What a week that was! There's rarely a dull moment at BikeRadar HQ, but this week was a particularly busy one — we discovered that heavy bikes might not actually be slower after all, we heard about Garmin's new 360 action camera, followed shortly by the news that DJI is to release an incredibly competitively priced 'follow-me' drone. And, of course, we invoked the rage of commenters the world over by speculating what the industry may 'force' on us next.
And now, as predictably as the passing of the seasons, the ebb of the tide, or the rage invoked by talking about e-bikes, 11spd is here, your weekly roundup of the hottest, juiciest and freshest mountain and road bike gear to land at BikeRadar.
Bianchi Methanol 9.5 CV
Its easy to forget that alongside its vast range of road bikes, Bianchi produces a full range of mountain bikes, and wannabe XC-hero Jack has just received this lovely looking hardtail from the Italian brand.
The Methanol is Bianchi’s XC hardtail and is ‘infused’ with Countervail — the vibration dampening composite material that has been used for some time in the brand's range of road bikes — which is said to greatly reduce the effects of trail-chatter.
While the 72-degree head angle and 615mm reach numbers are decidedly old-school-XC, Jack is hoping that the Methanol will shape up to be the racing-rocket he needs to meet his dreams of mid-pack-semi-domination this season.
That said, the idea of rattling about on 2.0” Kenda Honey Badger tyres — a seriously slick and fast XC tread — doesn’t appeal to Jack in the slightest and he will be popping some more ‘serious’ rubber on for his first race at the Odlo Glentress Seven this weekend.
Keep your eyes peeled for a full first-look on the Methanol in the next few weeks.
- £3,625 / €4,200 / $4,699 / AU$N/A
dhb Aeron performance kit
dhb is quickly becoming something of an unstoppable force in the cycling world, with the budget-minded, brand releasing a new range of kit seemingly every other month.
The new Aeron kit is the brands top-end race-ready offering, with everything from foul-weather jackets to the lightest weight summer jerseys available in the range.
dhb recently sent us through its Aeron Speed jersey and bibs — a mid-weight option for warm weather riding.
The kit feels super high quality despite its relatively affordable cost, with wide, comfortable straps on the bibs and laser cut sleeves, and ‘invisible’ zips on the jersey.
As is typical of the brand, all of the kit is available in a huge range of colours to suit even the most lairy of tastes, though we’re quite fond of the blue-green hue of the jersey we’ve chosen.
- Jersey — £55 / €66.55 / $73 / AU$99
- Shorts — £80 / €97 / $106 / AU$145
Picture the scene; you’re about to go out on a ride, but as per usual you can’t find your phone. Shock horror as this means no Instagram or Strava, which in 2017 basically means your ride doesn’t exist. But fear not, as the Tile Mate will help you find said social media device.
All you have to do is press one of the small ‘tiles’ and it will send a signal to make your phone ring.
This also works vice-versa — attach one of the tiles to luggage, a backpack or even your bike and ring from your phone and it will play a loud tune until you find it.
There's also an app if you've left your item out of earshot and need to find its last location. Perfect if you have a habit of misplacing your keys, or anything else you fancy attaching a tile to.
- 1-pack: £23 / €27 / $25 / AU$N/A
- 4 pack: £92 / €108 / $100 / AU$N/A
MASONxHUNT 650b Adventuresport wheels
We’re big fans of all things #groad, #gravel and #radsphalt here at BikeRadar and little tickles our pickle more than a bendy-barred bike with inappropriately chunky tyres.
These 650b hoops from Hunt — designed in conjunction with Mason to be the perfect match for the brand's all-road minded Bokeh — feature a 20mm internal width, designed to work best with a 650b ‘road plus’ tyre up to 2” wide.
A 650b wheel with a 2” tyre has roughly the same diameter as a 700x33mm setup, so these can be fitted to many bikes without affecting its geometry too much.
We’ve actually had a hold of these hoops for a little over a month now and Jack first ran them — well, actually just one of them, but you’ll have to wait for his long-term test bike blog to see why — at this year's edition of the Dirty Reiver and has been thoroughly enjoying the extra squidge and versatility afforded by this slightly ungainly looking setup.
The 28 spoke, tubeless-ready rims are laced to Hunt’s own 4Season hubs, with brass nipples and easily replaceable J-bend spokes. Although it’s only a small detail, the wheels also use laser-etched logos as opposed to decals, which should last indefinitely and look really rather nice.
The wheels are also available with every end-cap under the sun and six-bolt rotor adaptors as standard, so should work with even the most esoteric of setups.
Keep your patient peepers peeled for a review soon.
- £359.00 / €420 / $465.00 / AU$625.00
Columbia Outdry Ex Gold jacket
Unlike traditional jackets that rely on water-repellent coatings, the Columbia Outdry jacket places the breathable waterproof membrane on the outside of the jacket, meaning that the jacket will remain permanently waterproof with no need to retreat.
A similar setup is used on Gore’s ShakeDry cycling jackets to great success, and while this particular jacket is designed for general outdoors use, it has a capacious, helmet friendly hood which should make it a great emergency shell for foul weather riding.
Generous pit zips will also keep even the clammiest of armpits feeling fresh.
