Happy Friday, folks! The weekend’s nearly here, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones is looming, and we’re rounding up some of the latest bikes, kit and products to have made their merry way to our desks.
As the brand’s endurance model, the Domane+ e-road bike is designed to keep people riding for longer, covering more distance and reaching higher speeds (though the assistance is still capped at 28mph in the US and 15.5mph in the UK, of course).
Complete with a Bosch Performance Cruise motor and a removable 500Wh battery that’s fully integrated into the 500 Series OCLV carbon frame, Trek’s comfort-enhancing IsoSpeed decoupler that takes the buzz out of the back, a 1×11 SRAM Force 1 drivetrain and SRAM Force flat mount hydraulic disc brakes, it certainly seems equipped to take on the current trend for all-road riding.
Now that the bike is in our hands we’ll be taking it out for some prolonged spins in the hills – Trek claim there’s enough juice for over 100km of assisted riding. Could this kind of bike be in your pedalling future? Let us know in the comments!
The Stomppump is a portable, foot-powered pumpMildred Locke / Immediate Media
The Stompump is a different take on the usual portable pump. Born two years ago after a miserable roadside experience, it’s a miniature foot pump that’s compatible with both presta and schrader valves, and has a maximum pressure of 60 PSI, making it ideal for mountain bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes and some electric bikes.
It features an integrated filter to keep the internals clean, and Stompump reckons that it’s a more eco-friendly option than the use of CO2 cartridges.
Ours weighs a middle of the road 193g and comes complete with their “Frame Dock” and strap so it can be attached to your frame’s bottle cage mounts. There’s no gauge, so if you’re super serious about your pressures you’ll want a digital one with you, and compared to the competition, it’s a pricey item.
The theory behind the idea makes sense to us though, especially as your legs tend to be stronger than your arms, so reinflating those chunky tyres might be a touch less painful than usual – the proof will be in the (punctured) pudding…
Elite Prism side-loading bottle cages should suit smaller frames where space is an issueMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Ever dedicated to creating ergonomic and space-saving bottle cages, Elite’s Prism cage is side-loading, which could make it easier to grab your bottle when on the go.
The Prism is made from polymer-matrix composite and reinforced with either fiberglass or carbon, depending on which model you choose.
The side-load structure, as well as the reinforced materials for increased durability, should make the Prism cage particularly useful for mountain bikers since it provides easy access where a bottle might be competing with a rear shock for space, while maintaining a firm grip over rough terrains.
The design also works well with smaller frame sizes or sloping top tubes, where front-accessed cages become difficult to use with bigger bottles. There’s a left-handed option available as well.
Alpine Luddites create bespoke bikepacking bags, like this custom frame bagDave Caudery / Immediate Media
We met the John Campbell, the founder and maker of Alpine Luddites bags, at the Bespoked UK Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol last weekend, so we were able to get up close and personal with some of his wares.
Alpine Luddites creates unique bikepacking bags that are handmade and built to order, and inspired by the iconic alpine climbing packs of the 1960s and ’70s.
Since they’re built to order, the frame bags can be made to fit bikes with all manner of frame sizes and shapes (something which I’m personally in favour of, being a smaller rider).
The American crafted bags are typically made from Dimension-Polyant laminated X-Pac fabrics, which are waterproof to 200 PSI (i.e. VERY waterproof), and have Cordura reinforcement in high-wear areas, such as where they meet the frame.
You can opt for a simple bag with a single zip, or additional features such as extra outer pockets, vertical dividers, hydration ports and bladder hang loops.
Abbey Bike Tools Team Issue titanium travel hammer
It was difficult to focus on one thing when so many shiny tools were on offer, but the titanium travel hammer is an interesting toolDave Caudery / Immediate Media
While we were at Bespoked last week we also got a chance to chat to some of the guys from Abbey Bike Tools and marvel at the shiny wares on display, including this very fine looking titanium travel hammer.
If you’re a tool geek, Abbey Bike Tools need no introduction. If you’re not, well, let’s just say that they arguably make the creme de la creme of the bicycle tool world.
Weighing just 265g, it’s a great option for pro-mechanics on the move. With the soft face being easily replaceable with commonly available 1-inch threaded faces, and at a compact length of 12 inches, it marks the point where convenient happily meets a bit of indulgence.
It’s finished off with a custom silicone grip from ESI for a bit of cushion, and all in all it’s just a lovely piece of kit.
But, before anyone jumps straight to the comments, yes, that price is right.
With the inevitable aches that come with cycling, Potter’s Herbals muscle rub gel and comfrey oil should do the trickMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Sometimes when you’ve been riding a lot, you end up with a muscle ache that just won’t go. For over 200 years, Potter’s Herbals has been blending natural ingredients to create holistic medicines for just this kind of thing.
We’ve received samples of the brand’s muscle rub gel and comfrey oil, which can be used as an aromatic massage oil.
The ingredients are specially selected for their natural properties, claim Potter’s. For example, the muscle rub gel blends wintergreen and rosemary, both used to help various muscular pains, along with bergamot, lavender oil and peppermint, which are traditionally known as muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and cramp relievers, respectively.
