Flow’s Fresh Produce | A new bag from Albek, a computer from Giant, and protective gear from Scott

It must have been a pretty successful Easter egg hunt over the weekend because not only did you find enough chocolate to make Willy Wonka jealous, but hidden behind the bird feeder was a new edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce!

It was only last week that we pressed play on a jam-packed edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce, but in a pre long weekend rush, the postie was extra busy dropping off packages at Flow HQ.

With so many juicy goodies, we just couldn’t resist sharing them with everyone. So without further ado, sink your teeth into this extra ripe edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce.

Albek Skytrail 51 Gear Bag

The Skytrail is a duffle bag designed specifically for mountain bikers, with internal dividers to keep your gear organised.

Not all duffel bags are created equal. Some are cavernous black holes that hold a tonne of stuff, but good luck finding anything, while others have well laid out dividers, pockets and secret stash spots. The latest gear bag from Albek is the latter, with well thought out pockets to keep your tools easily accessible, and your muddy riding shoes away from your clean clothes.

Designed in Newcastle specifically for mountain bikers, the Skytrail 51 has a, you guessed it, 51-litre capacity. It’s one of the most over-engineered duffle bags we have ever seen — which is a good thing — with dividers and mesh pouches everywhere to prevent the gear inside from becoming a jumbled mess. On the side is a dedicated tool pocket, that also has pouches and elastic straps galore to keep you organised, and the shoe compartment is lined with water-resistant material to keep that muddy foot funk contained.

The bag has a standard carry strap, as well as backpack straps that stow underneath the reinforced bottom panel.

The bottom of the bag is made from reinforced material, that won’t wet through if it’s put down in wet grass, but also serves double duty hiding a set of backpack straps for easy carry.

Once you have a helmet and shoes inside the bag is pretty full, so it’s unlikely to be the go-too for a two-week road trip, but is well suited for a weekend riding getaway, or keeping you organised on race day.

Giant Dash M200 GPS Computer

The Giant/Stages Dash M200 is price and feature competitive with the uber-popular Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, with a vibrant colour screen that is bright AF.

Made in collaboration between Giant and Stages, the Dash M200 is the latest head unit to come out from either brand. To us, Stages is best known for it power meters, however long before they ever attached a strain gauge to a crank arm, the Boulder Colorado based outfit was making spin bikes — as in the ones they have at your local gym — which Giant manufacturers for them.

This is not the first time Giant has sold cycling computers, and the brand partnered with Bryton to release the NeosTrack some time ago, but this new computer is far and away its best showing yet. Available in two versions the Giant/Stages Dash M200 and L200 are identical, other than their size — the M and L quite literally stand for medium and large, we have the smaller version.

The 2.1in EverBrite screen is sharp and can display up to 14 metrics per page, or big eye-catching graphical data fields.

With an EverBrite full colour 2.2in (240×320px) screen, it’s not a touch screen so don’t bother swiping, but the buttons are manageable with full finger gloves, and are eons better than previous versions of the Dash. With full Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ and Wifi connectivity, it can talk to just about every sensor and your phone, and can automatically download maps, workouts, firmware updates and more. The quarter-turn mount on the back is based on Garmin’s, and it will work with any Garmin compatible mount.

We only have a few rides on the Dash M200, but so far it does exactly what it says on the tin. It automatically connects to compatible sensors, it records your data and can display certain metrics like power in big colourful data fields — ideal for riding singletrack when you can only glance down at your computer. If you don’t want to spend the time to customise your data screens, the Dash will automatically populate relevant metrics based on the sensors you have connected.

The Dash is fluent in Bluetooth and connects to your phone for set-up, firmware updates, automatic ride uploads, notifications and more.

It has mapping capabilities via OpenStreet Maps. These are great for riding on the road but are lacking compared to Garmin’s TrailForks integration. At launch it’s also lacking turn-by-turn directions, and instead overlays a breadcrumb trail on top of a map — though this is reportedly coming.

The Stages companion app is super clean and easy to use. It basically removes the need for button-pushing marathons to get data screens set up, connect sensors, set up eat and drink reminders and more.

Giro Trixter Gloves

The Trixter gloves won’t be the most durable option, but are about a close to gloveless as you can get.

Giro’s Trixter gloves are lightweight, form-fitting and super breathable. Made from a lycra mesh backing fabric, and synthetic microfiber palm they disappear on your hands and provide plenty of feedback through the bars.

