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Scott Arx Plus helmet

We’ve always liked Scott’s ARX helmet, thanks to its 22 large cooling vents and its reasonable price. The new Plus version adds MIPS to an already impressive mix.

MIPS is a patented ‘Brain Protection System’ that is claimed to increase safety by separating the shell and the liner with a low-friction layer, allowing the helmet to slide relative to your head in the event of an angled impact (see top right for further info). The ARX’s MIPS system is anchored to the shell by three rubber straps, which permit the necessary movement without interfering with how well the lid fits on your head.

Related: Scott Arx helmet reviews

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Scott has previously incorporated MIPS technology into its mountain bike and winter sport helmets. We’re pleased that now MIPS has hit Scott’s road range it hasn’t resulted in a significant price hike over the standard lid.

Adding MIPS increases the weight, but our large helmet weighs 282g, which is just 20g more than the standard ARX. And frankly, low weight is not the first thing we look for when it comes to safety.

The ARX Plus is particularly impressive at the front, where its large internal channels and a well-vented brow prevent the build-up of sweat. Vertical adjustment may be limited to three press-studs offering 20mm of adjustability, which is less than sliders offer on top-level lids, but this proved perfectly adequate in practice. The small rear dial offers true micro-adjustment, which helps get a precise fit.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Yeti’s women-specific Beti SB5c is primed to paint the trails coral

Yeti created the Beti SB5c to make a splash entry into the women’s-specific mountain bike market, with a high-end carbon-framed trail-ready machine that boasts 140mm of suspension up front, and 127mm at the rear with Yeti’s innovative Switch Infinity suspension system. We’re lucky to have taken delivery of one…

Tearing your eyes away from this stunning coral-painted vision in order to get into the nitty-gritty is tricky, we know. Deep breath. Ready? Right then.

Yeti has chosen to base its women’s specific offering around the standard unisex SB5 frame, drawing on Yeti’s philosophy of making bikes to fit smaller riders including components that the brand says says will improve the ride experience for women.

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Related: Yeti SB5c review

There’s a story behind the name. It comes from team Yeti Beti, a women’s specific mountain bike team set up by American Amy Thomas, who also directs the Beti Bike Bash, which Yeti claims is the biggest MTB event in the US. Inspired by the Betis, who were also instrumental in putting the line together, Yeti christened the bike after them. 

According to Yeti, the bike has been built for “hard-charging women who are looking for the ideal trail bike”. It’s fair to say that bold claims like that only make me even keener to start putting this bike through its paces. 

High-end carbon goodness and Switch Infinity suspension

Number crunching the suspension and geo

Women’s-specific design elements

Ready to roll

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Speedplay releases lower priced SYZR pedal, and 4 spindle lengths

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay is releasing a new version of its SYZR mountain bike pedal, with a chromoly spindle and a $165 retail price. The new SYZR Chrome-Moly has all the same components and features as the SYZR pedals with stainless steel or titanium spindles. Speedplay also is making available SYZR stainless steel spindles in four different lengths for riders who need to customize their pedal stance

POC toughens range with Tectal and Coron MTB lids

Swedish protection specialist POC will have two new mountain bike helmets early next year. The Tectal is a new trail-oriented half-shell while the Coron will be the company’s premier full-face helmet.

Related: BikeRadar’s complete Interbike coverage

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The Tectal blends elements of the road-going Octal with the company’s first half-shell mountain bike helmet, the Trabec. POC claims this new off-road helmet is nearly as well-vented as the Octal. Compared with the Trabec, the Tectal sits lower on the back of the head. POC claims the Tectal Race weighs in at 340g, which means it’s approximately 20g lighter than the Trabec. 

The standard Tectal will retail for $190. The Tectal Race will set buyers back $210. Upgrades over the standard Tectal include a google retention strap on the rear of the helmet, a full aramid liner and the inclusion of a RECCO reflector. UK and AU pricing was not immediately available.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Speedplay now shipping Zero Aero pedal

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay, Inc. is now shipping its Zero Aero Pedal System. The pedal, first shown at last year’s Interbike, was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Speedplay now shipping Zero Aero pedal

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay, Inc. is now shipping its Zero Aero Pedal System. The pedal, first shown at last year’s Interbike, was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Liv Cycling adds muscle with Intrigue SX for 2016

Having launched as a separate, women’s-specific brand to Giant Bicycles in 2014, Liv continues into 2016 with its ever-expanding range. Many of the road models carry over with minor aesthetic and component upgrades, while the mountain bike range gets burly with the new Intrigue SX.

