The Solstice Backpack


The Solstice is the new womens specific backpack from CamelBak new MTB low rider range. It’s designed to move your load down towards your waist. This change gives you a lower centre of gravity and a wider range of movements so essentially it should be easier to manoeuvre when you are descending!


I used to often take large backpacks out on rides but often find that because I had a bigger space I would just fill it with unnecessary stuff. So when I first saw the Solstice on first impressions I thought it looked far too small and was sceptical about  being able to fit all the essentials into the backpack, but the bag has ample storage and a place for everything:

  • Fleece-lined Sunglass/ media pocket
  • Magnetic catch for tube
  • Stretch overflow storage (also fits goggles perfectly)
  • Helmet holder
  • Armor Carry Straps
  • Lumbar compression straps
  • Blinker tab
  • Waist belt pockets
  • tool roll


The Backpack design means that the majority of the weight is focused on your waist rather than back, this aids stability during descents. The focus of the weight on your back is also design to reduce the strain on your back therefore preventing lower back pain from occurring.

In Use

I couldn’t believe how much comfier this backpack felt in comparison to other  hydration packs I have used in the past. During descents it was extremely stable and at times almost unnoticeable. I often develop a sore lower back pain if I ride with a backpack on for long periods of time, but the smart design of the soltice definitely helped combat this. With all the benefits of this bag it is definitely my go to bag now for a trail rides and even on a hike. Retailing from as low as £60 this backpack is an absolute bargain.

This backpack was provided FOC from Zyro Distribution for product testing.


Bluegrass Brave Helmet

Safe, Secure & Stylish 

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Safety is key with the Bluegrass Brave helmet. The design and construction of this helmet has been carefully developed to ensure optimum protection for your head. The  Brave helmet has the capability to withstand double the impact of most helmets this is because it is the first helmet on the market that uses D30 inserts. The D30 inserts are the result of highly innovative technology. They are made from a tactile polymer material which is composed of intelligent molecules. These are free flowing when at rest but stiffen on impact.

It is the smallest features of this helmet from the air vents on chin guard which prevent over heating on the warmest days to the easy use of goggles with the helmet. Giving maximum field of vision.

For me the comfort level of a helmet is crucial. Most of the time you have a helmet on for a significant amount of time and even after long days of chairlift and gondola runs this helmet still felt extremely comfortable. The padding in the helmet was perfectly position for optimum comfort. For this Bluegrass used an  anti-allergenic fabric varying the thickness according to the position in the helmet. The interior pads are also removable and can be hand washed.

No hearing loss – Definitely my favourite feature of this helmet. Bluegrass recognise that an accident is more likely with loss of hearing. This often isn’t recognised by many brands.  Bluegrass have taken steps in the development of this helmet to ensure minimum hearing loss.

Overall I loved this Helmet. I wore it consistently for over a month when I was over in the Alps this Summer and never once did I find the helmet uncomfortable, it is exceptionally light for all the features that are built into it. The helmet is also available in 4 vibrant colour combinations.

The helmet is available in 4 sizes, XS/S, M & L/XL.

Weight: 1015g (XS/S), 1035g (M), 1085g (L/XL

This helmet is available in 4 different colours

Helmet is available for £153 from Chain Reaction Cycles

Looking for a new trail Helmet then why not check out our review of the New MET Lupo helmet.


Bluegrass Brave Helmet was provided FOC from Bluegrass Eagle



Lupo MET Helmet Review


I’ve spent the last month trying out the new trail helmet from MET. The Lupo helmet is new to the MET/Bluegrass trail range for 2016. The helmet is claimed to be the perfect balance between aggressive styling, ventilation and comfort. The helmet weighs in at only 270 Grams making it one of the lightest all-mountain helmets in the market. Making it the ideal choice for long days on the saddle.


It is clear that METs main design objective for this helmet was to provide maximum comfort & protection to the rider. The helmet has multiple features that are designed to keep comfort levels high! Even down to the anti pinch buckle on the chin strap.

With 20 vents in the helmet your not going to over heat with this helmet on. The large centred vents provide that much needed ventilation when you are working hard on the bike.

The Safe-T Advanced Fit System was easy to adjust and really made the helmet feel fitted and secure to my head. The contact points have a larger cradle surface which also significantly increases the comfort of the helmet.


The Gel 02 pads at the front of the helmet are designed to keep your head cooler on those long trail riders where you are pushing the limits. The gel pads also don’t absorb perspiration like the regular foam pads in most helmets. The only downside of the pads is that when the helmet is on a tight setting the pads press into your forehead and can become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for a significant period of time. The theme of light, breathable & strong also continued onto the Kevlar straps.


The helmet overall has a great secure, light feel and is extremely comfortable. It comes in 5 dynamic colours and in 2 sizes M & L.


