Yet again, the world wakes up to the news that someone else responsible for making people happy (as well as shed loads of cash) has gone. I was always amused by Prince’s dedication to doing what the hell he liked no matter what anyone thought – weird funk numbers, rambling guitar solos, changing his name into something unpronounceable, becoming a Jehovah’s Witness – can you imagine him knocking on your door selling the Watchtower? He’d have enjoyed at least a cuppa from me… but he might’ve found the conversation somewhat frustrating.
Anyway, enough of this digression – we’ve got spangly kit to look at:
Norco Optic C 7.2
Norco’s recently launched
trail-whip. Our test Optic is the 7.2C – which gets you a carbon front end and a bunch of lovely kit. Take my hand and we’ll go for a quick tour…
Nice linkage, madam. The keen-eyed amongst you will notice aluminium suspension bits and pieces, and a Fox Elite Float shock. You might also notice that this one runs a 1x – you get both 1x and 2x in the box, campers, so you can choose for yourself. Huzzah!
Horst-style linkage, neat internal routing and all that sort of good stuff, woo.
There’s a nice stiff 34 Fox Performance Elite fork to go with that rear cush – with colour-coordinated graphics, naturally.
A tidy way of organising the internal routing with these little chips at the head-tube.
RaceFace finishing kit…
Handy sticker: we like these numbers. Looking forward to giving this one some beans, now that things are *shock HORROR* a bit dusty! Rain forecast for tomorrow, mind. Of course.
Alpkit Ordos 2
A 1300g tent for sleeping 2 people in comfort*. No point in mentioning the size of this packet, as it can clearly pack down a lot smaller – but it’s about *squints* yay long, and *holds two fingers out* yay wide. Oh, OK. It’s 42×41 by something small, but it’ll pack down smaller no probs.
*it’s a tent – you’ll either find it comfy or you won’t. I do, FWIW.
Ortlieb Accessory Pack
Ortlieb does bikepacking! This larger-than-guinea-pig-sized thing straps to the front of…
Ortlieb Handlebar Pack
…this bit, which straps onto your handlebars. It’s essentially a huge tube you can close (roll closure, raterproof, natch) at both ends. You could get several kittens into it, we reckon – or one or two in comfort. It’d be a bit dark, mind. Perhaps they could make one with a window?
Ortlieb Saddle Pack
Seatpost and saddle mounted storage from Ortlieb. Roll-down closure, room for lots and lots of kittens.
Very good looking Enduro-flavoured shoes from new (to me at any rate) DMT. BOA push-pull closure, Vibram sole, SPD compatible with rubber covers so you could use them with flats too, we reckon, and we think they look pretty good.
Alpkit LoveMud Rumpus 650+ Boost Wheelset
Price: £214 per pair.
From: From: Alpkit
Okay, these might be a had hefty at 2,600g the pair – but they’re startlingly good value. If you go for the Shimano freehub these are £199 per pair, too. Available in Boost and regular sizes, these 27.5+ wheels have a 45mm internal width rim, which is apparently tubeless-able. Win.
Knog Blinder Mob Grid front and rear Chips lights
A pair of frankly Goth themed front and rear light sets, complete with black crinkly paper and a couple of flowers.
It’s to celebrate the fact that Silverfish and Knog have consummated their union with a distribution deal, we think. Top marks for presentation though, guys! And the lights look very tidy, too. Small, pocketable and bright.
fi’zi:k Monte K:IUM
Comfy looking arse-receptacle, with the proud philosophy ‘life is a journey, and the trail is my life’ – which leads inescapably to the conclusion that the trail is a journey. Which is hard to argue with, to be frank.
Crank Brothers Pedal Refresh Kit, Cleats and Axles
Price: Refresh Kit – £17.99, Cleats – £19.99, Downhill Axles £28 each
Pedal refreshment – bearings, bushings etc, cleats for to attach your shoesies, and some DH axles which are apparently longer so Richard’s delicate ankles can find a little more comfort when he actually decides to use them for something useful, like bike riding.
Weldtite DirtWash SOS
You away from home? Still need to give your bike some sweet, sweet loving? This kit might help – lube, brake wipes, chain wipes, tyre levers, hand wipes and self-seal patches in one ickle box.
Smith Forefront MIPS Helmet
From: Ultra Sport Europe Ltd
James, looking up. Honestly. We didn’t believe it was possible.
Smith gear has moved distributor to Ultra Sport Europe Ltd, and there’s a pricedrop, too – regular lids are now £149.99, and the MIPS versions are £169.99. We’ve got three colours – black (up there)…
White, koroyd green, FLY
Sandwich going in? Or alien coming out? YOU DECIDE.
Smith Squad MTB Goggles
From: Ultra Sport Europe Ltd
Barney ‘models’ the three colours of goggle we had in from Smith. They all also come with a clear anti-fog lens too.
Good old British teeth.
I think Barney’s found his new stage attire. But ooh, which colour? To be honest, the more of his face is covered, the better.
Powerbar – uh – Cooker Oven thingy
Price: Muffin mix – £9.99; Power Bar, £1.50 ea.
New bars from Powerbar – Energize bars have been re-invented – reenergized, if you will (ha! my aching sides). They’re reformulated, tastier and easier to chew, apparently. Also, muffin mix! FOR THE WIN.
And today’s musical selection can only be from one person – I was lucky enough to catch his purpleness at Maine Road on the Lovesexy Tour in the late eighties. Given his privacy and his opinion on the internet it’s pretty hard to find stuff to share, but there is a little bit out there. I’ve always liked the big riffy Prince numbers, and they don’t come much riffier than Bambi, from 1979. This is a one-pass recording from 1995 – if you’ve never thought of Prince as a guitarist in the past, listen to this: