The dropper seatpost market is becoming crowded, with new options from RockShox, Giant and X-Fusion joining established names like Gravity Dropper, CrankBrothers, Specialized and KS, and Fox working on their own post too.
What sets KS's new SuperNatural apart from the pack is its length – the 31.6mm diameter version shown here is 435mm long, with 150mm of travel, making it ideal for taller riders, low-slung frames and those who like to drop their saddles well out of the way on descents.
Various other lengths are available, along with shorter 30.9mm and 27.2mm options, remote versions and a variant for SDG I-Beam saddles. Our sample weighs 562g – a bit more than KS's claimed weight of 525g. The twin-bolt inline head offers plenty of adjustment. Available from Pure Racing in the UK, the SuperNatural costs £239.99. Look out for a review in Mountain Biking UK magazine and on BikeRadar soon.
CrankBrothers Descender hydration pack
New for 2012 are CrankBrothers' first hydration packs. The model shown here is the 20-litre Descender, aimed at all-mountain riders. It's a sizeable pack designed for all-day missions into the mountains, with plenty of room for a waterproof jacket and other essentials. Compression straps mean you can cinch it down and stop the contents rattling around, and there's an external helmet/armour carrier.
It contains CrankBros' own Riv/r bladder which has an unusual valve – instead of biting the mouthpiece to let the water flow you have to depress the 'teat' at the end with your teeth or tongue. Other features include ventilated shoulder straps and a removable tool pouch. The pack comes with a five-year warranty and costs £99.99/US$140/€140. CrankBros kit is available in the UK via 2Pure.
Teva Links shoe
Teva's first mountain bike shoe, the Links, has been developed with the help of pro freerider Jeff Lenosky. The sole has three distinct zones – a central section made of tacky Spider365 rubber for flat-pedal grip, along with harder and more aggressively treaded front and rear sections for off-the-bike traction.
Rubber grids are used in key areas of the upper to improve durability without affecting breathability, there's a shock pad and plastic wrap at the heel, and an Ion-Mask coating stops the shoe absorbing water. RRP is £85/$100.
Lezyne shop tools
We never imagined a pedal spanner or chain whip could be an object of lust but Lezyne's new workshop-quality tools are pretty special. Pictured here are the Classic Chain Rod (£20.99/$27.99), Classic Pedal Rod (£17.99/$23.99), CNC Chain Rod (£29.99/$39.99) and CNC Pedal Rod (£25.99/$34.99).
The tool heads are made of stamped, CNC-machined, heat treated steel plate. Handles are either CNC-machined aluminium or shaped and varnished wood, and all hardware is steel. The chain whips are compatible with eight-, nine- and 10-speed cassettes and include a lockring tool. The pedal spanners have an integrated bottle opener. Lezyne kit is available via Upgrade in the UK.