A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
‘Snowboard Of The Future’
Scream down the slopes with the “lightest, fastest, most advanced” snowboard Jones makes. The carbon fiber topsheet sheds ounces and adds speed to the $1,500 Project X board designed by legendary rider Jeremy Jones.
DIY Wooden Bike
Turn heads with an intricately-carved wooden bicycle frame that you made yourself! The Hoopy bicycle by Wooden Widgets does not ship or sell built; you receive the step-by-step plans for the “one-size-fits-all” curiosity.
Smith Quantum Helmet
Smith’s newest helmet, the Quantum ($300), brings some serious protection. It combines the wonderfully ventilated Aercore protection (think hundreds of drinking straws packed together) with a super-tough exoskeleton. Couple that with MIPS technology to protect the brain from oblique blows, and you’ve got a helmet to take a serious beating.
Arc’teryx Ski Boot
A highly anticipated entry into hard goods, the Arc’teryx Procline hits the market for this winter. The boot gives ankle freedom for hiking and climbing, but it locks down well for downhill skiing. This is a $1,000 niche product, namely a good alpine-climbing boot that skis reasonably well. We’ve been testing it, and we are impressed with the skinning/climbing side of the equation so far (full review coming soon). For those climbers who need ski access or descents, this is a slick new option.
Pack Slings For Shoulder Relief
Pull the weight off your shoulders and back with specially designed hand straps. Pack Slings attach to backpack straps and provide a solution for students and hikers who wind up pulling their straps to take the load off their back. We might suggest a better, or better-fitting, backpack, but for $10 these are an easy solution.
From handheld carryon, to messenger sling, to backpack, the Fishpond Half Moon Weekender pack is designed to be adaptable. Fishpond’s waxed-cotton canvas provides old school waterproofing tech and classic styling.
Portable Solar Generator
Off-grid reliance, with no noise or fumes, the $1,600 Grengine was made to replace a gas generator. It offers 1,200 watt-hours in a compact battery pack (lithium-ion) and is stackable with additional interchangeable battery packs to add power.
Abus Bike Helmet
Protect your bike, protect your head. Renowned bike lock manufacturer Abus launches into the helmet market with two new options. The Hyban (for the everyday city rider) and Urban-I v.2 (for general commuters and touring; pictured) have rear-facing LED lights, reflectors, and magnetic straps for safety and comfort.
Exercisers looking to train for the uphills can “hike” on the X22i machine from NordicTrack. It tilts to a 40-percent incline and (new for 2017) will come with a bright, 22-inch screen to “alter the reality of working out” with iFit Coach LiveCastTM videos. We tested the unit this month and can attest to its muscle-crushing prowess.
Animated Bike Lights
Rocket ships, hearts, stars, and more light up and spin around your spokes as you ride. Monkey Light has a variety of rechargeable, motion-activated LED spoke lights that make your ride hyper-visible.
Comprendium Of Cycling Culture
Curious short stories, unconventional designs, and exquisite photographs, Brooks England’s “Comprendium of Cycling Culture,” available Dec. 3rd, claims to be a volume for more than cyclists alone. A host of contributing writers, artists, journalists, designers, photographers, and illustrators set out to make a book that shares Brooks’s values more than its bikes.
GoPro Voice Remote
We’re not sure why this product is needed given that new GoPros have built-in voice recognition. But the Remo speaks 10 languages and the brand claims it works in much harsher conditions than GoPro’s voice mic, including (somehow) underwater. Blub blub.
Change gears as you ride with the precision of electronic shifting, without your hands. The $200 XShifter has a host of functions that helped it nail its Kickstarter, but now it includes voice-activated shifting through a connected app. The hands-free technology is designed to assist riders with disabilities and make some maintenance tasks easier.
‘Natural’ Energy With Protein
Instantly refuel with a rush of energy. Glukos markets the fact that it uses glucose, the human body’s natural blood sugar, versus sucrose or fructose found in other bars. The company launched a line of protein bars this year to complement its energy tabs, drink mixes, and gels.
Road rides, cyclocross races, gravel, and singletrack are the venues of the adaptable Schratz Adventure Bike. The company, FitWell Bicycle Company, calls it a “monstercross” bike model, and it starts at $850 on Kickstarter this month.