Road gear round-up: Spin Speed Metal 40 wheels

Plus kit from Cyclepassion, Vittoria, Zipp, Spiuk, Impsport & Casemate

Spin are best known for their titanium frames and components but they're not afraid of using other materials when they need to, whether that be alloy or carbon fibre. Their latest wheels, the Speed Metal 40s (£349), are a set of 40mm-deep niobium alloy clinchers in 'Firestorm' red.

Weighing in at a combined 1,780g (950g rear, 830g front), they're made using Spin's own hubs, with the option of a Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo freehub. The pair seen here uses Sapim Laser Black spokes at the rear and Race Black on the front and are supplied with matching Firestorm skewers. For more information, visit Spin's website.

Cyclepassion

We got a tantalising glimpse at the 2012 Cyclepassion calendar last month and now we've got our hands on a copy. The large windows here at BikeRadar Towers in Bath mean we're struggling to find wall space for the calendar which, at 68cm x 40cm, is massive.

In its seventh year in 2012, it features top female cycling stars such as Hanna Klein and Liz Hatch in seductive poses as photographed by Daniel Geiger. The calendar costs €36 direct from Cyclepassion's website, but we have one to give away – keep an eye on our Facebook page today for more details.

Vittoria

Vittoria's cotton cased tubular tyres have an impeccable reputation, with a super-supple feel and excellent grip. The nylon casing of their all-new Diamante Pro Radiale clincher tyre has been designed to offer a feel as close to that of cotton as possible. The plies (the threads in the tyre's sidewalls) are offset in parallel lines at 85 degrees, rather than arranged in the traditional crossed mesh pattern. Vittoria say this allows the casing to flex more freely.

Unusually, the Diamante Pro Radiales are available in 22c and 24c sizes. Vittoria say that losing a millimetre over standard tyre sizes enables them to cut some weight (our 22c test pair weigh in at just 185g each) and improve aerodynamics. We’d suggest this is dependent on the width of the rim they’re fitted to. Despite their minimal size and weight, the Radiales still incorporate a flat protection strip which covers the full tyre, from bead to -bead. They'll be available from January for £39.99.

Zipp

By using 7050 aluminium instead of carbon for their Service Course range, Zipp have been able to keep costs down without sacrificing their usual sky-high standards. First up is the Service Course C (£89.99/$98) handlebar, designed for riders with small hands and a short reach.

It features an ovalised top and what Zipp call 'Super Short Reach' drops. These are designed to put your hands closer to the brake levers, with a two-degree outward bend that's designed to relieve pressure on the wrists. The bar is available in 40/42/44/46cm widths, with a 31.8mm stem clamp diameter.

The matching Service Course seatpost (£74.99), again made from aluminium, is available in a single 350mm length, two diameters (27.2mm and 31.6mm) and with either an inline clamp or 20mm of setback. Our sample weighs 270g. The clamp design allows the saddle to be slid further along the rails than on most posts, offering a good range of adjustment.

Last but not least, the Service Course stem (£64.99) weighs 138g and is available in 70-130mm lengths, with a 31.8mm bar clamp and a six-degree rise. Zipp products are available from Fisher Outdoor Leisure in the UK.

Spiuk

Spiuk have updated their Nexion lid for 2012 and renamed it the New Nexion (£74.99). It's noticeably different from the previous version, with a rear end that arches upwards, along with 31 vents. Nine colourways are available, including this blue and white model which tipped our scales at 256g for a medium/large size. Spiuk helmets are distributed in the UK by Silverfish.

Impsport

Hi-vis jackets are often poor fitting and unattractive. Impsport have attempted to buck that trend with this close-fitting Hi Visibility jacket (£95). Billed as the "ultimate in warmth and visibility", it's made from a thick, fleece-lined windproof material that's also designed to fend off light rain showers.

Not only is it a bright colour but the Impsport jacket also has its fair share of reflective detailing, in the shape of three logos on the front and back and generous piping on all the seams. Visit Impsport's website for more information. 

Case-Mate

Case-Mate are a US company who specialise in protective accessories for mobile devices. Their latest product, appropriately named TANK, is a hard-wearing iPhone 4/4S case which they say has exceeded US military standards for withstanding sand, shock, wind, rain and vibration. Just to emphasise the punch this products packs, Case-Mate included a single boxing glove in the package they sent us!

The TANK is made predominantly from polycarbonate and has a retractable screen to protect the most vulnerable part of the iPhone. This hard, impact resistant exterior is combined with a shock absorbing interior made from soft silicone. Rubber plugs are used to shield the phone's ports from dust and dirt.

While the case isn't waterproof, it's definitely water resistant and should provide adequate protection from showers. It isn't handlebar compatible either, but comes with an attachment for your waist. Colour options, apart from this military-inspired green, include black, black/pink and white/pink. It's available to buy now from www.mobilefun.co.uk for £44.95, or direct from Case-Mate in the US for $60.

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