BikeRadar tests the new Canyon Ultimate EVO, goes full-fluoro and races new Niner gravel bike

Here’s some of the gear we’ve loved riding this past week

In a fresh twist to Our Week On Two Wheels, this time round we’re going to look at all the bike kit we’ve enjoyed testing in the past seven days.

Don’t worry, you’ll still get to see your favourite BikeRadar writers in Lycra doing silly things in cold temperatures, but we’ll tell you a bit more about the gear we were riding at the same time.

We’ll be bringing you the good and the bad from the front lines of bike testing, so there’ll be some fresh gear that's not even in the shops yet, our long-term test rigs, and perhaps an amusing trinket or two.

Oh and we rescued a lost hedgehog. Enjoy!

Josh Evans — social media manager

Our social media manager goes full-Euro-fluoro in the 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo kit from Sportful
Our social media manager goes full-Euro-fluoro in the 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo kit from Sportful

Saturday saw the BikeRadar crew head down to Cheddar Gorge and freezing conditions and a dusting of snow made for a fresh ride, but luckily we didn’t encounter any ice.

For the ride I decided to go full #Euro and wore the 2015 fluoro Tinkoff-Saxo kit. 

While to some I looked ridiculous, the Sportful jacket is made from Gore WindStopper material and kept me warm with a thin baselayer and thermal jersey underneath, as well as providing great visibility in the low light.

Unfortunately the matching fluoro tights weren’t thermal and although I looked the part (in my opinion at least), my legs definitely felt the cold and I’ll be wearing thermal tights on our next snowy expedition.

Jamie Wilkins — Procycling deputy editor

The Canyon Ultimate CF EVO is here and we've got the world exclusive
The Canyon Ultimate CF EVO is here and we've got the world exclusive

I can’t remember another week quite like the last one. I was lucky enough to get the world exclusive first ride on the new 5kg Canyon Ultimate Evo, the first UK ride on a new Enve product which is still under embargo, I put in some fast rides on the searing Cipollini NK1K and ran a really interesting aero test.

In total it was 287 miles. I don’t mind admitting that I’m looking forward to an easy day after that.

We're testing something very special from Enve — find out what on Thursday, right here on BikeRadar
We're testing something very special from Enve — find out what on Thursday, right here on BikeRadar

A week ago, I was at an old airfield running timed tests of the £900 open mould Parcours Chrono 86mm wheels against a set of £3,300 Enve 7.8s.

The reason behind this David vs. Goliath pairing is that the Enve recently came out on top of a wind tunnel group test I was involved with and Parcours claims it wheels are on par with the best.

The testing was done on a TT bike to control the position and at the same average power, in the same clothing, so it’s very reliable.

I did three runs on each set of wheels and the results were fascinating. You can get a sneak preview on Strava here, but to get the full story and see which is fastest you will have to stay tuned to BikeRadar.

Cipollini's NK1K doesn’t have an extravagant build, but it feels really special
Cipollini's NK1K doesn’t have an extravagant build, but it feels really special

On Tuesday I went out for a blast on a Cipollini NK1K that’s in for a test in Procycling magazine. My choice of route wasn’t spectacular but the bike’s pace was as I hammered out an interval session on a trunk road.

While our test bike doesn’t have an extravagant build, it feels really special and the frame has an effervescence I’ve found in few others. I love riding it and it might even be my new favourite bike. It brightened Wednesday’s commute, too.

We've already put a few hundred miles into the EVO — watch out for our review very soon
We've already put a few hundred miles into the EVO — watch out for our review very soon

On Thursday morning I rode the 24 miles to work on a new Enve product, my first taste of it at home since attending the launch in the US.

It’s something special but you will have to wait until Thursday to find out what it is.

Then I rode home on the only Canyon Ultimate Evo to have left the factory so far. To mark this world exclusive and make the most of being on a 5.1kg bike, I smashed up the main hill on my route, reclaiming the KOM despite the sub-zero weather.

And then I rescued a hedgehog from the middle of the road near my house and tucked him back in a hedge where he’s hopefully gone back to sleep, so that ride gave me a few smiles.

Look out for the review of the Canyon later this week — it’s seriously exotic.

Russell Eich – US tech writer

Our US tech writer Russell's been out riding on Clement's Strada LGG 25c tyres
Our US tech writer Russell's been out riding on Clement's Strada LGG 25c tyres

This week saw a big warm up in temperatures and therefore a big increase in mud as the snow melted. I took advantage of the sun and while I still didn't dare show very much skin, got a couple of road rides in on Clement's Strada LGG 25c tires

The LGG moniker is from the airport code for Liege, Belgium, home of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic. To check on that claimed durability, I spent almost equal time on gravel as I did on pavement.

