And we’re here again. For some of us, it’s been a week of crazy online shopping deals, while others are recovering from overdosing on turkey and cranberry sauce. Whether it’s the first week of winter or perhaps summer, it shouldn’t stop you from getting out and riding your bike.
With that in mind, here are 11 new products to recently land in the hands of Australian, American and British BikeRadar staff.
Best new mountain bike gear
Mons Royale Merino ride gear
Based on the shores of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, Mons Royale is a merino wool apparel specialist. It recently grew the brand’s range from high-end underwear and base layers into trail tops.
Merino wool is commonly claimed to be something of a magic fabric, with natural anti-bacterial properties, temperature regulation and fast wicking. Throw in its generally silky-soft feel, and it boasts an impressive feature list for cycling clothing. We received the brand’s new ‘Riders Raglan T’ and ‘Comac V T’ tops.
Breezy back – works great with packs
With three-quarter-length sleeves, the Riders Raglan T (bottom two images above) offers some neat features in the way of a glass wipe and a zippered hip pocket (fits an iPhone 6). The slim cut offers a dropped hem for worry-free rear coverage, while a merino mesh back adds further cooling, especially helping when worn with a pack.
More like a technical T-shirt, the Comac V T (top two images above) drops many of the cycling-specific features. But the slim cut and merino material should make it pretty grand for shorter rides that end in casual locations.
Currently, the trail range ships out of New Zealand, so the pricing below is subject to exchange rates.
- Riders Raglan T: Approx $110 / £65 / AU$146 (NZ$140 + $20 shipping)
- Comac V T: Approx $95 / £50 / AU$128 (NZ$120 + $20 shipping)
Dog & Bone Wetsuit Impact phone case
Claimed to the world’s thinnest waterproof and impact-protected smartphone case, the Dog & Bone Wetsuit Impact case could be the pot of gold to a mountain biker’s rainbow.
Dog and Bone says that every single case is pressure tested to a water depth of 2m, and that the case will protect your phone in drops from a similar height too.
All of the phone ports and buttons are accessible while in the case, and even the camera is treated to an anti-reflective optical glass lens. We haven’t had a chance to use the case for long, but first impressions show screen touch accuracy to be great, and the fingerprint security still works. We haven't fully got our heads around how this works, but even fully sealed the mic and speakers sound rather clear.
Our iPhone 6S/6 sample cover weighs in at 42g and sits with an impressive outside depth of under 14mm.
iPhone 6S/6 case: $90 / £60 / AU$109
Paul Components bottle opener
There are a fair number of cycling-themed bottle openers on the market these days, but this is one of the nicer options. CNCed from a single billet of aluminium in the USA, the Paul bottle opener offers a 15mm open-end wrench at one end, and a nicely reinforced beverage cap remover at the other.
At 43g and 114mm long, the wrench doesn’t afford a heap of leverage, so freeing tight pedals or axle nuts isn’t its strong suit. However, most of Paul’s own brakes do use such a tool.
Most importantly, we’re yet to find a cold one that the Paul’s bottle opener can’t tackle.
$20 / £18 / AU$30
Howies Women's Light Merino base layer
Bored of dull mud-coloured base layers? Welsh clothing company Howies has come to the rescue with this bright purple number with a slim, feminine cut and flatlock seams.
It's the second entry in this week's 11spd to benefit from merino wool's insulation and wicking properties, and its ability to withstand post-ride armpit pong. It’s made of lightweight 160g merino fabric.
£49 / $79 (Standard shipping to the US is $10; Howies also ships internationally)
Trek Lush 27.5 women's-specific mountain bike
Continuing the purple theme is the brand spanking new Trek Lush 27.5, a women’s-specific full suspension mountain bike designed for tackling trails with confidence. With 120mm of travel coming courtesy of Rockshox, plus a durable Shimano 2x10 drivetrain and Race Face Ride crankset, it gives you plenty to play with.
