Friday Five-a-side: this week's best new bike gear
By James Huang | Friday, November 15, 2013 12.00pm
Canyon's revamped Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 frame is nearly 200g lighter than before - and supposedly more efficient and comfortable James Huang/Future Publishing
Friday is once again upon us, which not only means the weekend isn't far away but also that it's time for the next installment of BikeRadar's Friday Five-a-side roundup of recent arrivals – this time at our US headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Hopefully the weather holds out because we've clearly got some testing to do.
New road bike gear
Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Pro
We were blown away by the previous incarnation of Canyon's top-end carbon road racing platform but this revamp promises to raise the bar even higher with a nearly-200g weight loss that brings the claimed frame weight to just 800g. Even so, wider main tubes and a softer-riding fork promise greater efficiency and a more balanced ride. As always, Canyon's direct-to-consumer retail model yields an impressively good price for a complete 6.38kg rocketship with Campagnolo Record and Mavic Ksyrium SLR WTS clinchers – but sorry, you still can't buy one in the US.
£3,699 / €4,199
Ergon road saddles
Ergon's new SR3 range of road saddles features an overall shape similar to the company's MTB models but with narrower noses, thinner padding, and a slightly upturned rear. Offered with your choice of TiNox, carbon fiber, or Monolink composite rails, each model is also available in three widths to fine tune the fit – and all of them are made in Italy by Selle Italia. Actual weight for the top-end SR3 Pro Carbon (size small) is just 186g.
US$139.95-239.95 / £84.99-164.99
Bontrager IsoZone bar padding
Take the sting out of winter-ravaged roads with Bontrager's new IsoZone handlebar padding. The dense gel material fits beneath your usual bar tape to damp vibrations without adding much bulk, plus it's easily cut to fit depending on your particular bar's shape and size. Available with or without bar tape, a full set weighs 81g.
US$19.99-29.99 / £10.99-19.99
Wahoo Fitness KICKR turbo trainer
Looking to spice up your indoor workouts? The KICKR isn't cheap but its computer controlled direct-drive design promises not only a realistic feel but an immersive virtual reality environment that lets you tackle your favorite routes in the warmth of your living room, complete with real-world video where footage is available. Wahoo Fitness's new Segments app even lets you session elusive Strava segments too.
KICKR turbo trainer: US$1,099 / £949 /AU$1299, Segments app: US$29.99 / £20.99 / AU$31.99
WD-40 Bike cleaning and lube products
WD-40 – yes, that WD-40 – now offers a full range of maintenance products for your precious machine, including a heavy-duty degreaser, a spray-on foaming bike wash, dry and wet chain lubes, and a frame protectant to finish off the job. So far we've had pretty good with our sample bottles but winter – and winter muck – is still looming on the horizon. Sorry, UK – WD-40 Bike isn't importing there just yet.
Degreaser, 20oz, US$14.99 / AU$19.95; bike wash, 1l, US$13.99 / AU$19.95; wet or dry lubes, 4oz, US$8.99 / AU$16.50; frame protectant, 8oz, US$14.49 / AU$19.95
New mountain bike gear
Giant P-TRX 29er 1 wheels
Giant is of course best known for its bikes but the company is making in-roads with wheels too, aided in part by a close R&D and manufacturing relationship with DT Swiss. The P-TRX 29er 1 model offers a reasonably healthy 21mm-wide (internal width) aluminum clincher rim with easy tubeless compatibility and proven 36-tooth DT Swiss star ratchet rear hub internals, all held together with DT Swiss straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes. Actual weight for our set is a reasonable 1,810g.
US$1,050 / £800
Xpedo Spry flat pedals
The new Xpedo Spry flat pedals weigh just 256g per pair thanks to their magnesium bodies, chromoly axles, and a combination of inboard bushings and outboard cartridge bearings. Despite the impressive weight, Xpedo manages to pack in seven replaceable traction pins per side on a generously sized 106x100mm platform, all with a stack height of just 11mm.
US$79 / £N/A
Bell Stoker helmet
The new Stoker borrows key features from Bell's Super enduro/all-mountain helmet but at a more attainable price point. Carrying over is the more generous coverage, goggle-compatible shape, and quality fit courtesy of Bell's handy SpeedDial retention system. The visor is fixed in place, however, there are fewer (and simpler) vents, and there's no option for an integrated GoPro mount – but at 315g, it's about 75g lighter than the Super.
US$70 / £64.99
WickWërks 2x10 mountain bike chainrings
Riders using SRAM XX or other cranksets with similar 120/80mm BCD chainrings wanting to try aftermarket options can turn to US manufacturer WickWërks. Size options include 40/26T and 42/28T matched sets, both CNC machined with the company's BRIDGE shift ramps instead of conventional riveted-in steel pins. Replacement alloy bolts are included too.
US$139.50 / £86.73 (exc postage)
9point8 Pulse Stepper dropper seatpost
Unlike most dropper posts, which offer just a few finite intermediate positions – if any at all – 9point8's unique Pulse ratchets down (or up) in 5mm increments for riders that really like to tweak their saddle heights according to the terrain. It isn't light at 576g (plus 95g for the remote), the remote lever is unquestionably unusual, and it certainly isn't cheap, but it presents a unique option in what is quickly becoming a crowded market.
US$499 / £364.45 (inc postage)
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