The helmet fits extremely well, it provides increased protection without any increased weight. The only niggles I had with this helmet was that the Gel O2 pads at the front of the helmet could become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for long period of time.




X-Bionic Shorts


Sports clothing innovators X Bionic have a real passion for getting it right. Every aspect of there kit is researched and designed thoroughly, technology wise this kit is on another level to most of its market competitors. But the question is does that justify the high price tag that come with it. The kit is definitely more trail or XC based as apposed to Enduro or Downhill.


I have been testing out the Mountain Bike Pants for a few months now, the shorts feel very XC, they are fairly short and definitely not compatible with knee pads, a large gap was left between my pads ending and the shorts starting. The waist fit on these shorts however is excellent I found them comfortable and non restricting when moving around the bike. If you are more XC inclined these shorts are probably perfect for you, they are extremely lightweight, they are quite fitted & have a light compression level so don’t give the same restrictiveness as lycra. I probably wouldn’t recommend them for DH or Enduro style riding.

Overall these shorts are good for XC, the price tag attached to them is pretty high and I’m not sure they gave me any enhancements to my performance unlike the Anatomical Bike Beaver X Bionic top. However when combined with other pieces of the kit such as the Beaver Top I believe they work exceptionally well together. The shorts retail for £127 and can be purchased directly from X Bionic.

These shorts were provided FOC by X Bionic UK.

Price: £127 

Discipline:  XC

Rating: 2.5/5

Dude What Are Those Gloves


These ION Dude gloves dropped through our letter box recently so we thought we had better give them a try. The gloves aren’t female specific but I didn’t find that to be a problem. Made with a mixture of light and durable materials the gloves are extremely well fitted & comfortable. I was wearing a size Small, I also have really small fingers & they fitted really well.

The gloves come in 5 different sizes & 3 different colours. They definitely aren’t an all year round glove but they are perfect for summer riding. They’re completely animal lover friendly, with no real leather insight, instead they use a high-quality synthetic leather that is in fact three times stronger than real leather. There is also a silicone_print on the fore & middle finger for precise and safe brake lever control (this was my favourite feature of the gloves). The upper material on the gloves is thin and stretchy enough that the heat can escape yet still durable enough not to rip or fray at the smallest amount of contact.

Overall I loved these gloves, they look good & feel good!

The gloves retail at £19.99

This product was provided to us FOC from ION Bike UK


ION Women’s Aerial Insulation Jacket

ION the Brand

ION Bikewear is definitely unique in comparison to most other bikewear out there. Their lines are inspired from surfing, which is where there roots lie. Initially established in 2004 they focused on wetsuits & neoprene products for the international windsurf, kitesurf, surf, SUP and wakeboard scene. ION’s unique combination of high quality products wrapped in a progressive style and design found fans all over the world – becoming the global market leader for wetsuits and harnesses in the wind- and kitesurf world.
Then in late 2012, ION took the same approach to the slopes, launching a separate bike division with functional cycling gear, clothing, accessories, gloves and protection.



The Jacket

I absolutely hate layers! To me the worst thing about Winter riding in the UK is that you have to wear a load of layers. It makes me feel really restricted & uncomfortable when I am riding. I have been waiting years for a solution for this and it looks like ION may have gone and cracked it.

I have spent the last few weeks testing this ION Womens Aerial Insulation Jacket. As the name suggests the jacket is designed to keep you warm, the Primaloft Silver lining in the jacket is designed to keep you warm on even the coldest of days. The jacket also has Thermo Mapping which prevents you from over heating.

The front of the jacket has a soft durable water repellency shell that will keep you dry during light rain shower, the back of the jacket has Technostretch fleece to let heat escape. The fleece like material on the back of the jacket doesn’t have any water repellency in it so  I wouldn’t recommend this jacket for rainy days, but it will offer enough protection if you get caught in a small rain shower.

The Review

After previously wearing ION clothing I had high expectations for this jacket. I have always found their kit to be of high quality and durable in all conditions and I wasn’t wrong. ION once again met my expectations, the jacket is extremely comfortable, it is non restricting which makes it easy to move around the bike. The primaloft silver lining & the thermo mapping in the jacket are ideal for keeping your body at the right temperature, preventing you from becoming to hot or too cold, therefore allowing you to conserve energy on your ride.

One of the great feature that comes with a lot of ION clothing these days is the Clear_Optics: integrated lens cleaning fabric helping you to keep your lenses clear on even the muddiest of days. The jacket also has two front zipped pockets reducing your chances of losing stuff during your ride.

This jacket isn’t just great for a day on the trails, it is also  excellent for days on the hills hiking or even going out for a run. I have used this jacket now for a range of different activities and works fantastically for them all. The jacket retails for around £147.99, which is fairly reasonable for the quality & diversity of the jacket. The jacket is reasonably light and will easily fit into most backpacks.

