Fisher Outdoor Leisure were showing off the latest full-face helmets from Troy Lee Designs at this month's Cycle Show 2010 in London, including this eye-catching Medusa paintjob – one for the extroverts out there.
TLD's D2 and D3 lids are unchanged for 2011 but are available in a load of new designs, including some much more subtle options plus Sam Hill and Steve Peat signature editions.
The top-end carbon fibre D3 helmet is also now available in a cheaper – but still wallet-emptying, at £399.99 (US$375/395) – composite version, and apparently the "weight difference isn't big". RRP for the carbon D3 is £499.99 ($450), while the composite D2 is £249.99-£299.99 ($265/295).
Troy Lee also have an updated range of race kits, along with some more cross-country/trail orientated clothing, like the £86.99 ($129) Ace shorts pictured here. They're made of a stretchy yet durable polyester/spandex mix, with plenty of ventilation, a removable liner and reflective detailing.
Tufo were displaying their range of tubular mountain bike tyres – ie. ones that you have to glue onto your rims – on UK distributors Sonic Cycles' stand. What's the advantage over tubeless/UST setups? Tubs can be run at much lower pressures, which means improved traction and comfort.
There are also weight saving benefits – because you can extract more grip than usual from a lighter, low-profile tread – and tubular aficionados sometimes talk of a more 'connected' trail feel. Tubs are already popular with some top-level World Cup cross-country racers, and we're expecting some of the bigger manufacturers to bring out their own versions soon.
For 2011, Tufo have a new XC4 tread design, pictured above, designed for hardpack and rocky terrain. Available in a 26x2.2in size only, claimed weight is 550g. It joins their existing XC1 (file-tread), XC2 ('arrowhead' knobs) and XC3 (wider spaced, higher blocks) tubular designs.
Jim Walker had some very nice looking new Sunn mountain bikes on their stand. In addition to a revised Radical downhill rig and new Charger enduro downhill bike, the French company have updated their hardcore hardtail, the Tzar.
With a 150mm-travel RockShox Sektor fork up front, and a frame made from double-butted 4130 chromoly, the Tzar is ready for anything you can throw at it. The top-end S1 model (£1,799.99) uses Truvativ's HammerSchmidt planetary gearing system and Formula RX brakes, while the S2 (£1,099.99) gets 24-speed SRAM X5 and Avid Elixir 3s.
Another bike that caught our eye was this rigid-forked S2 version of Sunn's Modular trail hardtail. For £899.99 you get a double-butted 4130 chromoly frame and fork, Avid Elixir 3 brakes and SRAM X5/X7 shifting kit.
The frame is designed around a 120mm-travel suspension fork, so you can always sub one in later – or upgrade to the £1,299.99 Modular S1 which comes with a RockShox Recon. The £699.99 Seasons S1 looks like another good buy for hardtail fans on a tight budget.
Not strictly on show at Cycle Show 2010 – they were actually displayed at Hotlines' expo on the other side of London – but worthy of a mention are the latest frames from Polish company NS Bikes. NS are known for their hardtail jump bikes, as used by Martin Soderstrom.
However, they've developed a prototype signature full-suspension rig for the Swedish star to use at slopestyle competitions – the Soda – and this looks likely to go into production at some point, although pricing and availability have yet to be decided. Two versions are likely to be made: a slopestyle variant with 100mm of travel and an all-mountain iteration (pictured below) with 150-170mm.
Back on the hardtail side of things, the Majesty is Soderstrom's ride of choice, with a strong but light, heat-treated, 3D-butted and internally black oxidised (to protect against rust) 4130 chromoly frame. Features include removable cable routing, straight dropouts (slimmed down for 2011), a Spanish bottom bracket and press-fit headset. Frame RRP is £449.99.