Related: Giant stiffens Trance, adds carbon Glory for 2016

2016 Liv mountain range

While the 27.5in wheeled 140mm-travel Intrigue remains in the range, the Intrigue SX 1 fits a longer travel 160mm RockShox Pike on the front, which in turn slackens the head angle from 68 to 66.9 degrees.

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The Intrigue SX is the Intrigue with more guts

The alloy frame remains unchanged from the standard Intrigue, keeping 140mm of travel at the rear wheel. However, the suspension should be ready to handle a little more aggression and descent with a piggyback rear shock in the form of a RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir.

2016 Liv road range

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

OneUp Components launches 45t range expander sprocket for Shimano XTR

Shimano did a lot of things right with its latest XTR mechanical and electronic mountain bike groupsets but one common gripe lies in the 11-40T cassette, which doesn’t offer up a sufficiently wide range for many riders to comfortably run a single chainring. OneUp Components comes to the rescue with a new 45-tooth add-on cog – plus XTR-specific narrow-wide chainrings – which adds 12.5 percent to the total range and puts the modified XTR setup nearly on even footing with SRAM XX1.

As with other OneUp Components range-extending cogs, this latest version is CNC-machined from 7075-T6 aluminium plate and installed in between the cassette and rear hub. The stock 17-19T cluster is replaced with the included single 18-tooth nickel-plated hardened steel sprocket to maintain relatively even ratio jumps throughout the spread.

All of this fits on the same freehub body as the standard XTR M9000 cassette, too, meaning that the OneUp-modified XTR cassette will now also let current 10-speed riders switch to a true wide-range 11-speed setup without having to change wheels (as they would have to do with any of SRAM’s 1×11 mountain bike drivetrains).

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“This gives you 11-13-15-18-21-24-27-31-35-40-45 (stock is 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40),†said OneUp Components’ Sam Richards. “Everything is colour matched to the stock XTR cassette for a fully integrated look and feel.â€

OneUp says the modified cassette yields two distinct shifting ‘zones’ – one with smaller gaps for climbing, and one with bigger gaps for descending

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

OneUp Components launches 45-tooth range expander sprocket for Shimano XTR

Shimano did a lot of things right with its latest XTR mechanical and electronic mountain bike groupsets but one common gripe lies in the 11-40T cassette, which doesn’t offer up a sufficiently wide range for many riders to comfortably run a single chainring. OneUp Components comes to the rescue with a new 45-tooth add-on cog – plus XTR-specific narrow-wide chainrings – which adds 12.5 percent to the total range and puts the modified XTR setup nearly on even footing with SRAM XX1.

As with other OneUp Components range-extending cogs, this latest version is CNC-machined from 7075-T6 aluminium plate and installed in between the cassette and rear hub. The stock 17-19T cluster is replaced with the included single 18-tooth nickel-plated hardened steel sprocket to maintain relatively even ratio jumps throughout the spread.

All of this fits on the same freehub body as the standard XTR M9000 cassette, too, meaning that the OneUp-modified XTR cassette will now also let current 10-speed riders switch to a true wide-range 11-speed setup without having to change wheels (as they would have to do with any of SRAM’s 1×11 mountain bike drivetrains).

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

“This gives you 11-13-15-18-21-24-27-31-35-40-45 (stock is 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40),†said OneUp Components’ Sam Richards. “Everything is colour matched to the stock XTR cassette for a fully integrated look and feel.â€

OneUp says the modified cassette yields two distinct shifting ‘zones’ – one with smaller gaps for climbing, and one with bigger gaps for descending

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

More electronic bike gadgets from CES 2015

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show wasn’t just filled with camera gear to help you put together that awesome edit you’ve always wanted.

There was also lots of other bike-friendly electronica on hand to help make your next ride a little more entertaining, your next mountain bike camping trip a little more fun and your precious smartphone a little less apt to blow up when you crash.

Portable power solutions for your favourite electronic cycling gadgets

Camping out in the wilderness with your mountain bike is supposed to be all about getting back to basics, unplugging from the world and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer.

The reality, however, is that many of us simply can’t handle going that far off the grid. There were several interesting bits at CES designed to help keep your gear powered up when there isn’t an outlet handy.

Goal Zero made a name for itself with its comprehensive range of portable solar chargers but the company has now expanded into portable, high-capacity battery systems to keep your USB-rechargeable gadgets up-and-running.