For £40 more, the jacket is also available in a super eco-friendly version that is made from 21 recycled plastic bottles, uses no dyes, utilises recycled zips and is coated with a waterproofer that includes no PFCs.
However, given that the jacket only comes in a thoroughly mud unfriendly white, we decided to take the hit on our eco credentials and forgo the Stormtrooper look in favour of a slightly more practical blue/grey.
Understanding that few will want to wear a white jacket, Columbia is said to be investigating other dyeing methods and hope to bring a veritable rainbow of Eco-shells in the near future.
At £120, the jacket is considerably cheaper than jackets of a similar weight — 348g in a size medium — and we’re looking forward to trying this one out in the coming months.
- £120 / €149 / $175 / AU$N/A
GripGrab spring/summer line
Danish specialists in all things grippy and grabby, GripGrab recently sent us through a selection of its updated spring/summer line.
Most interesting among the wide array of kit were two new gloves from the brand — these are unique in that they have very subtle silicone grippers embedded on the inside of the palm of the gloves.
This is said to help stop the glove's one-piece palm from bunching up when ‘death-gripping’ the bars, an ailment that surely every rider has experienced. The two braking fingers and the thumb also have silicone grippers embedded into each glove.
The gloves are available in two models — the lightweight, XC-oriented Racing glove and the more substantial, downhill/enduro focussed Vertical.
GripGrab also sent us through a pair of ultra-light overshoes in the most delightful shade of aubergine. Expect Aoife to be rocking these on (the hopefully few) chilly, early morning rides this summer.
- Racing: €49.95
- Vertical: €45.95
Cannondale SuperX Force
The relevance of this bike is dependent on which hemisphere you’re located in — the social media feeds of those located South of the equator will be in full #crossiscoming mode, with those in more Northerly climes likely thankful that #crosscameandwent, at least until winter.
Either way, there’s no denying that this baby blue SuperX from Cannondale has us looking forward — though we don’t think anyone actually enjoys the hour of hurt that is racing 'cross — to the season ahead.
Updated last year, we’ve already spent some time on the more austere looking Ultegra version of the SuperX and got on well with it.
This particular bike is is the range topping model and is built around a 1x11 SRAM Force CX1 groupset, Cannondale’s own Hollowgram crankset and wheels and runs on Schwalbe’s all-round X-One tyres.
- £4,199 / €5,250 / $5,760 / AU$7,645
Velopedia: The Infographic Book of Cycling
If you manage to read and memorise the Velopedia Infographic Book of Cycling by Robert Dineen you will have, in effect, completed cycling, and at the same time turned yourself into some kind of bike based, fact splurging Rain Man.
Jokes aside, it’s actually a pretty interesting read filled with fascinating facts, figures and stories about cycling. It would make a great coffee table book, or if your coffee table's already full with classical literature, then the Velopedia could at least help you while away the hours sitting on the toilet.
- £18.99, international pricing unavailable
Watch any vaguely damp World Cup DH race closely and you’ll likely see the odd Mudhugger zip-tied to bikes — even the likes of Loic Bruni can be spotted with one of their fenders strapped up front. Not bad for a couple of friendly guys from Birmingham.
New to their growing line-up of kit is the Mudhugger SL (Super Light, obv).
While most of their fenders are made of a stiffer plastic, this is more like the foldable ones that have exploded onto the scene in recent years.
The SL is a fair bit bigger than most, and depending on how much overlap you give the fork leg holes, it can provide coverage for any size wheel up to 29+. With a thinner, lighter build, you can also trim it down easily to get the shape and size just right for you. A steal at £13 in our eyes.
- £13, international pricing unavailable
Attaquer All-Day jersey, bibshorts, socks and baselayer
Boutique Australian brand Attaquer recently sent over a full set of its All-Day kit. The navy and white striped design of the jersey has a Breton feel and features a tailored fit, longer sleeves, a low neckline and grippers on the waist band and sleeve cuffs.
Matching navy bibshorts look to be the quality you would expect at this price point. The bibs have a thick, two-piece chamois along with soft mesh straps that feature a radio pocket for those lucky enough to have a support vehicle.
Elastic leg grippers have silicone grippers on the inside and Attaquer claims these shorts will be your most comfortable day in the saddle.
Attaquer also sent over 18cm socks that continue the Breton theme and a lightweight summer baselayer.
The jersey and bibshorts are made in Italy, and we look forward to seeing how the kit stacks up against similarly pricey products.
- All Day jersey: £104.95 / €121.06 / $135.70
- All Day bibshorts: £149.95 / €172.96 / $193.89
- All Day socks: £14.95 / €17.24 / $19.33
- Undershirt baselayer: £49.95 / €57.62 / $64.59
While yellow lenses are most associated with increasing trail clarity on dim, dank days, these from Dragon are also designed for brighter conditions as the lens darkens with exposure to UV light.
The reduction in light coming in to your eyes, combined with the enhancing yellow tint, seems to make them a pretty versatile set of specs.
The rubberised arms have a nice bit of flex in there for a comfy fit, while the nose piece is also adjustable. Add in some cut outs from the lens for ventilation and these shouldn’t fog too bad either.
They’re not cheap, but are towards the top of the Dragon Optics range.
- £151 / $180 / Euro/AUS pricing unavailable