Jack Luke – staff writer

Although the finish of Jack's Pass Hunter disc frameset was acceptable, he likes to be absolutely sure when building a bike from scratch
Although the finish of Jack's Pass Hunter disc frameset was acceptable, he likes to be absolutely sure when building a bike from scratch

This has been a week filled with all manners of facing and chasing. To start, I began the build process of my Velo Orange Pass Hunter test bike by facing and chasing the headtube and bottom bracket of the frame.

While the finish out of the factory was more than acceptable on this particular frame, I’m a compulsive fettler and find the idea of not completing this important task myself deeply unsettling.

Come Saturday, I spent my day chasing Reuben, Joe and Josh (see what I did there?) on a lovely, snowy ride through the Mendips to Cheddar Gorge and back. The following day, I faced (ahh…) an inclement forecast head on and pootled over to Wales to do a little ride with (senior tech writer) Matthew Allen.

Jack has a habit of not actually checking where a route he's planned will take him to
Jack has a habit of not actually checking where a route he's planned will take him to

As always, a road ride with me inevitably involves some kind of gravel misadventure and I was happy to have packed a cache of snacks in my unspecified top secret handlebar bag to keep me fuelled throughout the day.

Josh Patterson – US tech editor

Niner's new gravel bike, the RLT 9 RDO, was chosen by our US tech editor Josh for his first race of the 2017 season
Niner's new gravel bike, the RLT 9 RDO, was chosen by our US tech editor Josh for his first race of the 2017 season

On Sunday I stretched my legs by competing in my first race of 2017.

The Old Man Winter Rally is a gravel road race held in Lyon’s Colorado. I lined up for the 100km route, which included rolling plains as well as some steep mountain climbs, a bit of singletrack and, best of all, doughnut-wielding spectators. 

The singletrack section was Josh's favourite portion of the Old Man Winter Rally in Lyons, Colorado
The singletrack section was Josh's favourite portion of the Old Man Winter Rally in Lyons, Colorado

This event was a great opportunity to put Niner’s new gravel race bike, the RLT 9 RDO, through its paces. RDO stands for “Race Day Optimized” and signifies the highest performance models in Niner’s line.

The RLT 9 RDO features a full carbon frame with a lower bottom bracket and tighter geometry than the current steel and alloy RLT models. It sports a full carbon fork with eyelets to hold additional water bottles for endurance riding.

Last but not least, it has clearance for 700x40mm tires.

Keep an eye out for a Horse for the Course feature, as well as a review of this new gravel rig. 

Aoife Glass – women’s editor

The Liv Pique is a lightweight XC race bike designed for speed and efficiency
The Liv Pique is a lightweight XC race bike designed for speed and efficiency

This weekend saw the first proper outing for my long term test bike, the Liv Pique.

The XC/trail focussed Pique is quite different to what I’d normally opt to ride in my own time — a mid-travel enduro-focussed bike such as the Juliana Roubion — but I’m keen to improve my fitness and give myself some long-distance challenges for 2017 and the Pique is lightweight and designed for speed and efficiency. 

Our women's editor Aoife took the Liv Pique out to a trail centre in Wales
Our women's editor Aoife took the Liv Pique out to a trail centre in Wales

It’s much more suited to my local trails and I’ve got plans to tackle a marathon race or two this year.

I took it out to Cwm Rhaeadr in Wales, which is a short red-graded loop that’s a lot of fun AND manages that magical feat of having a descent that feels longer than the climb. 

The circuit is perfect for getting the suspension dialled in on a bike as you can do multiple loops in quick succession without completely beasting yourself.

Stand by for more info on the Liv Pique in the next month when we start introducing our long term test bikes for the year! 

Joe Norledge – videographer

We braved snowy conditions this Saturday on our ride through the Mendips
We braved snowy conditions this Saturday on our ride through the Mendips

Saturday saw a BikeRadar crew consisting of Josh, Jack, Reuben and me and we headed for the hills around the Mendips near Bristol.

The weather was pretty chilly with a thin coating of snow covering the hills, but we still managed a good three hours. 

I was riding my long term Cannondale Scalpel mountain bike, which helped with grip on the icy road. Although that did mean I suffered on faster sections due to the obvious increase in rolling resistance from the fat tyres.

As ever we finished the ride with a trip to our favourite bakery, Parsons.

Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Kona Cindercone
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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