Liked a comment on the item Tested: Novatec Factor 327 Wheelset 11/28/2015 10:43 AM

It's in the works!

Liked a comment on the item Tested: Leatt 3DF Hybrid Knee Pad 11/23/2015 3:28 PM

I would like to see a comparative, scientific test of the different types of protective foam on the market.
Personally, I do not believe in 3DF foam...

Liked a comment on the item The Sam Hill Interview | Post-Season 11/17/2015 12:16 PM

you should ask Sam what rooting means in Australia could be different from where ever your from

Added a product review for Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe 11/14/2015 1:28 PM

Tested: Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoes


The Good:

The Bad:


Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos by AJ Barlas // Action Photos by Steve Li

Specialized first launched their 2FO range of shoes mid 2014 and their clip model has since made its way onto many a riders foot; from world cup downhillers to the regular Joey. They’re a very good shoe with a number of qualities that set them apart from other more casual styled clip shoes. Specialized weren’t prepared to stop there though and less than 12 months later they released the 2FO Cliplite; a shoe that’s aesthetics blend those of the more casual, skate styled shoe (like the regular 2FO), with the more performance driven stylings similar to XC or road shoes.

The 2FO Cliplite is targeted toward the enduro racing and trail riding audience. Specialized’s goal was to create a lighter shoe that still offers ample protection, comfort, and high performance. We’ve been ripping about in them for the summer to find out if they hit those marks.

2FO Cliplite Shoe Highlights

  • Body Geometry sole construction
  • Landing Strip cleat pocket
  • Two independent Boa S2 snap dials
  • SlipNot rubber sole
  • Asymmetric toe box protection
  • Extended length cleat slot (4mm) for rearward cleat set up option
  • Smooth thermo bonded upper for lightweight durability and a snag-free profile
  • Cushioned EVA midsole for comfort with molded heel cup for stability
  • Standard fit last for a balance of pedal feel and off-bike comfort
  • Approximate weight: 379g (1/2 pair, size 42)
  • MSRP: $180 US

Initial Impressions

Up until receiving the 2FO Cliplite for review we had not laid eyes on them anywhere. We had absolutely no idea what sort of shoe we were about to get ourselves into, making it a little nerve-racking given that this reviewer generally prefers to wear the more casual soled and designed shoes on the market. Pulling them out of the box we were pleasantly surprised, though perhaps we shouldn’t have been, given that these carry the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) moniker.

The 2FO Cliplite looks to be the child of the popular 2FO and a pair of XC slippers, pulling in aesthetics and comfort qualities of the skate inspired with the performance of the stiff soled, weight weenies. The materials felt great, with a full rubber sole and lightweight, weather resistant, thermo-bonded uppers. The uppers also include a breathable mesh to keep them more than bearable during those hot rides and the thermo-bonded construction results in a sleek looking shoe.

Inside the Cliplite is comfortable, though is a close, performance fit. They really hug onto your foot, in part thanks to the close fit, but also a result of the molded heel cup. The two independent Boa dials allow for micro-adjustability and a somewhat customizable fit (as oppose to shoes where the Boa all ties into a single dial), while the velcro strap at the top of the toe box is there if you need to adjust the front of the shoe. Despite this close fit, we have found them to be true to size (we had to go up half to a full size with the 2FO).

Walking around in the 2FO Cliplite for the first time we noticed that the soles were stiffer than what we are used to, though there was some flex there. The standard last and rubber sole made them pretty comfortable to walk about on the flat floors and up and down stairs, but how it would feel on the trail remained to be seen. It is worth noting that Specialized also provide a service to get the most out of the footbeds, tailoring them to the individuals sole. We never checked out this great customizability, as the standard setup felt great with our feet from the get-go, and only improved as they wore in.

On The Trail

Our first ride in the 2FO Cliplites was a little awkward. The alignment that the Body Geometry sole construction employed on our knees left us feeling a little out of shape at first, which could have meant that either our previous shoes were not doing too much to help our joints, or these were going too far. After a couple of rides this alignment went unnoticed and eventually stepping back into any other riding shoe felt uncomfortable. Couple this with the comfort despite length of ride in the Cliplites, and we’re pretty confident in the Body Geometry system. Some may think this is not of much importance, but for riders that spend a lot of time on their bikes, it is important to take care of the parts that help us ride, namely our ankles, knees and hips. Riding for longer and in more comfort, day after day, is only a good thing.

