Flow’s Fresh Produce | New Specialized Shoes, A SWAT Jacket, ION Kit & A Carbon PRO Cockpit

Hello all of you Frothing Flow Fans, and welcome to the latest edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! It’s been a month since our last instalment, so we apologise for the long break between NEIPAs, but things have just been a tad busy over this way at Flow HQ. Since we last caught up, we’ve been attempting to keep our head above the tide of new bike and component launches, which we’ve just about stayed on top of (well, for now anyway…)

In case you missed it, there’s been a tonne of new kit unloaded onto us, including Fox’s absolutely humongous 38 fork, the new 2021 Fox 36 & 40, plus a completely redesigned Transfer dropper post. Not to be outdone, RockShox has introduced a new DebonAir C1 spring that’s coming in the 2021 Lyrik & Pike forks, and will be available as a cheap upgrade for existing RockShox fork owners too. We’ve tested the new spring – it’s ace, check it out here. On top of that, YT Industries has brought out a whole new full suspension platform that it calls the IZZO – a lightweight carbon trail bike that looks like an absolute ripper and is soon to be available in Australia.

Meanwhile the Flow test fleet has been rapidly expanding – both with bikes that we can and can’t tell you about. The bikes we can tell you about are without doubt some of the most value-packed options currently on the market, which includes the newly launched Canyon Neuron AL, the insanely cheap Polygon Siskiu D6, the also-quite-cheap Giant Stance 29er, and a carbon full suspension e-MTB from German brand Cube. Serious bang for buck in all four of those.

We’ve also wrapped up one of our long-term test bikes, the Trek Fuel EX 9.8. It’s an absolute beast of a trail bike, but our time together wasn’t without issues. For those who want to know more about it, here are the 9 lessons we’ve learned about the Fuel EX. And we’ve also finished testing some very sweet components on that bike, including the stupendously expensive DT Swiss EXC 1200 wheelset and those hugely powerful SLX 4-piston disc brakes.

Yup, it’s been ALL going on! So allow us to take a wee breath before we plunge into the sea of new products that have been accruing at the front door over the past month. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, and out. Ahhhhhhhh, that’s better. Right, we all good? Good. No more breathing, at least not while you’re that close to your screen – haven’t you heard about social distancing regulations? Yuck! Wash your hands, cough into your elbow, please don’t drink any bleach, and let’s get stuck into this edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce yiew!

Specialized Recon 3.0 Mountain Bike Shoes

specialized recon 3.0 shoes
Fancy new kicks from Specialized – these are the Recon 3.0 shoes, which pack a similar punch to the S-Works version, for $120 less.

The Recon 3.0 is a brand new lightweight clip-in mountain bike shoe that’s designed for XC racing, trail riding and gravel/cyclocross too. They’re modelled on the Specialized S-Works Recon shoes, and like their $500 counterparts, they also feature dual BOA ratchet dials and carbon fibre soles. They’re not quite as stiff (they’re a 10 on the stiffness index, whereas the S-Works version is a 13) and they also have built-in flex around the toes to make walking and hiking off-the-bike more comfortable.  They’re also a bit heavier too – Specialized claims these weigh 355g per shoe vs 270g for the S-Works Recon (size 42).

The underside of the shoe is layered with SlipNot rubber tread blocks for traction, and Specialized has drilled the cleat slots further back to facilitate new-school cleat positioning. The upper is fully welded and seam-free for comfort, though it skips the reinforced heel cup and superfine Dyneema mesh of the S-Works model. Consequently, these come in at over $100 cheaper. Available in black only, and in sizes from EU 37 through to EU 47.

Specialized Demo Pro Pants

As the nights become longer and the mornings get fresher, we’ve been turning towards cold weather riding gear to keep us out on the trails. Arriving just in time for the colder weather is this pair of Demo Pro Pants from Specialized. The name suggests downhill racing, but these full-length riding trousers are equally effective for casual trail riding too, especially for those who’d prefer their legs and socks from being covered in spray off the front wheel.

The Demo Disco Pants are built from stretchy VaporRize fabrics that are designed to move with you as you pedal, while frickin-laser-perforated vent holes help to stop you from cooking in mild Australian winter temperatures. The fit is snug to reduce flapping, but roomy enough to facilitate knee pads. You also get a zippered pockets on each side and one above the arse-crack for stowing keys, spare change, candy etc.

