Renthal's FatBar has received the seal of approval from both our test team and the pro downhill ranks – the company sponsor Sam Hill and his Monster Energy-Specialized teammates so it's no surprise they use it, but we've seen the distinctive-coloured riser bar on countless other World Cup rigs, too.
Over the years it's increased in width from 710mm to a whopping 780mm – don't worry, there are graphics on the ends to help you cut it down in increments to 680mm if you want something a bit narrower – and the original 38mm rise has been joined by 20mm, 10mm and now 30mm options.
Two things have stayed the same, though: quality 7050 T6 alloy construction and spot-on angles (5° upsweep, 7° backsweep). Renthal have sent us all four versions to try out, so look out for a review on BikeRadar soon. Weights start at 362g (on our scales) for the 10mm rise. RRP is £59.99.
New for 2012 are these Padded Cell chainstay protectors, emblazoned with the Renthal logo and a chainring motif. Made from Neoprene with a Velcro closure, they're double stitched for durability and are holding up well so far on our test bikes.
They're available in four sizes, all of which are 250mm long but vary in circumference to fit different tube sizes – XS (50-80mm), S (60-100mm), M (85-140mm) and L (110-180mm). RRP is £9.99. For more information, visit www.renthalcycling.com or, in the UK, www.ison-distribution.com.
O'Neal Trigger flat-pedal shoes
O'Neal have stepped things up in the past couple years, with sponsorship of some high-profile riders (Greg Minnaar, Cedric Gracia) and the development of some promising-looking new kit for 2012. Just arrived in the office is the Trigger, a high-top flat-pedal shoe that we first saw at Cycle Show 2011. (A low-top version is also available, called the Stinger.)
The key feature is its Honey Rubber outsole, named after its honeycomb-like pattern (think Vans' classic waffle sole, with a twist). This is said to provide tenacious grip even on the rockiest, rootiest terrain. It's combined with a stiff midsole for stability and pedalling efficiency and a double-stitched soft leather upper. RRP is £84.99/€99.90, from O'Neal Europe. Look out for a review in Mountain Biking UK magazine.
MRP Carbon G2 SL and Micro G2 SL chain devices
New in from MRP are two chain devices. The Carbon G2 SL weighs just 191g on our scales, including all hardware, thanks to its carbon fibre back plate and plenty of cutouts in the polycarbonate skid plate and upper and lower guides. The jockey wheel can be adjusted for 36-, 38- and 40-tooth chainrings. Mounting is via ISCG tabs only though (the original standard, not ISCG-05), limiting its versatility. RRP is £199.99.
The Micro G2 SL is a more minimal offering, designed for use with smaller 30-32t chainrings – one for the 1x10 29er crew, maybe? It's like a scaled down Carbon G2 SL, but instead of the composite boomerang it has one made of 5mm thick alloy. Mounting is via ISCG or ISCG-05 tabs, and it's available in black or white. RRP is £119.99, via Ison Distribution in the UK, and it weighs 192g.
Ergon HE2 gloves
Last up are these new gloves from Ergon. The German company are best known for their ergonomic cross-country grips and bar ends but these are aimed squarely at the gravity-assisted end of the riding spectrum. The palm is thin, for good bar feel, but there's a Kevlar insert at the base for crash protection and a wide elastic cuff to support the wrist. They're designed to be used with Ergon's Technical Series grips and cost £29.99, with Extra handling UK distribution.