13 Mar 2020

This week's bounty of fresh bike kit includes brand new shoes from ION, flat pedals from OneUp Components, and new season threads from Pearl Izumi, including the company's first foray into knee pads

Hello there our dear healthy, non-infected readers! We trust you’ve been thoroughly washing your hands before and after every bike ride, and ensuring that you’re not sharing Camelbak bite valves with any riding pals who are looking a little more pale than usual. And if you’re one of the lucky ones with an endless supply of loo roll, well, would you mind sharing some with us please?

Yes it’s been an action-packed start to 2020, with the world going slightly mad in more ways than one. Thankfully there’s been plenty going on in the life of mountain bikes to keep us (somewhat) sane. There was the recent announcement of the 2021 EWS calendar, which sounded the series return to Derby for next year – how rad is that! Speaking of our favourite little mountain biking town, we’ve also had an update on all the festivities for DerbyFest, which you can check out here. Meanwhile in Victoria, mountain bikers have flocked back to the High Country following the summer’s devastating bushfires, celebrating all that is knobbly-tyred at the huge Bike Buller Festival.

We’ve also been kept busy with bike testing, with the final verdicts having come out on two very different full suspension bikes; the GT Force 29 and the Orbea Occam. For something different, Mick gave us a compelling reason not to buy an XC bike, but to consider getting business shoes for your party bike. And on the note of business shoes, we also published our full review on what we reckon is one of the best tyre combos going. Wil has also reviewed the latest version of Fox’s premium race fork, the redesigned Level Ultimate brake from SRAM, and a dropper post that is claimed to be the lightest in the world.

So yes, you could say it’s been a busy few weeks here at Flow HQ! The pudding-proof is in the healthy swag of new test product that’s been steadily building up since our last Fresh Produce feature. We’ve got a particularly tantalising selection of goods for this edition, which you can read about in all the juicy details below. As always, let us know if you’ve got any questions about any of the test product you see here, and be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Pads

pearl izumi elevate knee pads d30
Pearl Izumi has dived into the body armour market with two new knee pads, and two new elbow pads. Here we take a look at the burlier option; the Elevate.

Pearl Izumi has made the leap into the world of mountain bike body armour with two sets of knee and elbow pads. There’s the light-weight Summit pads, and the mid-weight Elevate pads. Shown here are the latter, which are designed for trail and enduro riding. These make use of a pre-formed D3O armour plate that is curved to wrap around your knees. The LP1 pad gets a tessellated ventilation pattern to minimise sweaty knee syndrome, while still offering the flexibility and impact absorption qualities that D3O is known for. The Elevate pads are modelled on a tube-style Lycra knee warmer, with wide elastic bands at both the top and bottom and a breathable mesh back panel.


Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Pads

To go along with the Elevate knee pads, Pearl Izumi has matching Elevate elbow pads. These also utilise a D3O protective panel, though it’s slightly smaller in size to wrap more comfortably around your elbows. The pads use a stretchy Lyrcra tube construction with a mesh back panel for breathability, while the D3O armour plate is covered with tougher Cordura material to slide more freely when you do hit the deck. To help keep them from sliding, the elasticated cuffs feature silicone gripper detailing on the inside of both the top and bottom.


Pearl Izumi Cargo Bib Shorts

We feel like it’s been a long time since we wore bib shorts that didn’t have integrated storage. In the quest to ride pack-free, Pearl Izumi has joined the bandwagon with the fully-featured Cargo Bib Shorts. On the rear of the harness you’ll find three stretchy pockets that are there to carry your mobile phone, snacks and spares discreetly underneath your baggy jersey. There are also two stealthy pockets found on the lower thighs, which are better suited to gels and such. Being a mountain bike bib short, these have a much lighter and more breathable mesh construction that’s specifically made for wearing underneath baggies. Trust us when we tell you that you SHOULD NOT wear these without baggies!


Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Short

Lucky for all you readers that we do have a pair of baggies to wear over the top of those lewd bib shorts. These are the Summit Shell Shorts, and they’re a premium trail short from Pearl Izumi that’s designed to be nice and lightweight, breathable and flexible. They’re built from four-way stretch Transfer Woven fabric, and there’s a seamless crotch panel to keep things, err, seamless down there. You’ve got adjustable velcro straps on the waistband for dialling in the fit, angled cuffs for knee pad compatibility, and two discreet zippered pockets that sit further back on the thigh for pedalling comfort.


Pearl Izumi Launch Jersey

The Launch is Pearl Izumi’s casual trail-style jersey that offers a ‘Semi-Form’ fit. It’s close-fitting so it doesn’t flap about in the breeze, but it isn’t totally skin-tight like a roadie jersey. There are four colourways available in the Launch jersey, including this Navy/Teal number. Look closer and you might spot that the bottom Navy half is actually made from a lighter mesh fabric that offers even more breathability, whether you’re riding with a pack or not.


OneUp Components Carbon Handlebars

oneup components carbon bars
OneUp Components has broadened its product range well beyond cassette expanders, and now offers a near-full cockpit including these lovely carbon bars.

