9 Mountain Bike Freeride Essentials of Summer 2012
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With a slack 67-degree head angle and through-axles front and rear, the six-inch-travel Trek Remedy 9 (28.1 lbs) let us ride harder, steeper terrain than we imagined possible. With Shimano XT parts (plus an XTR derailleur), Trek’s proprietary dual-chamber technology in both shocks, and adjustable geometry, this aluminum model is the best value.
The Giro Feature provides more coverage out back for bigger-hit riding in a lightweight (11 ounce) and surprisingly breathable lid that doesn’t look like some techy, cross-country race helmet.
Five Ten Maltese Falcon
We love the versatility of the FiveTen Maltese Falcon. Though we could step off when we pleased, the Stealth S1 outsole stayed glued to our flats on rooted steeps and high wall rides, while the SPD-compatible recess meant we could clip in to pedal uphill, too.
Specialized BG Gel WireTap Long Finger
The Specialized BG Gel WireTap Long Finger gloves are some of the comfiest mitts we’ve worn. They’re also touchscreen-compatible, so no fumbling to remove them when answering the phone.
Zoic Sovereign Premium
Unlike so many baggies, which look cool but have little padding, Zoic’s Sovereign Premium shorts come with an extremely high-quality chamois that kept us happy in the saddle all day long.
POC Spine VPD 2.0
The POC Spine VPD 2.0 jacket packs moto-style back, chest, shoulder, and elbow protection into a relatively lightweight package. The armor is flexible and comfortable until impact, when it goes fully rigid to protect you.
The Tifosi Masts are loaded with features—vents that prevent fogging, interchangeable photo-chromic lenses—at a reasonable price.
Perhaps the biggest improvement to our bike-park riding came from the Rockshox Reverb post, which let us slam the seat five full inches with the press of the bar-mounted switch,so we could really get back on steeps and jumps.
Osprey Zealot 16
Bringing the company’s flat, easy-to-use hydration bladders to the all-mountain crowd, the Osprey Zealot 16 has an airy, ribbed suspension system, stretchy harness, and attachment points for a full-face helmet.