This year's Core Bike and The Bike Place trade shows were stacked with fresh mountain bike goodies.
We sought out the most exciting product picks from both events and here they are, below.
Just as evolution has turned monkey into man, so the Orange Five has evolved over the years. Orange showed off the latest incarnation of the species at The Bike Place; it is 10mm longer and half a degree slacker than the previous model, bringing it to 66 degrees with a 150mm travel fork. A new top tube and redesigned dropout promise to bolster stiffness too.
With this spec and bright orange paint, it turned more than a few heads at the show: the basic design may be prehistoric, but this beast is no dinosaur!
Pro title winning bikes
This bike didn’t sport the red, white and blue that Team GB normally display at the Worlds, as Gee decided at the last minute to ride a smaller frame and longer stem than he had been using for the rest of the year. Form following function: a philosophy that won out for Gee.
This is Tracy Moseley’s Trek Remedy 29, which she rode to the Enduro World Series overall title last year.
This bike sports the Fox RAD (Racing Applications Development) suspension, including a float X rear shock, rather than Trek’s proprietary DRCV unit.
Race Face Stash storage vest
Hate wearing a pack? This vest from Race Face incorporates a pouch for a water reservoir (up to one litre) and deep pockets in the back to carry the essentials for a short ride.
New guides from e*thirteen
E*thirteen showed us an updated range of chain guides for 2015. They all feature a new polycarbonate material designed to reduce noise while being resistant to becoming brittle when exposed to solvents.
All three feature a new tool-free locking mechanism to allow easy access to the chain or removal of the crank. They all accommodate 28- to 38-tooth chainrings and the LG1+ and TRS+ come supplied with a range of bash guards to suit your chosen ring (30,34 and 36 tooth).
The LG1+ (£140) features a removable lower idler and is designed for DH duties, while the TRS+ (£80) is aimed at enduro or aggressive trail riders.
Dainese Trail Skins kneepads
These lightweight pads from Dainese are claimed to have the best impact absorption/weight ratio on the market.
The honeycomb / memory foam construction is only 7mm thick, yet it is certified to EN16221-1 standards.
Also on display was a prototype 10-speed cassette. It has a wide 10-40T range, with nice and even 20 per cent increments between the gears. The largest three are individual anodised aluminium sprockets (similar to the brand’s T-rex cassette extender); the rest is crafted from hardened steel.
The beauty of this is that the steel portion can be used as a seven-speed downhill cassette. To fit a 10-tooth sprocket, a dedicated freehub body is required, as with SRAM cassettes, but a broad and evenly spaced range of gears can be achieved without the extra investment of 11-speed hardware.
HT X1 pedals
With the help of DH superstar Aaron Gwin, HT developed these pedals to provide a wide platform and easy engagement for clipped-in downhill racing.
They employ a similar mechanism to Shimano pedals, but with a new, longer cleat designed to aid engagement. They are available in a huge range of colours and can be yours for £120.
Leatt Cargo 3.0 hydration pack
Still in development, this 10-litre rucksack from Leatt is already crammed with features. Chiefly, it has a laminated battery of thin back-protectors which can be added or removed to suit your needs.
Also, it has a well thought-out smartphone case that clips into the inside of the front pocket and allows the touchscreen to be used without removing the device. Straps are provided to secure full-face or open face lids on the back – perfect for enduro racing.
It does without a waist-belt, but the shoulder straps are very broad, and are pulled together with twin chest straps; the system was described to me as “the bra”. We look forward to trying one on.
UK spec Lapierre Zesty
At £5,400, the Lapierre Zesty is intended to offer the ultimate dream-spec zesty for UK riding. Highlights include Shimano XTR 1x11 gearing, XTR brakes and mud-friendly WTB Vigilante tyres. Ooh la la!
Intense brought out a selection of their extensive range, from Shaun Palmer’s famous 1996 World Champs bike, which brought him achingly close to that title, to a prototype downhill bike, which was locked in a cupboard and introduced with the phrase “no pictures”. The little teasers!