I’ve been riding in Icebreaker merino for years. Merino keeps me warm and cool in equal measure, is very breathable, and never loses its insulating properties, even when wet. So it was awesome news to me that Icebreaker was releasing a mountain biking range. However, when I saw the range (read: riding top) I was a little disappointed; an oversized tee with a zip collar, mesh panels at high sweat areas and a small stowaway zip pocket on the side. I felt like this range was designed by an accountant, with input from, well, another accountant. Technically the shirt performs very well, the merino continuing to do all the great things that merino does. The 200 weight (Icebreaker gives different weights ranging from 150 to 320 for different thicknesses of merino) is a little heavy for my liking. It’s great in spring but is too warm for summer riding. To be fair, merino doesn’t take kindly to rocky crashes or the odd blackberry bush and the heavier weight provides a little more robustness. Considering the changing face of mountain bike fashion—it’s no longer just tee shirts and Lycra—I guess I just expected something a little more exciting from such an iconic New Zealand company. An Icebreaker will continue to be my riding top of choice, but ironically it won’t be the one they designed specifically for riding. MARK DANGERFIELD
The Meta TR 29, the new 130mm travel beautiful brushed alloy trail rig from Commencal just passed through the office recently. A solid, well-priced build makes this a very good option for a lot of people wanting that perfect blend between fun and pain. The go-everywhere, do-everything Meta in a neat little bundle.
One of the supercars of the modern era, the Pivot Firebird has been on the lips of everyone this past year. With Ed Masters piloting one to all sorts of reults, we got the Rod Bardsley to swing his leg over a Firey Bird and deliver some wise words of his own.
Afton are another newcomer in what seems a flood of new shoe brands, but the stylish look and comfort have got everyone talking. Want to be the snazziest dude among your mates? Look no further.
The Flat pedal shoe market has thickened recently, and one brand leading the charge is Ride Concepts. We did some skids this summer in a long term test, and are stoked there is a new player in the mix.
The Orbea Rallon is a hot topic. Good looking and extremely well put together, this pedigree machine gets the carpark talking. We got to spend a few days aboard the Spanish rig and collated some thoughts inside.
We got to spend some of our summer thrashing around on this beast. A user friendly 180mm do it all park bike, that’ll pop jumps and rip turns till the cows come home. Get in.