The performance fit of the Cliplites very quickly became a favorite, with a lot of feel through the pedals and quick reaction to movements in order to steer the bike. The stiffer sole meant that when getting on the gas there was a quicker response, making it a little like cheating after coming from a softer soled shoe. That stiffness never translated to discomfort on the bike, or a dead feeling through the sole, an important attribute when considering the style of riding that this shoe is aimed at as well as the situations and terrain that this riding puts riders in. Despite that stiffer sole the Cliplite grants ample feeling, allowing riders to feel comfortable, no matter what the terrain or sketchy riding techniques result in.

We should mention that we paired the Cliplite with a set of Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals. We found the interface between the two to be excellent, with the rubber sole and depth of the cleat pocket providing us with plenty of contact. They felt a lot like riding in flat pedals, a sensation that we really like. Despite feeling so locked with this much connectivity, it was still easy to clip out and in, especially once we had broken in the shoe. The cleat pocket on these shoes is also quite far back, allowing for prime position of the foot—the same position as that of flat pedals—aiding with the aggressive riding that the shoe is likely to see.

The shoe also features some great toe protection, with a properly formed toe box constructed with a firmer material that resists impacts. Having broken a number of toes on the bike, one as recently as this spring, the inclusion of a proper toe box was highly welcomed on the trail. Don’t get us wrong, if you ram your foot into something it’s still going to hurt, but it should at least prevent breaking your little piggies. There is also protection around the heel and it forms part of the shoes heel cup, but from a protection point of view there’s nothing too unique at this end.

Things That Could Be Improved

Walking about on the trails we noticed that the stiff sole was a little on the uncomfortable side. Hiking sections is not as easy as it is in the original 2FO, with the lack of flex through the front of the shoe resulting in a bit of slipping about. We also found that the closer fit and stiffer shoe made it easy to roll the foot if treading on uneven ground. Something to bare in mind, but not a reason to ignore these kicks.

In addition to the above, we never found the velcro strap across the top of the toe box to be of any real use. Generally speaking, this reviewer has a narrower foot and usually can make use of adjustments like this, but not with the Cliplite shoes. We’re unsure if there is really much need for this piece, but from an appearance perspective, they would sure look strange if there was nothing there. Regardless, we found these straps pretty useless in our review.

Long Term Durability

After a summer of riding in the 2FO Cliplite shoes we have nothing to complain about regarding durability. The sole only has minor wear from our pedal pins—less than previous experiences—and they still grip the pins to this day, while the exterior of the shoe fends off abrasions like a champ. Our Cliplites broke in almost perfectly and can be worn for days on the bike yet remain comfortable and responsive.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Specialized have released one heck of a shoe in the 2FO Cliplite. We have found them to transfer energy, while balancing very well with comfort and feel. Regardless of weather, conditions, or length of ride, not once have we experienced any hotspots or foot fatigue/aches when riding in these shoes. It’s true that hiking sections of trail in the Cliplites is not the most comfortable, but if the plan is to ride and put in miles, they’ll have your back without making it known they’re there. They’re close fit is great and despite the tight quarters, they remain very comfortable.

Although typically not a shoe that we would look to, the 2FO Cliplite has become our go to footwear when riding clips. They’re comfortable, supportive, protect very well, and endure the elements. We’ve found them quick and easy to adjust on the trail and they mate very well with our pedals. If you’re an aggressive trail rider seeking a new pair of clip riding shoes, the Specialized 2FO Cliplite is a shoe that has to be considered.

For more on the Specialized 2FO Cliplite, visit

About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.

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Added a product review for Acre Traverse Short 11/9/2015 2:26 PM

Tested: Acre Traverse Short


The Good:

The Bad:


Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Steve Li

Acre - a brand that focuses on the minimalistic, functional side of products and less on meaningless marketing slogans - has been steadily building a network in the cycling industry for a number of years now. Their products are aimed at getting riders to the great outdoors with only what is needed, because more than this often results in things going wrong. Whether going on a multi-day trek or just a quick power hour rip, no-one needs the hassle of garments getting in the way.

The Acre Traverse short is a prime example of their mantra. This super minimalist short is all about getting the job done without making itself known, and it doesn’t feature any of the unnecessary bells and whistles that some of the competition feature on their garments. These are not a cheap pair of shorts though, coming in at the upper range of the scale for what’s available, though to the naked eye they look a lot simpler than some of the competition. So is the price tag worth paying, and are the nominal features too few for general riding? We’ve been ripping about in a pair for the better part of the summer to find out.

