INTERBIKE 2017: DAY1

Well this will be the last year in Vegas and day 1 was great, big crowds, great products to see, and it looks like the E-Bike crazy is still big here.
So sit back and check out INTERBIKE 2017 at a glimpse.

ROTEC CYCLES IN THE HOUSE

John Sullivan is one guy who has kept a dream alive in my opinion. ROTEC Cycles came into play in the late 90’s early 2000’s. With the likes of Eric Carter and Geoff Scofield (ex BMX pros and legends) at the helm racing a bike that was unique to the norm.
I’m not sure of the story of how John Sullivan took the ROTEC name and went from there ( a story for another time).
He made changes from the original adding the Mert Lawwill’s famous rear end design that was on Yeti and Schwinn at one time, which brought gold to both companies I might add.
Refined, tweaked and made to conquer the meanest World Cup courses the new ROTEC 29’er and 27.5 will do just that.
Sitting on this new ride one can only feel it has the soul to grab gold.

29'ER ANYONE?? LEAN AND MEAN JOHN SULLIVAN HAS A WORLD CUP BIKE ON HIS HANDS.  ANY TAKERS??
29’ER ANYONE?? LEAN AND MEAN JOHN SULLIVAN HAS A WORLD CUP BIKE ON HIS HANDS.
ANY TAKERS??

MERT LAWWILL IS ALIVE HERE,BUT WITH REFINEMENT.
MERT LAWWILL IS ALIVE HERE,BUT WITH REFINEMENT.

A TRUE FULL FLOATING MOVEMENT UNDER BRAKING KEEPS THE REAR ACTIVE ALL THE TIME.
A TRUE FULL FLOATING MOVEMENT UNDER BRAKING KEEPS THE REAR ACTIVE ALL THE TIME.

THIS MAY LOOK LIKE THE OLD YETI OR SCHWINN DH BIKES, BUT NOT SO.
THIS MAY LOOK LIKE THE OLD YETI OR SCHWINN DH BIKES, BUT NOT SO.
DVO SUSPENSION, TPR COMPONENTS MAKE IT A SOLID RACER ON ANY DH COURSE.
DVO SUSPENSION, TPR COMPONENTS MAKE IT A SOLID RACER ON ANY DH COURSE.

ROTEC’S OTHER BIKES

ROTEC has also has their PARK bike. You want to have fun hitting the slopes, jumping, and all around fun this is your ride.

REVERT PARK BIKE, SIMPLE FUN, SIMPLY PUT.
REVERT PARK BIKE, SIMPLE FUN, SIMPLY PUT.

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DVO HANDLES ALL THE HITS.
DVO HANDLES ALL THE HITS.
REVERT 5.0
REVERT 5.0

On the horizon John introduced his new Carbon XC frame. Clean looks, we can’t wait to see this built up.

NEW CARBON XC FRAME.
NEW CARBON XC FRAME.

REAR TRIANGLE LOOKS SMOOTH AND CLEAN.
REAR TRIANGLE LOOKS SMOOTH AND CLEAN.


ALPINESTARS IS AN “A”

ALPINESTARS HAS A GREAT SELECTION OF GEAR FOR MEN AND WOMEN. FROM DH TO XC, ENDURO AND MORE, THEIR TECH GEAR WILL MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD AS WELL AS PROTECT YOU.
ALPINESTARS HAS A GREAT SELECTION OF GEAR FOR MEN AND WOMEN.
FROM DH TO XC, ENDURO AND MORE, THEIR TECH GEAR WILL MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD AS WELL AS PROTECT YOU.
TECH WEAR SEEMS TO BE THE THING WITH MOUNTAIN BIKE WEARS FOR ANY WEATHER CONDITION.
TECH WEAR SEEMS TO BE THE THING WITH MOUNTAIN BIKE WEARS FOR ANY WEATHER CONDITION.
THIS IS THE SHORT SLEEVE ENDURO PROTECTION FROM ASTARS.
THIS IS THE SHORT SLEEVE ENDURO PROTECTION FROM ASTARS.
REAR HOUSES YOUR HYDRATION PACK.
REAR HOUSES YOUR HYDRATION PACK.
FULL DH PROTECTION COVERAGE IN ALL THE RIGHT SPOTS.
FULL DH PROTECTION COVERAGE IN ALL THE RIGHT SPOTS.
PROTECTION YOUR BACK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE HEAD.
PROTECTION YOUR BACK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE HEAD.
SAME AS THE SHORT SLEEVE YOU HAVE THE LONG SLEEVE VERSION, WHICH THE SLEEVE CAN BE REMOVED ON A HOT DAY.
SAME AS THE SHORT SLEEVE YOU HAVE THE LONG SLEEVE VERSION, WHICH THE SLEEVE CAN BE REMOVED ON A HOT DAY.

