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A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is a monthly round-up of anything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it’s products we’re doing long-term tests on, other times it’s stuff we’re stoked on but don’t have time to review. And, sometimes it’s a crazy, unsolicited doodad, and we’re having a laugh.

Bontrager Flatline Shoes


• Vibram sticky rubber outsole
• Directional tread at toe and heel for off-bike traction
• Shock absorbing EVA midsole
• Synthetic leather upper
• Ortholite insole

• Sizes: 36 – 48 in half sizes
• Colors: Black or red
• Weight: 680g (size 42.5)
• Women’s-specific range offered
• MSRP: $129.99 USD

bigquotes The folks at Bontrager’s gear department have been on fire in recent years, I’ve been especially impressed with the manufacturing quality and function of their soft goods, and this Flatline shoe follows suit on both accounts. It’s lightweight, Only 680 grams in my 42.5 size, and that’s without any shortcuts.

The toe boxes are reinforced. Vibram soles are molded in a wide, rectangular grid to maintain consistent grip on flat pedals, while high traction inserts at the toe and heel provide scrambling traction. A stiff heel cup ensures proper power output, while the mid-sole is padded to mute harsh terrain. The out-sole is synthetic leather and stitching is pro level. Other details are a ventilated mesh tongue, stabilized by elastic bands inside the shoe, metal eyelets, and an elastic batten to stow the laces.

I’ll be riding flat pedals for a while later this summer, so I’ll most probably post a full review at that time. Until then, if you are looking for a good flat shoe, Bontrager’s Flatline, with its very reasonable $130 MSRP and excellent features should be a top performer. Bontrager believes you’ll like them, and they back it up with an unconditional guarantee: “Ride it and love it. If not, We’ll take it back.”

Mucky Nutz MugGuard


• Made in UK from recycled material
• Short MugGuard: £19.99
• Long MugGuard: £24.99
• Compatible with 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheels

• Clearance for up to a 3″ tire
• Weight: 75 grams (short), 105 grams (long)

bigquotes In a perfect world, summer time would mean the end of muddy, wet rides, but that’s not always the case. Mucky Nutz’s new MugGuards 3D-molded fenders only take a couple minutes to mount up, and they provide plenty of coverage for those extra soggy days. I installed one in time for the opening day of the Whistler Bike Park, and it worked exactly as intended, blocking most of the mud and water that was being flung up by my front wheel. There are two versions, short and long, but even the shorter option covers much more real estate than your typical flat fender. They do cost more, but I’m willing to pay a little extra if it means I can ride down a saturated trail without needing to constantly stop and wipe my goggles or eyeballs. Mike Kazimer

SQlab Insoles


• Molded arch support
• Thin, highly engineered cushion material
• Four sizes, three different arch heights
• Washable and anti microbial

• Comprehensive size and fitting chart
• Replaces standard shoe insole
• MSRP $30.99 USD

bigquotes High quality insoles are not on the radar of most riders, but maybe they should be. We pound over rocks and roots for hours at a time, but not many of us worry about the beating our feet take in the process. SQlab offers a range of insoles designed with three different arch supports, and further sculpted to ensure that all of your foot is sharing a portion of the stress. Pressure graphs show that the correct insole dramatically reduces stress concentrations, which SQlab says, provides increased power in addition to less fatigue and discomfort.

SQlab offers a free sizing kit on line so you can assess your arch type and foot size. Insoles are color coded to simplify the process: 216 Blue for low arches, 215 yellow for medium height arches and 216 red for high arches. A number of sizes are offered, and guidelines are molded into the toe area so you can further trim the inserts to fit your shoes. These are not simply contoured foam. There’s a molded arch support, a reinforced heel cup and every square centimeter of the sole is perforated or grooved differently to control flex. Do they work? I put some in my Specialized 2FO’s and they are feeling pretty good. It will cost you $39 USD to find out, but if you know anything about SQlab, it’s a sure bet they’ll deliver on their promises.


Silca Viaggio Travel Pump

Ever wish that you could pair your phone with your Bluetooth floor pump and see your tire pressure in large, easy to read decimals on a touch-screen? Me neither, but if you did, Silca’s Viaggio floor pump is waiting for you at up-scale retailers world wide. “Travel pump” refers to the Viaggio’s detachable handle, fold-up feet and its waxed canvas carry bag. Hidden inside the sleek, polished pump is Silca’s trademark leather-sealed piston for smooth action. Perched at the end of its authentic rubber hose is Silca’s acclaimed Hiro air chuck – its smooth, ergonomic metal lever gleams understated quality, and a discreet magnetic latch displays it well.

The pump’s Italian minimalist narrative prohibits unsightly external pressure gauges. Instead, a hidden i-Gauge compatible Bluetooth-enabled sensor telegraphs your tire pressure (accurate to less than one percent) to your handy smart phone, which also ensures proper inflation when you must delegate the task. Silca’s asking price for the Viaggio Travel Pump is $275 USD

• iGauge compatible Bluetooth® enabled pressure sensor
• Premium 731 leather piston gasket
• Brass check valve assembly
• Detachable handle & folding feet support
• Schrader chuck & HIRO locking Presta chuck with a magnetic dock
• Weight: 2.95lbs/1.34kg, Length: 57cm,
• Max PSI: 220
• MSRP $30.99 USD

“Traditional travel pumps sacrifice too many features in the name of portability. We set out to design a compact, folding pump that incorporated the stability and ergonomics of a full-sized floor pump combined with a highly accurate and easily readable gauge solution.” – Silca: Why we designed it.

bigquotes So, there you have it. Silca’s mic drop turns out to be a darn good pump. The only thing it leaves us wishing for is an external gauge.RC

EVOC Neo 16L Airshield Backpack

It’s a conundrum that riders many times face if they’re riding bigger days in the backcountry or even hauling gear around in the bike park – how to stay safe while still carrying a bag. The Neo uses EVOC’s Airshield system which is positioned between the pack and the rider to keep the protective lattice structure close to the thoracic and lumbar spine.

It’s made of a nanotech elastomer for durability and the back protector can deform if exposed to the tension or pressure of a crash but then it returns to its original form. This also helps the protector adapt and conform to the rider’s spine. There are twelve elastomer pads with mesh structure that form part of the lattice layer. The pads are positioned to provide carrying comfort and have minimal contact points on the back and a snug fit with minimal slippage so the backpack won’t slide in the case of a fall. The Airshield system allows for lots of ventilation and moisture wicking from the back.

EVOC claim that the hexagonal elements also help distribute the impact force and absorb a large amount of the impact from a shock. It maintains its protective qualities in temperatures ranging from -20 to +40 Celsius (that’s extremely cold to hotter than you’ll typically ride in for those in the States).

• 16l of storage, Two sizes – S/M, L/XL
• Colors: Gold or Carbon Grey
• Rain shell
• Certified according to TÜV test standard PSA 1621-2
• Free crash replacement
• Weight: 1580g (S/M)
• 250.00 €

bigquotes The Neo 16 has all of the organization anyone can really want in a backpack. It’s designed to carry plenty of gear on a big day in the backcountry and protect your spine while you’re on the bike. It’s not the lightest, but its comfortable fit and the protection it offers more than make up for that heft. It’s price you’ll be more than willing to pay the first time you tomahawk yourself into some rocks on your backcountry heli-drop.Daniel Sapp