Traverse Short Highlights

  • Side cargo pockets
  • Custom anodized aluminum belt adjustment designed by Mission Workshop
  • Integrated waist belt, and gussted inseam
  • 140 g/sm American-made stretch nylon fabric
  • Heavy-duty Prym Snaps and YKK zipper front closure
  • MSRP: $165 US

Initial Impressions

When we first took the Acre Traverse short out of the packaging we were impressed by their construction. Everything about these shorts shouts top shelf, from the custom anodized aluminum hardware to the tough, but flexible nylon fabrics. We were initially stumped that there were no pockets, when in fact they are so stealth we simply didn’t notice them.

The integrated belt is something that we have not used before and is an interesting feature. Its construction is high quality and the integration into the rear, left side allowed for single handed adjustment with ease. The leg opening has an integrated slit on the outer portion to make for a comfortable fit with pads, but allow the short to keep a more tailored fit when a rider is not wearing any knee protection.

When first fitting the short we were happy to find them to be comfortable and remain so through a range of motions. The stretch fabric moved freely, while the pattern gave them a more fitted appearance, something that we hoped would work well alongside the stretch in order to keep them comfortable out on the trail while remaining out of the way, preventing them from catching on anything.

On The Trail

Out on the bike we were pleasantly surprised to find that the tailored fit kept the shorts away from any hazardous situations with the seat or bars. This allowed for us to get on with it when the going got rough and not come unstuck with the shorts flexible material snagging and sending us off the bike. That same 4-way stretch material also allowed for an ease of movement and comfort that was welcomed every time we got on the trails.

We’ve been riding with a small pair of trail specific knee pads for the majority of the summer and the shorts were just as comfortable with them as they were without - testament to the flexible construction and the small slits in the opening of the short leg. The shorts also remained comfortable on the trail whether sweating like a pig, or getting wet from the heavens above. They won’t keep you dry, so don’t expect that, but they do resist soaking up the water like a sponge, which in turn helps keep them lighter than some others when things get moist.

The Acre Traverse short does not come with a chamois, something that a lot of others in this price bracket do come with and a feature to consider. The combination of the shorts cut, materials, and simplicity made them quite comfortable, whether on a short or long ride, which is something that some are willing to pay extra for. During our time in them we never felt we needed something that wasn’t a part of the short’s design and the two cargo pockets were plenty for us.

Things That Could Be Improved

Personally, we like a little more give in the adjustment pieces of our shorts and while the integrated belt is very nice, feel it would be of benefit to have a flexible portion (something with some elasticity), allowing for more flexibility and the possibility of a more waist hugging fit.

We also found that the cargo pockets, while nice, were not as well thought out as the ergonomic pockets on some shorts available today. Anyone that has used shorts with a more ergonomically designed pocket can attest for their ease of access when seated on the bike. They also make for much less risk of losing items while you fish around in your pockets when sitting at a trail junction.

Long Term Durability

After the majority of the summer and fall riding in the Acre Traverse we have little in the way of problems. After a wash they come out looking like the day we received them, with no loose seams, fraying threads or anything of the sort. We have had a number or small crashes in them and they came out without any signs of it. Nothing but good things for the durability of this short, despite the lightweight materials used in their construction.

What's The Bottom Line?

We feel that the Acre Traverse short is for the person that doesn’t mind paying for an item that is a little more unique and isn’t overly concerned with value. This rider is interested in the details and possibly looking for something a little more ‘dressy’ - if there is such a thing in mtb - than what the rest of the pack offers. While these shorts don’t come with a chamois and will require riders straddle the top tube, or dismount completely in order to easily access items stowed in the cargo pockets, they can be worn comfortably in a semi-casual setting without looking like a dirtbag, just as well as they can stand up to hours and hours of trail abuse.

The Acre Traverse short is a comfortable, high quality pair of riding shorts. Of course with that high quality comes a higher price tag, but with the way they are wearing (as in, there is none) it begs the question of whether you get what you pay for? In this instance it would appear so, though we still feel there are greater value items available that also include things like a chamois and ergonomically positioned pockets, something we feel is sorely missed on an otherwise well designed, detail oriented pair of shorts.

For more on the Acre Traverse Short, visit

About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.

