We've recently received new products from German companies Vaude, Uvex, SKS and iXS, along with a hydration pack from Australian outdoors company Caribee and some eye-catching helmets from the UK's HardnutZ. Here's a quick first look.
Caribee Quencher hydration pack
Caribee are known for their luggage and hiking rucksacks but they also make hydration packs, and a selection of these are now available in the UK through bikesales4u. Pictured here is the Quencher, which is available in red/silver or black as well as camouflage.
Measuring in at 46x20x14cm, it has all the features you'd expect of a decent hydration pack – a two-litre bladder, zipped cargo pockets, a hip belt and chest strap, a channel down the back for improved ventilation, and a bungee cord on the front for stowing pads, etc. RRP is £37.50. Look out for a review in What Mountain Bike soon.
Vaude Tracer 12 hydration pack
Germany's Vaude are another outdoors company targeting the mountain bike market. The Tracer 12 seen here has one feature that sets it apart from the pack (excuse the pun) – a hip belt that easily adjusts for different height riders, and with a decent range of adjustment too.
Other notable features include a quality top-opening – and therefore easy to clean – three-litre Hydrapak bladder, metal hooks instead of plastic buckles to hold the front helmet/armour cradle in place, ample and well ventilated padding on the back and hips, and a plethora of different sized pockets. RRP is £75.
Uvex UltraGuard Variomatic glasses
Sticking with the Teutonic theme, Uvex's latest mountain bike glasses have a lightweight polycarbonate frame and come with two easily switched lenses which have been treated with the company's Supravision anti-fog coating. Frames are available in in black, gun metal or white. RRP is £130, which includes a hard case and soft glasses pouch.
The UltraGuards have a plasticky feel that left us wondering how Uvex could justify the price. The answer is the lenses – as well as a standard clear lens, they come with a 'Variomatic' light adaptive option. When we took the glasses out of the box we thought Uvex had sent us two clear lenses by mistake but the Variomatic lens does indeed turn considerably darker when the sun comes out.
SKS Supershort pump
There are plenty of micro pumps on the market, but their small volume means it can take an age to inflate your tyres. SKS's Supershort gets round this by hiding a telescopic barrel and fold-out T-handle within its tiny body. It'll still take you a fair while to pump up a tyre from flat but for emergency use or if all you want to do is tweak your tyre pressures, it's worth a look. RRP is £19.99.
iXS X-Assault leg armour
Our last new product from Germany is this leg armour from iXS. A thick sleeve-cum-Velcro-strap lined with silicone gripper holds the pad in place above the knee, with two standard Velcro straps above and below the calf.
An articulated rubber 'Squeezebox' below the knee means the pad can move with your leg but this area remains well protected. Vented padding should mean your legs don't get too sweaty. RRP is €49.95.
Our last new products come from the UK – Southend-on-Sea in Essex, no less. HardnutZ helmets are certified to the latest EU standards and have all the features you'd expect – plentiful vents and a dial-fit system, with in-mould construction on the road/mountain lids, and an ABS outer/EPS liner combination on the pisspots.
So, what sets them apart from the multitude of other bonce protectors on the market? HardnutZ's stated aim is "to make the cycle helmet market a little bit funkier" and to that end they've come up with some pretty eye-catching finishes, ranging from a chrome option on the street lid that's blinding in direct sunlight to the 'Ink in Water' colourscheme pictured below.
RRPs are £49.99 for the road/mountain helmet, available in seven colourways, and £29.99 for the pisspots, available in six designs. The lids are available in three sizes: small (51-54cm), medium (54-58cm) or large (58-61cm). Each comes with a hi-vis helmet bag.