Every week we do our best to present you guys with the most interesting bikes and bits to land at the BikeRadar office; it's called 11spd, but you knew that, right?
Coming up this week we have a bike that could shape the future of gravel riding, a plus-sized mountain bike that just looks right and a helmet that could provoke jealousy from Robocop himself.
New road products
Cannondale Slate 105
The Lefty fork aside, Cannondale is a company that tends not to do things by halves. The Slate adventure road bike starts with what many manufacturers have been doing to their road bikes, and takes it a whole lot further.
Even among a breed of bikes where fat rubber and big clearances, disc braking and thru-axles are now the norm, the Slate is a bit of a freak. We think that if this bike could talk then it would pick on its peers, and chuckle at their comparatively skinny treads. That’s because Cannondale has chosen to fit 650b wheels to the Slate, and those, together with its big volume 42mm tyres, add up to a rolling radius that equals that of a 22mm model fitted to a 700c wheel.
Whereas most manufacturers are trying to introduce shock absorption to rigid components, Cannondale has fitted a properly damped 30mm version of the aforementioned Lefty suspension fork. When it comes to geometry Cannondale says its deployed short chainstays, a long front centre and a slack head angle to the alloy framed Slate – now where have we heard all that before? Pretty much every mountain bike over the past few years, that’s where.
Never before have the boundaries between different bikes been so blurred, but all we really care about is how this 9.72kg (21.43lb) rebel is going to ride. We’ll keep you posted.
£2,499 / $2,980 / AU$TBC
Torch T2 helmet
Following on from a successful campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the T2 from Torch Apparel is an urban helmet that integrates a set of lights into its 352g in-mould shell.
Five white and five red LED lights sit behind polycarbonate lenses to illuminate surroundings at the front and rear of the helmet, while some side visibility is also on offer. Each light has a claimed run time of six hours, or up to 36 hours in a flashing setting.
Lighting aside, it’s a well-finished item, with adjustable straps and a retention wheel at the rear to enhance the fit. Eight vents combined with internal channels should go a long way to prevent overheating, something that can be a problem with this pisspot-style design.
The helmet saps power via a supplied USB cable and will go from flat to fully charged in just 1.5 hours, says Torch.
The nights are rapidly closing in here in Bristol and we’ll soon be using the T2 for commuting in darkness so stay tuned for a full review.
£90 / $139.99 / AU$TBC
Rapha Women’s Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey
When the temperature and light levels drop, thoughts turn to snug clothing. This newly released long-sleeve version of the Brevet jersey is made from a super-soft feeling merino blend. The cut is loose enough to layer, and the pockets are big enough to fit a decent amount of kit in, including a zipped mesh pocket sized to take a gillet or jacket.
It’s hard to miss the vivid pink, but just in case that might be a risk, Rapha have added a reflective strip across the chest and back, plus accents on the wrists. Perfect for autumn, if you’re in the northern hemisphere – perhaps not as useful elsewhere right now.
£140 / US$210 / AU$250
Vulpine Laptop Commuter Backpack
For the fashion conscious commuter there’s this new backpack from Vulpine. Designed to carry a laptop along with a change of clothes and other valuables, it ‘s part of a new Autumn/Winter range from the London firm.
A water-resistant Cordura canvas construction makes for a lightweight pack while the use of channeled sections shows an effort to keep a rider’s back cool while on the bike.
The padded laptop partition easily swallowed our 13in MacBook Air with room to spare, so we think it’s likely optimised around a 15in laptop. Elsewhere inside there’s around 14l of storage space from internal pockets and sections.
The carabiner-equipped outside pocket is a signature Vulpine touch and a useful one at that. Another practical plus comes in the form of two loops at the rear of the pack, these form a practical place to carry a suitably sized D lock. Subtle reflective highlights also feature throughout.
We’ll be trying out the pack over the next few weeks. It’s going to have to do a lot to justify that retail price though.
£149 / $TBC / $TBC
Bolle 6th Sense sunglasses
Fast riders want suitable eyewear, and these 6th Sense sunglasses from French firm Bolle shouldn’t be slowing anyone down.
These Italian made specs are extensively curved to provide the widest field of vision possible while a grippy, adjustable nose piece is used to secure them to a rider’s face.
The Modulator lenses are photochromic, meaning they are able to adapt to changing light conditions. Ten shades of tint are available, along with eight frame colour options and the possibility to use prescription lenses through RX inserts.
Removable shields at the side of the frames can also be used to block out harsh sunlight from a rider’s peripheral vision.
