It would not be a normal week here at off.road.cc if we didn't get some exciting mountain bike and gravel kit in for testing. This week, we've got plenty of guards from Leatt and G-Form on the list, as well as some new handlebars and a stem from Easton. These are all going to show up on our reviews page in due course after they've gone through our thorough testing.
Before we dive into the Five Cool Things, let's have a look at the cool content we've put out this week. You might have noticed that we've been really busy testing things as, this week we've published a steady stream of reviews. Two pumps, Syncros Boundary 1.0SH Digital Shock pump and Blackburn Core Mini pump both scored four stars, but they obviously are very different kinds; one for your suspension and one for trail-side puncture repairs.
Liam reviewed the eye-protecting, but also eye-wateringly priced POC Devour glasses and the overall-looking Leatt MTB HydraDri 3.0 Mono Suit. And lastly, we've scored the Restrap Bumper Bar, which is really a perfect space-adding saviour for small bikes, and the Seido Tabs handlebar tape.
We've also put together a guide on how to start mountain biking, checked out Cube's huge bike range offerings, Ritchey's new 50th anniversary Outback, and had a look at a new South Downs Way bikepacking event that's been launched.
Now, let's have a look at the cool things that are awaiting our testing.
Leatt AirFlex Ultralite knee guard
2023 leatt airflex ultra lite 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Leatt has engineered the AirFlex knee guards for maximum pedal efficiency and comfort and they feature an ergonomic fit with the AirFlex gel pad and come with uncompromised CE-certified impact protection.
As the Ultralite in the name suggests, these pads boast an ultra-lightweight construction: the silicone grip panels made it possible to delete the thigh strap and still keep that famous Leatt non-slip fit. The extended leg sock should offer great support high on the thigh. These pads have a Leatt protection score of 10 out of 25 and are available in five sizes from S to XXL.
Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pro knee guard
2023 leatt airflex hybrid pro knee 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Leatt brands these guards as the "super slim soft impact gel protector." And, indeed, the AirFlex Hybrid is a knee guard with CE impact certification, and features the latest AirFlex impact gel technology all in one flexible but extremely tough and capable package, capable of taking hard impacts. There is an additional sliding plate that helps deflect energy, and the Hybrid Pro version includes upper leg padding to protect from handlebar strikes.
These knee pads have a Leatt protection score of 14 out of 25 and like the Ultralite, come in five sizes.
G-Form Pro-Rugged 2 MTB elbow guard
2023 g-form pro rugged 2 elbow 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
G-Form claims these elbow pads have more durability, more comfort and more customised fit than anything else in its range. These are made for some serious downhill or enduro mountain biking, offering your elbows protection from sharp branches and rocks. Pro-Rugged MTB Elbow Pads are made with breathable, lightweight, ultra-conforming G-Form Smart-Flex technology that hardens on impact, letting you enjoy the freedom of movement when you ride.
G-Form says these machine washable pads are also ideal for BMX riding, and they come in two colours: green and black.
Easton EA90 aluminium stem
2023 easton ea90 stem 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
The stem is an important part of your bike set-up, as it's the point of transfer between your skilled handling and the bike itself. This alloy stem is a refinement of Easton's top-level alloy stem, and now has a larger boom diameter for increased stiffness, and reduced weight, with a 100mm stem claiming to weigh 120 grams. With a weight like that it makes this stem a very strong contender to some carbon counterparts...
Easton EA70 AX alloy gravel handlebar
2023 easton ea90 5ct (1).jpg, by Liam Mercer
Easton's new AX series has been created for the needs of the growing drop-bar adventure and gravel segment. The EC70 AX utilises the same top shape and ergonomic reach as Easton's MCD road bars but has dialled in a little flare to the mix.
The flare means that the drops are 16-degrees wider than the tops - a carefully chosen figure that Easton says is the "perfect balance of maximum bar flare which still allowed for efficient access to the shifters and brakes in both the hoods and drops". We'll see if that is the case in our testing.
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