Being so lightweight they probably won’t survive too many crashes or provide overwhelming knuckle protection, but they offer oodles of dexterity and are pretty close to a gloveless feel.

Being so lightweight they dry fast in hot humid weather, the fabric has also received what Giro calls an ‘InstaChill’ treatment, which is claimed to cool your skin when it becomes moist.

The palm is articulated for a mostly bunch free fit and plays nice with touchscreens. While these yellow green and white gloves look great while they are clean, we expect them to loose some vibrance with more use, fortunately they also come in darker colours too.

Blackburn Charger Tubeless Pump

Show difficult tyre beads who is boss with the Blackburn Charger Tubeless Floor Pump.

Tubeless tyres are getting easier to seat but sometimes you’ll have a difficult bead that just doesn’t want to play ball. Rather than fire up the compressor, the Chamber Tubeless floor pump will snap them into place with minimal effort.

With a 1.2-litre chamber to hold compressed air, put the lever into charge mode, pump until the needle on the analogue gauge hits the green zone (between 140 and 160psi), flick the switch down and wait for the pop. After the switch has been flipped, the Chamber Tubeless Pump works like a normal floor pump, and can be used as a daily driver.

The gauge is massive and easy to read, and the switch from charge to pump goes with a satisfying click.

The air is delivered via a 5ft long flexible hose, and the pump head works with Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves without adjustment. There’s even a bleed button for dialling your air pressure.

At the top is a 410mm wide set of bars with rubber grips. They are attached to the pump with what is essentially a four-bolt stem plate, so you could easily swap them out for any 31.8mm handlebars.

Race Face Atlas Flat Pedals

race face atlas flat pedals
The updated Race Face Atlas pedals feature new internals and a broader platform that offers insane traction thanks to its vicious and well-placed pins.

After eight years of loyal service, the Race Face Atlas flat pedals have finally been updated. The new version receives a wider body and redesigned internals that are claimed to improve durability over the original.

Crafted from 6061 alloy and featuring a 110x108mm platform, the Atlas pedal body is a touch longer and 5mm wider than its predecessor. It’s still very thin though, measuring just 12mm at its thinnest point. Our test pair weighs in at 385g. They’re not quite as light as the Crank Brothers Stamp 7 pedals (376g), but they’re close to the OneUp Aluminum pedals (380g) and a fair bit lighter than our DMR Vault pedals (436g).

The use of 10 long and viciously sharp pins per side gives the platform an outstanding level of grip, though they may have your shins quivering in fear of an unwanted dismount. Washers are included in the box if you’d like to make those pins a little shorter. We’ve done exactly that with the central pins, which increases the overall concavity to help your shoes sink further into the pedal. The result is impressive traction and stability that makes these some of the best flat pedals we’ve ever used.

Unfortunately our Race Face Atlas pedals lost a number of pins within the first couple of rides due to the absence of any thread-locker from the factory. A few spare pins are included in the box, and they’re easy to install with a 3mm hex key and a rear-loading design. Just make sure you add some Loctite to the threads before your first ride.

Inside you’ll find a chromoly steel axle that’s supported by a large inboard cartridge bearing and a wide outboard IGUS bushing. A threaded cap with an integrated axial seal holds it all together, and only a simple flat wrench is needed to pull them apart for routine servicing. Also nice to see is a lifetime warranty for the new Race Face Atlas pedals, along with nine colours to choose from.

Fox 36 & 38 Mudguard

fox 36 38 mudguard fender
Designed specifically for the latest generation Fox 36 and 38 forks, this short-tail mudguard bolts directly to the lowers with not a single cable tie in sight.

With the Autumn riding season well and truly upon us, the trails are starting to get a little squidgier and splashier, and that calls for mudguards! Shown here is a neat front mudguard (or ‘fender’ depending on which side of the road you drive on), which is purpose-built for the latest generation Fox 36 and 38 forks.

Instead of using cable ties, it bolts directly to the rear of the fork arch up top, and via the bleeder valves down below. You’ll need a 13mm flat wrench to remove the bleeders, but otherwise installation is pretty straightforward. It’s a neat solution and we like that it’s made from a tough reinforced plastic rather than the thin and bendy sheet-plastic that most front mudguards use. If you need more coverage, Fox also makes a longer XL version for those who ride in absolutely minging conditions.

