Another Friday, another familiar surge of hope as the end of the grind is – for most of us – in sight and, yes, another array of shiny things that have crossed BikeRadar's greasy palms. That's right, it must be 11spd.
This week our Sydney and Bristol teams bring you bright lights, potentially hideous mocha energy gels, rubbery helmet covers and a fancy-pants Ti gravel bike that we hope will return safely with its rider from this weekend's epic Dirty Kanza race in Kansas, USA.
New mountain bike gear
Lupine Piko R4 SC
Building on the reputation of the Piko 4, Germany light company Lupine has upped the Piko’s original 1200 lumens to an impressive 1500 with the new Piko R 4 SC (Smartcore) while keeping the weight down to a feathery 55g.
The R4 SC also sports a completely redesigned housing but remains familiar for those already familiar with Lupine lights. Added Bluetooth functionality means the Piko can be controlled by both the new light control remote and smart phone application (available on both iOS and Android) allowing for easy customisation and power consumption monitoring.
Clif Bar Energy Bar and Shot energy gel
Nobody likes to bonk and everyone likes chocolate right? Well Clifbar have your energy needs covered with two new flavours of their all time classic energy bar and energy gel. The Coconut chocolate chip bars have already gone down a storm at BikeRadar towers, although as of yet no one’s dared to try a 50mg Mocha caffeine gel on their lunch break.
£1.50 / £1.60
Orange Seal tubeless sealant
Want to know what makes Orange Seal's tubeless sealant stand out form the rest? It’s the nanites. These small particles help bond and seal up to a 1/4in hole, and work at throughout a range of altitudes and temperatures. Marketing spiel aside, we just like the word 'nanites', which conjures up images of a tiny race of said nanites working tirelessly to keep your tyres puncture free in all conditions. Keep an eye out for a review soon, in any case.
£12.99 (8oz) $13.00 (8oz)
Ergon BA3 EVO backpack
Ergon’s new BA3 EVO pack is designed for your enduro and all-mountain adventures. It offers 15l of storage with an extra 2l of expansion, ensuring you can fit all your tools, spares, clothing, food, liquid and anything else you fancy taking on your ride. It's safe to say there’s plenty of clever features on this bag to keep you occupied for a long time.
MT Zoom Handy Strap and Emergency Hanger
MT Zoom (Mount Zoom) specialises in super light, super useful components targeting off-road riding weight weenies. The Handy Strap has, well, a name that sums it up better than we could have done. We’ve already found its use strapping an inner tube and tyre levers to the underside of a saddle, freeing up jersey space.
Snapping a rear derailleur hanger is generally a ride-ending problem – though not many riders will admit to not carrying a backup – and that’s where the emergency hanger comes in. MT Zoom’s emergency hanger conveniently triples up as both a spoke and valve key too. Weighing only 7g, it’s almost light enough to forget it’s even in your bag or jersey.
- Handy strap: £7.50
- Emergency hanger: £10
Nzo 2016 Scuffers
New Zealand-based mountain bike clothing company Nzo has updated its women’s baggies, called Scuffers. These are the shorts you’ll see the Juliana-SRAM team racing in across the slopes of the Enduro World Series.
The new design looks similar to the previous iteration, but has updated sizing and uses a lighter and apparently even more indestructible material: NzoRipStop. The company describes this material as light, strong and a little bit stretchy, something we agree with having worn the previous design for a good couple of years.
The rear of the shorts sees a stretchier material still to help prevent saddle snags over technical terrain, and Velcro tabs give a custom fit at the waist. Hip pockets are designed to fold flat against your body while pedalling, and a blue, zippered side pocket provides storage space down low and out of the way.
The 2016 Scuffers are only available in black with blue highlights, a practical choice given they’ve been tried and tested in world-famous Rotorua mud.