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THE BASIC VEST ALLOWS MAXIMUM AIR TO THE FRONT.
THE BASIC VEST ALLOWS MAXIMUM AIR TO THE FRONT.
HOWEVER YOU CAN STILL PUT IN YOUR HYDRATION PACK OR INSERT THE BACK PROTECTION. THIS CAN BE DONE WITH ANY OF THE LIGHTWEIGHT ENDURO STYLE PROTECTION.
HOWEVER YOU CAN STILL PUT IN YOUR HYDRATION PACK OR INSERT THE BACK PROTECTION. THIS CAN BE DONE WITH ANY OF THE LIGHTWEIGHT ENDURO STYLE PROTECTION.

Alpinestars knee and elbow protection is top notch.

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Alpinestars has the gear and they have the gold from champions like Gwin, with the dedication they carry over from the racing heritage, Alpinestars is here to protect you.

GREEN GURU GEAR

Look as mountain bikers we have a need to be able to carry our beer, well Green Guru Gear has solved this problem for our need to bring our favorite suds with us. Insulated or none insulated, made from reusable materials these guys got it going on and made in AMERICA in Colorado.

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KALI HELMET TECH AND SOME NEW PADS

Talking the tech on KALI helmets was one thing we have always wanted to hear and it was great to have a minute or two to hear it.
We also got to see and feel the new knee pads that KALI introduced as well.(yes they look like someone’s out there, but with a touch different)

KALI HELMETS HAS ALWAYS MADE A NICE LID, GREAT GRAPHICS AND SAFETY IN MIND.
KALI HELMETS HAS ALWAYS MADE A NICE LID, GREAT GRAPHICS AND SAFETY IN MIND.
TRAIL OR ENDURO, KALI MAKES SAFETY NUMBER ONE.
TRAIL OR ENDURO, KALI MAKES SAFETY NUMBER ONE.
THE INTERNAL CORE OF THEIR FULLFACE HELMET DOES NOT SKIMP ON SAFETY.
THE INTERNAL CORE OF THEIR FULLFACE HELMET DOES NOT SKIMP ON SAFETY.
WITH EVERYONE FOCUSING ON ROTATIONAL FORCE AND BETTER WAYS TO BUILD THE MOUSE TRAP, KALI TAKES HELMET SAFETY TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS, WITH NO COMPROMISE.
WITH EVERYONE FOCUSING ON ROTATIONAL FORCE AND BETTER WAYS TO BUILD THE MOUSE TRAP, KALI TAKES HELMET SAFETY TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS, WITH NO COMPROMISE.
THE CUT-AWAY OF KALI'S TRAIL / ALL-MOUNTAIN HELMETS. YOU GET THE SAME FEATURES AS THE FULLFACE.
THE CUT-AWAY OF KALI’S TRAIL / ALL-MOUNTAIN HELMETS.
YOU GET THE SAME FEATURES AS THE FULLFACE.
A CLOSE LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS OF WHAT IT TAKES TO PROTECTING THE OLD BEAN.
A CLOSE LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS OF WHAT IT TAKES TO PROTECTING THE OLD BEAN.

NEW KALI KNEE PADS

You may think these look like someone else pads, but they are made different and have added protection.

THE OUTER LAYER GIVE AN ABSORBING EFFECT ON THE HIT, AIR FLOW WHEN ON A HOT RIDE, PULL ON TO THE LEG FOR A SOLID FIT AND FEEL.
THE OUTER LAYER GIVE AN ABSORBING EFFECT ON THE HIT, AIR FLOW WHEN ON A HOT RIDE, PULL ON TO THE LEG FOR A SOLID FIT AND FEEL.
KALI ADDED AN EXTRA LAYER OF PADDING ON THE INSIDE OF THE PAD TO HELP WITH IMPACT AND COMFORT.
KALI ADDED AN EXTRA LAYER OF PADDING ON THE INSIDE OF THE PAD TO HELP WITH IMPACT AND COMFORT.
ONE OF KALI'S OTHER KNEE PADS HAS A DIFFERENT INTERNAL MATERIAL, THOUGH TOUGH, THIS ONE IS A MORE BASIC PROTECTION THEN THE NEW KNEE PAD WE JUST TALKED ABOUT. KALI PUTS IN A LOT OF EFFORT IN TO ALL THEIR PROTECTION. THIS HAS TO MADE THE CONSUMER FEEL GOOD WHEN THEY GO DOWN AND GET UP.
ONE OF KALI’S OTHER KNEE PADS HAS A DIFFERENT INTERNAL MATERIAL, THOUGH TOUGH, THIS ONE IS A MORE BASIC PROTECTION THEN THE NEW KNEE PAD WE JUST TALKED ABOUT.
KALI PUTS IN A LOT OF EFFORT IN TO ALL THEIR PROTECTION. THIS HAS TO MADE THE CONSUMER FEEL GOOD WHEN THEY GO DOWN AND GET UP.

