The Solstice Backpack

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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!

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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

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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.

 

Specialized Announce Alloy Demo 8

In the market for a new DH bike?  Well it might be worth checking out Specialized latest news. Specialized have announce that they will be adding two new additions to their demo family. The new frame will retain the same distinctive look as the carbon version. The Aluminium frame is considerably cheaper than the carbon alternative, coming in at just $2400 for the frame in comparison to $4500. The cheaper of the two whole bike builds comes in at $4000 with the second build coming in at $6000.

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Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review

Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review

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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.

Performance

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.

Verdict

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.

Website: http://www.reverse-components.com

Price: Approximately £55

Weight: 406 Grams (per pair)

 

These Pedals Were Provided by http://www.reverse-components.com 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.

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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.

Fitting

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.

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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.

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Pro’s:

  • 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.

Con’s

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

To Conclude

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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

 

2015 Look Back

Happy New Year

What an awesome year 2015 was and we can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

We have loads of exciting things in the pipeline for 2016 and can’t wait to see it all materialise.

A big thank you again to everyone that has helped and supported MTB Girls Ride in the last 6 months. It is unreal how much it has grown in such a short time!

Keep and eye out for all the exciting news of 2016 coming soon! In the mean time take a look a few of 2015’s highlights!

A Glimpse of 2015:

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BES Have cleared up the confusion! Full face helmets are recommended but NOT compulsory!

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Martyn Ashton Set Out to Raise £7000… And Ended Up With So Much More!

Not that anyone needs proof that the MTB community is awesome, but if you ever did here it is!

MTB hero Martyn Ashton’s world changed completely when he was left paraplegic back in 2013. Yet despite this Martyn lives his life in a way that all of us should try to. He continues to be positive and motivated despite the obstacles that have been put in his way. So when Martyn posted on Facebook that he was going to sell his Road Bike that featured in Road Bike Party episode 2 (video below) for some expensive rehab equipment, it was no surprise that everyone turned round told him to leave his bike where it was and  set up a Go fund me campaign.

The page has only been set up for 2 days now and already the £7,000 starter target has been smashed, at the time of writing this the current amount raised was over £40,000.

So there it is people! The proof you needed that the MTB Community is AWESOME!

 

Polaris Womens Trail Shorts – Review

Polaris Womens Trail Shorts

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I love the concept of womans specific clothing, but a lot of the time the end result of these womans specific products can leave me disappointed. Normally because the sizing is completely wrong or the products just aren’t practical for the kind of riding I want to do.

So when I was sent these Polaris Trail Shorts a few weeks ago I wasn’t entirely confident that I would be writing a positive review. However I now have to eat my words! I LOVE these trail shorts. They are probably the comfiest, best fitting shorts I have worn in a long time!

“Comfiest, Best Fitting Shorts I Have Worn in a Long Time”

They are cut in such a way that they are specific for women. The high back and front to the shorts mean that there is no gaping of bare skin when you are bent over the bike. The double stud button at the top of the shorts offers reassurance that the shorts aren’t going to pop open at any unexpected moment. The adjustable Velcro side panels allow you to tighten and loosen the waist band to a size that is comfortable for you.

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The four way stretch meant free movement and no restriction when moving around the bike. The shorts have ample storage with three front pockets, the zipped pockets also mean you can keep your valuable on you while riding without risking losing them during your ride. The DWR finish also means they are the perfect shorts for riding in the winter in Scotland.

The shorts retail for around £49 which is a steal for these shorts. Most other shorts of this quality in the current market retail at a significantly higher price.

The shorts come in a vast array of sizes from a UK 8 -16.

www.polaris-bikewear.co.uk

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