Specialized Deflect Jacket w/SWAT

specialized deflect jacket w/swat

Also new from Specialized is the Deflect mountain bike jacket. This snazzy number is made from Pertex Quantum Air fabric, which is both super-lightweight and stretchy. It gets a DWR treatment to give you a bit of spray protection, but it’s more of a windproof outer shall, not a full-blown waterproof. You get extended arms and a dropped whale-tail at the back to cover you against rear tyre spray. You also get a minimalist under-the-helmet hood, and abrasion panels have been added to the forearms and elbows to shield you during close-calls with trail-side thistles.

The SWAT part of the name refers to the compact pouch that the jacket stuffs into, which is integrated into the left-side breast pocket. This little stuff sack has a pull-tag on it, and it’s designed to easily stow it inside the SWAT compartment on a Specialized frame. We’re still confirming compatibility with the downtube storage compartment on a Trek Fuel EX.

ION Traze Amp Short Sleeve Jersey

ion traze amp short sleeve jersey
Austrian brand ION has some new riding kit that’s made from recycled fabrics – we dig!

Recycled fabrics? Yes please! The Austrian folks from apparel brand ION Products have just sent us out this snazzy Traze AMP jersey. Available in four colours, and also a long-sleeve version, the Traze AMP is manufactured from recycled polyester and recycled elastane. For breathability, it features mesh panels that run down each side from the armpit to the waist, and you also get a hidden zippered pocket on the rear and a glasses wipe on the inside too.

ION Traze Amp Bike Shorts

The matching Traze AMP baggy shorts are also built for trail riding, with a lightweight two-way stretch fabric providing flexibility and comfort for all-day pedalling. There’s a button-up fly, reflective detailing, adjustable velcro waist straps, and you get a zippered pocket on each side that’s big enough to swallow a smartphone or phablet. Available in four colours and from Small through to XX-Large.

PRO Tharsis 3FIVE Carbon Handlebars

pro tharsis carbon handlebar
Steering feeling a bit wooden? Some stiff 35mm diameter carbon PRO bars might be the ticket for ye.

PRO has jumped into the 35mm game with new stems along with alloy and carbon handlebars. This is the 3FIVE carbon bar, which is claimed to weigh just 198g – that’s damn impressive given it’s a full 800mm wide. PRO only offers the single option, which has a 20mm rise, a 9° backsweep and a 4° upsweep. You can trim them down to 720mm if you like though, and for those wanting to spend a few bones less, there’s an alloy version too.

PRO Tharsis 3FIVE Stem

The matching Tharsis 3FIVE stem is a beautifully CNC machined hunk of 7050 aluminium alloy that features a 35mm clamp diameter. The asymmetric four-bolt face plate is designed to sit flush at the top, where it keys in neatly into the body of the stem. Available in 35mm, 45mm and 55mm lengths for those who want to fine-tune their reach. Claimed weight is 150g for the shortest size, which we’ve got on test here.

PRO Lock On Trail Grips

And at the each end of the bar we’ve got PRO’s new lock-on Trail grip. With a single inboard locking clamp, these grips are made with a dual-compound rubber and are available in both flange and flange-less options. They’re specific to each side, with a unique profile that sees a squishy mushroom-style pattern used on the inside, and a firmer knurled pattern used for the outside. Diameter is stated as 32mm, though unlike grips from Ergon for example, the diameter is slightly bigger on that inside section. There’s also a raised waffle section on the underside for added grip where your fingers lie.

PRO Starter Tool Kit

pro tool kit
Bikes looking for some love during lockdown? The PRO Starter Tool Kit comes with the big-hitting essentials to get your home workshop setup and ready for servicing.

As well as components, PRO also offers a huuuge array of tools – both for out on the trail and for in the workshop. For the home mechanics out there, this new Starter Tool Kit packages together the big-hitting essentials; in the zip-up tool case you’ve got a chain whip, cassette tool, chain breaker, quick link tool, a Y-wrench with 4/5/6mm hex keys, a Y-wrench with 2/2.5/3mm hex keys, cable cutters, tyre levers and a pedal wrench. Phew! Add in a few specialist tools here and there, and you’ve got a solid starting point for getting your shed setup to work on your own bikes – perfect for lockdown-downtime.

Mo’ Flow Please!

Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow!

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