Well more to come from DAY 1.

Art Aguilar

REVIEW- DAINESE BASANITE S/S JERSEY, HUCKER SHORTS, AND ROCK SOLID-D GLOVES

DAINESE 2015 DH / ENDURO GREAR
DAINESE 2015 DH / ENDURO GEAR

Well here I am again having spent a long amount of test time with some new gear and this time MtnBikeRider.com is putting some of Dainese new 2015 gear through the ringer.
Now we all know Dainese as the innovators of protection and in the last few years Dainese is trying to make a come back in the mountain bike arena. They’ve been upping their game with new pad designs, innovative Enduro packs and clothing designs.
When it comes to the protection side of things they have in my opinion done it better than anyone out there. After all they are the one’s who started it all and others fallowed, so when it comes to say jerseys, shorts, or gloves, can they stack up to the others who have been making the advancements in new innovative wicking materials or tough Ripstop nylons, will have to see.

THE GEAR

I have always loved any gear I have received to test or even purchased for myself from Dainese.
For 2015 they pulled out the stops and really brought their game, so much so that in 2014 the Lapierre Gravity World Cup team was fully outfitted for DH battle as well as the Enduro team by Dainese.
I have to tell you it was great to see Dainese out there in a big way on the World Cup circuit like it used to be.
So what are we going to review, well why not review what the Lapierre team used.
Dan Walczewski of Dainese USA heads the Multi-Sport division and after a few conversations we were off to test.
Dan set us up with the BASANITE S/S JERSEY, HACKER SHORTS, and ROCK SOLID-D GLOVES.
The first thing you will notice is the color I chose, the neon yellow pops. All the colors in the three items stick out good, besides I figure why not look ultra-cool and go a little Valentino Rossi (for those who don’t fallow Moto GP road racing, he is the MAN on the track for Dainese and AGV).


BASANITE SHORT SLEEVE JERSEY

BASANITE S/S JERSEY
BASANITE S/S JERSEY

The BASANITE Jersey comes in short sleeve as well as long. There are four colors, red/black, neon yellow/black, white/black, and white/green, with sizing of XS – XXL.
The jersey is made of light weight polyester that is a technical fit. The BASANITE jersey has such a light feel that you wonder if you are wearing a jersey at all. I love the fit, not super baggy and not too tight. Great air flow due in part from the micro-mesh area panels on the sides of the jersey which really allow for maximum heat dissipation from the body which is a super plus on hot days.
I have worn this jersey on long hot rides climbing and descending, if it wasn’t for my hydration pack on my back cutting the air flow around to my back I would no doubt have been very cool all the way around.
I have to give the BASANITE Jersey high marks for its ultra-light feel, air flow, and great looks.
This is a great jersey to use for DH racing as well as an all-day Enduro race.
The retail price is $69.99

HUCKER SHORT

HUCKER SHORT WITH LARGE AIR FLOW FRONT PANELS
HUCKER SHORT WITH LARGE AIR FLOW FRONT PANELS

The HUCKER is the new DH short for 2015. The first thing I notice was the light weight feel to them, lighter then past Dainese DH shorts we have tested.
Now I don’t mind a heavy short because it makes me feel safer in the event of going down, but will they hold up to a fall in the rocks or gravel, read on.
So what makes these DH- FR (Freeride) shorts tough and light, well Dainese uses a tear-resistant Duratex Fabric that’s for comfort and ergonomics, elasticated inserts on the crotch and lumbar allow for greater movement of freedom while riding DH, Enduro, or your favorite trail.

REAR LUMBAR STRETCH PANEL ALLOWS FOR GREATER MOVEMENT
REAR LUMBAR STRETCH PANEL ALLOWS FOR GREATER MOVEMENT

The HUCKER doesn’t come with any padded liner as these are a DH racing type shorts which allows you to tailor the under short to your ride, for example DH I run the Dainese Performance Short that has hard shell protection on the thigh and tail bone and a soft protection Dainese short for light protection.

COOL ZIPPER STASH POCKET FOR THAT BEER MONEY
COOL ZIPPER STASH POCKET FOR THAT BEER MONEY

The best part about the new HUCKER Shorts is their breathability; four large panels bring in the air to cool off those privates. This is a super comfort when beating the heat and I give Dainese top notch marks for that.
Finish off the great attention to detail with the clean colors and logos, nice waste adjustment straps and a nifty little zip pocket for keys, beer money, or whatever tickles your fancy.
These are a great DH short or Enduro race short, Light weight to beat the heat and tough enough to save the tushy.
Sizes range from XS –XXL at a retail price of $109.99

