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This is the mountain bike of the future. Shimano’s new XTR Di2 mountain-bike drivetrain is the best drivetrain that’s ever hit the dirt. The Spark 700 Ultimate Di2 also features electronically controlled Fox suspension. With the push of a small button on the handlebars, the electronically controlled dampers in the iCTD fork and eNude rear shock cycle through three geometry, travel, and stiffness settings, altering the mannerisms of the Spark to suit the terrain.
It’s the fabric dreams are made of. Completely waterproof, truly breathable, burly as a hardshell with the stretch of spandex. It’s also one of the most expensive fabrics ever utilized in a consumer jacket. The real secret is the LAB’s reversible design. Ride with the dazzling silver side out and it reflects the sun’s heat; reverse the jacket and the black material soaks up its rays. Only 10 LAB jackets exist, each individually numbered. But if you miss out on the LAB, the Japanese company’s German collaborators, Polychrome, make something that is nearly identical, in higher numbers. The Polychrome version, though, will set you back closer to $1,000.
Light, stretchy, highly abrasion-resistant fabrics combine with perfect tailoring for baggie short nirvana. The A/M shorts sit just above the knee, the perfect length for all-day pedaling comfort. Carefully placed venting, an adjustable waist, and that amazing fabric make these a must-have for singletrack lovers.
Technically, this isn’t a standalone jersey, but after years of testing it’s turned into one for us. It’s as soft as a kitten’s belly and as durable as a rhinoceros. The details are clever, too: Stitching on the shoulders is moved back to prevent rubbing when used with a pack. $85 for a base layer is steep, but for one that’s actually better than most standalone jerseys we’ve worn, it’s a bargain.