Boom! Whether you like your rubber knobbly or smooth, the racing season has kicked off with a bang and if you're anything like us you'll be fired up for what lies ahead. The carnage on the rocks at the Lourdes DH World Cup, the carnage on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix, the cheering, the shouting and the chance to ogle new kit. What's not to love?
There's nothing quite like watching the women and men at the top of their game for inspiring you to swing a leg over your bike and get out there yourself. And if you're in the market for some shiny new gear to motivate you further, well, we can help with that. Here's what's landed on our desk this week, from electric dropper seatposts and shocking yellow shorts to sophisticated mugs for the discerning coffee imbiber to a speed-fiend aero bar. We're pretty sure we've got something for everyone.
New road bike gear
3T Revo LTD aerobar
For its latest Revo aerobar, Italian pioneer 3T has flipped conventional thinking and attached the base bar wing to the front of the grips rather than the back. This 180-degree switch is said to make it much less likely for the rider’s hands to slide forwards off the grips, and much easier to tuck your hands out of the passing air.
It’s already won a Red Dot design award this year, and comes in three versions: Revo Ltd, Revo Team and Revo Team Stealth. We’ve been sent the Revo Ltd, which is made from carbon and weighs 700g on the minimum stack height. It’s fully Di2 compatible and UCI 3:1 compliant, and could be just the ticket at your next club TT.
Price: $900 / €850
Mamnick pouch & tshirt
Sheffield-based clothing brand Mamnick manufactures all its products in the UK under the ethos of "Do one thing at a time, as beautifully as possible."
The Foul-Weather Wallet is a slim 100% waterproof pouch, designed to fit neatly in your jersey pocket. It can fit all the usual riding essentials, such as your phone, keys and change for the café.
With its bold polka dot design on the back, the 42:21 T-shirt refers to the old-school tradition of riding 42/21 as your lowest gear. It's made to last with a cotton/Lycra mix that feels suitably premium when worn.
Each T-shirt also comes with an exclusive piece of writing by Tom Southam outlining the importance (we say bravery) of riding in the 42:21 combo.
Once again they’re available in limited numbers on the Mamnick website.
- Pouch: £30, available in three colours
- T-shirt: £35
Bianchi Café & Cycles mug
Italian bikes are pretty, Italian food is tasty. Massive generalisations both, but also pretty accurate. So we like the idea behind Stockholm-born retailer Bianchi Café & Cycles, which promises to combine both. As a little reminder of the beautiful things in life, we’ve been sent this marvellous mug to sup our morning brew.
It’s made from premium porcelain by Broggi, and comes in a nice little presentation box for added impact. Next time you’re in Stockholm, Milan or Tokyo, head on down to Bianchi Café & Cycles and pick one up.
Assos iJ.haBu5 jacket
Insulation without the bulk is the idea behind the new iJ.haBu5 jacket from Assos. It features new fabrics from the Swiss company to keep you warm without puffing you out to Michelin-man proportions. The iJ.haBu5 is intended for early winter conditions, but it should serve you well in the early days of spring too. No, we don’t know how to say its name either.
£235 (includes one-year crash repair policy)
Mercx Blockhaus 67
Eddy rode steel for all his major victories, but that doesn’t stop his eponymous bike brand from making a high-end alloy frame called Blockhaus 67. It’s light at just 1,150g for a size medium, and is named after The Cannibal’s first Grand Tour stage victory, a mountain-top finish at the Giro d’Italia 1967.
It's made from triple-butted 6069 tubing, with double-pass welds for smooth-looking joints, internal (mechanical only) cable routing, an all-carbon fork and is described as a "light climber bike that stands up to hard knocks".
£1,199 / $1,499 for a Shimano Tiagra-equipped build, or $1,999 for a Shimano 105 build
KMC X11SL DLC chain
You like to ride fast? You like the preetty bikes? OK, we’ll knock off the bad Italian accent, sorry. Here is a chain for your fast, pretty bike. It’s available with inner plates in a wide range of colours (including blue, red, green, celeste, orange and pink), and includes a KMC Missing Link 11-speed connector.
