BUYER’S GUIDE 2015
The Mountain Bike Action staff is constantly testing products from around the industry to bring our readers the best pos- sible product information. We rate every product that adorns
our test bikes with a one- to five-star rating, and we are notori-
THE FIVE-STAR ROUNDUP
BEST GEAR FROM THE YEAR
ously stingy with our prestigious five-star mark, which, according to
our legend, denotes “perfection.” These are a few of our products
that have tripped the trigger and earned the highest marks from
the Mountain Bike Action wrecking crew.
CANE CREEK DOUBLE BARREL CS
We bolted the shock to our Specialized Enduro and set the
adjusters to the recommended settings, made easy by the included “Field Tuning” guide, and hit the trails.
Right away we noticed that the damping on this shock is powerful, meaning the rider can run a slightly lower air pressure than
expected and allow the compression damper to support the rider
weight. After our first ride, we actually decreased the pressure
and increased our sag measurement from our typical 25–30
percent all the way to 40 percent. With most shocks, this would
create a “hammocky” feeling suspension. Not so with the Double
Barrel. Our softer setup allowed us to work the FSR suspension of
the Enduro hard, and since the air spring of this shock is naturally
progressive, we rarely experienced harsh bottoming.
The wrecking crew has had great success testing Cane Creek
shocks in the past. The tremendous range of adjustability puts
them in a league of their own when it comes to finding that
perfect finely tuned ride. Our only complaint with the previous
generations has been a lack of on-the-fly adjustments for rapidly
changing trail conditions. When Cane Creek set out to improve on
their five-star Double Barrel shock, we were skeptical. However,
after riding the CS version, we found that it takes the best
features of the old shock and makes it more user-friendly and
adaptable to a wider variety of trails. What else can we say?
This is a serious shock.
6D ATB-1 HELMET
According to the designers at 6D, helmet technology has
become stagnant. The traditional, single-density, EPS foam helmets that have been around for years do a fine job of protecting
our gray matter from catastrophic big impacts by crushing and
absorbing forces, allowing our heads to decelerate more slowly
during those critical split seconds. Unfortunately, though, it takes
a pretty sizable impact to crush the EPS foam and have it do any
good. The designers at 6D looked at this problem and simply
weren’t satisfied with the current technology. This became their
challenge and goal: to develop a revolutionary helmet that could
manage the forces from all impacts—large and small—and
reduce the energy transfer to the brain.
The construction quality of the ATB-1 is second to none, and
the helmet is ultra comfortable on the trail to the point where test
riders rarely felt the need to remove the helmet, even between
runs, something that few other helmets can claim. The Coolmax
dual-density liner fits like a glove, and the large air vents deliver
increased airflow, as well as those on any other helmet we’ve
tested. While the nearly 3-pound helmet is heavier than most, test
riders appreciated the dialed and contoured feel of the helmet so
much that they didn’t mind the extra weight. Bottom line: this is
a serious helmet that uses comfort to carry its weight well. While
$725 is a hefty price tag, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another
helmet that offers this many well-executed features.