£155 / $N/A / AU$N/A
New mountain bike products
Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus
It's only when you photograph this bike at a 3/4 angle that it reveals its plus sized stature and, unusually for a plus sized machine at the BikeRadar towers, pretty much everyone who's come across it has commented on how great it looks. So, why should someone switch to a plus size trail bike? Well, Scott claims improvements in traction as well as puncture and rolling resistance.
The first thing everyone is curious about when they see the Genius 700 Tuned Plus is its weight, and it turns out those enormous 45mm rims and 2.8in treads plus associated wideboy hardware haven’t amounted to a serious weight penalty on this 130/140mm trail bike. Our test bike weighed in at 26.3lbs (11.93kg) – an impressive figure, but then again this is a six grand bike dressed with some of the best parts money can buy.
Of course, the other thing everyone wants to know is how the hell it rides! Rob Weaver, the technical editor from our sister title Mountain Biking UK, was fortunate enough to have a go on one a few weeks back at Scott’s official product launch – he jotted down some very brief first ride impressions here.
Expect a full review on this bike in the near future.
£6,099 / US$7,999 / AU$TBC
ODI Elite grips
What ODI aimed to achieve with this new, three-model range of grips is contact points that offer more padding without a bulky feel. All models use a single clamp and feature an integrated bar end.
First up there’s the Motion, a full knurl grip with padding strategically placed where it’s needed most. The Flow is very similar to the aforementioned but gets a half waffle section for extra traction.
The Pro is ODI’s final addition to the Elite range and has been developed in conjunction with Specialized rider Curtis Keen. The Pro is the thickest of the three grips and has been designed to offers maximum vibration damping at the handlebar. The half waffle once again makes an appearance but there’s also a reinforced edge that should provide better resistance to big stacks.
£TBC / $28.95 / AU$TBC
Halo Devaura wheelset
Halo’s Devaura road wheels sport a 31mm deep section rim profile with a width of 24mm. The Devauras also tubeless ready and arrive pre-taped for such duties.
Up front 20 spokes are splayed in a radial pattern and paired to Halo’s own Spin Master sealed bearing hub. At the rear there’s a spoke count of 24, with twice the spoke count on the driveside as the non-driveside – that’s for enhanced lateral rigidity, says Halo.
Halo also builds the Devaura with disc hubs for an extra £100, and there’s even an option to have a rim braking surface and a disc hub for those who require such versatility.
Aesthetically speaking, subtle red anodising at the spoke nipples and hub spacers works well to contrasts with the gloss black. Our test pair measured in at dead on 1,800g (3.97lbs), that’s over the claimed weight but If these are anything like Halo’s other hoops then they’ll likely be tough enough to justify their weight.
£379.98 / US$tbc / AU$tbc
North Ridge Hybrid Insulated Jacket
North Ridge is a UK brand and so knows a thing or two about our dark and deep winters. The Hybrid is a lightweight jacket that’s both wind and water-resistant and will pack away into its own dry bag.
Usefully, the jacket’s hood provides ample room to stick over a helmet and the drop back hem is similar to that of a riding-specific layer.
It’s a fraction of the price of offerings from better-known brands and we think it looks pretty respectable, to boot. The Ridge jacket is also available in a women’s specific version and in various hues. Sizes are small-2XL for men and 8-18 for women.
£100 with GoOutdoors card or £130 without / $N/A / AU$N/A
Specialized 2FO ClipLite shoe
Just as its name suggests, the 2F0 ClipLite is a slimmer and lighter version of the popular Specialized 2FO (Foot out, Flat Out) clipless shoe. Shedding a claimed 50g per shoe over the 2FO clip, our sample pair tipped the BikeRadar scales at 825g a pair in a size EU43.
Weight has been saved thanks to a slimmed down sole, a new thermo-bonded upper and S2 Boa retention dials instead of lacing. Despite the lighter construction, Specialized claims the ClipLite retains good foot protection, especially at the toe area.
The 2FO ClipLite will be available in both men's and women's-specific models, and is also available in more subtle shades than the black/Monster green samples we have here. For more information check out our first look article.
£130 / US$180 / AU$269
Burgtec Enduro Mk2 Stem
The second version of Burgtec’s enduro stem is now on sale. The Mk2 is a lighter and simpler design than its predecessor yet one that hasn’t given up anything in the way of stiffness or strength, according to Burgtec. The unusual steerer tube clamp of the Mk1 has been ditched in favour of trusty 5mm pinch bolts.
Methodical milling means that the Mk2 weighs in at just 120g for our 35mm sample (verified on the BikeRadar scales), and a 50mm version is also available. If black is too plain for you then blue or red parts are also made.
£80 / US$N/A / AU$N/A