Every week we do our best to present you guys with the most interesting bikes and bits to land at the BikeRadar office; it’s called 11spd, but you knew that, right?
Coming up this week we have a bike that could shape the future of gravel riding, a plus-sized mountain bike that just looks right and a helmet that could provoke jealousy from Robocop himself.
New road products
Cannondale Slate 105
The Lefty fork aside, Cannondale is a company that tends not to do things by halves. The Slate adventure road bike starts with what many manufacturers have been doing to their road bikes, and takes it a whole lot further. Even among a breed of bikes where fat rubber and big clearances, disc braking and thru-axles are now the norm, the Slate is a bit of a freak. We think that if this bike could talk then it would pick on its peers, and chuckle at their comparatively skinny treads. That’s because Cannondale has chosen to fit 650b wheels to the Slate, and those, together with its big volume 42mm tyres, add up to a rolling radius that equals that of a 22mm model fitted to a 700c wheel.
Whereas most manufacturers are trying to introduce shock absorption to rigid components, Cannondale has fitted a properly damped 30mm version of the aforementioned Lefty suspension fork. When it comes to geometry Cannondale says its deployed short chainstays, a long front centre and a slack head angle to the alloy framed Slate – now where have we heard all that before? Pretty much every mountain bike over the past few years, that’s where.
Never before have the boundaries between different bikes been so blurred, but all we really care about is how this 9.72kg (21.43lb) rebel is going to ride. We’ll keep you posted.
£2,499 / $2,980 / AU$TBC
Torch T2 helmet
Following on from a successful campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the T2 from Torch Apparel is an urban helmet that integrates a set of lights into its 352g in-mould shell. Five white and five red LED lights sit behind polycarbonate lenses to illuminate surroundings at the front and rear of the helmet, while some side visibility is also on offer. Each light has a claimed run time of six hours, or up to 36 hours in a flashing setting.
Lighting aside, it’s a well-finished item, with adjustable straps and a retention wheel at the rear to enhance the fit. Eight vents combined with internal channels should go a long way to prevent overheating, something that can be a problem with this pisspot-style design.
The helmet saps power via a supplied USB cable and will go from flat to fully charged in just 1.5 hours, says Torch.
The nights are rapidly closing in here in Bristol and we’ll soon be using the T2 for commuting in darkness so stay tuned for a full review.
£90 / $139.99 / AU$TBC
Rapha Women’s Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey
When the temperature and light levels drop, thoughts turn to snug clothing. This newly released long-sleeve version of the Brevet jersey is made from a super-soft feeling merino blend. The cut is loose enough to layer, and the pockets are big enough to fit a decent amount of kit in, including a zipped mesh pocket sized to take a gillet or jacket. It’s hard to miss the vivid pink, but just in case that might be a risk, Rapha have added a reflective strip across the chest and back, plus accents on the wrists. Perfect for autumn, if you’re in the northern hemisphere – perhaps not as useful elsewhere right now.
£140 / US$210 / AU$250
Vulpine Laptop Commuter Backpack
For the fashion conscious commuter there’s this new backpack from Vulpine. Designed to carry a laptop along with a change of clothes and other valuables, it ‘s part of a new Autumn/Winter range from the London firm.A water-resistant Cordura canvas construction makes for a lightweight pack while the use of channeled sections shows an effort to keep a rider’s back cool while on the bike.
The padded laptop partition easily swallowed our 13in MacBook Air with room to spare, so we think it’s likely optimised around a 15in laptop. Elsewhere inside there’s around 14l of storage space from internal pockets and sections.
The carabiner-equipped outside pocket is a signature Vulpine touch and a useful one at that. Another practical plus comes in the form of two loops at the rear of the pack, these form a practical place to carry a suitably sized D lock. Subtle reflective highlights also feature throughout.
We’ll be trying out the pack over the next few weeks. It’s going to have to do a lot to justify that retail price though.
£149 / $TBC / $TBC
Bolle 6th Sense sunglasses