The latest tech in mountain biking goes beyond the (e-)bike and includes more nifty gadgets than you have handlebar space for. Unplug and get connected, the future is here!
Santa Cruz Heckler e-Bike
If you’re looking to double or triple your lunch laps, the Heckler ebike from Santa Cruz will do the trick every time. The 27.5″ carbon platform is powered by a Shimano DH E800 motor to help you get to the fun part of the trail, where the 160/150mm of front and rear travel make for a fin descent. Like all of the new bikes from Santa Cruz, the Heckler has a low slung suspension platform that keeps the bike smooth and predictable on steep descents. A large 504wh battery will keep this bike rolling for the better part of a day if the bike is kept in a minimal assistance mode. Riders can swap the battery in a matter of minutes for longer adventures when the fun can’t be ceased.
RockShox Reverb AXS Dropper Seatpost
It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 months since RockShox dropped the Reverb AXS wireless dropper post. Sure, it’s not the first wireless post on the market, but with SRAM on board it’s clear wireless is not a fad that will fade anytime soon. Priced at $800, this is clearly a product for early adopters, but for those with the coin there’s actually a lot of value here.
For starters, because the Reverb AXS is wireless it’s easy to move from bike to bike. For those who own more than a couple mountain bikes, a single Reverb AXS might actually be cheaper than buying a mechanical post for every bike. And because it’s wireless, there’s less worry about cable maintenance, or worse, bleeding a hydraulic remote hose as with the “classic” Reverb. Finally, the wireless remote makes for a cleaner cockpit, and it can be programmed and configured to suit the rider’s needs.
Gloworm Alpha Plus 1200 Lumen Light
If you’re not sure what kind of light you need, or how many lumens you want for mountain biking at night, the Gloworm Alpha Plus 1200 is a pretty safe bet that should cover your bases. Biking at night is like finding an extra hour in the day for riding (or three!), but getting started can be confusing. Is a helmet light better than a bar-mounted light? How bright is bright enough?
The Gloworm Alpha Plus 1200 includes everything a rider needs in the box. There’s a clamp-style bar mount plus a GoPro-compatible helmet mount that makes it easy to swap with existing accessories. Gloworm even includes a stack of zip ties to help buyers keep everything neat. The included rechargeable battery gets four hours of runtime at the highest brightness level, and even more on lower brightness settings. Unlike most lights on the market, the Gloworm Alpha comes with swappable optics to adjust the beam pattern to your local trail conditions. An optional remote makes it possible to pair the Alpha with another Gloworm light, or to more easily control the Alpha when it’s mounted on a helmet.
To be clear, this isn’t a starter kit that will need to be upgraded for riding in the dark on the regular. It’s a complete light system that should perform well for years and keep mountain bikers safely on the trail.
For a limited time, take 15% off Gloworm light systems with code singletracks2020
GoPro Hero 9
$449.99 | $349.98 includes1-year subscription to GoPro1 $399.99 without subscription
GoPro’s most recently updated Hero 9 action camera packs a couple of new features. The camera stabilization feature Hypersmooth keeps progressing, and is now on the third version. The Hero 9 also brings in 5K resolution for the first time. GoPro has switched back to a detachable lens, so no need to worry if the camera gets dropped down the trail. One other point that mountain bikers will dig: The Hero 9, like the 8, has two little wings on the bottom of the case for direct attachment without a case.
Quarq TyreWiz Air Pressure Sensor
Apart from tread compound, tire pressure is one of the most important elements of good traction. TyreWiz allows you to accurately check your tire pressure out on the trail, or before a race run, when you need reliable numbers to dial in the grip. Riders can check pressure through the SRAM AXS Web application from anywhere. There is also an LED indicator to let you know if the pressure falls out of the preferred range, so you can ride without a phone and still have a good idea where the numbers are. While this isn’t a necessary tool for every rider it would make a sweet treat for anyone regularly trying to shorten their descent times.
Bontrager Rally WaveCel Mountain Bike Helmet
Bontrager has a more affordable version of their WaveCel-equipped mountain bike helmet, the Rally WaveCel. The Rally comes in at half the price as the $300 Blaze but still has the most important feature – the new WaveCel material. Our tester found that the Rally was very comfortable and vented well even under low speeds. For certified protection that looks great, the Rally WaveCel is an excellent choice.
Jaybird Vista Wireless Headphones
The Jaybird Vista headphones are perfect for anyone with an active lifestyle. First, these tiny buds stay put while running or bouncing with the help of the curved loop that fits in the upper crease of your ear. They are sweatproof and waterproof (one quickly came back to life after sinking to the bottom of the pool, though prolonged submersion is not advised) so you can keep jamming to your tunes during vigorous workouts. The long battery life (up to 16 hours) means these will hang in there with you on your longest rides, and with regular daily use you may find you only need to charge them once a week. The sound quality of the Vistas is impressive – clear, full and customizable. A quick tap on the earbud pauses music in case you need to take a phone call or mute during a zoom meeting.
