Happy new year! Hopefully by now you’ve nursed your hangover and hauled yourself, bleary-eyed and sore-headed, into the new decade along with the rest of us. Or perhaps you took the more sensible approach, getting an early night and taking advantage of the quiet roads with a New Year’s ride!
Either way, ready or not, First Look Friday 2020 is here, so let’s kick off the new decade with a bang. We’ve got bikes that couldn’t be more differently priced, a brilliant jacket, and fancy-schmancy tools for your viewing pleasure.
- Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bike you should buy in 2020
- Best road bike: how to choose the right one for you
- Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
Juliana Maverick C NX
At the upper end of our price scale we have this carbon trail and all-mountain 29er from Juliana. With 150mm travel at the front and 140mm at the rear, it should be able to handle most of what you throw at it.
Being the sister brand to Santa Cruz, the Juliana Maverick features the patented VPP (virtual pivot point), which employs two short links that rotate in opposite directions. According to Santa Cruz, this allows more flexibility to tune shock rates for their intended use.
Not only is this meant to provide an expertly tuned ride feel, the VPP is also easy to maintain thanks to its grease ports on the lower link, making the bearings easily accessible. You also get a lifetime warranty.
If you want even more tunability, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Maverick comes with an integrated flip chip. All you need is an Allen (hex) key to slacken the head tube and drop the bottom bracket to plant yourself deeper into the bike, ready for steep descents.
- Weight: 14.48kg (size M)
- RRP: £4,499 / €4,699 / $4,299
Vitus Dee 29 VR
On the other end of the scale, the Vitus Dee 29 VR is an alloy city bike with chunky tyres and low-maintenance components.
Despite being what’s classed as an urban or utility bike, one of the interesting qualities of the Dee 29 VR – and the clue is in the name – is the fact that it comes with 29er wheels. This means it should gobble up much of the debris plaguing Britain’s roads (and beyond), which is exactly what you’d want from a bike like this.
It comes stock with WTB Nano Comp tyres in size 29 x 2.1in and features a mid-level tread that should offer reasonable traction without too much rolling resistance.
As a bike designed to be ridden day-in-day-out in all weathers, it features Shimano hydraulic disc brakes paired with 160mm rotors for the much-needed stopping power, and has an array of componentry that doesn’t need a huge amount of looking after: a 3-speed Shimano Nexus Revo internal hub drivetrain and a single chainring at the front. Easy peasy.
- Weight: 12.41kg (size M/L)
- RRP: £399.99/ €489.99 / $542.79 / AU$785.98
Santini Vega Multi jacket
When designing a weather-ready jacket it’s difficult to hit that sweet spot between insulation and breathability. Santini reckons that its Vega Multi jacket can keep you warm without boiling you to death, and it’s created with Acquazero fabric. This is essentially a type of Lycra that’s hydrophobic, meaning water beads on its surface.
The Vega Multi jacket also features Polartec Powershield Pro fabric, which is claimed to be waterproof to 5,000mm. This is combined with a fully waterproof PU outer layer and PU-protected zip seams. To top it all off, the jacket’s seams are thermo-welded, which should give it a better seal to keep the rain out.
What about warmth? There’s some lovely fleece-lined super-roubaix (a close-fitting and thermal stretch fabric comprised of Nylon and Lycra) to take care of that.
If you’re out in the bitter cold, this jacket would work best when combined with a decent baselayer and gilet to keep your core toasty. The ergonomic cut of the jacket, with its waterproof sleeve cuffs and tail, should keep you snug as well as help with wind resistance.
It also comes in a sleek black, but for the visibility-conscious among you, this bright orange does the trick, and the reflective details can’t hurt either.
- £220 / €258 / $268.49 / AU$383.99
Lezyne Ratchet Kit, Torque Drive Kit and Tubeless CO2 Blaster
Lezyne Ratchet Kit
This handy little ratchet kit from Lezyne has most of the tools you’d need whether you’re riding on roads, gravel or trails. It includes Allen keys from size 2mm to 8mm, Torx keys size 10, 25 and 30, and a flathead and Phillips screwdriver.
The tool heads are manufactured from CRV (chrome vanadium), which is claimed to be both hard and durable. The ratchet tool itself is compact, chrome-plated and features a fixed opening at one end and a fine-tooth ratchet with reversing lever at the other.
It’s all finished off with an aluminium extension adaptor, an integrated magnet to hold it all together and a soft shell carry case.
- Weight: 141g
- RRP: £38 / €46.55 / $51.57 / AU$74.67
Lezyne Torque Drive Kit
Lezyne’s Torque Drive Kit is similarly compact and well thought-out. The torque-style wrench comes pre-calibrated with torsion beam-style adjustment. This means it should be simple to use – just twist it to line up the marker with the setting you need – and covers a range of 2Nm to 10Nm.
It features Allen key sizes 2mm to 6mm, Torx key sizes 10, 25 and 30, and both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers. It comes with a removable handle, is held together with an integrated magnet and has its own soft shell carry case.
- Weight: 180g
- RRP: £50 / €47 / $49.99 / AU$87.55
Lezyne Tubeless CO2 Blaster
Finally, in this little roundup of Lezyne goodies, we have an innovative approach to tubeless tyre repair and reinflation.
The CO2 Blaster doubles up as a CO2 dispenser and a tubeless tyre repair kit, inflating your tyre while simultaneously sealing it.
It has a reamer made from hardened steel, which you use to scour the hole, insert the plug and then reinflate. The kit includes five tyre plugs and a safe place to store the reamer when it’s not needed. You can use a twist-knob to manually control the release of CO2 gas, which is a thoughtful feature.
It’s potentially a very handy device to carry with you on your rides, since it’s small enough to fit in a pocket, and is designed to seal holes too large for the sealant itself to handle.
- Weight: 139g
- RRP: £50 / €47 / $49.99 / AU$87.55