ROCK SOLID-D GLOVES

ROCK SOLID-D PRO SHAPE KNUCKLE PROTECTION
ROCK SOLID-D PRO SHAPE KNUCKLE PROTECTION

Gloves have changed quite a bit from when I started racing DH and I’m a firm believer in knuckle, finger, and palm protection. Dainese has always made a superb glove of this type in the past, but even Dainese has gone the way of the thin racing glove. Riders seen to want that connection from the bike to the ground, sorry but I’m not buying it. Having some sort of protection is important if you’re doing a DH race or tackle a killer Enduro race and that being said Dainese delivered by adding PRO SHAPE to the ROCK SOLID –D, along with tech materials for breathability and toughness .
First let’s start with the obvious; Dainese is using their new proprietary protection that’s found on their new TRAIL SKINS knee and elbow guards called PRO SHAPE.
This is a unique honeycomb flexible structure that is made of Polynorbornene, a polymer that has remarkable shock-absorbing qualities for only being 6mm thick. The perforated structure allows it to breathe and ventilate heat and sweating.

AIRPRENE UPPER, TOUGH HIGH STRENGTH SYNTHETIC PALM, AND TOUCH SCREEN FINGER TIP COMPATIBLE
AIRPRENE UPPER, TOUGH HIGH STRENGTH SYNTHETIC PALM, AND TOUCH SCREEN FINGER TIP COMPATIBLE

You have roughly a 1” x 4” patch set across the knuckle area of the glove that will bend with the hand and offer that knuckle protection. It’s so good it has satisfied the EN 1621 standards.
A high strength synthetic fabric on the palm, an Airprene upper cuff that’s light and breathable, silicone printing on the palm for added grip contact, and the last great touch is that the finger tips are touch screen compatible to stop and take that great selfie of yourself on the trail or after the race.
Sizes range from XXS-XXL and the retail is $54.99.

OVERALL

WITH GREAT COMFORT AND FIT OVERALL DAINESE HAS HIT THE MARK WITH THE BASANITE JERSEY, HUCKER SHORT, AND ROCK SOLID-D GLOVES
WITH GREAT COMFORT AND FIT OVERALL DAINESE HAS HIT THE MARK WITH THE BASANITE JERSEY, HUCKER SHORT, AND ROCK SOLID-D GLOVES

While wearing the BASANITE S/S jersey and HUCKER shorts I really didn’t find any fault at all, I have to say they seemed rather perfect. All the technical features of both work great. Air flow, light weight fabrics, and great quality make these two products shine, however the one hurdle Dainese has to overcome is to be competitive with their pricing, especially with their jersey price. Other companies range start at $40.00 up to $50.00 bucks.
I have no complaints with the HUCKER shorts as the pricing is close to other competitors.
I did get to ground test these babies, though it was a small spill the fabric held up well, I just love the air panels as they really let the air flow in great.
With gloves I wear a medium, but after a previous test from another company I went to a small size for the ROCK SOLID –D, now for the most part they fit better when I dropped a size. My fingers were all the way to the tips of the gloves. This is a good thing; it offers a snug feel with no loose material on the hand.
Now the one issue I found was that the PRO SHAPE padding was positioned just a hair behind my knuckles and this could be due to the smaller size glove.
The PRO SHAPE molded well on my knuckle area, bending and moving on my hand well under riding conditions, however I did notice that my right gloves feel put a strain on the top of my knuckles after some time, but as I said this could be due to the size gloves I was wearing. I didn’t experience this on my left hand so much.
I would have like to have seen the protection moved closer to the fingers and run over the knuckles down each finger say ½” to 1” stopping before the first knuckle of each finger for that added protection.
The rest of the gloves materials were spot on in the comfort department and breathability.
Price wise I’m a firm believer in protection and if I have to pay a little more I’m OK with that.
Overall I would recommend the BASANITE jersey, HUCKER shorts, and ROCK SOLID-D gloves (check your sizing with them first). They look great, breath great, and wick the heat away great.
The other thing that puts Dainese on high marks is the “One Year Warranty” they have against material and manufacturing defects on all their products (of course barring crash damage). You can’t beat that.
If you’re looking for Dainese products ask your local bicycle retailer, visit one of three D-Store in the US, or go to Dainese.com to shop.

Thanks to Dan Walczewski , Multi-Sports Manager and Dainese USA.

So you want to get into downhill mountain biking, but it intimidates you…

You find yourself riding more technical terrain and have toyed with the idea of trying “downhill,” but something about it intimidates you. Hey, don’t worry, first time dher’s have all felt that way before. Eventually you’ll come to enjoy it and find it very fun and rewarding. So here’s a few things to help you get started on downhill mountain biking.


Do I need a downhill specific mountain bike?

Not necessarily. If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is go with what you have. A basic XC bike with 4″ of travel can get you started. Basically what I’m saying is, try to see if you’d like DH first. There’s no need for you to drop all this money on a new bike and find out that you really don’t like it. Another option is to borrow a DH bike from a friend or rent one from a local shop.


Do I need body armor and a full face helmet?

