Specialized S-Works 2D helmet
From: Specialized UK 020 8391 3500 www.specialized.com
Tested: Three months
Specialized S-Works 2D helmet
The RC405 is a floating pivot design; the rear triangle is attached to the front by two pairs of linkages (similar to Santa Cruz, Intense, Iron Horse and Giant designs). Where the RC405 is a bit different is that the rear shock is not anchored to the front triangle – it sits between the leading ends of the linkages (imagine a finger and thumb squeezing a jelly bean).
Totting up here at Singletrack we reckon this is the fourth incarnation of the Santa Cruz Chamelon. Unlike its users, the Chameleon hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. The ‘Cham’, along with the GT Zaskar and, to a lesser degree, the Cannondale Beast of the East, were the first bikes morphed into the quintessential ‘UK hardtail’
A decent pair of winter boots is long overdue from the (other) Big S. In all other fields, they rival both Shimano and Sidi in popularity and (for me at least) usually exceed both in ergonomics and fit. It’s good to see that they’ve done their homework and not just come out with a slightly less vented racing shoe or DH boot
When it comes to bombproof bike racks the Pendle wheel support rack takes some beating. We opted for the Type Approval two bike model which attaches to your car by way of a plate that bolts behind a two bolt tow bar. Each bike sits in two D-loops which hold its wheels while a vertical bar provides a fixing point for the seat tube too.
Not a riding light, but why shouldn’t your camping, walking and exploring lights not make the most of advances in LED technology too? Running off three AA batteries, the Petzl MYO XP uses one bright LED to give a bright, white light with a diffuser to effectively give you spot and a floodlight options.
The Geax Pit Stop is a neat idea. You take a canister of CO2 but also fi ll it with latex sealant and stick a multi-fi t (Schraeder and presta) valve attachment on the end. This Magnum version is a bigger volume canister for bigger volume tires.
The Extra Wheel is basically one wheel hitched to the rear axle by a clever steel sprung bracket (you get both an adapted QR and 10mm axle nuts which will fit mountain and road bikes). Your kit is carried in two dry bags in cargo nets on either side of the wheel like saddle bags.
I must confess to being an unwilling tester for this garment. I’ve never worn tops like these before. Mainly because I think they usually look ‘goalkeeper’ naff. It was only when I ran out of other jerseys during a week’s riding in Italy that I reluctantly pulled the SP24/7 Jersey on.
Ortlieb are a company who I regard with some reverence. Their Back-Roller Classic panniers have transformed my view of what it is possible to do without a car, so I have tried their other products with some anticipation. Unfortunately, none of my other Ortlieb experiences have quite hit the perfection I so desire.
Some things are obviously good value for money. Some things need a little more contemplation before their value becomes clear. The Howies Vail T is a ‘normal’ T-shirt made from thin merino wool. Merino is well known for being able to absorb moisture without feeling wet, and for shrugging off smells. It also feels comfortable next to the skin, unlike scratchy wool jumpers of old.
Standing in the queue for the bike-park gondola I compared my Solo Air to a triple-clamp fork on someone else’s late 90’s downhill bike. With 35mm stanchions the single crown Lyric made the other fork look weedy. To have a fork that is as strong as Popeye, literally bulging in the fork lowers to accommodate big bushings, while staying relatively light (2313g) is just fantastic.
Emergency or ‘just get me home legally’ LED lights have been around for a while now and while most consist of single LEDs (one in white, one in red) Knog do things a little differently.
Looking around at the number of dedicated XC forks you’d be forgiven for thinking fork manufacturers had decided that the market was dead and that we all need 160mm forks on all our bikes. Admittedly the need for 80mm forks isn’t what it was so it’s nice when someone, in this case Magura, comes along and makes one. And does a good job of it too.