Scott Stego Plus Helmet

scott stego plus helmet
Along with a MIPS liner and its deep coverage design, the Scott Stego Plus features soft-density inserts on either side of your forehead to increase protection.

In addition to making bikes, Scott Sports also has an enormous range of apparel, shoes, riding glasses, goggles, packs, body armour and helmets. Shown here is the brand’s open-face enduro helmet; the Stego Plus.

Featuring a multi-panel polycarbonate shell, the Stego Plus offers deep coverage with the helmet sides dropping down around the rider’s temples and at the rear of the skull. Where things get interesting is the addition of soft, low-density foam inserts that cover each side of the forehead. This ‘progressive absorbing construction’ is designed to provide more cushioning in the key impact zones, while retaining an EPS foam core for the rest of the helmet.

Up front the Stego Plus is equipped with a large adjustable visor that’s held in place with alloy Torx hardware. At full mast, the visor leaves space underneath to store goggles, and rubber detailing on the rear of the helmet shell offers a secure base for the strap.

Inside is a MIPS liner to handle rotational forces, and it’s built into a low profile harness that offers both radial and vertical adjustment. It all adds up to a helmet that’s comfortable and stable on the head, though the shell size is a touch shorter front-to-back compared to similar trail helmets we’ve used from the likes of Fox, Specialized, Bontrager and Lazer. As with any helmet, of course you’ll want to try it on for size and fit.

Scott Soldier 2 Knee & Elbow Pads

scott solider 2 knee pads guards
The Scott Soldier 2 knee pads are designed for maximum flexibility and comfort, though a clever D3O insert that hardens on impact to distribute forces evenly through the pad.

We’ve also just received a full set of the Scott Soldier 2 knee and elbow guards to test out. These are a mid-weight design, slotting right in between the minimalist Mission pads and the heavy duty Grenade pads.

The Soldier 2 pads are equipped with flexible D3O protective inserts that are pre-formed to curve around your knees and elbows, providing plenty of coverage while maintaining freedom of movement. The stretchy Lycra sleeves use a strapless design, with large elastic bands around each end and internal silicone detailing to keep the pads in place. The inserts are removable, which allows you to wash the sleeves separately.

These are really comfortable pads to wear. The curved D3O inserts provide great coverage, and they become more flexible as they warm up against your skin. There’s no noticeable tension over your elbows when they’re bent and in the attack position, and the knee pads are especially comfortable while pedalling thanks to the pre-curved lower cuff that sits higher up over the back of your calf. The overall length of the knee pads is on the shorter side, so they’re best paired with longer shorts to avoid the dreaded thigh-gap.

SRAM HS2 160mm Rotors

sram hs2 160mm rotors
The increased stopping power from the SRAM HS2 rotors has allowed us to downsize from a 180mm to a 160mm rotor.

When the SRAM HS2 rotors first launched last year, they were primarily targeted towards enduro, downhill and e-MTB riders. Made from stainless steel, the HS2 rotors are thicker than the previous CenterLine rotors (2.0mm vs 1.85mm). This makes them tougher and harder to bend out of true, but it also helps them to absorb more heat before it reaches the brake fluid inside the callipers. Along with a redesigned brake track and heat-dissipating paint on the spokes, the HS2 rotors are claimed to boost power by 7% and improve thermal management by 40%.

We’ve been using a variety of HS2 rotors from 180mm up to 220mm, which have mostly been fitted to longer travel bikes. However, they’re also available in a smaller 160mm diameter, and we’ve been curious as to whether the same benefits can apply to shorter travel trail and XC bikes.

To test out the theory, Wil’s fitted a pair of 160mm SRAM HS2 rotors to the Level Ultimate brakes on his Specialized Chisel. In terms of weight, the HS2 rotors are significantly heavier than an equivalent CenterLine X rotor (147g vs 98g). However, because the HS2 rotors offer noticeably improved power and consistency, Wil has been able to downsize the front rotor from 180mm to 160mm. Along with the elimination of a 20mm brake adapter, the combined weight for the pair of rotors and mounting hardware is actually not that much heavier (305g vs 263g).

It’s worth noting that the thicker rotors do reduce pad clearance, so setting up the calliper for rub-free performance requires a little more patience. The upside is that you also end up with a shorter lever throw, with less dead space before the pads engage. This produces a tighter lever feel, and along with the smoother and quieter performance, we reckon these are a great upgrade for any SRAM brake user who’s due for fresh pads and rotors.

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