Sizes: XS, S, M, L & XL

Price: £147.99

ION Philosophy

ION is about challenging yourself, experiencing nature and feeling its force.  
Therefore ION develops gear that is not only smart and innovative, but also transforms this passion into an unique design.

This product was provided to MTB Girls Ride F.O.C from ION UK.



Xbionic Bike Review

X Bionic Review – Anatomical Bike Beaver

I think it is fair to suspect that the makers of Xbionic are crazy mad Big Bang theory fans. They know the science behind all of their gear…even the socks.

I have been testing some X Bionic bike gear over the last few months. X Bionic were pretty adamants when we agreed to do testing that we test their whole kit and not just one or two pieces of it, they believe that in order to get the full potential out of their gear you need to match it with the right pieces. So even though the reviews are posted individually all testing was done when the pieces were paired with other X Bionic clothing .

Our Xbionic testing has included everything from jackets to socks, throughout the next few weeks we will be providing you with reviews from some of their line. Up this week is the Anatomical Bike Beaver Top.

Anatomical Bike Beaver



“Because you need your energy for more vital things than sweating or freezing. The relentless search for efficiency in weight and performance ability ends with rodent. He’s perfectly adapted to the moist, cold enviroment, having been outfitted by nature for millions of years. The beaver. His coat is the inspiration for the unique material Macrotermes™. Half as thick as traditional fleece it still manages to improve on insulation. In combination with the 3D-BionicSphere® System it creates a product of the highest performance: the Beaver Performed Shirt™. It took a long time for the development department to be satisfied with it. The sport-specific fine-tuning began: computations, honing of details and function. In the end we have a perfect product especially for all types of cycling.”

Material: 86% polyamide, 14% elastane


We have been testing the Anatomical Bike Beaver top for a few months now. The top is essential a fleece, but it is a lot more to it. The top is fitted and the material is a lot thinner than your standard fleece top.  The 3D-BionicSphere technology built into the top combines different techniques to aid your bodies climate control, preventing you from becoming to hot or too cold, therefore conserving your energy on a ride. The MicroDiffuser on the collar allows hot, moist air to escape and support the body temperature inside the jacket.

Technology wise this top is great for a climate like the UK, where we can experience a number of different temperature  within a few hours. The top is comfortable as well, despite it being very fitted, the elastane allows the top to move with your body as you move around the bike. I have wore this top under a jacket & with just a base layer underneath and each time the top was great.

I would definitely recommend this top for all cyclist whatever your discipline. It is a great training top. I have been testing the top in winter & have been very impressed with it. It is clear that a lot of research has gone into the top and the technology behind it works very well.

The top retails at around £199, this price tag might put people off but the quality of the top and the performance you get out of it make the heavy price tag worth every penny.

Next Review SphereWind Jacket 


This top was provided by X Bionic FOC to MTB Girls Ride.

Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review

Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review


Over the last few weeks I have been riding around on Reverse Component Escape Pedals read down to see what I thought of them.

Reverse Bike Components are the sister company of bike brand Solid. But if I am being truthful before I tried these Escape pedals it would never have crossed my mind to buy them! In comparison to some of the more popular component brands, Reverse aren’t as well known in the UK. However after trying these pedals I don’t see why they shouldn’t be. They offer a good quality cheaper alternative to some of the leading component brands.

The first thing that caught my eye with these pedals was how bright they are! I was testing the Candy Red colour & between them and my bright yellow Vitus bike I could be seen from the summit of any mountain.


The last few weeks I have been testing out these Escape Reverse Component pedals. The pedals retail for around £55. Each pedal comes with 16 Hex Pins & 8 Grub Pins.

The pedals were tested in a range of different conditions. I found they offered a good amount of grip in all the conditions they were tested in, although they definitely aren’t the grippiest pedals I have ridden on. However there was still sufficient enough grip and I definitely felt comfortable & in control of the bike. These Reverse pedals were also the first flats that I had ridden in a long time that didn’t lose any pins within the first few rides. The pedals are a lot thicker than some of the leading competitors so I found they were more susceptible to hitting off the ground and low lying debris & rocks underneath the pedals.

The pedals weigh in at around 406 grams per pair so they are fairly light and won’t add much weight to your bike.


Overall I am really impressed with these pedals, when comparing them with pedals in the same price category they rank pretty high. They are a great starter pedal, the grip is sufficient enough that you will feel you have descent contact with the bike and they aren’t going to break the bank either. Reverse component do offer a higher priced pedal range these include the Black One & Escape Pro, I suspect these pedals would be much more capable of competing with the likes of Vaults & Spikes.


