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Any fan of motocross or BMX racing is probably familiar with Fly Racing apparel and protective gear. Nearly 20-years ago, the brand was born out of Western Power Sports distribution with the introduction of a moto handlebar and helmet. 13-years ago, Fly entered the BMX race scene. The brand has continued to expand and develop new products and made a push into MTB in the mid-2000’s. This was my first experience with the brand. I had some DH-racing friends who ran their gear. Fly was basically promoting their BMX and moto gear to those racing the clock on DH bikes. Fly's products worked well enough for DH racing, but was relatively mid-spectrum in terms of performance and styling. Fast-forward to the present and Fly’s MTB-specific transformation is quite impressive and a far cry from re-purposed moto clothing.

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Fly invited MTB media and dealers to their 258,000 square-foot Western Power Sports headquarters in Boise, Idaho, for a tour of the facility and a look into their operation. For the logistics geek, the operation is beyond-fascinating. Western Power Sports, founded in 1960, currently distributes 120,000 different products with five warehouses and 400 employees across the U.S. The tour of the shipping/receiving zone of the Boise headquarters was like getting a tour of Santa’s gearhead workshop with endless 3-story shelves full of helmets, springs, tires and everything in between. Listening to WPS owner, Craig Shoemaker discuss how the entire system works was mind-blowing. Adding, removing or transporting any one of the 120,000 products is built on a system of tweaks and edits down to inches and milliseconds, making the environment as efficient as possible.

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Among the 400-employee WPS staff, is a crew of core mountain bikers at the Boise location. They spend their time on the singletrack, just like you and I do and are the genesis of Fly’s MTB transformation. The diversity among the riding employees at Fly is as real as it gets. There are the young bucks on top-of-the-line carbon enduro steeds hucking the jumps and gaps, and there are  the big-mile-logging employees on 7-year old bikes clocking serious saddle time. While some of Fly's moto and BMX gear will work for the DH crowd, it doesn’t meet the requirements of the trail rider and Fly’s core insiders, most with years of previous experience in the cycling industry, understand this personally. Over the past few years, they've used their resources and time in the saddle to develop Fly’s 2015 MTB product line-up which features 16 new products, well-suited for the trail rider, both male and female alike.

Neal Strobel putting Fly gear to the test at the Oregon Enduro Series finals in Mount Hood. photo Dennis Yuroshek

Vital has already had some time in the dirt with the new Fly gear. We’ve been impressed with the Super D short, the Freestone helmet and Ripa Convert jersey. These products and the other new pieces in the line use materials and have design features that are a necessity for the modern trail rider. The variety of colors and styles are wide, so riders can choose to be timeless and stealth or on-trend and bright. Additionally, Fly has embraced women-specific apparel with multiple product offerings critically designed for the female shredder.

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What’s really impressive about the majority of Fly’s product line is the pricing. Their goal is to provide quality, feature-filled apparel and protective gear and they achieve this with a lower-than-expected price tag on many offerings. Just cruise their product line to see for yourself. Getting our hands on each of the new pieces during the tour, it was clear that materials, design features and construction are on par with any other major player, while the retail prices were surprisingly affordable. My perception of Fly (which hadn’t changed much since 2007) was drastically altered. Meeting the people behind the product and seeing their focus on functional, trail-specific MTB gear was insightful. The development of product came from the small handful of true riders within the bigger WPS operation, and they’ve created a line up worthy of attention.

The Fly Freestone helmet I used on my ride with Garmin Virb camera capturing the trail.

The Fly experience concluded with a group ride in the mountains outside of town on some classic Boise singletrack. We shuttled up to the the local ski area called Bogus Basin and wound our way down a ribbon of twisty singletrack for a fantastic ride in their 2015 apparel. Post-ride beers and grub were consumed, ride stories were shared and our look inside Fly Racing was complete. If you had the same antiquated opinion of Fly Racing that I had, it's time to take a look at their product again. Chances are you'll be surprised by their 2015 offerings.

Vital’s 2015 Fly Racing product reviews

For more information on Fly’s 2015 mountain bike apparel and protection, visit www.flyracing.com.


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sspomer sspomer 10/24/2014 7:38 AM

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Won't consider a full face helmet from Fly until they do some proper testing.CPSC rating isn't enough for a DH lid.

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I believe every one of their helmets is DOT approved. But the thing is DOT really isn't the best thing out there for DH biking - DOT standards are tested at speeds like 60 mph and hitting concrete. Concussions are more likely to happen in a DOT helmet than one that is not DOT certified. As it is, there is no really good standard. What would you suggest?

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Their motor helmets are DOT. The dh lids are only cpsc. When I called their customer service and asked about astm ratings the guy rudely said that the astm rating wasn't necessary.. Added them to my never buy a part from their company list.

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If you go to their web site and scroll through their DH helmets - you'll see every one is DOT. http://www.flyracing.com/category/mtb/riderwear/helmets

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I won the "freestone" from the contest on vital. really happy with it. fits a touch rounder than my tld a1. feels good. adjusts ez. breathes better than the a1 but the a1 has thicker pads , a1 is a touch plusher on the bean with more padding. good combo though. i'll keep both. don't want to give up either. thanks vital and fly

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