Sliding, rolling¿what's the difference? Mountain biking and skiing are twin sons of different mothers, all about gravity, stroke, and ripped quads. Each makes you stronger for the other. (As if you needed your arm twisted to spend more time in the mountains.) Some new gear:
Anyone who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too, isn't greedy enough. Case in point: Specialized's latest full-suspension singletrack machine, which rockets through the twisties like a hardtail yet sucks up bumps like a downhill rig. The Stumpjumper FSR XC Pro favors big speed over big air, but it's more than enough bike for most riders.
Better than most other helmet makers' top products, the midline Giro Hammerhead is one of the most comfortable, lightweight, and well-vented skid lids around¿for $60 less than a top-end model.
No road geekery here: The Zoic Continental jersey wears its hipster bowling heritage on its sleeves. A loose cut keeps things airy, and the cotton-poly blend fabric feels player smooth against your skin.
Most baggy shorts are as trail worthy as fuzzy bunny slippers, but Nema's Jewels are the exception. Unlike most baggies, Jewels have the chamois and lycra liner strategically sewn to the outer shell, so the shorts never billow or bunch and never catch on your saddle. Unless you're an exhibitionist, there's no reason to wear black Lycra again.
If you demand the pedaling power of a race shoe but your style is more stealth, check out Shimano's SPD-compatible M151.
High-speed motocross crashes have taught Fox Racing a thing or two about hand protection. You'll dig the fingerless Tahoe's padded palm, snug fit, and extra large snot strip.
$18/Fox Racing/888-772-2241/ www.foxracing.com
You just lost darkness as an excuse. NiteRider's Digital Headtrip mounts on your helmet and barely kisses the scales at 10 ounces. Choose from four light levels, including 15 blazing watts, which is more than enough firepower for midnight singletrack runs. The rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery is about the size of a garage-door opener, and the LED fuel gauge warns of impending blackness.