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Added a product review for Specialized SWAT Pro Bib 10/29/2015 2:40 PM

Tested: Specialized SWAT Pro Bib Liner


The Good:

The Bad:


Review by AJ Barlas

Back in 2014, Specialized released a product that caused a little of a stir in the mountain bike world. The release of the first SWAT bib seemed to pit those that don’t have an issue with wearing a pack up against those that dislike packs—unintentionally. Those that choose not to wear a pack were generally excited to have a way of stowing some spares and food, while the backpackers just didn’t see the point…

A year or so later and Specialized, as well as a number of other brands, have released more apparel capable of holding extra’s and freeing up the rider. It seems that there is a demand for this in the industry, but how do you improve on what is typically a pretty straight forward item—after all, they’re really just a bib short liner with some pockets. We’ve been riding in the Specialized SWAT Pro Bib for the summer to find out.

SWAT Pro Bib Liner Highlights

  • VaporRize moisture transfer knit fabrics
  • Eight SWAT integrated pockets, patent-pending construction
  • Fold-over leg cuff
  • Body Geometry Pro Mountain Chamois
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • MSRP: $150 USD

Initial Impressions

Our initial thoughts of the updated SWAT bib were conflicted. The construction of the new bib was on point—top shelf, but with it being the start of the summer, we were more than a little surprised to find that the construction of this newer bib was of the more traditional variety, right up to the shoulder straps, where construction materials chosen reflected the original garments mesh fabric. Despite the moisture wicking claims of the Pro Bib’s VaporRize transfer knit fabrics, we were concerned with how hot this bib would get in the warmer temperatures compared to that of its predecessor.

The material at the back of the updated Pro bib is dispersed differently and although this is of the lighter mesh material used in the original SWAT, thoughts of this adding to the heat generated while wearing the garment were also a little concerning. The pockets on the SWAT Pro appeared very similar to the original on first inspection, with the addition of a zippered area above the right pocket. This and two stash points on the shoulder straps brings the total pockets to eight (compared to five on the original) and the side pockets are slightly wider on this version. The chamois has been updated and appeared to be more padded than the original during our initial inspection, and enclosures to stow the pant loops in are a nice finishing touch.

Aside from these relatively minor updates, the SWAT Pro Bib isn’t an awful lot different than the first version and when it comes down to it, there are really only a couple of things the SWAT Pro Bib needs to do to make us happy, hold our extras securely and be comfortable to wear on reasonable length rides.

On The Trail

On the trail the changes to the chamois were immediately apparent, with the new version providing a little more padding without feeling like a larger nappy had just been put on. This was one of the only negative claims that we had heard against the original SWAT bib, so for those that felt the old one was not as comfortable as it could have been, give the new version a look.

The second thing that we noticed on the trail was that the position of the pockets had changed a little. We initially thought that the pockets had been moved up the back, but upon closer inspection the pockets had actually been made deeper. This made it trickier to access the contents in the pockets, or to get things in there to begin with. When riding we didn’t loose anything out of these, though we hadn’t personally with the old version, so long as items were placed properly in them. The taller pockets did seem to hold longer items (like a bottle) closer to the body when leant over the bars. This resulted in less of a hump and we didn’t find our jerseys getting blown off and uncovering the items stowed with the new bib—something that would happen a little with the older version.

Our concerns over the breathability of the SWAT Pro were warranted, and we found that on days where temperatures rose above the mid 20’s (celsius), the bib began to get uncomfortably warm. Often on these days we could make do with the old, predominantly mesh version of the SWAT bib, but generally when temps got well into the 30’s it was back to regular short liners for us. If we were going to go for a longer ride we still preferred to reach for the SWAT rather than a pack, with the SWAT still considerably cooler and more comfortable than having a clammy back after 10 minutes and something swinging about when riding. This does come down to personal preference though, and this tester is all about systems that enable us to ride comfortably—that means going without a pack whenever possible.

The additional three pockets that the SWAT Pro has over it’s earlier incarnation are the zippered pocket on the back, something that we never really used thanks to the difficulty accessing it, and a little slider stash pocket on each of the shoulder straps. We didn’t really find much use for these extra pockets, and would only really use them for small, soft items, like perhaps a pack of shot blocks. The different design of the back piece kept everything stable and we don’t feel added to the additional warmth felt in the SWAT Pro. For anyone that has stretched out their old SWAT bib, this should also result in the back remaining in shape for longer, given the additional reinforcement in the design.

