Welcome to another addition of First Look Friday, where we take a closer look at the very best products to arrive in the BikeRadar office this week.
This time we’ve got supple and wide tan wall tyres, some of the lightest enduro-ready wheels on the market, and yet another tyre insert designed to prevent punctures.
This week we’re at the world’s largest cycling trade show, Eurobike, and there’s been plenty to talk about so far: from Brompton’s new adventure folder the Explore and news that Schwalbe is ceasing production of tubular tyres to ABS brakes on mountain bikes and CeramicSpeed’s mad chainless Driven drivetrain that now changes gear and is for mountain bikes too.
We’ve also seen loads of product reviews from suspension forks to pannier racks, and a fair few bikes besides. Just yesterday we covered the launch of the new Trek Allant+ and Supercaliber, as well as Orbea’s new lightweight, aero OMX.
In between getting out on our bikes this weekend, we’re looking forward to watching the final round of the cross-country and downhill mountain bike World Cup in Snowshoe, USA. You can watch it here on Red Bull TV.
But first, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some shiny new products.
DT Swiss EXC 1200 wheels
DT Swiss is no stranger to carbon mountain bike wheels. It’s already got the XRC 1200 for cross-country racing and the XMC 1200, which was intended for lighter duty all-mountain applications (though YT still specced it on its enduro-capable Capra).
But when it comes to enduro wheels DT has stuck with the alloy rimmed EX 1501 Spline One wheels as its top-end offering.
It’s a highly-regarded wheelset, and weighs a very respectable 1,893g a pair on our scales in 29in with valves and tape. According to DT’s UK rep, DT would only make a carbon enduro wheel if it had a significant weight advantage, and that’s exactly what we have here.
These tip our scales at 1,716g in 29in with valves. That will make them among the lightest enduro-ready wheels we’ve tested.
According to DT, they’re at least as tough as the notoriously reliable EX 1501 wheels in lab tests.
The carbon rim is stiffer, but DT compensates for this with 28 bladed spokes, which apparently allow a little more flex in the wheel than round spokes, as well as lower spoke tension.
These are tied in to DT’s new 180 hubs, which we featured in an earlier edition of First Look Friday. They use a simplified star ratchet design, ceramic bearings for lower rolling resistance and a wider bearing stance to reduce side-load on the bearings.
They’re available with SRAM XD freehubs as well as Shimano’s new Microspline 12-speed adaptor.
- £1,900 / $2,735
- Buy now from Bike24
Teravail Rutland gravel tyre
Teravail offers an impressive range of gravel tyres, as well as road and mountain bike options too. The Rutland is aimed at soft-conditions gravel riding.
It’s got a pretty toothy tread (for a gravel tyre), with closely packed centre blocks and ramped leading edges to minimise rolling-resistance.
The tread towards the edge of the tyre is slightly taller and spaced further apart to help it bite into mud and soft dirt when you’re leaning into a corner. The intermediate tread blocks are siped (they have small grooves cut into them) to help the rubber splay out like a goat’s hoof to improve grip too.
They’re available in three sizes: 650b x 47mm, 700c x 37mm and 700c x 42mm. We have the latter in a handsome tan wall variant.
There’s a tough casing option for added puncture protection, and a light and supple casing, which should offer less rolling resistance and a smoother ride at a given pressure.
In 700c x 42mm the tyre weighs 453g on our scales of truth. Despite its old-school looks, it is of course tubeless ready.
- £55 / $55
- Buy from The Woods Cyclery
Rockstop rim protector
The mountain bike market is awash with inserts like the Rockstop. They are designed to prevent pinch flats and rim damage in a tubeless mountain bike tyre by cushioning the tyre from the rim when the wheel impacts a rock, which would otherwise press the tyre against the rim bead.
Most are made from foam and we’ve found that some work much better than others. The problem with foam is that it can absorb tubeless sealant, so there’s less liquid left to plug tears in the sidewall and you need to top up the sealant more often.
Rockstop uses a Polyurethane-based rubberised polymer, which is claimed to absorb no sealant. Apparently, the same material is used in Formula One car bump stops. And as we all know, if it works in a Formula One car it must be ideal for a bicycle, right?
The insert is slim in profile, with just a few mm of padding above the rim bead. The design is relatively complex, with large holes in the middle to save weight where it’s not needed to protect the rim edges. Despite this, it’s one of the heavier inserts at 247g on our scales in 29er size.
For comparison, similar foam inserts such as Huck Norris or Nukeproof Ard weigh 106g and 144g respectively. Meanwhile CushCore — one of the heaviest — weighs 265g, but it improves sidewall stability and rough-terrain traction as well as reducing the risk of picking up a pinch-flat.
By the time you read this we’ll be out testing it to see if it works any better than the competition.