This week's Five Cool Things has a strong enduro theme with Merida's One-Sixty 500 and Fox's Proframe RS and 661's Radia goggles all making appearances. There's also Scott's Vanguard Evo Jacket Protector and some neat-looking frame protection from Muc-Off.
But before we sink our teeth into the coolest test kit we've seen this week, let's look at the best stories this week. First off, we caught up with Sam Pilgrim to check out his brand new Canyon Torque:ON CF 9 and we uncovered everything you need to know about mountain bike slang.
Off the back of last weekend's racing, there's been a good chunk of news with our features on how to watch the UCI Mountain Bike World Series and Red Bull Hardline 2023, where we'll see Josh Bryceland make a return to the series and Kyle Strait come back to the racing circuit.
Perhaps the most exciting news of the week is that you've only got until Monday to have a chance of winning £1,000 of Stan's wheels. All you need to do is click here and leave a comment, this is a prize that's not to be missed.
We've also had a number of cool reviews, including the Rockrider ST-100, an entry-level mountain bike that's ideal for blue trails and the Hayes Dominion A4 brakes which got a whopping 4.5 stars, you'll have to read the review to find out why. There are also some words on Fox's latest Union Clip shoes.
Scott Vanguard Evo Jacket Protector
This is Scott's Vanguard Evo Jacket Protector which is more than just a Level 1 back protector with an AirFlex backplate with D3O. As well as that back protection, it comes with a range of multi-function pockets that allow for the storage of tools, snacks and a mini pump but there's also a pocket for a full-sized hydration bladder, and the jacket is complete with hose guides.
So if you're one that doesn't like to carry a bag, but wants to carry as much fluid and tools for big days out on the bike, the Vanguard has all bases covered.
Merida One-Sixty 500
Next up we've got Merida's latest iteration of its enduro ripper, the One-Sixty. In 500 guise, it utilises an alloy frame that gets most of the features found on the spendier carbon builds. That includes the flex seat stay that takes the place of pivot bearings to save a bit of weight, and the pretty rad geometry, with this large bike benefitting from a very lengthy 496mm reach, a 64-degree head tube angle and a super-steep 79-degree seat tube angle.
For this money, this bike comes with a range of well-considered kit with the aim of keeping performance high. The price is also reasonable. The One-Sixty 500 gets a RockShox Yari RC fork, which uses the same chassis as the higher-end Lyrik but a more basic Motion Control damper. Shifting is sorted by a Shimano Deore drivetrain complete with Deore four-piston brakes and Merida has been very nice and has kitted this bike out with some proper rubber. So it rolls on a 2.5in Maxxis Assegai with an EXO+ casing and MaxxGrip compound at the front, with a 2.4 DHR II in a burly Double Down casing and MaxxTerra rubber.
While this bike is a 29er, it can be converted to run a mullet wheel size with the flip of a chip.
Fox Proframe RS
Fox's Proframe RS helmet has been designed to suit the demands of enduro riding. It's a lightweight full-face lid that gets a tonne of large vents to keep the rider cool whether they're pedaling up or sending it down descents. The Proframe benefits from a Mips Integra impact protection system and there's a Boa fit dial that's accessible from the exterior of the helmet.
Elsewhere, the Proframe RS boasts an Ionix+ anti-microbial liner, a Fidlock magnetic closure, and a three-position adjustable visor with a removable under-visor Go-Pro mount.
661 Radia goggles
The Radia is 661's goggles which promise big performance at a small price. It's built with a wide-eye port that's said to offer unobstructed vision through a smoke mirror lens. It gets a 40mm wide strap to keep the goggle firmly in place.
The lens has an anti-fog and anti-scratch treatment and the goggle is available in small and large sizes for the best fit on a range of helmets and heads. It also gets double-density foam for comfort and tear-off pegs.
Muc-Off Chainstay/Seatstay Protection Kit
Designed especially to fit chain and seat stays, Muc-Off's frame protection comes with 20 non-yellowing, stain-resistant and self-healing pieces to keep your chainstay well protected against day-to-day knocks and spills.
This kit is made from a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) film tech that's said to result in a smooth finish while remaining strong and durable.
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