Between the BikeRadar team, we’ve a whole host of long rides planned this summer, so I’ve no doubt we’ll be slathering this all over our aching bodies to see just how effective it really is.
‘Mind is the Ride’ by Jet McDonald is a philosophical journey, as well as a travelogueMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Mind is the Ride isn’t your usual cycling travelogue. After Jet McDonald cycled 4,000 miles from Bristol to India and back again, he was left contemplating Eastern and Western philosophy, and how it can be explored through various parts of a bicycle.
It takes the reader on a physical and intellectual journey from West to East, using bike components as a philosophical metaphor woven into the touring cyclist’s experience. His account of the journey is honest and charmingly self-deprecating.
Chapter by chapter, component by component, the metaphorical bike is built, while the ride to India is completed, and the mind-body-bicycle relationship is fully explored to its conclusion.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the book will be released on 16 May 2019.
Tresca TCA 1 tests the boundaries of aluminiumMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Tresca might not be the best-known brand out on the market, but this new London-based brand has a rather smart looking aluminium road bike, the TCA-1, on offer.
The UK-designed aluminium road frame comes with various buying options, starting with Shimano 105, like the model we have in, going all the way up to Dura-Ace. Or you can just buy the frameset and build it up however you like.
According to the brand, who we met at the London Bike Show last year, every tube on the TCA-1 frame is the result of countless boundary-pushing cycles to see just what aluminium can be capable of. Tresca claims they’ve exploited the full range of hydroforming, taper butting and CNC machining tech to create this final product.
It’s been well thought-out and is claimed to perfectly blend stiffness and comfort. If features lowered seatstays to boost vertical compliance, while the hydroformed seat tube profile and variable section chainstays should help to fine-tune the bike’s performance.
Finally, its flared seat tube and reinforced (threaded!) bottom bracket should spell stiffer and more responsive power transfer.
Stay tuned for a full review from Warren Rossiter in the future.
dhb Aeron Direct Polartec Alpha gilet front viewMildred Locke / Immediate Media
dhb’s Aeron range is designed for performance, and the Aeron Direct Polartec Alpha gilet uses Polartec Alpha Direct — one of the most advanced thermal fabrics out there — to create a garment that’s meant to be lightweight, insulating and breathable, all in one.
It’s designed to help regulate body temperature in changing conditions, which should be perfect during the between-seasons weather we’re experiencing in the northern hemisphere.
The Polartec Alpha fabric provides a fleecy inner lining
Using a windproof outer layer and an inner lining that’s soft to the touch, but apparently very strong and durable, it should be a good option when you don’t want to wear too many layers, you’re not sure what the weather has in store, and you need something that dries fast, packs small and lasts a long time.
It comes with some nice finishing touches too, including three very useful cargo pockets (and a fourth zipped one for valuables), as well as multiple reflective details to help you remain visible in all weather and light conditions.
Zenzero is the new flavour bar from VeloforteMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Veloforte bars appeared on the scene a couple of years ago, and for the uninitiated, they’re pretty damn tasty, while packing a lot of calories to keep you fuelled on those extra-guelling rides.
The brand just launched its new flavour, Zenzero, which consists of zesty lemon, warming ginger, and the satisfying crunch of almonds and pistachios. That means, on top of the all-important carbs, these bars should deliver a powerful punch of antioxidants and Vitamin C, while being a vegan-friendly source of natural protein.
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and has traditionally been used to relieve nausea, flu symptoms, and — most importantly — exercise-induced muscle soreness.
The bars are also gluten-free and sweetened with brown rice syrup, which should keep many digestive systems happy.
The Silca Nastro Piloti and Fiore bar tapes allegedly provide a lot more cushion than their competitorsMildred Locke / Immediate Media
Inspired by recent developments in running shoes, F1 tyres and Silca’s own research, the Italian brand has now added two new bar tapes to its range: Nastro Fiore and Nastro Piloti.
Both tapes are claimed to provide more comfort and cushioning than is usual for their widths. The 2.5mm Fiore is supposedly on par with existing 3.2mm tapes, while the 1.85mm Piloti is meant to measure up to other 2.5mm tapes on the market
The Nastro bar tapes are built from a laminate of Silcathane, Silcalon and 3M Visco-elastic adhesive. Silca states that the tape feel can be optimised to suit different riders using various wrapping directions and techniques, and by improving on existing materials, it offers a soft feel, high grip, vibration isolation and good durability.
Included is Silca’s own adhesive-backed ‘butterfly’ which helps less experienced bar tapers to cover the back of the lever clamp area without bulking it out (as opposed to the usual figure of eight).
Mildred’s a utilitarian cyclist at heart, determined to do everything on two wheels, whether it’s shopping, commuting or moving house. She’s spent the past three years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise in bikes — and what people want out of them — comes from working in real-world bike shops and learning the ins and outs of the industry. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, Mildred’s ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch. She’s easily won over by steel frames coupled with a 650B/plus-tyre combo, and is currently riding a Surly Bridge Club.