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​TGR Tested: Our Favorite Bike Park Kit of 2022

Summer bike park laps are all about fun, and being comfortable and safe ensures that. | Max Ritter photo.

In our book, summertime is all about having fun – and one of the best places to do that is at the bike park. Whether it’s chill jump laps at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, racing the clock at Grand Targhee, or exploring any of the other fantastic bike parks around the Mountain West, having the right kit is crucial for a day of riding lifts. This summer, we came up with a favorite kit of riding apparel and protection and rode with it during all the hot summer days we could find. Not only did everything have to stand up to bike park abuse, but it also had to keep us protected and comfortable, and this selection definitely does that. Check out our favorite picks from Giro, Velocio, POC, Ride Concepts and TGR Optics below.

Giro Insurgent Helmet

Staying safe in the bike park starts with keeping your brain protected, so finding the right full-face helmet is paramount. Full-face helmets come in all shapes and sizes, but Giro’s brand-new Insurgent helmet really stands out from the crowd. First of all, it’s as light as many half-shells out there, but it still offers full DH protection thanks to Giro’s innovative Spherical technology. It’s the helmet riders like Carson Storch and Kurt Sorge swear by, and I was blown away by how comfortable and light it was while offering full protection. In fact, Carson not only credits the helmet with saving his noggin during his massive crash in practice at Red Bull Rampage, he also wore it for hours on end while on location in Ecuador shooting for  Esperanto. Giro’s Spherical tech utilizes a pair of foam layers that work like a ball and socket to redirect impact energy in a crash. The outer layer is higher-density EPS foam, which is well suited to high-speed crashes, while the inner layer is a lower density EPP foam with rebound characteristics to address those low-speed, roll-around-in-the-dirt-type spills. Inside is a thin but comfortable wicking liner, removable cheek pads (great during enduro races with long pedals) and a soft edge along the bottom of the helmet to reduce the likelihood of collarbone fractures. The Giro Insurgent is the perfect do-it-all full-face helmet – it’s light and ventilated enough to pedal in and provides the highest level of protection for your head.

POC VPD System Torso Protector

In addition to protecting the ol’ dome, protection your chest and back is crucial in any sort of mountain bike crash. Let’s just say there’s a good reason the UCI requires all racers to wear this type of protection. With lots of options on the market, I’ve come to the conclusion that an over-the-shirt protector is best suited for bike park riding. It allows you take it off quickly and easily on lift rides or when it comes time to grab a refreshment at lunch. POC’s VPD System Torso has been around for a few years but is one the most comfortable and protective systems I’ve found, covering my back, chest, and ribs from impacts. The VPD foam is soft and malleable but hardens on impact, allowing the low-profile vest to conform to your body and stay comfortable, and doesn’t give off the full-beetle exoskeleton look. The back panel has lots of perforations to allow for maximum airflow and keep you cool. An added bonus is POC makes straps to allow you wear just the back protector section for snowsports.


POC VPD System Knee Pads

Kneepads are one piece of equipment I’ve gotten extremely picky with over the last few years. There’s nothing worse than that dreaded knee pad slip – when you look down and your knee pad is nowhere near your knee, because the material has stretched and it slid down your leg. After riding POC’s VPD system pads for the last few months, I’m pleased to say that hasn’t happened once. While they may look burly (they do, in fact, offer POC’s highest level of protection), they are made of the same VPD foam as the Torso protector, meaning they conform to your legs, offering full freedom of movement and comfort. On the outside, they are covered in high-strength polyamide yarns that create a low-friction sliding surface with high abrasion resistance for sliding falls. In a nutshell, these are DH-rated pads that are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn – perfect for the bike park or for days where a long pedal leads to a long and gnarly descent.

Velocio Trail Access Shorts and Trail Merino Tee

While long pants might be all the rage these days, I’m still a big fan of shorts. After all, it’s summer and it’s hot out! Velocio has been a quiet player in the MTB apparel game, offering high-quality gravel and road gear for a few years, but they recently developed a new line of MTB wear that we are incredibly stoked on. What I like the most about the Trail Access Shorts and Shirt is how they don’t feel or look very technical at all. Designed to be burlier than their more XC-focused Trail collection, the Trail Access short has a long cut that accommodates knee pads and a more relaxed fit. Don’t worry, they’re not baggy like shorts from yesteryear, but aren’t tight either. With four pockets, DWR treatment, and comfortable stretchy fabric, these will hold up to long pedals and bike park abuse – and you can wear them out for apres without raising any eyebrows. Up top, the new Trail Merino Tee is one of the softest, most comfortable riding shirts I’ve ever worn. It’s breathable, supple, and thanks to the Merino wool it’s made of, it doesn’t smell like a wet dog after a day of riding. One note: I suggest sizing up (An XL fits like most larges). The kit comes in Men’s and Women’s sizes and fits.

Ride Concepts/TGR Livewire MTB Shoes

This year, TGR teamed up with mtb footwear leaders Ride Concepts to create a collab riding shoe. Ride Concept’s Livewire shoe is a stylish everyday mountain bike flat pedal shoe, with a new super-grippy MAX GRIP rubber outsole, synthetic upper and molded heel and toe protection. The sole is very soft and supple, great for all-day comfort in the bike park that offers enough support for big impacts and unmatched grip. These shoes are simple – and that’s a good thing. Lacking fancy features like boas or lace covers, these shoes focus on keeping your feet happy and attached to your pedals. The limited TGR collab comes in three colorways: men’s, women’s and kid’s.

TGR Optics Esperanto MTB Goggles

TGR Optics has been making snowsports goggles and eyewear for the past few years, but broke into the mountain bike space alongside the release of our new MTB film Esperanto. Mountain bike goggles tend to be overbuilt and overly complicated, and we wanted to avoid that with our new Esperanto MTB goggle. With interchangeable high and low light scratch-resistant and anti-fog lenses, these will keep your eyes happy all summer long, no matter how dusty or muddy the trail gets.

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