Price: Approximately £55

Weight: 406 Grams (per pair)


These Pedals Were Provided by F.O.C for testing

Five Ten Freerider Contact Womens MTB Shoes Review

Five Ten Freerider Contact Womens MTB Shoes

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It is amazing to see that so many MTB brands are beginning to embrace women’s cycling and one of the brands that I have really noticed embracing the move is Five Ten. Five Ten announced in 2015 that they would be introducing a range of women specific shoes – they had previously only produced ranges for children and men. Prior to the introduction of the women’s range I had always just worn the men’s Five Tens and made them work for me, but I was never 100% satisfied with them and they often became too wide for my feet after they had packed out.

So what exactly is different between this new women’s range and previous ranges:

  • The shoes are now available in smaller sizes, and they are also narrower. This suits a lot of women’s feet a lot better as they are typically slimmer than most men’s feet.
  • The Sole of the shoe has changed, the recognizable dotty Five Ten Sole has been sanded away and in its place is now a smooth surface area.



Putting Them To The Test

The most crucial part of any flat pedal mountain bike shoe is the sole – the sole is the first point of contact between you and the bike. If you are riding with bad pedals or the wrong shoes your contact with the bike isn’t as strong.

I have been wearing these Five Tens for around a month now and as far as flat pedal MTB shoes go I think they are pretty awesome. I was skeptical about the flat sole as I thought that might give me a weaker contact with the bike but the stealth technology in the rubber is softer and tackier, and grips onto the pins of the pedals brilliantly, keeping my feet secured to the pedals really well, this was the case even when riding jumps or coming off drops.


The shoes are noticeably narrower than my previous Five Tens and at first I thought they were sized wrong as they felt really quite tight, but being a snowboarder as well I decided that they may just need to pack out a bit just like my snowboard boots do when I get a new pair. So I was patient and as if by magic after a few rides the shoes were an ideal fit, unlike my previous pair that were far too wide.


One feature that I would like to see built into these shoes is complete waterproofing, although they are still better than my old canvas ones they still don’t repel the water very well. But then again even fully waterproof shoes probably couldn’t keep out the Scottish winter rain. The Freerider Contact shoes also dry a lot faster than the canvas freeriders.

Also in the past I have really detested the length of Five Ten laces, often having to tie them in quadruple knots and still having to tuck the straggling ends of the laces into my shoes to avoid them becoming wrapped around the pedals. But this seems to have been rectified with these shoes as the laces are a lot shorter and only need double knotted with no tucking the ends into my shoes. I hope this is a feature that Five Ten intend to keep.



  • Lighter than previous Five Ten shoes
  • Better fitting for women’s feet
  • Shorter laces, so less chance of wrapping around the pedals
  • Dry a lot faster than other Five Ten shoes
  • Super grippy on the pedals, meaning good contact between you and the bike.
  • More confident when riding challenging terrain.


  • Can take a while to break in.
  • Despite their synthetic shell they aren’t waterproof

To Conclude


It’s hard to find fault with these shoes – I have always been a big fan of Five Tens and I am even more convinced with them now.  The stealth rubber sole grips well onto my pedals and I felt like I had great contact with the bike, which meant I had more control over the bike and made me more confident in my riding especially in the wintery wet and icy conditions.

These Five Ten Freeride Contact shoes are now available to buy. #brandofthebrave

Retail: £90

Weight: 665g

Sizes: 2.5 UK – 8.5 UK

We tested the shoes with Reserve Escape Pedals


O’Neal Rockstacker Short

O’Neal Rockstacker Shorts Review


In the last few years it has been amazing to see so many girls specific mountain biking ranges popping up all over the place. However that doesn’t mean that we aren’t partial to the odd unisex or guys clothing piece here and there.

I have spent the last few weeks test out O’Neal Rockstacker shorts!


These shorts are the perfect winter shorts for me. They are described as a snug fit and on a guy I guess they would be, however on me they were fairly baggy yet not to much that I was completely swamped by them. They have enough room and movement in them to allow you to wear tights under them during the winter months ( trust me in Scotland this is a massive selling point). The over the knee fit gives me greater confidence when riding, my knee pads also fit pretty well under the shorts.

They have an adjustable waist band that allows you to adjust the sizing so that the shorts are as comfy as possible when riding! The stretch material allows for easy movement around the bike when riding.

The light weight material and the air vent system integrated into the seams to control cooling when riding makes these shorts perfect for summer days too!


Overall I was really impressed with these O’Neal shorts and would definitely recommend them as a good alternative to those girls that aren’t big fans of the female specific design & we have heard on the grapevine that a girls specific range from O’Neal is in the pipeline! Definitely worth keeping an eye out for if they are of a similar standard to the Rockstacker Shorts.

The shorts retail for around for around £70 and come in a three different colours (pictured above).

It might be too late to add these shorts to your Christmas list but I would definitely recommend treating yourself to a pair in the New Year!