Leatt Knee Gaurd 3DF 6.0—$90
Five points for the knee cup, four points for deflection, a point here, a point there, points everywhere! When you make your own point system, you can rank things however you want. Leatt has made its own point system and the Knee Gaurd 3DF 6.0 has been awarded 20 points. If it were me, I would award all my own products top honors every time. But Leatt seems to be a little more honest with its rating system. The 3DF 6.0’s are rated on five areas of protection, each one on a five-point scale: the knee cup(five points), the shin (two points), the sides (three points), the handlebar (five points—because who hasn’t slammed a knee into a stem before) and deflection (four points). If you’re counting, that’s 19 points, not 20, but we think the 3DF 6.0’s deserve a point for attendance. All in all, the 3DF Knee Gaurd offers a lot of protection in a small package. It is breathable in the back, lightly padded on the side and has hard plastic up front. Slide them on and go score some points on the trail.
Mobius X8 Wrist Brace—$200
The spectrum of athletic bracing runs from elastic tape all the way to robotic exoskeletons. The Mobius X8 is an example of the latter. A Velcro strap goes around the forearm and a neoprene loop holds onto your middle finger, but in between there’s some nifty tech. An adjustable-range hinge connects the two halves of the brace, and a Boa-style ratchet pulls an X-shaped pad against the base of the wrist. Desired range of motion is adjusted by a stop screw on the hinge and the wearer’s chosen tightness of the wrist pad. It expertly controls fore/aft motion of the hand, but won’t prevent side-to-side rocking or forearm twisting. Once our gear editor, Travis Engel gets approval from his wrist surgeon to be back on a mountain bike we’ll have a full report, though it won’t have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Association.
Fyxation Mesa MP Platform Pedal—$60
Plastic body and metal pins—the Mesa MP is yet another option for lightweight, functional pedals that don’t break the bank. And if you really don’t want to break the bank, Fyxation’s online store happens to let you finance the pedals for as little as $11 a month, leaving you with a tough decision: Netflix account or new pedals? The Mesa MP’s have replaceable pins, weigh a mere 351 grams. They have a unique, slightly convex shape, making them ideal for riders who like easy re-positioning. Still, they’re only 14-millimeters thick in the center. Plus the sealed bearings will be keep out all of nature’s elements for smooth pedaling. None of that can be said of Netflix.
Lizard Skins Carbon Leather Frame Protector—$10 to $22
This frame protector is neither carbon nor leather. But it looks like raw carbon and it feels like leather, so there’s that. Slap the sticker on your frame to give it that custom “Need for Speed” look and protect it from flying rocks or a loose chain intent on chipping paint. The pleather is pre-cut to conform to any frame and there are extenders that come in the package to cover more space if needed.