Got that Friday feeling? We have, and here at BikeRadar that means only one thing – it’s Friday five-a-side time.
You know the drill – five bits of road bike kit and the same from the mountain bike world each fight for their slice of the BikeRadar limelight. Let's go!
New mountain bike gear
Damson Wireless Bone Conduction headphones
Controversial as it may be, some people do choose to listen to music while riding – and these new headphones from Damson Audio are designed to improve your safety when doing just that.
Bone conduction headphones like these should, in theory, leave your ears open to the dangers of traffic and yet still allow you to hear the music of your choice. That’s because, instead of blocking your ear canal like conventional headphones, these sit forward of the ears and vibrates a wearers’ cheekbones – feeding sound directly to their inner ear.
They connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and, despite not exactly being subtle, can be folded away into a sunglasses case. An IPX5 water resistance rating means they should be able to shrug off sweat and light rain while the lithium-ion battery that powers them has a claimed runtime of between six and 20hrs of playback.
£100 / US$150
YT Capra Al 1.0
The Capra Al is the metal version of YT’s astonishing value and much-loved Capra enduro bike. YT’s strategy has always made for bikes that represent strong value but to be honest this one is just bonkers.
At €2,700 this is the more expensive of two alloy offerings and packs top-end suspension from RockShox, SRAM’s X1 groupset and Guide brakes as well as quality finishing kit from Race Face and a Reverb Stealth dropper post. If it’s anything like its plastic brother then this bike is every bit as brilliant as the money it’ll save you over anything from the competition.
There’s a catch though – in that, if you haven’t already done so, you’re going to have to wait until at least August to get your hands on one. The vertically endowed among us will also have issues finding one large enough… which is a crying shame.
Renthal 1XR chainring
Renthal has released its own take on the narrow/wide chainring. Badged the 1XR, the ring arrives with all the moto kudos and the signature anodised finish you’d expect from Renthal, plus a few tweaks to distinguish it in what's a now a very crowded marketplace.
The teeth of the 1XR alternate between widths of 1.8mm and 3.5mm, offering what Renthal claims is the highest available level of chain retention in all conditions. Once in use the chain actually sits above intricately machined grooves that are designed to purge efficiency-sapping and abrasive mud and debris – something Renthal found was a flaw with rings from other leading manufacturers. We’ve had one on test for a little while now and will soon be following it up with a full review.
£50 / €60 / US$60
Five Ten Freerider women’s shoes
The women’s version of Five Ten’s Freerider shoe has landed with us and, despite the subtle presence of pink, Five Ten haven’t simply rebranded the gents kicks.
Instead, FiveTen have altered the design of the shoe to better fit the anatomy of women's feet, which have on average a smaller size and volume compared with men's. This includes a different design in the padding, a deeper cut on the ankle cuff – because women's ankles tend to sit lower than men's – and a size range that goes down to a US 5/UK 2.5.
BikeRadar’s new women’s editor Aoife Glass will be putting these to the test – so stick around for a full review.
£80 / US$100
LifeProof Nuud iPhone case
Let’s face it; smartphones are with us most of the time and for a lot of mountain bikers that means they can get a hard life.This Nuud case from LifeProof is a two piece lightweight case that once in place will – according to the maker – significantly boost your phones resilience to abuse.
LifeProof claims the Nuud case seals the phone to the point that it can be submerged two metres in the drink, and similarly won’t be affected by dirt, dust, snow or ice. LifeProof also says the phone can survive drops of up to two metres with the Nuud in place – useful for the bar crawl as well then…
Cleverly, the fingerprint recognition function of the iPhone 5S and 6 also works perfectly through the case. Versions are available for the iPhone 5/5S and 6.
£80 / US$90 / AU$TBC
New road bike gear
Storck Visioner C G2
Once squarely the domain of the super-rich mamil, Storck’s new 2015 Visioner range is a sort of gateway drug to this exotic German brand. The glossy blue frame is full carbon and weighs in at 1,250g – not terribly heavy, but not feathery light either – while the fork adds 360g to that.
£1,799 / US$ / AU$ TBC
Rapha Trade Team – red jersey and cap
Ah, the 80s peloton: Fignon; Hinault; LeMond; no helmets; and long, flowing hair (recreated faithfully here). New fabric printing methods meant gaudy hues were seen on riders' backs for the first time – and Rapha has taken inspiration from three classic teams in it's latest Trade Team collection.
Based on the jerseys worn by team La Vie Claire, this bold red, white and grey design emulates the modernist style of the Bauhaus lines that inspired the original. The sunglasses graphic is a nod to Greg LeMond (the last American to officially win the Tour de France), who made the Oakley Eyeshade famous. The matching cap completes the look.
Jersey: £120 / US$180 / AU$190; cap: £25 / US$40 / AU$45
Overboard waterproof pannier
Overboard specialises in waterproof packs and among the brand's massive range of backpacks, duffels, dry bags and tech cases is this 17-litre pannier. Yep, we’ve gone all traditional on you this week!
The PVC tarpaulin construction uses electronically welded seams giving the pannier an IP66 100 percent waterproof rating. The top rolls down and buckles to secure the main compartment. There's also a front waterproof zip pocket for easy access to essentials without unrolling.
The hard side plate has sturdy plastic universal rack hooks while there are also light loops and reflectives on the wipe-down outer for better visibility. Overboard also has a six-litre bar pannier and 12-litre front wheel pannier.
£40 / US$90 / AU$120 (pair only in Australia)
Topeak's iGlow range adds LED visibility to everyday cycling accessories such as saddle packs, mudguards (or fenders, for US readers) and saddles. It's a great idea – adding lights to stuff you'd carry anyway – but this bottle cage takes it a step further. The iGlowCageB weighs only 56g and features a super bright LED in the base that makes the entire contents of your drinks bottle shine through the night like the comic book depiction of radioactive waste.
There are five options – green, blue, purple, yellow and white – and flashing or solid modes. Powered by two CR2032 batteries, Topeak says the lights last 100 or 50 hours on each mode respectively. The cage comes with one 500ml bottle included.
£25 / US$35 AU$47
Bont Blitz shoes
The clog-like appearance of Bont shoes is down to the fact that the 3K carbon sole wraps up to form the sides of the shoes as well, giving an ultra stiff and stable base. Bont’s thermo-malleable resin allows a totally custom fit after spending 20 minutes in the oven. Because the sole isn’t flat, it also supports the arch, which Bont says keeps knees straight, reducing injury.
The Blitz shoes have a microfibre upper with mesh inserts and perforations for ventilation, while a narrow forefoot strap and BOA dial keep you comfortably locked in during hard efforts. Aside from this striking alpha blue, you can also choose from neon pink and neon yellow colours. This size 41 sample weighs in at 239g per shoe.
£180 / US$260 / AU$309