As Rebecca Black so famously proclaimed, "It's Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday. Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend." Now to pass the time while you try to get that terrible song out of your head, why not take a gander at the new bits and bobs that have rolled through the door at BikeRadar.
On the tap this week our Queensland and Bristol teams have received some camo mountain bike shoes, a handmade, fully customisable merino road kit, and some neat luggage for action-cam aficionados (or bag obsessives).
New mountain bike gear
Northwave Extreme XC
Northwave's Extreme XC shoes sit firmly at the lairy end of the spectrum. Occupying the top spot in the brand's range of high performance off-road kicks, these get a 100% unidirectional carbon sole, unibody construction upper to minimize excess material and stitching to shed weight and toe studs.
To keep your foot securely planted in the shoe, Northwave has employed two of its SLW2 (Speed Lace Winch) dials and a Velcro strap across the toebox, and lined the heel with silver ‘cats tongue’ antislip thread. At first glance the SLW2s appear quite similar to Boa dials, but they trade the metal wire for a heat-treated wax nylon thread (technology borrowed from sailing) and a quick-release/microadjust button instead of knobs that turn both ways.
Northwave has also partnered with Michelin to design an extra grippy compound for the lugs, and thermo-welded addtional protection to the front and sides of the shoe to prevent the upper tearing.
If you don't appreciate camouflage the way we do, the shoes are also available in black and green.
Our size 44 samples weigh 714g for the pair.
£250 / US$330 / AU$ 2,299
POC Index Flow Gloves
The Index Flow gloves from POC look to be an ideal trail companion for warmer summer months (our UK team are still waiting on those). It’s a slim fitting lightweight glove with ventilation on the palms to help with sweaty hands.
There’s a neat little pad to protect your knuckles from any nasty tress, but more importantly they’re touchscreen compatible, so you can keep up to date on Instagram.
Ergon GA2 Grips
Designed for all mountain/trail use the GA2 grip uses an ergonomic shape, which is claimed to reduce arm pump and fatigue. Whether the marketing hype rings true, they certainly feel nice in your hand, no doubt helped by the soft rubber compound.
For the weight weenies, we clocked these in at 107grams, not too shabby at all.
Ergon SMA3 Saddle
With enduro on the rise, you need a saddle that offers all day comfort for your all-important bits – enter the SMA3. Boring names aside (we would have preferred ‘super happy comfort saddle’) it’s available in two different widths, with a cutout down the middle to reduce pressure.
It’s not the lightest, weighing in at 294g, but it feels tough, so should be reliable on those epic rides.
Lowepro ViewPoint BP 250 AW
As your action camera kit grows for your evolving Sick Edits™, the need for more organised storage grows too and Lowepro has you covered with the snappily named ViewPoint BP 240 AW. Designed for general day use as well as action camera storage, the BP 240 has a convenient 15in laptop sleeve and compartment with a headphone strap and zippered pockets.
External straps allow for bolting on additional cases or securing a small, lightweight tripod. The removable action camera case helps keep your cameras, mounts and batteries organised and easily accessible.
From our initial impressions, the bag seems to hold up well under load but a full day in the field with this bag is due to continue getting all the exciting action camera footage that's so often found on our Youtube channel.
New road bike gear
Cell Bikes Brunswick 2.0
When we reviewed the original Cell Brunswick cyclocross bike we were impressed, so much so it made it into our editors' choice awards in 2014. A couple of years on, the Aussie direct-buy brand has completely overhauled its 'cross machine for 2016.
The redesigned frame includes front and rear 12mm thru-axles, a new top tube profile to sit more comfortably on your shoulder, ovalised butted seatstays, a full carbon fork, BB86 bottom bracket, and claimed clearance for 45mm tyres.
The geometry has also been tweaked, with size specific head angles (our size medium see 71-degrees) and shortened chainstays for more agile cornering and as claimed by Cell, “rad wheelies”.
The spec has also received an upgrade with a 1x11 full SRAM Rival groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, a carbon composite seatpost and tubeless-ready AClass CX4 rolling stock.
£NA / US$NA / AU$2,299
VOID Cycling Kit
You’d imagine any clothing coming from Sweden to be pretty well designed (well, they got IKEA right for starters) and VOID Cycling doesn’t disappoint with a wide range of smart kits from the understated to the fairly lairy. Here, however, we rock the incredibly monochromatic styles of their unofficial Batman range. OK, so we made that bit up but if black is your thing, keep scrolling.