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus
The Garmin Edge 1030 is one of the newest cycling GPS units from the brand, and it’s also one of their most fully-featured. The color touchscreen covers all the navigation and ride tracking basics nicely, but unlike a smartphone everything fits in a rugged, trail-worthy package.
Mountain bikers will be stoked with the ability to track jump distances and hang time with the Edge 1030. And if landing that massive road gap doesn’t go according to plan, there’s even a built-in incident detection feature that can notify your emergency contacts. Garmin also includes mountain bike specific ride measurements they call Grit and Flow to better capture how difficult an off-road ride is, and how smoothly the rider handles the trail.
SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS DUB Groupset
$2,000.00 | $1,600.00 sale
SRAM introduced their wireless mountain bike drivetrain group early last year, and over the past 18 months they’ve continued to build on the system. Wireless shifting addresses a number of problems with traditional drivetrains, eliminating much of the tweaking and guesswork when it comes to tuning.
As a relatively new technology, SRAM is currently only offering AXS wireless shifting on their highest-level drivetrain group, XX1. This means buyers get some of the lightest, most precise components available. Clearly all of this tech comes at a high price, though we’ve recently seen some reductions like this current sale at Competitive Cyclist.
SPOT Gen 4
Prepping for a multi-day ride or trip to the backcountry can take longer than the ride itself. One simple safety precaution to pack is the SPOT Gen 4 Sattelite GPS Messenger, a device that can send your GPS location to emergency responders or just your friends and family tracking your adventure. Smaller than most smart phones and weighing only 5 oz, the SPOT Gen 4 can be easily carried in a jersey pocket or hydration pack. An additional service plan is required with flexible options like month-to-month payments or an annual contract.
Buy from SPOT
Polar Grit X Multisport GPS Watch
The Polar Grit X is a training tool for folks on a winning mission. While it has an accurate compass and routing functions, the primary use case for this watch is training. Athletes can dial in fueling intervals, load training plans, follow built-in training prompts, and track their sleep and rest patterns. Activity reminders help to give the wearer a well rounded exercise program, including stretching and personalized strength training. The Grit X will work with nearly any sport you get into, and it’s a brilliantly designed training partner for the trail.
Wahoo Fitness KICKR Smart Trainer
Let’s hope we won’t be confined to riding indoors all winter, but we can’t control mother nature. Pick up a smart trainer — or any trainer — this winter before they sell out (again). The new Wahoo KICKR has 5 degree side to side float mimicking the feel of pedaling outside. It’s a pricey machine that is feature packed and you can still join your buddies on Zwift if you are stuck riding inside.
Buy from REI
Granite Design Stash Tools
Storing tools and a tube on the bike can make life a little simpler and Granite Design has some clever stash tools to make that storage clean and simple. Their steerer tube and handlebar based tools are well designed for trailside repairs, and they don’t require any voided warranties to install. With their tire plug under one grip, chain breaker under the other, and multi tool mounted in the steere, there’s little left to strap to the bike. Their new Stash RCX tool works with carbon steerer tubes for all of your gravel bike adventures.
Silca Viaggio Travel Pump
The Silca Viaggio travel pump is the ultimate take-anywhere pump. The pump handle is removable for a slim profile and the legs are collapsible. The Viaggio comes tucked in a giant tool wrap, with pockets for the handle and anything else riders want to bring along, like wrenches or tire levers. This pump is also Bluetooth-enabled. Download the app, start pumping, and see the tire pressure on the phone’s screen. While pricey, the Viaggio can easily be used as anyone’s one and only pump as it’s got a solid amount of air volume with each push.
Stans NoTubes Dart Tool
It’s science! Mountain bikers are big fans of the magic that is tubeless tire sealant, but even the thickest goo can’t fill every hole. For larger punctures and slices, a tire plug often does the trick, but even that is just a mechanical kludge. So Stans took things a step further and developed the Dart Tool and plug system, with plugs that form a chemical bond with the sealant and tire for a more permanent fix.
The tool itself is compact and easily packable. Two plugs are included with purchase of the tool, and refills are available for purchase as well. Unlike most bike tire plugs, DART plugs don’t need to be trimmed after insertion allowing plugged tires to continue rolling smooth and true.
Goal Zero Nomad 10 Solar Panel
Escaping to the great outdoors can recharge your body and mind. And reality is we can hardly survive without our devices and mobile phones. This handy solar panel can recharge your small devices on a weekend getaway when you’re going off the grid, but want the security of having back-up power for a phone, GPS, light.
Buy from REI.com