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  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Best Enduro Gear

    The latest rage in enduro-style racing involves timed downhill segments linked by untimed uphills. Think of it as downhill for the masses, with just enough features to test a good trail bike but not so many that you have to buy a new ride.

    —Aaron Gulley

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    POC Joint VPD 2.0 Elbow Pads

    The foam in these lightweight pads ($100) is malleable until it’s struck, at which point it goes rigid as hard plastic.

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    Kali Avatar 2 Carbon Helmet

    Not only is the Avatar ($400) narrower than most DH helmets, but its fancy foam also makes it over half a pound lighter than the competition. And while a 
full-face helmet might seem like overkill, some enduro races require them.

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    Pivot Mach 6C Bike

    With 6.1 inches of suspension built around 27.5-inch wheels, the carbon Mach 6C ($6,100) is a trail bike that’s hopped up for rugged descending. The efficient DW-Link suspension and svelte design (just 28.5 pounds) make it a surprisingly efficient climber. Then, when the timer starts, the stable, slack 66-degree head angle and KS Lev dropper post ($399) make this bike feel like a down elevator.

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    Giro Terraduro Shoes

    The slim profile and stiff nylon shank made these feel like XC shoes when we were on the bike ($180). And the grippy, lugged Vibram soles made short work of hiking sections.

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    G-Form Knee Pads

    Like the POCs, these pads ($60) stiffen on impact. Testers loved the streamlined fit, which never interfered with pedal strokes.

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    Evoc Freeride Enduro Team Pack

    We were surprised how much gear this trim, 16-liter pack ($220) could haul, including knee and elbow pads in the expandable bottom straps and even a full-face helmet in the stretch back panel. The built-in, removable foam back protector gave us confidence on tricky tech sections.

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    Ergon HA2 Gloves

    The Kevlar palm pads on the HA2 ($48) saved us from bruises on more than one rocky crash.

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    Spy Optic Omen Enduro MX Goggles

    The field of view is so massive we barely noticed the frames, and the ventilation scoops staved off fog even on pedal sections (from $80).

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    Next Up:The Best Utility Bikes of 2014

    Zoic Revelry DNA jersey and Plaid Shorts

    Elbow-length sleeves and a loose cut allow the DNA jersey to fit nicely over pads. Ditto the stretchy Plaids, which include a removable chamois pad that rates among the best we’ve ever seen in a pair of baggies ($60 and $120).

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