Words by Sourpatch | Photos by @szumski_photography & Sourpatch
Our friend Jason McCune (aka Hapa) of InsideLine Connect recently invited us out to Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park for another taste of moto media camp. Mountain bike media camps have become almost routine over the years, so it’s exciting to get those butterflies once again. I loaded up my Honda CRF450 and headed south toward the Inland Empire for a fun-filled day of throttle twisting and product introductions. After stressing during my three-hour drive, I arrived to find out one thing that is consistent between moto and mtb editors: punctuality is never an option.
The reason for gathering was a quick ‘n dirty meet and greet with several brands. Think of it like speed dating, except you actually care what the other person is talking about… The smaller groups of media outlets took turns making rounds at each of the five brand’s tents. We took about 15 minutes at each stop to meet ambassadors, engineers and marketing guys before moving on to the next.
The Orchestrator, Hapa, laying out the ground rules.
6D has been around for several years now and is making waves in the brain protection world. They just released the ATR-2 so it was nice to be able to hold one in person and learn more about the technology inside.
The ATR-2 has a more advanced ODS (Omni-Directional System), over the ATR-1, resulting in improved performance across the entire range of energy distribution: low, mid, and high velocity accelerations for both linear and angular accelerations.
6D will continue offering the ATR-1, but at a lower price point. It now starts at $450, while the new ATR-2 starts at $650. Both helmets received fresh graphics and colors. We were also excited to hear that there are new bicycle helmets on the horizon. 6D has been working on a BMX/Skate style lid and a new Road bike helmet is also in the works.
FMF is the company that needs no introduction. The Flying Machine Factory had quite a set-up with their glorious red and gold tent, backed with a matching sprinter van. Out front was a buffet of ear-pleasing muffler and exhaust assemblies. FMF just signed a contract to work exclusively with Husky and KTM to develop aftermarket pipes only available in KTM/Husky dealerships. A key ingredient of the relationship revolves around the delivery of P3 bikes (the final prototype model before production beings) so they can work on the new pipes and deliver them to Austria so the engineers can create engine tunes that maximize performance with the pipes. We were stoked to hear that 99% of FMF’s pipes and parts are still made in Long Beach, CA. The 1% not made in America is a clip and some rivets.
FMF brought out quite a few pieces from their 2019 line of apparel, which is looking extremely good. The Drop, however, is their latest concept and the one they are most excited about. It’s a subscription box that comes with a one-off t-shirt only available to subscribers, and a random accessory. They had set a modest goal for their first month and said that is has tripled their expectations. It’s only been going up from there.
Who doesn’t love a good, aftermarket clutch? Rekluse was on hand showcasing a couple of their latest, championship winning clutches. I’ve only known Rekluse for their auto clutches, and that’s a stigma they want to shake. They also offer manual clutches and I got learned.
Rekluse’s CoreManual TorqDrive Clutch Kit is their race-proven manual clutch kit. Rekluse explains, “TorqDrive provides more disks in less space, allowing us to add up to four additional frictions disks over stock. More friction equals more torque capacity thus unlocking the full power of your engine without the need to add stiffer pressure plate springs.” Available for most makes and models, the TorqDrive Clutch Kit retails for $899.99. If that’s too steep of a price tag, Rekluse also offers the TorqDrive Clutch Pack, which works with stock, OEM components. The Clutch Pack has a laundry list of benefits and features. The list includes a stronger drive throughout the power band, allowing a gain in power without any expensive motor mods, it virtually eliminates clutch fade and allows for better starts and acceleration out of corners. Plus they claim an increase in clutch life. You can have all this for the low price of $349.
To learn more about their auto and manual clutches, visit Rekluse.com
FXR made the trek down to Cahuilla from Canada to show off their 2019 line of moto gear. The company began making a name in the snow rider market and has since begun growing exponentially in the moto scene. They make everything a rider could need from head to toe. Boots, gear sets, jackets, goggles and helmets can all be found on FXR’s website.
For most of their dirt bike line, FXR has two variants– the MX line and the Off Road line. The key difference being that the Off Road line features a zipper pocket in the pant. FXR prides themselves in creating gear with bold, vibrant colors and in your face branding. They were nice enough to outfit everyone in attendance with their own gear to try out and get dirty for the day.
FXR set me up with their Black and Red Clutch Retro MX kit and a pair of Slip On Lite Gloves.
The jersey is a lightweight polyester birdseye knit with moisture wicking properties. It has a slim fit but still has plenty of slack to allow for a smooth range of motion. The jersey also has a shaped collar and tapered cuffs. The tapered cuffs are a nice touch to help prevent the sleeves from riding up the forearm, though the collar could be a little wider. It was snug to put on and pull off, even resulting in what sounded like some thread separation.
The pant has your standard 600D polyester construction with a reinforced leather panel at the inner knee for heat and abrasion protection. I don’t run knee braces when I moto, but there is plenty of room for them with the pre-bent knees. These may be the only pants in my gear bag that feature a mesh polyester inner liner, which I’m not too fond of. I run the same pads I do when downhilling, which are a little scuffed up and get snagged in the mesh, making it somewhat of a hassle to get the pants on and off. The pants use a Velcro hook and loop waist. I’m curious to see how the Velcro holds up over time.
The Slip On Lite Gloves feature a single layer AX suede padded palm with a four-way stretch upper panel and slip on cuff design. I wear a size large glove and they fit like a charm, not too tight but no extra slack in the fingers. My biggest gripe is with the slip-on factor. I feel like there could be a little more stretch around the cuff. Getting them on was challenging and I had a thread or two snap at the seams. This is an issue I have experienced with most of the slip-on gloves I have however, and they’ve not come apart since.
Viral Brand, a relatively new company, had an array of eyewear on display. Viral Brand was started in 2015 by Scot Steffy with the goal of creating some of the best goggles on the market. Currently, Viral offers three goggles: the Rookie Series, the Factory Series and the Snow Series. They also have a line of sunglasses.
The Factory and Rookie goggles use a soft flex frame made of thermoplastic polyurethane that allow the frames to contour to any face. Sandwiched between the frame and your face is a four layer foam set up, which consists of a Polyurethane base foam, high-density neoprene fit foam, large cell polyurethane foam and a final soft microfleece face layer to wick sweat away. The Factory series goggle utilizes 14 mm of face foam, a 45mm embroidered strap with 3 runs of non-slip silicon and a tinted lens. The more affordable Rookie Series uses 11mm of face foam, a single layer of non-slip silicon on a 45 mm strap and a clear lens.
Viral is so confident in the fit of their goggles that they have a 30 Day, Best Fit Challenge. If the customer doesn’t think they are the best fitting goggles, they’ll refund them their money. They haven’t had a single set of goggles come back yet.
Before the media camp, I don’t think I would have given Viral Brand a chance with how many other proven goggle companies there are. If I’m being honest, the name doesn’t do a whole lot for me either. Boy was I wrong!
I ran the Factory Series goggle for the day and completely forgot I was wearing them. The extreme radius of the frame and foam along with the soft plastic frame created a fit second to none. These may be the first goggles I have worn that created a perfect seal around my face, even across the bridge of my nose. For the hour or so that I wore them on the track, the goggles show extreme promise. I can’t wait to get out to the desert to put some real test hours and miles in them. If I had to pick one thing that I’m not overly fond of, it would be the 90’s style halftone artwork on the bands, but that’s just me being an art snob. Fit and performance are two thumbs up!
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