A roomier shoe and a good thick, woolly sock is often the perfect way to keep your feet going through the cold weather. These are a lovely winter sock developed by the very keen bunch of sportsmen and women at LewisKIT.
Gore's Windstopper Softshell fabric is designed to add lightweight warmth with windproof, breathable protection.
Specialized's Hardrock Sport entry-level hardtail is a burly, dependable play bike, if a little on the heavy side.
DHB are relatively new on the mountain bike scene but they're already turning out great clothing at affordable prices.This is your classic short-sleeve, medium-zip cycling jersey with three back pockets. The polyester technical
In its long history, GT's Zaskar has been pretty much everything a hardtail could be. Starting as the attitude laden, tough as nails but not too heavy anodised frame from the early '90s, it became the first true do-it-all hardtail.
The MX225 shoes are designed for serious riding - you can probably tell this from one glance at the soles. The short heel has an ultra aggressive tread - as does the rest of the sole.
Mongoose's Teocali has been a regular award winner ever since it was introduced. The unique Freedrive suspension system might add weight, but its essential plushness and high traction propulsion is what shines once you hit serious off-road.
There are a couple of great new lights from Raleigh, one with an alloy body, the other with a plastic body (£24.99/£19.99). Designed for the commuter more than the offroader, the Powerbeam lights will save your bacon with their one-watt LED beam, should you find your way off road by mistake.
On first impressions, you'll either love the Nomad's pressure formed S-curve top tube or think, as one witty wag put it, 'it looks like a dog having a crap'. Either way,there's no denying that the Nomad is distinctive enough to stand out from the common herd.
Carbon fibre is creeping in more and more to the hardcore world, and this Stealth bar is a great way of getting a lightweight fix. This 27in wide, 31.8mm beauty with 2in rise is incredibly stiff and remarkably light for a hardcore product.
Length 130mm Weight 120g/pair While Bontrager's Earl grips use ODI's Lock-On system, the slightly more costly Big Earl features a very effective system with threaded expanding ends, and you get a flat spanner with each set of grips
Bontrager's Earl grip is a variation on the ODI Ruffian. We like the very simple soft-compound waffle pattern and we prefer grips without a big name embossed into them, although, realistically, if you use good gloves it's hardly an issue one way
USA-based Carver Bikes is still looking for a UK importer, and we're amazed that no one is selling its bikes yet. Still, even with import duties, it won't cost you much to get a frame from the USA. We tested a larger version and we loved it.
Available in seven colours - including this very fetching Pixie Blue - the Handjob has developed an excellent reputation over the years as a true go anywhere, have a go at anything bike.
The Specialist is Ellsworth's hardcore hardtail. It's a great jump frame, but it's much lighter than most pure jump frames and comes in a choice of top tube lengths - the 23.5in top tube reach of the long one makes it a great hardcore cross country bike.
Ergon originally made their name in the UK with their distinctive, ergonomically-designed grips, but this new skinny-rib Ergon is more like a conventional grip in feel; the aluminium end clamp and inner flange offer maximum security, while
The Caffeine is the next step in Cannondale's frame development from the long-running Optimo series, with subtle S-curved seatstays adding a modicum of compliance into the back end.
Made in Canada, the Pinscher is a smooth looking dirt jump/street frame that uses the same geometry as its brothers and sisters, and it's made from True Temper, aerospace-grade, plain-gauge 4130 steel tubing.
Looking more like a Speeder Bike from Star Wars than a downhill bike, GT's latest DHi is a sub 18kg (40lb) race winner. It uses GT's i-Drive platform to isolate pedalling forces from the suspension action, and it maintains the suspension 'sweet spot'.
As you'd expect from a left-field innovator like Gary Fisher, the Genesisters bikes have always had an edgy aspect compared to more pedestrian rides from other big brands. This is truer than ever with the new Hi Fi bikes.
There aren't many frames lighter than this, and we haven't come across a lightweight frame that rides this well, either.
The Avalanche 1.0 is recognisably part of the long line of GT hardtails over more than 15 years - with its distinctive 'triple triangle' design. It's been brought bang up to date, but can this classic design still cut it among the big boys?
Intense have always made some of the most sought after suspension designs available. The EVP 5.5 is even more suitable for UK conditions now, but its take-no-prisoners character isn't for everyone.The chassis Like Rocky Mountain,
Thanks to the Canadians, including companies like Norco, burly freeride hardtails are everywhere now. The latest wave of such bikes can take long travel forks, stand up to serious abuse and hack it down the jumps. A good example is the 2007 Norco Manik.
After reading the background info on the Blizzard, we were disappointed to find that the weight of our test frame was more than the 4.4lb advertised. The manufacturer's stated weights are often for the smallest model,but nearly a pound is a big difference.