£1,500 / $2,100 / AU$TBC
Best new road bike gear
Speedplay Zero Aero Walkable cleats
Haters of Speedplay pedals have one less thing to list now. And lovers of Speedplay pedals can now safely walk to the till of their fave café. Yup, the product name says it all.
With a dimpled aerodynamic profile, the new Walkable cleats work with all existing Speedplay Zero models, with the addition of a grippy rubber exterior for better off-bike traction. The rubber cover is replaceable, available in a variety of colours and adds approximately 31g over the standard cleats.
Given you’re no longer walking on the hardware, cleat durability should be greatly improved too. And little plugs are included too, so you can seal up your cleats from the environment when not pedaling.
$55 / £60 / AU$90
Unior 1600A7 20-piece toolkit in bag
Unior tools are built in Europe to high standards and are commonly used in industrial and automotive worlds. Recently Unior made a big splash into cycling, with expanded distribution into the USA and Australia.
This consumer-level tool kit contains 20 modern and commonly used cycling tools within a classy zip-up case. This includes a set of tyre levers, short hex keys, pedal wrench, chain whip, cassette lockring remover, external bottom bracket tool, chain breaker, chain wear checker and cable cutters to name a few.
Key exclusions from the kit are a set of Torx keys, something to turn the cassette tool with and long hex keys for larger bolts. We’ve had this new 2016 set in our hands for a little while now, so expect a full review soon.
$275 / £174 / AU$TBC
Brooklyn Project sublimated socks
Like bright, wild and perhaps daring socks? Well, Australian start-up Brooklyn Project does, and its socks are made with a sublimation process (think custom Lycra) to greatly open up possible print designs. Whereas most socks traditionally receive their designs through stitching, this printing process to the cuff means near-unlimited graphic options.
They're different to any other sock we've tried on, and remind us of the wide silicone band leg grippers on many high-end bib shorts. With this, an Australian-made Coolmax sole is joined to a snug-fitting, aero sublimated cuff. Adding a little more tech, the cuffs are said to be treated with a 'Si Fusion' coating, with claims that it keeps the socks gripping to the skin, dry and with temperature regulation. And yes, custom prints are available too.
$18 (approx) / £12 (approx) / AU$25
Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza II 2-16 Pro Deluxe torque wrench
This Italian-made bicycle specific torque wrench isn’t new, strictly speaking. In fact, we reviewed one back in 2011. However, this Pro model recently got updated to include a felt-lined roll-up case that holds all the bits together.
As the name states, this torque wrench measures between 2-16nm. The Pro moniker refers to its ratcheting head, something the model below does without. The wrench features a 1/4in square drive head, and includes most common sized bits for your bicycle servicing needs.
$250 / £190 / AU$395
Selle Royal Scientia saddle
Italian company Selle Royal has come up with an interesting approach to saddle R&D. It commissioned research with the German Sport University Cologne to find out what really mattered when it came to saddles. The result is a range of 9 saddles, with 3 different ride positions and 3 different width options.
Interestingly, Selle Royal determined that gender differences don't have much of an effect when it comes to saddles, at least when it comes to more upright, commuter-type riding.
Pricing £59.99 / $69 / AU$129.95
HiFI MixMaster Disc Aluminum Tubular wheelset
HiFi is a relatively new wheel company out of Portland, Oregon spinning hoops with a decidedly musical orientation. Whereas the Hit Single carbon clincher or the Long Play 60mm carbon tubular might be of broader interest to the roadies, it's still cyclocross season so you're looking at the MixMaster Disc here.
The alloy MixMaster Disc has a relatively shallow 23mm bed for wider tubulars; 25mm is the recommended minimum, but these rims are really made for 33mm ’cross treads. At $799 and 1,520g, the set is reasonably light at well under half the price of most carbon tubulars.
The wheels are nicely futureproofed, coming with an easy conversion kit for moving between thru-axle and quick release setups.
$799 / £NA / AU$NA