Until now, there hasn’t been an all-mountain ski that rides well in any conditions. Skis must be either sturdy and narrow to chop through icy snow or flexible and wide to glide across powder. The core of a ski determines its weight and strength, and thus the conditions it’s best suited for. Engineers at Wagner Custom have created a core that’s strong yet light, and the first skis to incorporate it, the 2-4 Ultralights, are fit for just about any mountain.
The human body already has a highly efficient cooling system: As perspiration evaporates, it draws heat away from the body. Wicking fabrics facilitate this process by distributing sweat evenly over the fabric, so that it dries more quickly. Despite devising cheats, such as menthol-like chemical coatings added to fabrics, companies have never actually improved upon the body's natural cooling process. Designers at Columbia Sportswear have now made a fabric that does.
Bicycle shifting has been cable-driven since 1938--until 2008, that is, when Shimano introduced the first electronic shifters. The company swapped mechanical derailleurs for motorized ones, cable for electrical wire, and levers for buttons. Last fall, Shimano launched Ultegra Di2, a version of the system that can be retrofit onto most road bikes. See how these shifters work here.
The problem is as follows. The perfect winter insulation should be ultra warm, extremely light and packable, and stay warm when wet. No single insulation--not the classic goose down, not the best efforts of synthetic insulation makers--has met all three of those criteria, and folks like hikers, skiers, and snowboarders have had to settle. But North Face claims its newest jacket technology, which uses ball-shaped synthetic insulation that behaves like down, is the perfect compromise.
Shock waves travel in straight lines, so when most bikes hit potholes, the shocks run through the frame and into the rider. One way to avoid the discomfort that can cause is to channel those vibrations onto another path, as the Tortola RoundTail road frame does.
For 35 years, Gore-Tex has dominated the market for waterproof, breathable fabrics, but this spring it has some competition. Textile maker Polartec has developed its own waterproof, breathable fabric that threatens to trump Gore-Tex's latest. We put both through the wringer to see which stands out.