Shimano M200 shoes
‘Designed for the way you ride’ is Shimano’s tag line for their new trail/all-mountain/enduro shoes. What this actually means when you strip away the marketing speak, is that these shoes are built for the kind of riding that more and more people are getting into; the kind of riding where you might do a bit of walking up tricky slopes, where all-day comfort is a priority, where you’re more worried about the descents than the climbs. We’ve long been fans of Shimano’s AM45 downhill shoes, but they’re really a bit heavy and bulky for most rides, likewise we’re big fans of Shimano’s XC shoes but they generally don’t provide much grip or comfort when you’re walking or you miss a pedal entry. The new M200 shoes (and the less expensive M163) aim to hit a middle ground; they use Shimano’s new Torbal (Torsional Balance) system, which gives more flex through the toe and outsole, but plenty of stiffness under the ball of your foot. The aim is to make them more suitable for walking and offer more feel for aggressive riding, but preserve pedalling efficiency. The M200s also offer a great range of cleat positioning than previous Shimano shoes, and there’s loads of protection with raised ankle padding and a tough toe box.
Reynolds 27.5 AM Carbon wheels
Reynolds may have more of a name for themselves on the road than in the dirt, but they do make a great range of hoops for mountain biking, including these carbon 27.5″ all-mountain fellas. We’ve been riding a lot of carbon wheels lately, and while the Reynolds AMs aren’t quite as wide as some at 31mm, they’re well up to spec in every other regard. We actually rode these same wheels on a Focus SAM last year (read the full review here) and loved them. Reynolds claim this is the strongest rim they’ve ever made, and the wheels are tubeless read with the addition of the supplied rim-tape. The modular axle system will fit any dropout combo conceivable too and the complete weight is just on 1660g on our scales. We’ll be popping these onto our Norco Range long-term test bike for a real flogging.
Contour ROAM 3 camera
Contour have had a bit of an up and down ride in the market. Their sleek camera was one of the first to really challenge GoPro, but then things went a little quiet with rumours that the brand had gone belly-up. Not so, apparently! Contour are back with the ROAM3, a competitively priced and well-featured unit. We’ve always liked the slim, low-profile design of the Contour, and the slide-to-record button is easy to use with gloves on a bumpy trail. It does lag a little behind the latest GoPro in terms of frame rates, but the pricing is sharp, and that will appeal to many. We’ll be reviewing this fella shortly.
Scott ARX Plus MTB MIPS helmet
The real highlight of this new helmet from Scott is what lies beneath its black low-key exterior – the MIPS Brain Protection System. See the yellow liner? That’s MIPS – it’s a low-friction liner that is designed to allow your head to rotate relative to the helmet shell upon an angled impact, reducing the amount of shock transmitted to your brain. You can read more about MIPS here. Even if you don’t plan on head planting, this is a great helmet; our initial testing sitting in front of the computer reveals it to be very comfy and Micro Rotary Adjustment System doesn’t have any tight spots or pressure points like some. The pricing at $149 is a real bargain in our (MIPS protected) mind.