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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
G-Form Knee Pads
Like the POCs, these pads ($60) stiffen on impact. Testers loved the streamlined fit, which never interfered with pedal strokes.
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.
Ergon HA2 Gloves
The Kevlar palm pads on the HA2 ($48) saved us from bruises on more than one rocky crash.
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).
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).