Welcome to First Look Friday, our in-depth look at the most best-est, hottest-est, freshest-est cycling kit to land at BikeRadar HQ this week.
We have a new lightweight helmet from Lazer, a fancy new steel steed from All-City, touring shoes from Shimano, waterproof troosies from Madison and… a stinky old running jacket.
If that smorgasbord of cycling swag isn’t quite enough, why not catch up on the highlights from this week on BikeRadar.
To start, we’re pleased to announce that the BikeRadar forum has moved to a new platform. Be sure to have a poke around and play with all of its new features.
We also rounded up our favourite ways to stay dry and comfortable when riding in the rain. There are some great suggestions (including putting plastic bags on your feet!) and it’s well worth a read.
In our latest Tech Talk Podcast, we discuss whether weight actually matters with our resident experimental physicist Seb Stott claiming we’re all making a mountain out of a molehill.
Hope also released a crazy new track bike that has been developed in conjunction with Lotus. This is quite unlike anything and is not one to be missed!
All-City Zig Zag
The All-City Zig Zag is best thought of as the disc-equipped successor to its Mr Pink road bike.
The bike is built with All-City’s own A.C.E steel tubing, which is said to be custom-drawn exclusively for All-City. The rest of the frame components are also unique to the brand, including its signature braze-on seat collar.
Like the Mr Pink, it comes with a full complement of mudguard mounts. Though, unlike the Mr Pink, the Zig-Zag is only available with a carbon fork.
The bike has clearances for 35mm tyres without mudguards and 32mm with mudguards, opening up the possibility to indulge in light gravel dalliances.
The bike is available in two builds direct from All-City in the US market: an Ultegra-equipped model at $3,999 or a 105-equipped model for $2,699.
Here we have the UK-spec model, as built by UK distributor ISON. This 105-equipped build with Halo Devaura RD2 wheels comes in at £2,750.
A frameset is also available for £1,300 / $1,299.
The new 2020 Lazer Genesis is the Belgian brand’s lightest ever helmet, coming in at 210g for our size medium (55 to 59cm) sample.
The original Genesis was a hugely popular helmet, offering good ventilation and a competitive weight at a decent price.
The helmet was replaced by the Z1 but, after five years on the market, that name has been phased out and the Genesis has been revived. Note that the Genesis is known as the G1 in the USA and Canada.
The new Genesis features broadly similar styling as the original helmet but sees a significant drop in weight and a claimed improvement to ventilation.
The helmet retains Lazer’s signature Rollsys system — the brand’s wire-based retention system that wraps around the whole circumference of the helmet. This system has many fans, with those who have odd-shaped heads finding it to be particularly forgiving.
There are no specific aerodynamic claims made about the Genesis (the Bullet is the helmet in Lazer’s range for you if you value aero qualities), but the new helmet does include the brand’s clip-on plastic aero shell.
Though the name may suggest otherwise, we’ve found the shell is more useful for keeping out the elements on wet or cold rides.
As with most modern helmets, a MIPS- and non-MIPS-equipped version is available.
- Lazer Genesis: £170 / $219 / AU$299 / €220
- Lazer Genesis MIPS: £190 / $240 / AU$349 / €240
Shimano MT7G SPD shoes
Shimano’s MT7G is a versatile, low-cut, two-bolt SPD shoe that’s designed for trail riding, bikepacking, touring or any other form of cycling that doesn’t benefit from a super-stiff sole.
Made with a lightweight synthetic upper that is paired with a Gore-Tex liner, these shoes should be good for most moist conditions.
The heavily lugged sole should give plenty of grip in mucky terrain (is it even bikepacking if you don’t hike-a-bike?) and the single Boa dial will make for easy on-bike adjustments.
The shoe features a stiff plate on the front half of the sole to improve pedalling feel but the lack of any stiffening around the back half should improve comfort off the bike.
A version of the shoe without the Gore-Tex lining (the MT701) is more commonly available and is priced at £119.
- £159.99 / €157.50, AU$ and $ pricing N/A
- Buy Shimano’s MT7G shoes from Freewheel
Madison DTE waterproof trousers
Winter is fast approaching, and as sad as it is to say goodbye to our summer riding shorts, all is not lost.
Madison’s DTE all-weather trousers are here to help get those fair-weather riders back in the saddle.
The main body of the trousers is constructed with 2.5-layer waterproof/windproofing material, which is matched with a 3-layer fabric across the rear, inner thighs and knees to prevent wear and tear.
The trousers have two adjustable Velcro straps on either side of the hip. There is also a silicone-style grip on the inside to help prevent them from slipping around the waist.
There are two hand pockets that are back-zipped and have a mesh lining, providing ample storage. This is followed up by two ventilation zips on the outside of each thigh to give more breathability when getting a sweat on.
The trouser has pre-shaped legs for a more comfortable feel when on the bike, and a further reinforced panel on the right inside ankle to protect against the drivechain.
All of this is wrapped up nicely with a limited lifetime guarantee from Madison.
- £109.99, international pricing N/A
My stinky old Patagonia Nine Trails running jacket
To finish this momentous edition of First Look Friday, we have something quite different.
Y’know what’s great? Shiny new cycling kit. But, in a time when awareness around waste in all industries is growing, it’s worth taking a moment to praise brands that include kit repair as part of their day-to-day work.
Patagonia is probably the best-known brand to offer this service, offering unlimited and, in most cases, free repairs on all of its kit, regardless of age.
I took full advantage of this, sending away my knackered old snot-green Nine Trails running jacket to have the zip and a small hole repaired.
I picked up this jacket about six years ago and, thanks to its not-too-baggy-but-comfy fit and super-light fabric, it became my favourite stowaway windproof for cruisy mountain bike rides and cycle touring. The jacket eventually fell out of use after the zipper became corroded and a few teeth fell off.
After languishing in a drawer for a year, I filled out a short form and off the jacket went to Patagonia’s European repair HQ. It was eventually repaired and returned, all within two weeks.
It’s very satisfying to be able to press a much-loved piece of kit back into service and Patagonia deserves praise for backing its products with such a solid — Ironclad, one could say — guarantee.
Of course, Patagonia isn’t the only brand out there doing this, Rapha has offered a similar service for aeons and I’m sure there are others out there too.