The week leading up to the Fort William mountain bike downhill World Cup is full of mixed emotions for the dirt-loving British MTBers out there. There’s trepidation about whether a Brit will be crowned champion on home soil, whether the gloriously unpredictable weather will play its hand in the results and how brutal the midgies are going to be.
No matter what happens, we’re sure it’s going to be a fantastic show full of insane action.
- Five things to look out for at the Fort William mountain bike downhill world cup
- Tour de France 2019 bikes, gear and tech
- Shimano XT M8100 vs Shimano SLX M7100
But as only the second downhill World Cup race of the season, it marks just the beginning of things to come, with the rest of the season spread out before us.
Obviously downhill racing isn’t the only sort of competition going on — last weekend saw the second round of the mountain bike XC World Cup in Nové Mesto where Mathieu van der Poel won the men’s race just ahead of Nino Schurter, and world champion Kate Courtney won the women’s event.
The mountain biker’s tarmac brethren are all getting exceptionally excited about the impending Tour de France. Until that kicks off, we’re going to be treated to some bar-to-bar action from the Critérium du Dauphiné in the French Alps and Jura region, which runs from 9–16 June.
There’s also the mountainous Tour de Suisse, starting on the 15 June. Exciting times in the road world.
Alpinestars mountain biking kit
Sponsoring Aaron Gwin, who’s arguably one of the most successful downhill mountain bike racers of the modern era, gives Alpinestars a great resource to guide them on how riding kit should and should not be made. It looks like this ensemble from the Italian brand is certainly ticking quite a few boxes.
Alpinestars Alps 6.0 jersey
The simple design and long sleeves are a winner for us. It’s also thin enough to keep body temperatures down, has mesh panels on the back and underarms, and promises to wick sweat away if you do get too hot.
- £55 / $64.95 / AU$100.99 / €59.95
Alpinestars Aspen Pro gloves
Made from synthetic suede, these gloves should last. The palms are perfectly smooth, too, which can help to reduce soreness. The knuckles have an EVA compound foam to help protect from impacts to keep your hands looking dainty and fresh when you get gnarly.
- £30 / $39.95 / AU$54.99 / €37.95
Alpinestars Bunny Hop shorts
Made with a four-way stretch material, the shorts are designed to be comfortable and light, and there are small perforations to help with cooling. There are also two massive pockets on the front of the thighs that could be used as ventilation.
The crotch area is made from Taslon to help improve strength as well.
- £90 / $94.95 / AU$137.48 / €84.95
Alpinestars Cascade socks
These socks are regulation height, so, mountain bikers, wear them with impunity.
- £15 / $18.95 / AU$N/A / €N/A
Alpinestars Paragon Pro knee guards
With a flexible, pre-shaped ergonomic design, the pads should be easy to slip on and off. They’ve got internal silicone grippers to help stop them from slipping when you shred, too. They also have a tough-wearing front panel to prevent them ripping if you do hit the floor.
- £70 / $84.95 / AU$128.48 / €79.95
Mission Workshop The Faroe : Merino hoody
As a sucker for Merino wool based clothing, The Faroe from San Francisco’s Mission Workshop certainly gets my juices flowing. Made from 100 percent Merino wool, it’s soft enough to be worn next to your skin or as a layer.
It’s thin enough to fit under a waterproof jacket but isn’t so tight that you can’t wear a layer beneath it. To top it off, the quality is exceptional.
- £160 / $189 / AU$325 / €185
- Buy direct from Mission Workshop
Thule VeloSpace XT 3 towbar mounted bike rack
This towbar mounted bike rack is designed for three bikes, sitting one below Thule’s top-of-the-range EasyFold XT. It’s a weighty bit of kit, but with that weight comes a very sturdy construction.
It’s possible to increase the rack’s capacity to four bikes with an additional adaptor and the rack’s tyre mounting ratchets can apparently accommodate up to 4.7in tread.
The rack also tilts forwards so that you can easily access your car’s boot without having to remove it and the bikes attached.
- £575 / $N/A / €709.95 / AU$1,249
Fox Rampage Pro Carbon full face helmet
With a magnetic peak that comes off in impacts and Fluid Inside technology, Fox is confident its lid has a bias for comfort and safety.
It’s got a dual-density Varizorb EPS liner and has Multi-Composite Technology in the shell that should help to manage impacts while retaining good strength. The size medium weighs a claimed 1,230g.
- £450 / $499.95 / AU$699.98 / €500
BMC Trailfox AMP SX eMTB
As the burliest electric mountain bike on offer from BMC, the Trailfox AMP SX has 150mm of rear wheel travel that’s controlled by a Fox Float DPX2 shock and is mated to an electric mountain bike-specific Fox Float 36 fork with 170mm of travel.
It’s running massive Vittoria Mota DH tyres and uses Shimano’s STEPS E-8000 250-watt motor.
The bike’s made from a carbon front end with an aluminium rear and the battery pack is integrated into the down tube. Even if you dislike electric mountain bikes, you’ve got to admit it looks pretty mean!
- £9,999 / $7,999 / AU$N/A / €7,999
- US: Buy from R&A Cycles for $7,999
3 West Design Trinity saddle
With the aim of ending saddle pain, the 3 West Design Trinity seat certainly looks unique. And if you’ve ever suffered from saddle soreness then you’ll quite happily welcome an alternative approach to whatever the status quo is. We’re excited to try this one out to see if it does help improve comfort.
- £N/A / $155 / AU$N/A / €N/A
- US: Buy direct from 3 West Design
Santini road cycling kit
As a company that’s been around in the road cycling world since 1965, it comes as no surprise that Santini kit is well-honed stuff. The Tono jersey and bib shorts are no exception.
Santini Tono jersey
- £N/A / $110 / AU$N/A / €90
- Buy direct from Santini
Santini Tono bib shorts
The shorts have been built with comfort in mind. Made with an elasticated finish, they feature an internal honeycomb silicone grip pattern on the leg’s hems that should help keep the shorts in place.
To top it off, the shorts are made from Thunderbike Power with tattoo effect and Monica fabrics. Wow.
- £N/A / $160 / AU$N/A / €130
- Buy direct from Santini
Garmin Edge 830 GPS cycling computer
The latest addition to Garmin’s GPS lineup is the Edge 830. It’s got a touchscreen display and has more training-related features than you’d care to dream about, including VO2 max, recovery status and training load, heat and altitude acclimation, nutrition and hydration, and loads more.
It’s also got the routable Garmin Cycle Map feature with popularity routing, taking you on the best and most ridden tracks on any A to B ride. It also has on-device route creation, so you don’t need your laptop to work out where to go, off-course route recalculation and loads more.
The MTB bundle lets you track jump count, jump distance and hang time. It also gives you a statistic on how gnarly your ride was with Grit. This tracks how smooth your descent was, scoring you to give you a target to beat next time.
- £349.99 / $399.99 / AU$599 / €399.99