After spending Monday out in the hot, dry and dusty conditions at the Interbike Demo Day, it was a rather welcome change to enter the noisy and chaotic indoor portion of Interbike 2018. While the show is smaller than in past years, there is still plenty to see. Ranging from brain buckets to glamour-less gloves, these are a few products that stopped us in the aisles.
Oakley DRT5 Helmet
We covered the first showing of the DRT5 at this past Eurobike, but it’s great to see it getting closer to an available reality, and also to hear the backstory on its development. With the DRT5, Oakley turned to Greg Minnaar in hopes of creating a versatile trail helmet. Minnaar has worked with Oakley for more than twenty years so makes sense the two worked together. Oakley is best known for their eyewear, so it’s no surprise that the DRT5 is built around the idea of perfect integration of glasses and helmet. The cutouts around the ear are raised to accommodate glasses, and instead of using a hard plastic retention system, Oakley used a BOA system with soft fibers for minimal intrusion and maximum comfort over the ears.
The helmet shape is also made to accommodate riding with goggles, and the visor flips way up for goggle storage between runs. Oakley decided to forgo the standard foam padding in the front of the helmet (although a piece of typical foam still ships with the DRT5), and instead they used a series of silicone ridges to channel sweat away from your forehead. The idea is to move sweat to your temples so that it doesn’t drip on your glasses. Whether or not this system actually works is untested by us, but it’s certainly a unique innovation to hopefully solve a common problem. If you do want take your glasses off, you still need somewhere to put them, and Oakley has devised an equally inventive carrying system. On the back of the helmet are two clips that fold out, and around which you can securely place your glasses. The lens sits atop the head, so watch out for low branches, but the system appears to be solid and fairly easy to use. It might look a bit kooky with no glasses attached, but then again we mountain bikers ride around in neon shirts and knee socks all the time.
Available in March, the DRT5 had an MSRP of $200 as of this past Eurobike.
Ride Concepts is a new brand out of Truckee, California, started by entrepreneur Brandon Dodd when he couldn’t find a suitable dirt jump shoe for his 8-year-old son. It’s evolved into a line of 14 kids, women’s and men’s shoes that debuted here at Interbike. They all incorporate D30 impact protection material in either the foot bed or the ankle collar to help soak up big hits, and Ride Concepts worked with Rubber Kinetics to develop a propriety rubber compound for the sole called ‘Dynamic Surface Technology.’ Ride Concepts launched with three lines: Session, a flat-pedal shoe with low and mid-ankle designs, fully gusseted tongue to keep out dirt and debris and whole sizes between 3 and 6 for kids, 5 and 10 for women and 7 and 13 for men. The Flow is the clipless-compatible shoe (out next spring) and Launch is the DH shoe, which comes just in men’s sizes 5 to 13 and will also be available next spring.
Evoc further committed to the hip pack category by refining its original Hip Pack, and adding a simpler, lower-profile option to its line. The new Hip Pack Pro 3 Liter carries 1.5 liters of water in its bladder, as well as two additional water bottles on either side of the pack. The ‘Venti Flap’ system allows for quick adjustment of the distance between the pack and your back, so you can loosen it on the climbs for maximum ventilation or tighten it on descents to keep things snug. For shorter rides, the new Hip Pouch 1 liter is about as simple as it gets--no water bladder or bottle pocket, just two zipper pockets on either side of the main compartment, and enough room to stash keys, wallet, phone and a few snacks.
Kenda Regolith | $60 TR, $70 SCT
Kenda’s new Regolith tire is designed as an all-rounder for the industry’s current sweet spot of 120- to 130-millimeter-travel bikes. It incorporates a new dual-compound rubber and a new tread pattern, designed to be both fast-rolling, lightweight and grippy. And Kenda isn’t being stingy with the sizes--the Regolith will come in 29, 27.5, 26 and 24 options in 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6-inch widths. Kenda sees a ton of potential in the 24-inch market, as bike brands invest in higher-quality bikes for young rippers (see: Kona Process 24), and plans to offer more 24 and 26 tires in the future. It’s also making a special 26 x 2.4 Hellkat for athletes Kyle Strait, Ethan Nell and Carson Storch to use at Rampage, and will also sell those tires to the public.
Muc-Off Disc Protector | $30
Perhaps not the most groundbreaking innovation, the Muc-Off Disc Protector caught our eye as a neat solution to a problem most of us don’t realize exists. Whether you’re blasting your drivetrain with degreaser and don’t want any contamination on your rotor, or you’re road tripping in nasty weather, having something to keep contaminants off your sensitive brakes is probably worth the $30 this will run you. Ever showed up to a trail head after a drive on a wet dirt road and had your brakes sound like sandpaper shoved down a banshee’s throat? That might be reason enough to consider these.
Available in November.
Thule Helium Platform | $430 – $650
The new Helium Platform rack is Thule’s highest end, cream-of-the-crop hitch-mounted rack. It’s an all-new design for Thule. The Helium Platform is a no-frame-contact rack, meaning it only holds the tires therefore preventing any frame damage, cosmetic or otherwise. Two ratcheting bars clamp each wheel at the top, allowing almost any size of bike or wheel to fit, even a super meaty 29×3.0. Bikes can be positioned left or right to avoid bike-on-bike action, and the clamping bars simply change their angles a bit to accommodate the shift. All the typical features we’d expect to see in a high-end rack are also included, such as all-aluminum construction, integrated locks, and a pivot to fold the rack down when opening a hatchback or tailgate. It even comes in a one or two bike option, depending on your social interaction preferences. The only downside (besides the price)? It won’t be available until late this spring.
Thule Access | $300
If you’re as tired as we are of hitting our shins on a folded down bike rack while trying to get something in the back of the vehicle, you probably should take a look at this. A few other companies make similar products, but the new Access from Thule looks to be one of the better ones we’ve seen. Solidly built, the Access has a 250 pound capacity, an easy pin removal system to swing it out, and a full ninety degrees of movement.
Available in February
Thule Rail 12 Liter | $200
When you think of Thule you think of … backpacks? Well, we usually don’t, but maybe we should start as Thule looks to be making a strong push into the market with their Rail line of packs. The Rail 12, shown here, is designed around enduro racing, with plenty of neat features. A moderate storage capacity is managed by a long pack body, wide shoulder straps and an aggressively tapered hip belt to support whatever weight you put in the Rail 12. The hip belt has deep pockets designed to mimic those in a jersey, so they should be great for quickly stuffing an energy bar or goggle bag in.
Plenty of straps on the outside of the pack allow you to carry a full-face and pads, and a big stuff pocket is there in case you want to quickly store a layer. The hydration hose is managed by a strip of magnets; an unusual, but very practical and probably useful move on Thule’s part. Going inside, a Koroyd back protector keeps your spine a bit safer for those massive Jerry moments we all have from time to time.
Available in two colorways early February.
100% Cognito Glove | $40
Officially released back in August, the Cognito glove is worth a second look. Following 100%’s traditional style of functional minimalism, the Cognito has the special features where you want them, and nowhere else. An unpadded Clarino palm allows for a more sensitive bar feel, while a tall velcro cuff ensures a secure and comfortable fit.The tops of the gloves are a four-way-stretch material with a large, molded piece of D30 over the knuckles. These gloves will help you win a boxing match with a tree. Well, you might not win the match, but the Cognito gloves will at least help you last a round or two longer than you normally would.
Available now from 100%.