Yes, protection is always good. Besides you can convince the wife to let you buy stuff because it’s going to keep you “safer.” Get some knee/shin guards as well as some elbow pads, you’ll be glad you did. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve crashed where the pads saved my skin. The good thing about a full face is it protects your money maker. This crash could have messed up Moe’s beautiful face, but lucky for him, the only thing he got was a bruised ego.


Go with someone that has been downhilling before.

For safety sake, go with people that currently ride downhill. For the most part, DH people are very friendly and always love to show the trails and techniques to newbies. Besides, going with people means someone has your back. If you get injured or have a mechanical, you can rely on them to help you out.

Having a group setting also helps you develop great bike handling skills. What I’ve learned is that everyone has a different way of riding. For me, I like to get other rider’s opinions about the best line to take. During the recent race series, I spent time with my team mates, Wes, Art and Corey on choosing the best lines. I had previously rode the course one way, but after consulting the guys, they all pointed out quicker and safer ways down the mountain. The input you’ll get from other people is uber worthwile and can eventually help you become a better rider.

Ride more, even if its XC or just on the street.

This one I can’t stress it enough. Getting your cardio level up and your bike handling skills honed will make a huge difference in how you ride downhill. Believe it or not, but DH riding is EXHAUSTING! You actually use quite a bit of energy riding down the mountain. Plus in some cases, you have to hike your bike up before you go down. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you show up to the mountain with the best equipment, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be good at downhill. There’s some value to riding XC and learning how to handle your bike properly and getting into riding shape will do wonders to your DH experience.

Here’s a prime example of a first time DH rider. You may have seen this video before, but I’m going to show it again. Randy has NEVER been downhilling. He’s showed interest in it and when he had the opportunity to join me at Southridge he jumped on it. Though the video shows him doing well, I have to let you know that he did crash a few times before we shot the video. But he had a blast riding.

RL and Randy @ Fontana from RL Policar on Vimeo.

What are you doing sitting there reading this? Go out there and try downhill NOW!

Leatt-Brace DBX Comp – Protection for your neck!

In our sport of downhill (DH), whether you are racing or just riding downhill trails, nothing boosts more confidence than having the right protection. Other than the obvious – helmet, you can now have protection for your neck. The Leatt-Brace DBX Comp employs the patented Alternative Load Path Technology (ALPT) which minimizes movement of your neck upon a crash.

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SRC Winter Series 2, Photo by Jason Cleghorn, www.cleghornphotography.com

The Leatt-Brace, maker of the moto neck brace has come out with a specific brace for bicycles – the DBX Comp (Downhill and BMX). Although similar in appearance as the moto neck brace, the DBX Comp is constructed with thinner pads, ¼” thinner vs. the moto. The DBX helps protect riders from head or neck impacts. The ALPT helps disperse the energy that is typically transferred to the neck, resulting from an impact to the head and assists in the transferring of forces away from the vulnerable neck structures to less vulnerable areas of the body and is pivotal in the design of all Leatt-Braces.

The DBX (and other Leatt-Braces) helps protect the rider from the following scenarios:

– Hyperextension: Extreme bending of the head in a rearward direction
– Hyperflexion: Extreme bending of the head in a forward direction
– Lateral Hyperflexion: Extreme bending of the head to one side
– Posterior Hypertranslation: Movement of the head relative to the neck, at ninety degrees to the neck.
– Axial Loading (when combined with Flexion, Extension and Lateral Flexion): Helps prevent axial loading when the axial forces act in combination with bending moments or shear forces. As an example, this typically occurs when your head is forced downward and forward (Hyperflexion) or downward and backward (Hyperextension).

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Specs on the Leatt DBX:

– Injection molded
– Glass reinforced
– Nylon neck brace system
– Designed by medical professionals and motorcycle enthusiasts to help prevent extreme neck movements upon a crash

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The DBX Comp’s key parts are the neck brace which are two pieces – front and back. The front includes the piece that sits on your chest and the back piece includes the thoracic member. The front and back are connected by “pins”, one on each side. A strap is included to keep the brace in place (optional).
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Side view of the DBX Comp

The most important part of wearing the DBX Comp is the fitment. It’s imperative that you are properly fitted to ensure you have the maximum protection. The DBX Comp comes with four pairs of pins to accommodate various sizes:

– Short Pin (0mm)
– Medium Pin (10mm)
– Long Pin (20mm)
– Long Pin (30mm)

Having the Leatt-Brace too big (loose) or too small(tight) can affect the way the brace protects you. The DBX Comp can also be opened or closed on either left or right side. There is a hinge closure that locks onto the pins.

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The extra pins; the medium is mounted in the DBX

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View from the back with the thoracic support

In the racing circuit, I’ve also noticed that the Leatt-Brace has inspired confidence to many riders of all levels. From Professionals to Beginners, they are no longer wearing body armor. Note that body armor is a personal preference, however if you do decide to wear it in conjunction with the DBX, you have to be sure that the thoracic piece is sitting flat on your back and is under the spine protector. Armors that have been in production with thicker chest padding and spine protection will not work well with the DBX… again, proper fitting is key. They now have body armor out in the market that is designed specifically to “fit” with the Leatt-Brace.