It’s claimed to be super-fast too, thanks to the ‘Diamond Like Coating’ (hence the moniker DLC), which is designed to reduce wear and tear, and reduce friction. It’s also very light for a chain, at just 240g for 116 links.
New mountain bike gear
Magura Vyron dropper post
Thank the [insert deity of choice name here] for the invention of the dropper seatpost, a product that it’s now hard to imagine mountain biking without. Or we can, but it involves repeatedly dismounting to adjust saddle height, and we are so over that.
Magura’s new Vyron dropper post takes things up a notch again: it’s wireless. Using ANT+ technology, already tried and tested on the company’s forks and shocks in the cross-country race circuit, it allows you to remotely control your saddle height using a bar-mounted control.
If you have Magura’s forks and shocks, you can either control all three from the same remote, or run different controls for each. The post operates with an air spring with hydraulic clamping, and provides 150mm continuous travel. Magura claims a weight of 595g including the remote, and the Vyron is available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters.
RRP £350 / $499 / AU$TBC
Low, slack and ready to rumble – the new Evil Insurgent is a carbon-framed enduro beast with adjustable geometry. Flip the chips in the DELTA linkage and you can go from ‘low’ to ‘ultra low’ positions, though the latter – which slackens the head angle from 65.6 to 64.4 degrees – is probably best suited to bike park riding.
The frame is designed to take a 151mm travel shock, paired with 160mm forks and a 1x groupset. Noteworthy features include the integrated carbon chain guide, which Evil claim increases rear end stiffness.
Frame with shock $2,799 / €3,299
Topeak JoeBlow booster pump
Getting enough pressure out of your track pump can be a bit of an arm ache, often involving frantically pumping in an attempt to get enough air in quickly enough to get the tire to seat without loosing pressure as you go. The new Topeak JoeBlow booster track pump aims to take that pain away.
It’s a hefty looking track pump with floor stand, long hose and pressure gauge, and features an internal 1l air chamber that you can fill up to 160psi / 11bars. Set the pump to ‘charge’, fill the chamber then release it to rapidly seat and seal the tyre. Perfecto! And for just topping up your pressure, switch it back to ‘inflate’.
£119.99 / US and Australian pricing TBC
Looking for a UK-based bikepacking adventure this year? If you’re even slightly tempted, but not sure where to start, then this is the book for you.
Written by Laurence McJannet, the book lists a selection of 30 rides, divided up by geographical region: the South West, South East, Midlands and the North, and Scotland and Wales. It also handily lists rides by interest, so whether you are looking for a ride to get out into the middle of nowhere, or the perfect bikepacking adventure for your family, there are options aplenty.
McJannet also lists the equipment you need for a bikepacking adventure, with the emphasis firmly on making use of what you already have and keeping things cheap and accessible. He also lists other useful information sources for further reading, and plenty of hints and tips on finding places to bunk down for the night.
The rides themselves are broken down into a summary section that lists the basic info such as climbing, terrain, start and finish points, plus a description of the route and a map to guide you.
Above all, it’s a beautiful book that inspires adventure.
£16.99, international pricing availability TBC. Released 16 May 2016
Fox Free Ride women's mountain bike shorts
The same fabrics, the same technical features, the same price – the only thing that’s different between the women’s Free Ride mountain bike shorts and men’s version is the cut, which has been designed to fit the female form.
Fox has expanded its women’s range (stand by for more information on that in the near future) and if these shorts are anything to go by, we can’t wait to see more.
Constructed from a four-way stretch fabric, the shorts feature an adjustable ratchet fastening, laser cut leg vents and low-profile zipped pockets. They're available in lairy-as-you-like yellow or stealthy black, and in sizes S to XL.
RRP £85 / $129.95 / AU$TBC