In April, Shimano annouced its new Deore XT M8000 groupset (1, parts range from $50 to $850, shimano.ca). Highlights of the Japan-based company’s second-tier mountain bike line is the addition of a single-chainring crank and a side-swing front derailleur. Both the XT XC pedals and trail pedals have more contact area, which makes them more efficient. Ahead of the new Star Wars film, Bell released helmets inspired by the sci-fi series. An enduro rider can shred for the Empire sporting a Super 2R MIPS-equipped Stormtropper Limited Edition helmet (2, $400, ogc.ca). The chin bar can be removed when riding less technical trails. The iXS Kronos Evo XC/AM helmet (3, $140, livetoplaysports.com) has 24 vents to keep a rider cool and weighs in at roughly 290 g.
The mechanical Contact SL Switch Remote dropper post by Giant (4, $300, giant-bicycles.com) is easy to install, even with its stealth routing. The remote works well when it’s time to get the saddle out of the way and to bring it back up. The Specialized Recon Mixed Terrain shoes (5, $250, specialized.com) are a nice mix of old and new. The synthetic leather upper and laces provide a retro style. The carbon sole keeps things stiff for excellent power transfer. To keep the multi-tool out of the pack and out of the pockets, Specialized has the Zee Cage II (6, $75, specialized.com), which holds five Allen keys, one T25 Torx and one slot screwdriver beneath the water bottle.