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Wearing the DBX Comp in the Southridge Finals without body armor.

Real life experience: Since wearing the DBX Comp, I’ve personally experienced how the Leatt-Brace can save your @$$! Jan. 9th 2011 Fontana Winter Series #1, practice run – I was following RL Policar down the DH course. At some point I bobbled at a technical section which caused me to stop and redo. At this point RL was long gone. I continued down the course with out anyone to follow. I came up to a section which was a roller/drop off. I should have stayed on the right side where it was a fairly easy roll. Not knowing which way to go, I went left and the rocks started to gap. End result – Over The Bars (OTB). Point of impact was the right side of my head and I rolled over, slamming my right hip onto the ground. I’d hate to find out what would have happened had I not been wearing the DBX. I walked away with bruises on my right hip, leg and buttocks.
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My crash in January. Photo by Tibor Fazekas, www.tibiphoto.com

ALPT:
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Not too long before my OTB, I learned that one of my friends, Perfecto (Perf), crashed while on a casual downhill ride. He was at a local secret DH spot in So Cal with a lot of jumps. Now this guy can hit the jumps… but sometimes we all have mishaps. So what happened – Perf crashed hitting his face first, shattering his helmet. A typical face-plant type accident without a Leatt-Brace, the force of the impact is typically transferred from the ground to the helmet; through the helmet to the scull and scull base where it is then transferred through the neck to the back (thoracic spine). With the Leatt-Brace, the force will instead transfer from the ground to the helmet, through the helmet onto the Leatt-Brace once impact is made. Some of the force will then be transferred to the brace and dispersed to the less vulnerable parts of the torso. If the impact is significant enough, the brace is designed to fail in crumple zones (similar to those seen in cars), thereby helping to absorb some of the energy of the impact.

See before and after pictures below. Had he not been wearing the Leatt-Brace, he would have had a serious injury.
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Perf’s helmet when new

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Helmet after the crash

ALPT:
DBX2

So does it work – YES it does! Both scenarios mentioned above could have easily resulted in a more serious injury. Able to walk away from it is priceless. We should always think safety first. Leatt-Brace DBX has other models available – The Ride, the Comp I or II and the Pro. The DBX Comp retails for $395.00. For more information, visit Leatt-Brace at www.leatt-brace.com.

Ride Report: Hummingbird Trail, DH in the Valley

Saturday group rides have been a staple to my schedule for quite sometime. My group of friends typically frequent the various Orange County trails… however from time to time, we’ll explore other Counties.

This past Saturday we ventured to Simi Valley (just past the Los Angeles area) to a trail called Hummingbird. From Orange County, it’s a good 1.5 hour drive… a bit far but definitely worth the downhill that was in store for us. For sometime I’ve heard how fun Hummingbird is… it didn’t disappoint!

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Early start, 6:00am truck and bikes read to roll

Our group met at the end of Hummingbird trail. There were about five other cars that met us there. From here we left one car, then doubled back to Rocky Peak (previous freeway exit) where we can catch the trailhead for Hummingbird. Getting there was a challenge on big bikes… needless to say, there were a lot of hike-a-bikes. A few of the guys that were on lighter bikes were able to pedal up.

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At the top of Hummingbird Trail

Below is a video of our first run. From the start until the end it was pure descent. There was maybe one short pedaling section but if you carried enough speed, it’ll carry you to the top. Hummingbird reminded me of Sedona, AZ but without the red dirt. There were tons of unique rock formations, several of which were on the trail and you had to maneuver through.

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A truck load of bikes!

Our second run was down another trail just before Hummingbird. It’ll remain nameless as it seemed to be a “secret” trail. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for the locals. Just to give you an idea – it’s filled with jumps, step-ups, drop-offs, plus more… If you like all of these and have excellent handling skills, this trail is for you. Unfortunately none of the guys were familiar with this trail and our ride did not flow as we were trying to get around the tougher parts. But for sure this trail rocks!

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Myles looking down the trail… pretty steep

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Exiting out of the tunnel

Hummingbird was a blast! Looking forward to the next trip to the Valley!

Weekend Ride and “NO” Race Report (OTB in practice)

This past Saturday my ride was at Turnbull Canyon in Whittier, CA. Since southern California has been pounded with rain and storm for the past several weeks, this would be the first dry weekend for riding… In addition majority of Orange County’s trails are still closed due to the rains. Needless to say there were a lot of mountain bikers that flocked to Turnbull.