The new Goal Zero Switch 10 Multi-Tool Kit (US$120) features a 3000mAh Li-ion battery (enough to recharge a Garmin Edge 810 three times) plus an attachable 110-lumen LED flashlight to help you find your way around the campsite. Once the battery is depleted, you can plug it into the included folding solar panel to recharge it in as little as four hours.

Naturally, goal zero still has plenty of solar powered options available, too:

The complete Goal Zero Switch 10 Multi-Tool Kit features a portable solar panel, battery pack with built-in USB outputs, and interchangeable tips that turn it into a flashlight or – yes – a fan

Alternatively, the US$80 Goal Zero Torch 250 sports a 180-lumen spotlight, a 70-lumen floodlight, and a bigger 4,400mAh battery. When that’s depleted, you can hook it up to a solar panel or even just crank the built-in generator in a pinch.

Meanwhile, Eton packs everything together into its US$100 BoostSolar, which includes a 5,000mAh Li-ion battery with enough current for a full-sized tablet and a built-in solar panel to keep the cells topped up. If you know the battery will last long enough for your trip on its own, you can remove it completely and still it for recharging your devices with the handy on-board USB ports.

Eton's boostsolar portable power solution features a solar panel on one side and a rechargeable 5,000mah battery plugged into the back - enough to recharge a garmin edge 810 five times even when the sun isn't shining:

The Eton BoostSolar combines a portable solar panel and high-capacity Li-ion battery pack to keep all of your devices powered up when you’re off the grid

Lots of options to juice up your smartphone

None of those recharging options will do you much good if you’ve shattered your smartphone in a wreck. Not surprisingly, there were plenty of tough phone cases on hand at CES.

One of the most exciting is the new US$129 OtterBox Resurgence Frē, which combines a supplemental 2,600mAh rechargeable battery (already featured in the standard Resurgence) with the rugged, waterproof protection the company is best known for. Expect a public release later this year.

OtterBox showed off its new resurgence fr_ battery case, which combines a 2,600mah supplemental battery pack with the rugged, waterproof protection the company is known for:

The new OtterBox Resurgence Frē combines a rugged, waterproof outer case with a supplemental battery pack to keep your new iPhone 6 running strong while tracking your ride on GPS and keep it in one piece if you crash

Apple’s new iPhone 6 already has a remarkably good camera but Element Case and Schneider Optics have teamed up to take those capabilities even further.

The new US$249 iPro 6 Trio case boosts the standard Apple optics with three interchangeable lenses (wide angle, telephoto and fisheye), all with glass elements and proper anti-reflective coatings. Super wide and macro lenses are optional.

To help with framing that perfect riding shot, the case also features standard 1/4-20in threaded mounts for use with the included handle.

Element case and schneider optics have joined forces for a slick new camera case for the apple iphone 6. the new ipro trio allows you to boost your phone's camera capabilities with a range of high-quality lenses:

We’re eager to try out Element Case’s new iPro Trio, with its interchangeable lens made by Schneider Optics

Listen to music while riding – safely and discreetly

We at BikeRadar know that a lot of you prefer to ride with music. Completely shutting out the outside world may not be the best idea but there are alternatives that let you listen to your favourite tunes and still be aware of your surroundings.

AfterShokz showed off its US$100 Bluez 2 headphones, which conduct sound waves through your skull to your inner ear instead of porting them directly into your ear canal. While the sound quality is a bit tinnier than conventional ear buds, they leave your ears completely open to ambient noise while also lending the added convenience of Bluetooth pairing with your smartphone and a built-in mic for taking calls if you’re so inclined. This latest version adds active noise cancellation to help decrease wind noise – one of our major complaints with the original model.

Bone conduction headphones such as the aftershokz bluez 2 send sound through your skull to your inner ear, leaving the ear canal open to hear ambient noise for better safety:

AfterShokz Bluez 2 headphones port music through your skull into your inner ear, leaving your ear canal available to hear ambient noise while riding

The folks at Cynaps, meanwhile, use the same bone conduction technology on its new Mint earphones but with a clever modular design that lets you attach the transducers to a standard headband, a hat, helmet straps, or any variety of other headwear.

Cynaps says you can even attach them to a window or other sound-conductive object to effectively turn it into a giant speaker. Cynaps is currently in the crowdsourcing stage for the Mint, which is available for US$79 via Indiegogo.

While the cynaps mint has wires connecting the transducers to the main power source, the unit connects to your music source via bluetooth:

The Cynaps Mint is another bone conduction headset but with removable transducers that can be attached to your helmet straps

For more information, visit www.goalzero.com, www.etoncorp.com, www.otterbox.com, www.elementcase.com, www.aftershokz.com and www.maxvirtual.com.