The race cut Limited Jersey packs in a whole bunch of class with the pinstripe design. The low-cut neck and long cut sleeves are personal favourite features. It's also available in burgundy for a dash of extra class, and the designs are complemented by a range of cuts, with the Limited range being the most race-fit while as you'd expect the Endurance jerseys are a bit more forgiving.
The all-black bib short design, with shiny black embossed logo, is very reminiscent of a certain clothing company that rhymes with ‘gaffer’ – but don’t let that put you off. The enormous leg grippers provide more than enough grip to never be worried about the legs slipping but do ensure that sliding them over your newly shaved legs is a bit of an effort.
Light, packable and almost entirely devoid of logos, we’re hoping the VOID Wind Vest fits our need to cope with the early morning chill and blustery British weather.
From our brief time with the VOID Wind Vest, we’ve found it to have enough stretch to accommodate all riding positions without feeling restrictive. Just what we like.
If you’re the type that loves to kit out entirely from one brand, VOID also produces numerous accessories including water bottles, socks and various limb warmers.
- Jersey: €110
- Bibs: €160
- Wind vest: €100
Bryton Rider 310
When it comes to functionality for the money, at first glance the Bryton Rider 310 definitely packs quite a punch.
The 56g unit has a claimed battery life of 36 hours, is GPS enabled (no speed and cadence sensor required) and uses ANT+ to connect to external sensors including power meters, and Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and computers (there’s a USB port too). As you’d expect, it keeps track of more metrics than you can shake a stick at, allows for custom training plans to be loaded onto the device, and sees an IPX7 waterproof rating. The rider 310 also gets a built-in barometer for accurate altitude readings.
Bryton also has an iPhone / Android app for direct uploads from the device, so you can still be at the end of a ride and have your data online. As the device records FIT files, the data from the Rider 310 can be uploaded either to Bryton's training software or your favorite third-party website like Strava or TrainingPeaks.
Best of all, you get all this for £117 / US$120 / $150
Eleven Velo Women’s 99 Jersey and Race Knicks
With so many brands producing cycling clothing these days, it’s always a pleasant surprise to stumble onto something genuinely different. Eleven Velo is an Australian company with a long history making merino wares.
Their current men’s and women’s range offers an interactive purchasing process, where you select the colour of each merino panel from a snazzy online ‘builder’ that lets you preview how good, or totally off the mark, your bespoke design is going to look. Global shipping is AU$10, or free if you spend over AU$300.
The jersey itself is snug, has a good length at the waist, and two options for sleeve length (although the longer length costs a few dollars extra). The bibs use a fleecy Lycra on the front and back, merino side panels (with 5% spandex) and incorporate a popular CyTech chamois as used by many brands at the moment. The elastic on women’s knicks is on the rear of the garment only so they remain soft on the stomach, while the legs use a thick elastic for compression rather than silicone.
We’re curious to see how they perform out on the road and how many days in a row we can wear the merino jersey before it smells.
- 99 Jersey: £71 /$103 / AU$135
- 99 Race Knicks: £72/ $104 / AU$137
Lazer Z-LED and Mud Cap
It seems Lazer has designed its Z1, Blade and Magma helmets to be a bit like like Swiss army knives. With things like the brand's Magneto eyewear system, the snap-on Aeroshell, Cappuccinolock and LifeBEAM 2.0 heart rate sensor, the Belgian outfit is putting emphasis on the ability to upgrade without needing to buy an entirely new helmet.
The latest addition to this range of add-ons is the Z-LED. It mounts inside the Mudcap at the back of the helmet and provides additional visibility. Running on coin cell batteries, the light has three flashing modes and a solid always-on mode. There’s no claimed battery life or lumen count, but for such a little light it's surprisingly bright.
Unfortunately, if you've got a Z1 you'll have to choose between the Z-LED and LifeBEAM as there's no mudcap at this point that can accomidate both. That said, Lazer tells us the mud cap on the Blade has mounts for both. It also won't work with helmets like the Helium which don't have the rear mudcap.
£TBC/ $TBC / AU$25
Butter b2 RAT Chain Keeper
Chain keepers are an oft forgotten tool in a cyclist's toolkit but Butter, based just outside of Boulder (alliteration is great, isn't it?), aims to make cleaning and chain maintenance just that little bit easier with the b2 chain keeper.
Our b2 isn't compatible with just any bike though – this RAT version only works with Focus' Rapid Axle Technology (its proprietary quarter-turn quick-release system). Don't fear if you're not a lucky Focus owner though; Butter also has the b1 for traditional dropouts and a standard b2 for thru axles.