$119 / £N/A / AU$139
New road bike gear
S-Works Sub6 shoes
Specialized is fully aboard the laced-shoe bandwagon with its S-Works Sub6. Utilizing the same ultra stiff FACT Powerline carbon sole as the standard S-Works 6 road shoe, the Sub6 forgoes Boa dials and Velcro for flatlock hydrophobic laces.
As worn by Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador, the Sub6 features a one-piece laser-perforated Micromatrix UL synthetic upper, and PadLock-moulded heel cup.
Specialized says the new shoes are its most aero to date, and when worn with the included Warp Sleeve rain/lace covers (as tested in Specialized's 'Win Tunnel') it's claimed they'll save you 35secs over 40km. If wrestling the Warp Sleeves over the shoes doesn’t strike your fancy, the American outfit has included a LaceLock elastic band on the tongue to keep laces away from hungry chainrings.
Weighing 438g for the pair (size 44) the Sub6 also comes with a spare set of coloured laces and drawstring shoe bag.
$325 / £250 / AU$450
VeloToze Helmet Cover
It’s like a swim cap, but for your bike helmet. Known for latex shoe and toe covers, VeloToze has just released a helmet cover designed to keep the rain and cold wind off your head when the weather gets nasty.
Weighing just 33g (7g less than Lazer’s Aeroshell), the difference on top of your helmet is negligible and the cover can easily be stuffed into a jersey pocket.
The front panel of the cover is dimpled, and as the cover smoothes your helmet's overall profile, there’s probably some aero benefit on tap. That said, it’s a bit of a battle to get the thing on, and we haven't been able to get the cover to sit completely wrinkle-free on the helmets we’ve tried thus far.
$25 / £TBC / AU$TBC
MAAP Base kit
With winter in Australia officially kicking off this week, Melbourne-based MAAP has sent over its new Base long-sleeve jersey, and bib shorts.
Designed to take the bite out of cold morning rides, the interior of the Base jersey features a lightly brushed surface to keep you toasty without overheating. There’s also a full-length placket to keep wind from sneaking through the zipper. Unique to the black colourway (pictured), the minimal graphics and logos are reflective for a bit of added visibility — it also comes in a navy version that doesn't get the reflective treatment.
The new Base bibs also feature reflective logos, a new silicone-infused leg gripper, and fabric treated with Coldblack (to deflect heat), Interpower (to promote wicking) and hygienic protection. There's also a new chamois, developed exclusively for MAAP, that includes bioceramic and anti-bacterial face fabric and high-density foam padding.
- Base jersey $169 / £111 / AU$235
- Base bibs $223 / £145 / AU$310
Swiftwick Pursuit Merino socks
Tennessee-based Swiftwick claims to make the best sock you will ever wear – a big call, we know. We’ve previously featured the brand's Aspire socks, but with things cooling down here in Australia, Swiftwick has sent through its 7in Merino Pursuit socks.
The Pursuit socks are made from all-natural merino wool sourced from farmers in the US. Despite their weight, the wool takes the bite out of the chilly morning wind without adding bulk inside your shoe. Available in a variety of heights and colours, the Pursuit socks offer a merino toe and heel, compression cuff, seamless toe construction, and half-density weave joints — and they're pretty comfy.
$22 / £TBC / AU$45
Moots Routt 45
Based out of Steamboat Springs, CO, Moots has a reputation for high-end titanium builds with more customizable options than you will probably ever remember. The Moots Routt range has been fully designed with gravel and dirt riding in mind, with the original Routt having clearance for up to 35mm tyres.
As you may be able to surmise from its name, the Routt 45 accommodates rubber up to a rather meaty 45mm wide. Our build comes with Shimano’s ever-reliable cabled Ultegra groupset, Mavic Allroad wheels with Clement’s X’PLOR MSO 36mm tubeless tyres, and Fizik finishing kit.
Matching the frame’s material are Crankbrothers' ultra-light Eggbeater 11 pedals. This Routt 45 is being ridden in tomorrow’s Dirty Kanza 200, so expect to see a more detailed write-up in the near future.
$3,390 (frame only)