I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion, just ask my teenaged kids. I tend to keep clothing way past their expiration dates and I’ve never been one to worry about what shirt matches my shoes.
So it probably surprised my family a little when I started paying more attention to the snow gear being worn by those around me. Every time I ride, either with friends or co-workers, it’s like a mini fashion show as the latest helmets, jackets and boots are on full display. I’m not one to be jealous, but I found myself a little self conscience about what I was wearing. I simply had two choices, find different friends or get off my wallet and upgrade my snow gear. I considered doing both, but in the end opted for new gear and kept my friends.
Often we see gear reviews at the first of the season when consumers are eager to buy but in order to give a fair assessment I waited until now (after months of hard riding) so I could be confident in recommending the gear from FXR I ordered.
To be honest until this year I have never owned any products from FXR Racing, but it’s a trusted name in not only the snow industry, but in several industries as well. Not to mention it is a popular brand that I see in the mountains a lot, at least since I started taking notes on what people are wearing.
The FXR Racing brand caught my attention at one of our Snow Shows last fall when I started getting serious about upgrading my gear. With all the major brands available I took my time as I walked around the show to look and try on a variety of gear. I went in with an open mind to find what I felt would work best for me personally and all I knew was whichever brand I went with, I wanted it all to match so I didn’t make my brand loyalty decision lightly.
While observing other riders I realized you don’t see a lot of mismatched helmets and jackets so I certainly didn’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons. So once I landed on FXR as being the right fit for me I went all in, starting with the helmet for a complete head-to-toe upgrade.
FXR offers a lot of bright color options with their helmets, but I went with more of conservative look with the Blade 2.0 helmet. The color is Black Ops (black and grey) and looks great and more importantly, it feels great too. The ultra-lightweight hand laid 100 percent carbon fiber shell combines comfort and safety and I especially like the high air-flow integrated mouthpiece.
Other than the overall look and protection, my favorite feature is the quick-release buckle that is easy to adjust (even with gloves on). It really makes taking your helmet off and on very easy.
A lot of backcountry riders swear by mono-suits, but I prefer the jacket and pant setup over the one-piece suit. However, FXR shows off its versatility with its Dri-LINK technology. It’s a size-specific component so if you get a 2XL jacket you must get 2XL pants in order for it to function properly. The system allows you to zip and connect the two pieces together for the protection of a mono-suit while still having the mobility of a two-piece suit. Kind of cool, right?
The Black/Blue/Hi Vis Ranger Jacket I selected has just enough color to standout in a crowd, but still feels plenty conservative for my specific taste. It comes with a removable Thermal Dry active liner that zips in, but I found the Ranger Jacket by itself to be all I need so I hardly used the shell unless it was an extremely cold day.
Mission FX Pant
FXR’s Mission series pant offers M-Series Omni-Stretch shell material, allowing the pant to flex and move with ease while being more resistant to snags and tears from tree branches, not that I know anything about getting lost in the trees. Again, its Dri-Link compatible, which I love the versatility of this technology.
Attack Lite Glove
If you go too thick for your gloves you’ll regret it, but it is equally bad to go too thin so your hands can’t warm up. The Attack Lite Thinsulate gloves fall perfectly in the middle. The durable nylon shell construction with the waterproof/breathable Hipora membrane liner make them a great fit.
One feature I couldn’t appreciate until I found myself in the right situation is the “goggle and nose wipe suede thumbs” as well as the soft gauge index finger TPR goggle wipe. It’s like a mini ice scraper built right into your left glove and it really works great when the temperature drops.
Helium BOA Boots
Rated for up to negative 60 degree temps, my decision to go with the Helium BOA boots was one of favorites. When I first pulled the size 13s out of the box and compared it to other boots I have they looked massive. They could be a walking boot for someone who just broke their ankle! Yet despite the size, they are surprisingly lightweight and when I slipped my foot into the fixed liner it was like stepping on clouds. Of course you can’t beat the easy BOA lace system that is as simple as turning the knob to tighten. It’s the best investment I made this year because having cold feet only takes away from your ride.
Everyone told me I needed two pairs of goggles for backcountry riding and they were right. When one pair gets cold and frozen up it’s nice to switch to a clean and dry one. I wasn’t sure which set I’d like best so I went with the Combat Goggle and the Summit Spherical Goggle.
Both work extremely well with similar features such as the anti-scratch, anti-fog and UV coated lenses as well as moisture-wicking, contoured face foam and fabric. I’m extremely happy with both but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Summit Spherical Goggle. The magnetic-connect, spherical, pre-curved polycarbonate, dual-layer winter lens looks and feels amazing.
My head-to-toe snow gear upgrade wasn’t cheap, but nothing with this hobby really is. All I can tell you is it was worth it. I still recommend finding a brand and sticking with it, even if you don’t do the full replacement all at the same time. Start with you most pressing need such as boots or a lightweight helmet and go from there as your budget will allow. After putting a full season worth of riding, ahem, I mean thorough testing, I’m extremely happy with FXR Racing and would recommend this brand to anyone who is ready for a snow gear upgrade.
For More Information on FXR Racing call 877-999-9798 or visit www.fxrracing.com.