My group of friends consisted of about 15 guys. On the trail we met another group of friends which had 10 guys… so we had a big group ride!
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Heading to the trailhead

One highlight of the ride was my friend, Dexter, invested in the Shuttle Buddy. This is a motor assisted contraption that mounts on the rear wheel of your DH bike.
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Basically this is a self-shuttle for those who can’t pedal up the mountain. This would be his first trial with the Shuttle Buddy. From where we parked our cars, it’s about 1/8th of a mile to the trail head. The Shuttle Buddy motored him like a mo-ped. For awhile it sounded like a lawn mower was following me. Unfortunately his Buddy crapped out on him halfway up the first climb on dirt so I never got any details on how it was working for him.
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An Intense 951 faster than a 19lb carbon bike???

Onto the trail… conditions were excellent! There were a few wet spots but nothing that would cause trail damage. As always, Turnbull is a fun trail. If you’ve been there, we made our way down the switchbacks to 7th Street. This is a fast descent after the series of switchbacks. From here we climbed up a different set of switchbacks and headed to a singletrack called A-line. If you haven’t been there, below is a video of the downhill sections we rode on Saturday.

On the same day was the first race of the Southridge 2011 Winter Series. As you read SSuper Dan’s race report (the post prior to mine), while I was making my way to Fontana, he was tearing up the course on his singlespeed. Congrats Dan!!!

For 2011 I decided to move to the Sport Class. Registered and ready for practice RL, Wes and I headed up for a run. This would be the first run for RL and I. Prior to riding we walked about halfway down to check out the course. Not too bad, although there were some steep, roll-able sections.
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Sport number plate for 2011

Making our way down I was following RL. At some point I wobble at a section where I stopped and we were separated. Now I was making my way down without anyone to follow. I reached a steep section where I should have gone right, instead of left. On the right was much smoother transition; the left were rocks that gapped. Into the drop, I knew I was going over… I hit the ground – lights out! I’ve never felt pain like this before. Immediate pain on my right butt cheek radiating down to my leg. Fortunately there were people there that assisted me. Photographer Tibor Fazekas (www.tibiphoto.com) captured a sequence of my OTB. They stopped practice until I got my bearings. They eventually helped me off the course and EMTs came up to tend on me. Fortunately nothing was broken, just got my bell rang.
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Coming into the section. Photo by Tibor Fazekas, www.tibiphoto.com

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wadding up with my bike. Photo by Tibor Fazekas, www.tibiphoto.com

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Photo by Tibor Fazekas, www.tibiphoto.com

While the EMTs were working on me, they resumed practice and guys started coming down again. A series of guys come down, then one of my friends comes through and does the exact same thing I did but slams his head onto a rock! Result – broken helmet and a couple of gashes on his head. This was not good… The EMTs started working on him to stop the bleeding. We eventually made our way down the course where they loaded us on the shuttle vans and took us to the bottom. I ended up going home, bruised and very sore. Needless to say, no racing the following day. Come to find out that there were a lot of casualties from this race. It was tough all around… 🙁

Xpedo Face Off XMX17AC Pedals

Xpedo Face Off

New from Xpedo are their Face Off XMX17AC platform pedals. These are the pedals that I am using with my new Intense Uzzi VP. Check them out… these are sweet looking pedals!
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The Face Off XMX17AC are aluminum pedals with a cromoly spindle. Although classified in their website under the BMX category, these are fully compatible for any type of biking – especially downhill (DH). As a matter of fact they have been perfect on my downhill runs! I’ve been using the Face Off XMX17AC for about one month now and I cant rave enough on how well my shoes grip onto them.
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There are ample pins – 15 on each side to be exact. Each set of pedals comes with a pack of replacement pins.

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The Face Off XMX17AC are low profile pedals that come in six cool colors to match your color scheme. For more information and to see their other products, go to www.xpedo.com. Specs from their site are listed below:

XMX17AC

Weight: 380g/pr

Body: Aluminum 6061 CNC

Spindle: Cromoly

Bearings: 1 Cartridge

Bushings: 1 DU

Pins: Replaceable straight pins

Seal: 1 Rubber

Color: Black, Gray, Red, Gold, Light Blue, Navy Blue

Greetings from Woodward West – Tehachapi, CA

The Moe and I made our annual trip to Tehachapi, CA for the second leg of the 2010 California Golden State Kenda Downhill Championships. This year it appears that it will only be the two of us as our other teammates were not able to make it. After a 3hr drive from my house we arrive at Woodward West just as practice started. Weather was a cool 60 degrees, quite the opposite from last year. As a matter of fact there is still snow at the mountain just behind the venue.
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The Moe armored and ready for practice.
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My sled for this race is my new bike an Intense Uzzi. I finished the build late last night, just in time for our trip.
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After registration The Moe and I briefly walked the course. We were surprised to see our teammate Wes “GQ” Castro. He was at the top part of the course taking pictures and video.
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We had a total of four practice runs. The course is totally different from last year’s – it has rock gardens, berms, table tops, off-camber turns and a ladder. Totally FUN!!!
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The Moe and Wes walking back to the car after practice.

