Here are the show stoppers that caught our eye on the final day of Interbike 2015, which closed on Friday in Las Vegas.
X-Fusion Revel X
After three years in development, X-Fusion expects to start shipping the Revel X inverted fork in January. It’s available in 27.5-inch or 29-inch versions, in travel of up to 160 millimeters for the shorter travel bikes or up to 140 millimeters for 29ers. X-Fusion engineers toiled extensively to get the torsional stiffness where they wanted–something that is usually sacrificed with inverted forks because there is one fewer point of support than with a traditional fork. They came up with a keyway system that consists of two pockets on either side of the stanchion that fit into grooves in the uppers, preventing rotation and increasing stiffness. The fork includes mudguards to protect the exposed stanchions. The aluminum stanchions measure 34 millimeters and the fork weighs 4.5 pounds.
Surf-inspired German apparel and accessory brand Ion is now available in the U.S. through Big Mountain Sports. Lucky for us riders here because this brand has some rad stuff. The Transom 24 pack incorporates a clever system called Air Conditioned that allows the wearer to pull a strap on either side of the waist band–similar to pulling a rip cord–that shifts the pack off the rider’s back for maximum airflow while climbing.
Ion’s roots in the surf industry are evident in the designs of its mountain-bike apparel, which incorporate materials that are reminiscent of board shorts and rash guards. They also have pads, gloves and casual apparel. It’s definitely a brand worth checking out.
Selle San Marco’s Dirty Saddles
Italian saddle brand Selle San Marco partnered with impact protection company D30 for its new Dirty Enduro and Trail saddles, becoming the first saddle brand to use the material in its products. The D30 material adds a layer on top of the padding to absorb small vibrations and help smooth out big impacts. The Enduro model measures a short 260 millimeters, while the Trail is a more standard 278 millimeters. The D30 does tack on a slight weight addition, but the top-of-the-line version model carbon fiber rails still weighs just 179 grams.
These Sealskinz socks are sopping wet, but you’d never be able to tell from the inside. The hefty sock has a fabric outer and a Merino wool inner with a monolithic membrane between that makes it 100 percent waterproof, while remaining breathable. The brand is based in the U.K., a region that knows a thing or two about trying to stay dry on the bike, with its first-ever cycling-specific line of socks, gloves and hats.
Pearl Izumi’s new S-Alp Launch shoe almost looks more like it’s for trail running than trail riding, but Pearl’s goal was to make an ultra-walkable shoe for riders who don’t enjoy slipping around on carbon soles when they’re off the bike. It has a Vecro strap and Boa closure, a carbon shank for pedaling stiffness, but a rubber sole for walking comfort. It comes in men’s and women’s colors and runs $160.
Pearl’s thermal Launch jersey is fleece-lined to keep your core toasty on crisp, fall days. It’s designed for riding in temps as low as 40 degrees and costs $75.
Lazer Evolution Helmet
Belgian helmet brand Lazer is entering the enduro market with the Revolution extra-coverage lid. It’s still in development and final production models aren’t expected until January. The helmet includes a camera accessory mount, fully adjustable visor, beefed up ratchet system, optional ear guards (shown on the red helmet above) and an option chinguard that passes ASTM standards for UCI downhill racing. The helmet will run $165 or $190 for a version with the MIPS liner for protection against injury from rotational forces.
Assos Women’s Rally Kit
Keep scrolling if you're not prepared to drop a pretty penny on a kit because Assos' Rally women’s kit will cost you $800 for the set with a base layer thrown in there as a bonus. Gulp. Then again, the high-end Swiss apparel brand has never been known for skimping on the details. The $389 Rally jersey alone uses 25 patterns and five different materials. The fully mesh back increases ventilation when worn with a pack and uses a material that stretches horizontally, but not vertically so the jersey won’t move as your pack shifts on the trail.
The bibs are moisture-wicking with built-in SPF and a mountain-bike specific chamois that’s sewn for an upright riding position versus a low position more common with road riding. The chamois is sewn into the short in such a way that leaves strategic gaps so that it moves independently of the fabric on the saddle. There are internal hip pockets on either side of the short to store moldable hip pads for added protection in technical terrain. The bibs run $419, but Assos is working on a less expensive version of the bib that eliminates the hip pockets.
Club Ride Apparel
Club Ride apparel continues to refine its line of mountain bike apparel with a casual flair. A highlight of the men’s line is the Cargo Away (above), made with a lightweight, quick-drying, water-resistant, stretch woven fabric. The 14-inch-inseam short has two front open pockets, two side zip cargo pockets and one rear pocket, reflective accents and a quick-release on-the-fly waist adjustment system.
Club Ride has also developed a complete line of inner wear for men and women designed for ride times of one to four+ hours. They feature wide waistbands, antimicrobial, quick-drying Lycra, stretch mesh panels and a 3-millimeter single-density pad (for one-hour rides). The liners are meant to be mix-and-match with various baggies.
For the ladies, the Hermosa 3/4 is a lightweight, breathable, knit fabric jersey with UV protection, a media port, reflective accents and three back pockets–ideal for fall rides.