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Specialized kitbag

All the gear - high performance helmets, protection, clothing and footwear

Georgia from Specialized UK visited us last week and was armed with a bunch of kit to test, as well as a bike that we can’t (as yet) talk aboutTHE new kenevo e-bike

Words: Sean White Images: Steve Jones

SPECIALIZED CLOTHING AND KIT:

It’s easy to think that Specialized has a focus mainly on bikes. There are some incredibly well sorted bikes in their range and machines such as the Enduro 29, Demo 8 and Turbo Levo have featured in the 2017 Dirt 100. The Specialized tyres score highly too and are priced well in comparison to equivalent brands. Although sticking mostly with the proven FSR suspension system for many years, the Specialized design team are constantly innovating. They have worked closely with Ohlins suspension, developed an in-house dropper seatpost (The Command post) and the S.W.A.T box down tube stealth storage system which we’ve found invaluable. There is attention to detail and clever design touches on plenty of this brand’s products.

And so it is with their clothing, helmets and footwear range. We featured the development process of the revised 2018 2FO flat pedal shoes recently and have been fans of their clothing too. The Enduro/Andorra Comp shorts scored a Dirt 100 spot this year and editor Steve Jones swears by the S.W.A.T storage bib shorts. Great fit, quality fabrics and constant development has lead to some really top class garments and kit. Sure, the brand doesn’t have the ‘moto’ heritage of Fox, Troy Lee Designs and Alpinestars but it certainly is loaded with high performance options. We take a look at a snapshot from the current Specialized range – from head to feet.

brand highlight: AMBUSH HELMETS

As a long standing helmet manufacturer since the early 90s (possibly longer, we need to check our facts…) Specialized has plenty of experience here. And it shows in the two top all-mountain style helmets in their current range. The Ambush has been about for a few years and is now joined by a cheaper model – the Ambush Comp.

Both of these helmets have a similar look. Deep coverage, plenty of ventilation and a visor with loads of adjustment (allowing googles to be parked beneath) are a good start. Stability of a bulkier helmet offering more protection is taken care of with Specialized’s Mindset 360 retention system. It is a less refined system on the cheaper Comp model which also uses a single density EPS shell. The finish of the more expensive Ambush is better with less exposed EPS giving more durability. There are three size options for a good fit. Some distinctive colours too…

PRICE: Ambush: £115  Ambush Comp: £85

ATLAS KNEEPADS

A new one to us – we’ve not had any of these through to test as they have gone under our radar when it comes to armour and limb protection. Lightweight and close fitting, the Atlas kneepads are definitely for trail riding and nothing more ambitious. They are like a lightweight kneewarmer, with some carefully placed anti-shock foam padding. The Atlas knee pads will protect you from abrasion and minor impacts but you’ll need a pad with more armour for higher speed riding at bike parks or for enduro racing. They fit well, seem to stay in place and with five size options should cover most height riders. A touch more protection that the RaceFace Charge pads and certainly worth a look for many riders.

PRICE: £60

LODOWN AND ENDURO GLOVES

At Dirt HQ we like low bulk gloves with a lightweight construction and a simple palm. They need to go the distance though and we see plenty that fall apart within a few weeks. Here we have two glove options from Specialized, both have simple vented palms, pull-on cuffs and fuss-free designs. The Enduro glove has more protection on the knuckles, a touch more detailing and pre-curved fingers/thumbs. The LoDown gloves are half the price and look an absolute bargain. We’re keen to thrash these and see how they hold up. Will they knock the Dainese Driftec gloves out of the next Dirt 100?

PRICE: LoDown: £20  Enduro: £40

2FO FOOTWEAR

As with helmets, Specialized has had a footwear range for over twenty years. The recent 2FO (Foot Out Flat Out) has hit the spot for many riders. The 2017 2FO flat pedal shoe has been a pick in the Dirt 100 and the 2018 model photographed here has seen plenty of improvements to an already excellent design. It should be here in the UK this autumn.

If you ‘clip in’ then the 2FO Cliplite Lace looks a decent option at £100. Robustly constructed yet not too bulky this shoe should offer good ‘off the bike’ traction with a suitably stiff (but not too stiff) midsole. A reliable lace construction although not the best in the mud is reliable, easy to adjust and cheap to replace. Ankle padding and toebox protection is all there making this a definite contender for all round trail riding.

PRICE: CLIPLITE LACE: £100  2018 2FO FLAT: £100 (1.0) £130 (2.0)

specialized.com

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