cassette. Bits and pieces are from FSA and Kalloy. Brakes and levers are Tektro M285 hydraulic discs. Rims are tubeless-ready WTB Scrapers with Formula hubs and WTB Bridger 27.5 x 3.0 wire bead tires. A complete bike weighs 30 pounds and retails for $2,000.

The Shagamaw should be available at your local bike shop in late April. You may also order just the frame in black. More info: hellerbikes.com

Heller Shagamaw Geo chart



Industry Nine releases center-lock Torch hubs

Industry Nine has announced the Torch Classic Mountain Center Lock hubs.

torch hubs

Front hubs range from 130-135 grams while rear hubs weigh between 260-265 grams, depending on specifications such as hub spacing, endcap selection and freehub spec. Riders can choose from Industry Nine’s palette of eleven anodized color options to make any mood or match any ride.

Every Torch Classic hub is manufactured in Asheville, North Carolina by Industry Nine with design, machining, finishing and assembly achieved entirely on-premises. Torch Classic Mountain Center Lock will be available in Boost and traditional mountain configurations.

Industry nine torch purple


Torch Classic Mountain Center Lock front hub
28 or 32 hole drillings available
130g – depending on axle/bearing spec
15×100 or QR100 endcap options
Color options: Black, Red, Silver, Blue, Gold, Orange, Pink, Purple, Turquoise, Green and Lime
MSRP $190

Torch Boost Classic Mountain Center Lock front hub
28 or 32 hole drillings available
135g – depending on axle/bearing spec
15×110 Boost axle spacing
Color options: Black, Red, Silver, Blue, Gold, Orange, Pink, Purple, Turquoise, Green and Lime
MSRP $190

Torch Classic Mountain Center Lock rear hub
28 or 32 hole drillings available
260g – depending on axle/bearing spec
Shimano HG or SRAM XD1 freehub – 3 degree/120 POE/6 pawl mechanism
12×142 or QR135 endcap options
Color options: Black, Red, Silver, Blue, Gold, Orange, Pink, Purple, Turquoise, Green and Lime
MSRP $385

Torch Boost Classic Mountain Center Lock rear hub
28 or 32 hole drillings available
265g – depending on axle/bearing spec
Shimano HG or SRAM XD1 freehub – 3 degree/120 POE/6 pawl mechanism
12×148 Boost axle spacing
Color options: Black, Red, Silver, Blue, Gold, Orange, Pink, Purple, Turquoise, Green and Lime
MSRP $385



Pivot launches new Phoenix DH Carbon



Pivot Cycles has unveiled the all new Phoenix DH Carbon with 27.5 wheels. Driven directly by the company’s work with the Pivot Factory racing team, the new chassis is two-thirds of a pound lighter (for a possible total bike weight under 31 pounds) and features additional rear tire clearance. The frame comes with 204mm dw‐link® rear suspension, a 157mm X 12mm rear end, adjustable +/‐ 0.75 degree headset option and internal cable routing for a dropper post.

Because the Phoenix Carbon is designed to not squat or bob under pedaling force, Pivot lowered the bottom bracket height and slackened the head angle to achieve performance in the most technical sections while also maintaining precise handling on the faster sections of the course.


Photo: Colin Meagher

The Phoenix DH Carbon frameset features a Fox Factory Float X2 shock with EVOL air sleeve and will retail for $3,299. Pivot offers two complete bike builds, with either Shimano Saint ($7,599) or Zee ($5,499) drivetrains. The Saint complete bike also includes the option to upgrade to the same Reynolds Carbon wheelset as used by the Pivot Factory Racing team, for a complete bike price of $8,499.


Photo: Colin Meagher

All build options are in stock and ready to ship now, as are sizes small, medium and large. Size extra-large begins shipping in four weeks. All options can be ordered immediately from authorized Pivot dealers. The available bike sizes will suit rider heights from 5’4” to 6’7”.

Full details here: pivotcycles.com

The New Pivot Phoenix DH Carbon from Pivot Cycles on Vimeo.



Inside Line: Pacenti PDent Shorty Stems

With all the tire size and hub width standards getting pushed around lately, it might have been easy to overlook something as simple as a dent in a handlebar. But with the industry ready and willing to throw convention out the window these days, why not rethink bike sizing as well?

The PDent is Kirk Pacenti’s patent pending idea to allow for stems shorter than what is possible with current 31.8 and 35 mm handlebars. Since the bars will run into the steerer tube once the stem is any shorter than 32 mm or so, companies that wanted to experiment with even shorter stems had to resort to placing the bar clamp above the steerer tube. That is a simple solution to the shorter stem problem, but it pushes the clamp height up a good bit, which is an issue for modern bikes where riders want lower bars along with longer travel and bigger wheels.

040715-5 Pat Pending CU

So the PDent was created, an engineered recess or dimple in the center of the bar that allows the bar to wrap around the steerer. Depending on the size of the dent, stems get get as small as 15mm. For now Pacenti is focusing on stems between 15 mm-30 mm. Lab tests proved the dimple doesn’t weaken the bar in any important way, and in fact the bars will break in other places long before the dimple is under enough stress to cause issues.

040715-2 alt Bar+stem top-down.
This idea isn’t so much about the shorter stem, it is more about rethinking geometry. Top-tubes have gotten progressively longer, and with shorter stems, can get longer still.  The long front center that results from long top tubes results in more stability, particularly when combined with modern slack head angles. Pacenti is a proponent of going even further, with trail bikes getting even slacker and longer. In reality, what we are looking at are almost downhill bike numbers, but made rideable up and down with a steep seat angle.

Pacenti isn’t after cornering the short stem market with Pacenti branded stuff, although he will be selling them soon.  Instead he would like to licence this technology to stem and bar manufacturers, and in turn, bike companies, as these short stems are going to need bikes with even longer top tubes than are currently on the market. Although since modern standover heights are so low, most riders could ride a size larger to get the reach needed to make a shorter stem work.

040715-3 Bar Top-Down
Are tiny stems the next big thing? It’s hard to tell at this point. Mondraker has been pushing the tiny stem thing for awhile, and even the Athertons experimented with similar ideas (before going back to more “normal” stem lengths). It should be interesting to see where this goes. Kona proved with its Process line that shorter stems are not a hinderance to all-around riding when paired with a long enough top tube, although those bikes use slightly steeper head angles and super short chainstays, two things Pacenti advocates pushing in the opposite direction.

040715-7 beauty shot

We are on the short list for media samples, so expect more info about how this all works later this spring.


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