Things That Could Be Improved

We really like the new SWAT Pro Bib, but would love to see the updates made to this only while keeping the VaporRize moisture transfer mesh from the original, so that we could wear it more often throughout the summer. One could argue that the extra pockets are unnecessary, but they’re there for those that want and if you don’t use them they go unnoticed, so why not.

The price of the new bib has also increased fairly substantially ($150 vs $90). Generally speaking, chamois that have increased comfort cost a considerable amount more, and the SWAT Pro chamois definitely does a better job of this. Whether that is a worthwhile cost is up to the consumer, but know that these are more pleasant to sit in for hours on end than the original (and this tester was fine in the old one).

Long Term Durability

The construction of the SWAT Pro bib is great. After a summer of ripping them on and off, throwing them through the wash and yanking at the pockets, all the threads and seams remain fully intact and the bib has kept its shape.

What's The Bottom Line?

The current selection of SWAT styled undergarments is growing and while it may not be for everyone, those that are looking to carry spares, food, or other items without a pack should be happy to see this. Specialized may not have been the initial brand to market this style of garment, but they produced the first one that was easily accessible and at a reasonable price. The updates with the SWAT Pro bib are minor and to be honest, it’s hard to know if the $60 difference in price is worthwhile. Then again, it’s a great, comfortable bib, that can do more than just cushion a riders sensitive parts and when you consider that many bibs can cost this or more, without the storage component, then it’s a no brainer where to put the money.

If you’re a rider looking to update their current bib or you’re seeking a different way to carry some extra items and you’re open to storing them on you, then the SWAT Pro bib is definitely worth your attention. At $150, it’s a good chunk more than the original, but with that being a somewhat average price for decent bibs without storage, the SWAT Pro becomes more appealing.

For more details, visit

About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.

This product has no reviews yet

Liked a comment on the item WANTED: RAMPAGE REPORTER 9/29/2015 8:41 PM

Wanted: unpaid intern to produce free social media content?

Added a comment about photo Myles Rockwell's 2000 World Cup Bike 9/17/2015 11:07 PM

Yes! So sick. Would love an old ATX on the wall.

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This photo has 3 comments.

Liked a comment on the item OutBraker Hydraulic Disc Brake Device 9/16/2015 11:39 PM

How about teaching skills to riders instead of creating more future landfill? This is absolute rubbish. If you can't modulate your brakes, practice practice practice.

Added a comment about feature 12 WTF's from Outdoor Demo - Interbike 2015 9/16/2015 11:24 PM

Bwahahaha, too good!

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This feature has 18 comments.

Added reply in a thread Screw, Marry, Kill - 3 World Champs Bikes 9/2/2015 6:16 PM

Demo: Screw / Gambler: Kill / Nukeproof: Marry. #itscomplicated

Added a comment about news blog 2015 Industry World Champs - September 2 at 6pm, Vallnord 9/1/2015 8:55 PM

Yes! Can't wait for this. #moarentertainment

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Liked a comment on the item 2016 Giro Truant MTB Gear 9/1/2015 8:52 PM

What i would like to see is a few different inseam options at given sizes. Most shorts in XL or are a bit short for me, yet my waist demands an M...

Liked a comment on the item First Look: Yeti Cycles SB4.5c 8/26/2015 11:28 AM

I knew I should have put a in there

Liked a comment on the item First Look, First Ride: Cane Creek Double Barrel Coil Shock with Climb Switch 8/24/2015 11:52 PM

They are already working on it. Actually they announced before CC announced this. Looks like switching back to coil is the new trend now. Soon Enduro bikes will be 180mm and be called "freeride" bikes. Wups.

Liked a comment on the item OneUp Components' Simple, Yet Clever New Chainguide 8/24/2015 9:06 PM

Yes, exactly the same except for the cheaper, smaller, simpler and lighter part

Added a comment to ardor's bike check 8/23/2015 10:02 AM

Dunno, sorry. I build our bikes with the parts we want for the riding they'll need to endure.

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This setup has 5 comments.

Updated bike check The Wife's Evil Following 8/22/2015 10:07 AM
Liked a comment on the item The Wife's Evil Following 8/21/2015 10:11 PM

Bonus points for the Easton pedals!

Added a comment to ardor's bike check 8/21/2015 1:32 PM

This setup has 5 comments.