The Moe and I have a new approach on racing. We will attempt to bring intensity to our game and hope to do well tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Kali Avatar DH Helmet

Kali, a San Jose based company, maker of fine helmets and protective gear, came out with the super light helmet for 2010. The Avatar – weighing in at only 849 grams! This has to be one of the lightest in the industry for a full face helmet. Mine weighed in at 852 grams, so production is on target.

At Sea Otter 2009 is where I had my first glimpse of the Avatar DH. Brad Waldon the engineer was still toying with ideas on how to make this a better helmet.
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The Avatar was still in its infancy stage… fast forward to Interbike 2009, the Avatar was in its final stages prior to full production. Kali showcased their 2010 helmets and products which included different graphics of the Avatar.

I started using the Avatar this January 2010 during the Southridge Winter Series. It caught a lot of attention with its killer graphics. When asked about it, I would let the inquiring minds hold the Avatar to feel how light it is. They were all amazed! I used it on five races as well as local DH rides. The Avatar DH is comfortable. It has ample padding through out the inside of the helmet. Also with its 12 vents, your head stays cool while under pressure.
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How does the Composite Fusion hold-up? I had first hand experience testing its protection and durability. During Winter Series #4, as I approached the lower rock garden I went OTB (Over the Bars), face/head first onto a rock…OUCH! The Pop’Out system for the visor worked as it was designed. Rather than just breaking from the tabs or forcing my head into another direction, the visor “popped out”; in my case it folded down over my goggles. The helmet absorbed the impact and I was not hurt. I was able to get back up and finish my run.
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The Avatar uses the same patented technology as their other helmets called “Composite Fusion” in their protective gear. It is a proprietary ultra light molecular co-curing technology that produces stronger components, lighter and more precise fitting gear. Unlike common helmets which construct the shell and the energy absorbing foam (EPS) as two separate units, Kali’s Composite Fusion incorporates the EPS foam as part of the shell, thus transferring the impact energy into the EPS foam more efficiently. What does this all mean – increased protection, better for your head.
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Product description:

The AVATAR™ Helmet is lightweight. Damn light. In fact, the only thing more interesting than its light weight is how strong it is.

Utilizing patented COMPOSITE FUSION™ in-molding technology for a perfect shell/liner connection, this full-face helmet also features a revolutionary mix of Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass in its shell materials. These materials form perfectly into a skeleton of expanded protection allowing the overall use of softer CONTEGO™ EPS foam. What’s it all mean? Light. Strong.

Weighing in at just 849 grams, the AVATAR™ helmet provides the new reference in lightweight, full-featured and expanded coverage downhill biking helmets.

Product Features:
• Tri-Weave Shell featuring Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass materials
• COMPOSITE FUSION™ Shell/Liner Connection
• Low density CONTEGO™ EPS foam for greater impact adsorption
• Integrated Airflow System
• Washable, adjustable, anti-microbial fit pads
• Breakaway visor

Safety Compliance:
EN 1078, CPSC

Graphics/Colors:
OSLO: Khaki Matte, White/Blue Shiny, Red Shiny
HH Vs. ROCK: Black Shiny

Sizes:
XS, S, M, L, XL
MSRP $279.00
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Kali products are MtnBikeRiders.com Tested and Approved! To see more products from Kali, visit their site at www.kaliprotectives.com

Review Disclaimer

Race Report – SRC Winter Series DH Race #1 Jan 10th 2010

On Jan 10th I headed out to Fontana for one last practice run and my first DH race in the sport category. After a few mishaps in my first couple races, I managed to finish out 2009 with some success in the beginner group and decided it was time to move into sport.

The DH course was a mix of previous Southridge Racing Co courses. With the upper 1/4 from November’s Southridge Challenge and the next 1/4 from July’s Fontana City Nationals. This meant a couple cool lines in the upper section with some berms and fast sections. A rocky chute into soft sand that took out many riders followed by some of the dustiest, loosest S-turns in SoCal! This was followed by a nice g-out hip and then a long pedal to cross the fire road into the usual rock garden and the dreaded wall!

Thank goodness the course was familiar because following the previous day’s XC race I just had nothing in the tank and managed just two practice runs before calling it a day due to exhaustion.

Sunday was a beautiful day and I whipped out the Vholdr Contour HD 1080p helmet cam to record my run. At 2:52 I’m neither happy nor dissatisfied with my time (7th in sport 27-34), I know I’ve got to get quicker if I want to podium, but with three total practice runs, it wasn’t a bad outing.

I’ve got to thank the team sponsors for their help, especially KHS bicycles for the demo Lucky 7 bike to use! Evomo and Hoss for the cool clothes, IceToolz for the tools and Serfas Optics and Ergon for helping us be comfortable.