Welcome back to another Five Cool Things where we show off the coolest bits of off-road gear that's come through our doors for testing. This week, we've got Troy Lee Designs' latest helmet, BMC's cross-country thoroughbred, Vitus's wallet-friendly trail ripper and a titanium gravel bike from Principia. Rounding off the cool tech, we've got a light to help illuminate our way out of winter.
But first, let's kick off with those highlights, and it's been a busy week. YT Industries announced that the YT Mob is back with Jack Moir heading the new enduro team, and Henrique Avancini rejoined team Caloi. BMC also announced Team BMC, its first pro XC team. Though, most importantly (we think), Team ORCC is back for 2023 with a raft of new sponsors including Lapierre, Stan's No Tubes, Continental and MET. The first episode of this year's season is not to be missed.
Moving onto reviews and we've certainly not been holding back. Live this week is the ABUS Airdrop MIPS full-face helmet review and our tyre sealant testing continues with Joe's No Flat Elite Racer Sealant.
Of course, the news of Troy Lee Designs' brand-new helmets isn't to be missed but we'll get onto that in a bit.
Troy Lee Designs Flowline SE MIPS
Today, fashionable helmet giant, Troy Lee Designs, has launched two brand-new helmets which replace the previous A1 and A2 helmets. The Flowline SE Mips benefits from some of the brand's best technologies, as well as its trademark futuristic silhouette. Not only does it carry all of this but it brings TLD's premium price tag down to a more palatable figure.
The Flowline SE utilises Mips but the brand has picked its black colourway to keep the cradle concealed and, as expected of a Troy Lee lid, it comes with a dual-density EPS foam which is designed to guard against high and low-speed impacts. The outer shell then wraps around the whole of the helmet for extra durability. The helmet features an extended rear and 14 high-flow vents. Finally, there's a Fidlock buckle and a two-way adjustable visor.
BMC Fourstroke 01 TWO
The previous iteration of the Fourstroke is the exact bike that took Tom Pidcock to Olympic victory and, fresh in the office is the latest bike. While the 01 TWO model rocks full cross-country credentials, such as a curb weight of 11.5kg, Vittoria Mezcal tyres and a RockShox SID SL Select+, it comes with the pneumatic wizardry that BMC calls, 'Autodrop'.
Unique to the Fourstroke, Autodrop raises and drops the saddle's 80mm of travel with the flick of a switch, so there's no need to push the saddle down with body weight. The benefit of this is huge to those cross-country fanatics as riders won't have to pause their pedalling to drop the saddle.
Shedding the bike's weight further is a full SRAM GX AXS groupset, a carbon bar and of course the full carbon frame. As for suspension travel, there's 100mm at both ends.
Vitus Mythique 27 VRX
Next up we've got something a lot more friendly on the wallet. This is the latest Vitus Mythqie and compared to the previous model that we really liked (review here), it's seen a huge update. Now, the bike gets a serious trail geometry, with a 65.5-degree head tube angle, a 77.3-degree seat tube angle and a 435mm chainstay. This large frame then comes with a 487mm reach.
Vitus believes that simple is better, so the Mythique is kitted with widely available parts, and its progressive geometry is the same on all models, though it understandably steepens a touch on smaller-travel builds. The 2023 model benefits from full dropper insertion on all sizes, so riders can pick the best dropper post travel to suit them.
As for the build kit, the 27.5-inch wheeled VRX build comes with a Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork, a Shimano Deore drivetrain, Shimano MT501 brakes and Maxxis Highroller II tyres.
This is Principia's 22TiTAN. It's built around a titanium frame but interestingly, it employs HiRide's 'invisible' Sterra suspension fork. This comes with a handy lockout found on top of the steerer tube and of course, mostly looks like a normal carbon fork. It's also said that it requires little to no maintenance.
Elsewhere, there's a set of Panaracer tyres, Shimano GRX Di2 shifting and some blingy carbon wheels.
Finally, we've got an e-bike-specific light from Magicshine. The MJ902S offers up 3,000 lumens and can be connected to an e-bike's battery supply, meaning that it'll last as long as your bike does. It's said that it's ideal for nighttime jaunts, or as a warning light during the day.
Magicshine claims a 250-metre beam distance with a warm tint for enhanced night vision and each LED can be turned on and off independently.
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