It’s the end of yet another week, and that means only one thing in the BikeRadaroffice – it's time for our Friday Five-a-side round up of the most interesting bits and pieces of road cycling and mountain biking gear that have recently landed on our doorstep. Take a closer look at what we'll be testing in the upcoming weeks and months.
New road cycling gear
Biologic Bike Mount Plus for iPhone 5/5S
Commuters who like to keep their iPhone 5/5S in view but also regularly tackle inclement weather can consider Biologic's Bike Mount Plus to keep their precious smartphones safe. The hard-shelled plastic case features a weatherproof design with O-ring seals, a touchscreen-compatible transparent membrane, and quick-release clamps that together will supposedly seal out rain and splashes – just don't go scuba diving with it.
Clever SoundPipe channels keep the speakers and microphone working even when the case is shut, additional sealed ports allow access to the headphone and Lightning ports, and there's even a folding 'kickstand' on the back for tabletop use. The included clamp will fit most stems and handlebars with 360-degree rotation for portrait or landscape viewing.
US$45 / £39.99
Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless tyres
Specialized's impressive overhaul of its road tyre range continues to soldier forward with the new S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless. In contrast to the company's previous Road Tubeless offering, this revamped version is built with a far thinner and suppler 180tpi casing, yet can still be run without sealant.
We've already starting logging miles on our test samples and just like with the latest non-tubeless Turbo tyres, these are awfully impressive with a surprisingly supple ride. As promised, the Gripton synthetic rubber compound produces a notably fast roll and excellent grip. In fact, Specialized even claims that these new tubeless tyres have nearly identical rolling resistance to the non-tubeless S-Works version.
Actual weight for a 700x24mm sample is 256g – 30g less than the Continental Grand Prix 4000s and ultralight butyl tube it replaced, even with sealant installed.
US$120 / £N/A
Syncros Speed Ride wallet
Hate using saddle packs but tired of having little bits floating around in your jersey pocket? The Syncros Speed Ride wallet includes dedicated compartments for your smartphone, glueless patch kit, tyre levers, money, identification, money and a mini-tool – all in a tidy nylon pack that fits easily in your jersey pocket. There's even an elastic loop to secure a mini-pump.
Sadly, none of those accessories are actually included in the asking price but chances are you've already got most of them already.
US$24.99 / £14.99
Williams Cycling Aeros Genesis road frameset
Williams Cycling made its name by offering reasonably priced, high quality road wheelsets direct to consumers. Company founder Keith Williams recently branched out into componentry and is now making the leap to carbon fibre and aluminium road framesets under the Aeros label.
This top-end Genesis model features a modular monocoque carbon fibre frame made in Taiwan by the folks at Trigon. Key features include deep-profile tubing, a tapered head tube, convertible internal cable routing and a conventional threaded bottom bracket shell – plus stiffness, ride, aerodynamic, and durability characteristics that Williams claims will rival similar models from the major labels.
Pricing on the bare frameset is pretty good but the fully built options are downright cheap, with a complete Shimano Dura-Ace machine going for just US$4,385. Actual weight for our 49cm sample (535mm effective top tube) is 1,149g with the matching fork adding another 458g. We'll have ours built up and on the road shortly so stay tuned for a ride report.
US$1,899 / £1,145
Velo Vie Vitesse 500
Consumer-direct company Velo Vie certainly has the price aspect of its business model down pat. Our top-end Vitesse 500 carbon test bike with a complete SRAM Red 22 group and carbon clincher wheels costs about the same as what many mainstream companies deliver with a second-tier group and aluminium wheels – plus buyers can customise nearly every component (as well as model and size) to order, so there's no need to trade things out on the showroom floor.
Despite the enticing pricing, Velo Vie insists the Vitesse 500 is just as much a the high-performance machine as bikes costing far more. Its features include deep-section carbon tubes, a tapered front end surrounding a full-carbon fork, an oversized BB30 bottom bracket shell, convertible cable routing, and a sleek low-key finish. Total weight for our complete 48cm test sample (without pedals) is a scant 6.67kg (14.70lb).
US$4,398 / £2,700
New mountain bike gear
Bontrager Rhythm Softshell Hoodie jacket
Bontrager's Rhythm Softshell Hoodie jacket is designed for hard riding in nasty off-road conditions. It has a windproof and water-resistant softshell exterior, cosy ribbed cuffs and hem, giant zippered torso vents (that double as pockets) and a drawstring hood big enough to fit over most trail helmets.
Two chest pockets offer up even more storage and there's plenty of room underneath the slightly longer cut to add insulating layers as needed. After the ride is over, the casual styling should look right at home at your local pub too.
US$199.99 / £119.99
Enduro ZERO XX1 pulleys
Mountain bikers admittedly probably aren't the target market for drag-reducing hybrid ceramic bearings. However, the corrosion-resistant silicon carbide balls and treated chromium steel races in Enduro's ZERO XX1 pulleys should theoretically also offer better durability in inclement weather for what's billed as a win-win solution after your current pulleys wear out.
Other features include quiet-running, machined Delrin pulley wheels with thick-thin teeth and aluminium dust covers anodised in black, blue or red.
US$139 / £90
Feedback Sports Pro Truing Stand
Feedback Sports' revamped Pro Truing Stand retains the basic single-arm design of its predecessor but has a host of improvements that make it better suited to a wider range of machines. The arm easily fits 29er wheels without having to remove the tyre and the indicator boasts a spring-loaded tip to go easier on carbon rims. You can also slide the indicator up and use the built-in slot to help true warped disc rotors.
The adjustable arm secures to a sturdy steel base or a bolt-on benchtop mount – both of which are included. Before you resign the single-arm design solely to quick-release use, keep in mind that Feedback includes 12mm and 15mm axle adapters too.
US$99.99 / £94.99
Magura TS8 100 eLECT fork
Electronics continue to infiltrate nearly every aspect of cycling with Magura's new TS8 eLECT fork being the latest convert. Instead of the usual manually adjustable compression damper, the eLECT system uses a tiny valve connected to an accelerometer, a servo and a rechargeable Li-ion battery. When the fork detects you're on smooth ground, the valve stays shut – leaving the fork firm and efficient for climbing and sprinting. Hit a bump, however, and the valve opens within 0.2 seconds to produce a fully active fork that requires no rider input whatsoever.
Magura says the eLECT damper adds just 81g as compared to its standard compression damper, and our complete TS8 100 eLECT 29er fork tips the scales as a competitive 1,642g (3.62lb) with an uncut tapered steerer, plus another 46g (0.10lb) for the slick 15mm through-axle.
Such technology comes with an admittedly hefty price, however, and our test fork is anything but cheap. Current Magura TS6 and TS8 owners can buy an eLECT compression damper cartridge as a direct drop-in replacement but even that option is pricey at US$650.
US$1,400 / £1,349
Sidi Spider SRS shoes
Sidi has revamped its tough and durable Spider SRS model for 2014 with a new fibre-reinforced nylon sole that boosts stiffness and cuts weight from the previous version while retaining the replaceable lugs. Cmpared to the set we tested back in 2010, these are more than 50g lighter - 753g for a pair of size 44s.
Sidi has retained the supremely comfortable and uncannily form fitting upper, however, and it fits just as superbly as it did back then. Sidi offers the Spider with either an all-Lorica synthetic leather upper or a mix of Lorica and mesh (which we've gone with here) for more ventilation. Both include a plastic reinforced toe cap, an adjustable ratcheting main strap plus two hook-and-hook forefoot closures, and a molded plastic heel counter – not to mention unmistakably Italian styling.
US$359.99 / £220