When you were a child, a Friday in August was seemingly endless and full of possibility, with all thoughts of school and homework pushed far to the back of your mind. Now you’re an adult and you work for The Man, your time is no longer your own, and you live for the release of the weekend.
Well folks, it’s Friday, and you’ve nearly made it.
Here to get through the final hours of your working week are some highlights from the kit and road and mountain bikes that have landed at BikeRadarheadquarters in the past seven days…
For the road…
Genesis smithfield: genesis smithfield
To ease you in gently, take a gander at this beauty from Genesis, the Smithfield. Marvel at the tastefully split top tube, which doubles as seatstays just like on an old-school mixte frame. Tut approvingly at the skinwall tyres, a perfect complement to that desaturated green paint job. With a steel frame, cable discs, and a chunky eight-speed Alfine internally-geared hub, this is no lightweight, but we’re not sure that matters for a bike like this – it looks like an awfully pleasant place to sit on a sunny day about town.
Staying with steel which, according to gossip, is real, Bombtrack of Germany has sent us this rather tidy machine, the Tempest. Press-fit bottom bracket aside, this is a decidedly traditional piece of kit, but doesn’t it look nice? A full Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels tie together a very appealing package. We’re looking forward to riding this one.
Garmin varia rearview radar: garmin varia rearview radar
GPS giant Garmin needs no introduction, but these little black boxes are rather different to anything we’ve seen from it before. The Varia is a radar system that warns you of traffic approaching from behind. A detector in the rear light sends data to the head unit (left), which mounts on the stem or bars. It’s designed to show multiple vehicles at once, informing you of their speed relative to you, and the supposed “threat level”. In addition, the rear light reacts to traffic by brightening and flashing, aiming to draw attention to your presence. If you already have an Edge 1000 or Edge 520 GPS unit you can use it as a head unit, meaning you only need the rear light.
We’re going to admit to some sceptism as to the usefulness of this system, but we’ll withhold judgment until we’ve tried it. Is it an expensive alternative to turning your head? (Note: we’re pretty sure Garmin still wants you to turn your head.) Or a useful addition to your collection of please-don’t-kill-me safety devices? Watch this space…
Rear light/head unit bundle: £239.99 / US$299.99 / AU$389
Rule 34 notwithstanding, waterproof socks are not a sexy product and never will be. But if you’ve ever needed (or wanted) to ride in heavy rain, they can be the difference between sodden misery and bearable moistness, at least until they fill with water. Sealskinz will be a familiar name to many UK cyclists, but DexShell was a new one to us, offering what on the face of it seems like a very similar product. Are they any good? Winter will be upon us before you know it, and we’re going to find out.
Can you have too many pair of sunglasses? We at BikeRadar think not. The Benita from Endura is a stylish set of shades with adjustable temple tips and anti-fog, photochromic lenses. Endura doesn’t specify what range of light transmission they offer, but they seem to start at ‘slightly tinted’ and go to ‘very tinted’, meaning they’ll be good for most medium to bright days.
Occasional human voiture balai t-shirt: occasional human voiture balai t-shirt
La voiture balai is what the French call the broom wagon, the vehicle that ‘sweeps up’ dropped riders from the back of the race. It might not sound like the most cheerful of symbols, but it’s all part of the theatre of professional cycling, so why wouldn’t you want it on a T-shirt? Occasional Human has, quite literally, got you covered.
Sahmurai sword tubeless tyre plugs: sahmurai sword tubeless tyre plugs
This odd looking bit of kit has an incredible amount of potential – that’s because the Sahmurai Sword promises to provide a quick, complete and convenient method of repairing a tubeless tyre. Better still, repairs can be completed without removing a wheel and the kit can be stored away neatly and safely as a pair of handlebar plugs.
The tool is very similar to that used for tyre repairs in the automotive industry. Repairing a puncture is a simple two-step process – first the hole must be located and any objects stuck in the tyre removed. The hole must then be enlarged using a supplied reaming tool. Now a rubber plug can be pushed into the tyre, providing an instant seal. Well, that’s how easy it’s supposed to be.. we’ll let you know exactly how we get along with it in the real world.
South Africa R350 (UK/US and AU distribution and pricing TBC)
Trials legend Onza announced it was returning to its mountain biking roots earlier this year by offering two steel hardtails – and now we’ve got our hands on one.
The Payoff is a chromoly-framed 29er with a solid spec sheet and a reasonable price tag. There’s a Revelation fork up front, Shimano stoppers and a wheelset from Weinmenn. The 1×10 SLX drivetrain pairs an own brand chainset with a 32t narrow/wide ring to a regular 11-34t cassette – a set-up that favours stronger legs. It even sports a gloriously retro remake of Onza’s Ules grip.
The lads on our sister magazine Mountain Biking UK are due to give it a rinse in the near future, so look out for more on BikeRadar soon.
The old Lithos is a trail lid we have a lot of respect for here at BikeRadar and so this new version has a lot to live up to.
There’s a new visor that is now easier to adjust, particularly with a gloved hand, and once fully raised there’s now room for a pair of goggles. The use of non-adjustable FlatLock straps does simplify the fitting process but these may not work for everybody – so be sure to try before you buy.
In the box you’ll also find a nifty light/camera mount, replacement decals in various colours and a set of Bontrager’s NoSweat helmet pads – which are channeled to keep perspiration from ending up in your eyes.
A generous crash replacement policy means that if you smash it up in a stack within the first year of ownership you’ll get a new one for free.
This is the new Skyline pack from Camelbak and, like a lovechild of last year’s Charge and Volt models, it holds three litres of liquid and contains seven litres of well organised cargo space. A padded waist belt combined with a sternum strap should prevent any unwanted movement while hooks at the side and straps underneath the pack make carrying a helmet and kneepads a doddle. Stay tuned for a full review.
The new Integra direct mount stem is Renthal’s latest offering for the downhill crowd and it’s an evolution based on feedback from World Cup teams and consumers alike. Renthal found that lots of riders wanted a riser option from their stem, and that the adjustable reach feature of the original Integra was one that was rarely used.
So it’s no coincidence that this new part is now available with a zero or +10mm rise and in 45mm or 50mm lengths, then. The half-and-half clamp design of the original Integra is no more; replaced by two widely spaced individual C-shaped clamps similar to the ones found in the company’s Apex stem. There’s still only six bolts rather than the usual eight though, something that’ll contribute to the impressive weight – 128g and 175g respectively for our 45 and 50mm zero rise samples.