When the snow melts in the mountains, hiking and biking trails finally make their annual appearance, beckoning skiers to avoid any hints of an “off-season.” Here at FREESKIER, we crave life in the mountains and that means our weekends are chock full of high-alpine adventures, even in the summertime. Below, you’ll find a slew of our favorite mountain biking products that we haven’t left home without this summer.
Tectal Race SPIN — POC
Sitting lower around the back of the head than the average helmet, the Tectal Race SPIN offers up top-of-the-line protection from potential impacts while riding. The first thing we noticed when putting the helmet on is how securely and comfortably the 360-degree, dial-in fit system hugs the cranium, instantly making the helmet feel secure. Primary safety features include an Aramid weave through the liner of the polycarbonate shell for increased structural integrity and POC’s proprietary SPIN technology, which consists of silicone padding that can move, or “shear,” in any direction, lessening the force of oblique impacts. Other nice-to-have features include a goggle clip for enduro missions, an adjustable visor and a RECCO reflector.
Crave Clarity — POC
The Clarity is one of those pairs of shades that you almost forget you’re wearing, for a couple of reasons. The ultralight frame wraps closely around the face and sits super snug to the face, with rubber contact points on the nose and arms. Second, thanks to the well-fitting frame, the Zeiss lens can offer an uninterrupted field of view as you barrel down your favorite single track. The Clarity utilizes lens technology POC developed in tandem with Zeiss to boost contrast and bring out details in the constantly changing lighting conditions that you encounter as you dart in and out of the woods. While the price tag isn’t cheap, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a higher-performing pair of sunnies for your next ride.
Vectra Bike Jersey — Dakine
The Vectra jersey is everything you need from a moisture-wicking riding shirt and then-some. How about that extra fancy chest pocket, eh? This lightweight piece features a comfortable four-way stretch fabric and Polygiene odor control so you can stay comfortable and stink-free as you rip your favorite local trail. In a nod to street style, Dakine uses understated color and styling, so you can head straight to the bar after your ride and not worry about sticking out like a sore thumb.
Syncline 16L — Dakine
The Syncline 16L is a versatile pack with a three-liter reservoir that sits at lumbar height in the main compartment. The reservoir is easily accessible via a zipper on the bottom of the pack and even features a quick-release valve that allows you to pull the reservoir out for washing and refilling without needing to fidget with the hose. When it comes time to pack your gear, a divider keeps other items from slipping down around your reservoir. On the front, you’ll find a fleece-lined pocket for your sunglasses and a front pocket which zips down fully on both sides to access an organizational tool pocket—clutch if you have to do any mid-ride maintenance. In addition, a two more storage side pockets and a ventilated back panel ensure you’re getting the most out this bike-specific pack.
Riddance — Giro
Good rubber is without a doubt the most important aspect of a flat-pedal MTB shoe and the folks over at Giro teamed up with Vibram to provide just that with the Riddance. Stiff and sticky, this rubber outsole won’t slip like your worn-out gym shoes or regular sneakers. We found the shoe to be amazingly comfortable straight out of the box and love the durable, “sure-to-last” feel of the rubber toe and heel reinforcements. Add water resistance to its list of accolades and what more do you need?
Montaro MIPS — Giro
The Montaro MIPS is an affordable, lightweight workhorse that fits the bill for almost any rider out there. It features ample venting to keep you cool on the trail, an intuitive and comfortable Roc Loc fit system and a breakaway camera mount that disengages from the helmet if things go south while you’re capturing the action. Aggressive riders will appreciate the goggle compatibility and strap grippers on the back of the helmet but it’s not just fancy features that make this helmet a great choice. Giro has incorporated MIPS into the Montaro, among many of its other helmet models. Rip with confidence—without breaking the bank—with the Montaro MIPS.
Empire Bike Shorts — Backcountry
Freedom of movement is the biggest key in a bike short; if they’re inhibiting movement, they’re useless, as far as we’re concerned. Backcountry’s Empire Bike Shorts feature a four-way stretch construction to negate any impedement of motion, and the addition of abrasion-resistant materials help protect them and you from dangers on the side of the trail. Ventilation holes keep the breathability at a premium, silicone grip on the waistband ensures they’ll stay on your waist, a DWR coating sheds moisture and strategically placed zipper pockets ensure room for snacks and other items.
Cover Liner Short — Backcountry
For us, a short liner with built-in chamois cushioning is a must for any day on the bike. Whether it’s a short or long day in the saddle, your tuchus will appreciate the extra padding. The Covert Liner Short from Backcountry is built with ultra-soft and stretchy fabric to promote mobility and breathable side panels help cool you down during mid-summer two-wheeled adventures. We’ve spent half the summer riding in these undershorts and they’ve quickly become an essential piece of our kits.