Launching all the way back in 2013, OneUp Components first started out making an expander cog designed to increase the range of existing 10-speed cassettes. The Squamish-based company has rapidly expanded (ha!) its product range beyond cassette adapters, which now includes chainguides, pedals, dropper posts, the clever EDC tool, and now carbon handlebars. Designed with a 35mm clamp diameter, OneUp has profiled its carbon bars to have a flattened oval shape on either side of the stem, which is there to encourage flex and improve vibration damping – something that 35mm diameter bars tend to struggle with. There are 20mm or 35mm rise options, while width is 800mm, though you can cut them down if you need.


OneUp Components EDC Stem

To match the carbon bars, we’ve got this tidy-looking OneUp EDC Stem. Available in both 35mm and 50mm lengths, the EDC Stem is beautifully machined out of 6061-T6 alloy and uses a wide four-bolt face plate to wrap around 35mm diameter bars. The real trick with the EDC Stem though is its ability to fit the OneUP EDC tool (sold separately) inside your fork’s steerer tube. In the past, riders would have to thread their steerer tube to fit the necessary top cap for the tool to fit. You don’t have to do that wit this stem though, which comes with a built-in preload system for adjusting your headset bearings. Clever and pretty, just like the Flow team.


OneUp Components Dropper Post

oneup components dropper post
Version 2.0 of the OneUp Dropper Post offers a host of improvements, including a shorter stack height so you can squeeze more drop onto your existing frame.

At the other end of the cockpit, we’ve got the latest version of the OneUp Components Dropper Post. This is the V2 model, which has a new upper DU bushing, increased bushing overlap, and comes in travel options from 120mm all the way up to a sky-scraping 210mm. Like the original, it’s possible to shorten the maximum travel by 10-20mm, using plastic shims that are included in the box. OneUp also claims its new V2 Dropper Post has the shortest stack height of any dropper on the market, which means you can potentially squeeze more drop into your existing frame. The post is air-sprung, cable activated, user serviceable, and and is available in 30.9, 31.6 & 34.9mm diameters.


OneUp Components Dropper Post Remote Lever

To activate the dropper post, you’ll be needing a remote, and handily OneUp makes one of those too. Creatively named the ‘Dropper Post Remote Lever’, this low-profile actuator comes in four mounting options: standard bar clamp, SRAM MatchMaker, Shimano I-Spec II and Shimano I-Spec EV. Shown here is the remote on its own, which will bolt straight onto a SRAM brake via the MatchMaker adapter. OneUp specs a big sealed cartridge pivot bearing for smooth actuation, and a curvy textured alloy paddle that feels positively lovely on the thumb.


OneUp Components Aluminium Pedals

oneup components aluminium flat pedals
Big 115x105mm alloy platforms house shin-hungry pins and a fully sealed and serviceable bearing design.

Going down below, we’ve also got our feet on a fresh set of OneUp flat pedals. Offered in both composite and aluminium (or ‘halloomeenum‘ for our US readers), we’ve got the metal ones here, which look positively lethal with 10 hexagonal shaped pins her side, per pedal. The pins are rear loading, so if you do bash them, you’re not grinding away the tool surface. Made from 6061-T6 alloy, the pedal body measures a huge 115x105mm, but comes in at just 8.3mm thick at the front and rear of the platform, and 12mm thick at the centre. That is very thin indeed. It all rolls on a fully sealed and serviceable bearing system and tapered chromoly axles. Available in a huge number of anodised colours, as well as black and grey for shy types.


ION Scrub Select Flat Shoes

ion scrub select flat pedal shoes
ION has completely reworked its footwear lineup, with the Scrub flat pedal shoe offering a new rubber compound that is softer and grippier than the previous Raid shoe.

Separating our little piggies from vicious pedal pins is a stealthy pair of kicks from Austrian brand ION. Called the Scrub, these are a brand new flat pedal shoe design that will replace the outgoing Raid. Aiming to improve traction and feel, ION has given the Scrub a completely new outer sole that features a stickier rubber compound along with a reworked tread pattern called Pin Tonic. The tread is deeper at the toe and heel for off-the-bike walking traction, and uses an inverted profile through the mid-foot to offer plenty of edges for your pedal pins to latch onto.

ION offers three different levels in the Scrub shoe range ranging from $204.95 – $284.95. Each model gets the new sticky rubber sole, but they utilise different uppers. The Scrub Select we have here is the premium option of the range, and it features an almost entirely leather upper that gives it a very luxurious and comfortable feel right out of the box. They feature both laces and a velcro strap to lock them down, along with a paddled asymmetric collar to shield your ankles from the crankarms. Inside the shoes are cushy EVA midsoles and Ortholite Eco Plush footbeds for comfort, while reinforced toe caps give you some rock-kicking protection.


ION K-Traze Knee Pads

ION possesses no fewer than six different knee pads in its range. The K-Traze is the second lightest of the bunch, and is pitched at trail and enduro riders who want decent knee protection without going for a full-coverage design. On the protection front, these get the same multi-impact SAS-TEC armour plate as ION’s bigger pads, but it has been slimmed right down for the K-Traze to provide maximum flexibility. There’s a big elastic velcro strap at the top of each pad to lock them down on your thighs, while an open knee reduces material bunching for more comfort and less chafing. You can also get this same knee pad with a side zipper for quick installation and removal without having to take your shoes off.


Mo’ Flow Please!

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