Improving rider safety has been a hot topic lately, a brands compete to provide better protection from injury.

That competition is great for riders. There’s never been more, or better options for helmets, lights, and other protective apparel to choose from. At the same time, improvements in storage options are great for short rides, or for getting well “out there” into the backcountry on your next bike packing adventure. Here’s some of the standouts from Sea Otter 2019 in Monterrey, California.

Smith drops new helmet and bright Sunburst option

Smith had its full line of helmets at Sea Otter in an eye-catching, limited edition Sunburst colourway that looked very ready for the summer heat. The Forefront 2 offers more protection, while the new Trace will suit XC racers and roadies alike. For more on the Forefront 2, check out our video review of Smith’s new helmet.
RELATED: Enter to win a pair of Smith Reverb and Smith Lowdown 2 sunglasses

Lazer sets its sights on the trail

Lazer is well established in the road bike market, but the company has clearly done its research for the new Impala mountain bike lid. MIPS protection, an adjustable visor, Lazer’s ATS fit adjustment system, and a novel breakaway GoPro mount are just some features, along with a range of clean colour options. The Impala has 22 vents to keep you cool, lightweight straps, tougher material around the brim to keep the helmet safe, as well as a space to attach a rear light for the ride home.

EVOC – Race light hips and mini-packs

EVOC has been around for 10 years as a company, and now produces a wide range of innovative bags and storage options for cyclists, as well as for winter sports. At Sea Otter, EVOC followed up it’s Danny MaCaskill designed Neo bag with some smaller options with attention to detail. Every good rider knows the key to staying on trail at speed is all in the hips. EVOC’s lightweight enduro race belt will keep your hips free to move during your next race run, while holding enough snacks to refuel for longer rides.

Ortlieb Atrack bikepacking backpack and stealth bags

The venerable German pannier producer has been making bike packing gear for four years now. The German facility, which produces almost all of its materials and bags completely in house (buckles come from a partner company that is all the way from across the street), as it has for 30 years now.

Extending the bike packing line. Including a new, lightweight version of its Atrak bag, using lighter fabrics and with optional attachments for various styles of helmet, and lighter waist straps to help prevent chafing. For riders that want weight off the bike, it’s a unique approach to a bag, no matter what your outdoor pursuit. The bag opens along the spine, using a clever waterproof system. Easy access pockets on the side keep what you need within reach, while the main pocket remains clean and safe. The design lets you put the bag down without clogging the zipper or getting much on the shoulder straps. Ortlieb’s Atrack comes in 25, 35, and 45L options.

Dakine keeps you organized on the road

Dakine had more than the Aggy edition gear on display. It’s travel duffel opens into a wide, divided space to organize your gear, helmet and other essentials for a weekend or riding. There’s separate pockets for pedals, muddy shoes, and even a fold out changing pad to stand on to keep your feet clean when you need to get your gear off quick at the trail head.

Knog gets lit

Knog is expanding its light options with the PWR and Cobber light systems. The PWR is an adjustable ranges, available in options up to 2000 lumens. The line features interchangeable batteries, which can be removed easily for charging, or to use as an extra power source while out in the back country. The Cobber focuses on visibility, offering 330-degree coverage to keep you safe from vehicles approaching from the side, not just from behind. The Cobber comes in three sizes, and in a front or rear light. Knog’s stepped up bike light will be available in singles, or as a front/rear pair.

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