We’ve not been too busy to fail to round up the finest in road and mountain bike kit though, and here it is.
New mountain bike products
Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet
Slick like a Lotus 79Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
JPS branded Formula 1 cars, that’s what we think of when we see this fetching new lid from Troy Lee.
The A2 was launched at the start of this week as a refinement over the company’s extremely successful A1 lid. Ventilation improvements are said to feed 25 percent more air to the head when compared with the A1, while a couple of major changes should make this a safer option too.
Troy Lee’s A2 helmet looks particularly nice in this black/gold pinstripe colour schemeOliver Woodman/Immediate Media
The A2’s shell uses a mixture of EPP (expanded polypropylene) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) foams to better absorb impacts, while the addition of a MIPS liner means the damaging twisting forces that occur in certain crashes should also be lessened.
The Proframe is Fox’s first all-mountain focused full-face helmetOliver Woodman/Immediate Media
The new Proframe from Fox is a lightweight full face that looks perfect for the needs of enduro racers. Its non-removable chin bar is fully ASTM downhill certified despite featuring gaping holes.
In fact, take a look at the rest of the Proframe’s in-mold EPS shell with its numerous large vents and you’ll see that ventilation was clearly a big priority for Fox.
Cutting weight was also a big deal and Fox has worked some magic here, with our 56-58cm test lid tipping the scales at just 738g. That’s lighter than Bell’s Super 3R and Giro’s Switchblade.
It’s a great looking lid too, with a fixed visor that looks perfectly in proportion with the rest of the lid. Inside there’s a MIPS liner, which is designed to help with the twisting forces frequently encountered with common head injuries.
These are available in numerous colourways and in four sizes.
Black Mamba’s Industrial Strength Workshop Gloves are three times the thickness of normal disposable glovesOliver Woodman/Immediate Media
Ever finish a workshop job with dirty hands despite wearing gloves? Cheaper disposable gloves have a nasty habit of leaving you exposed at the most difficult of times.
For those willing to spend the cash, these nitrile gloves promise durable protection for the hands. In fact, Black Mamba designed these specifically to be the “toughest disposable glove on the market today.”
To achieve this, Black Mamba has made these three times as thick as regular disposable gloves. They’re also textured to provide additional grip.
Porcelain Rocket claims the Albert is the first dropper seatpost-specific seatpack systemOliver Woodman/Immediate Media
The 450g Albert from Porcelain Rocket is a dropper post-specific seatpack system. Arriving with most of the hardware required to fit to the majority of dropper posts out there, it’s also ideal for those who run a suspension post or don’t have the clearance for most conventional seatpacks.
The Albert’s waterproof drybag offers nine litres of storage but has a weight limit of 2.25kg / 5l. it’s also easily removed should you want to separate it from the Albert’s chromoly mini-rack.
If tartan isn’t your thing then several other fabric finishes are available.
The graphene Dassi InterceptorMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
Remember graphene, the wonder material that promised to revolutionise… everything? Well, someone has finally built a bike using it.
The Interceptor is made in the UK and its frame boasts exceptional stiffness and toughness for its 800g claimed weight (plus 290g for the fork), thanks to the inclusion of graphene in the epoxy resin that holds its carbon composite together.
Built up with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and Bora One 50mm carbon clinchers, this particular bike weighs 7.05kg on our scales.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, there’s graphene in this frameMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
Just 25 Interceptors are being made and all but seven have already been sold at the time of writing. The bike is expected to pave the way for larger scale production of frames and Dassi CEO Stuart Abbott is something of an evangelist for graphene, believing that he’s within sight of a 500g aero frame using the stuff.
Dassi is also experimenting with more elaborate applications for graphene, exploiting its many interesting properties (extreme conductivity, hydrophobia…) to produce truly futuristic bikes.
The Mr. Grumpy cycling jerseyMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
Are you best known for your terrible personality? Does your family need a gift idea? Featuring perhaps the least likeable of author Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men characters, this summer cycling jersey has the regulation three rear pockets, plus one with a zip for your keys.
If cantankerousness is not your defining personality trait, other characters are available too, as is a range of Little Miss clothing for the ladies.
The Silca Italian Army Knife Nove is a really nice looking toolMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
The only two rules we have about tools are that 1) you can never have too many of them and 2) you’ll never regret buying good quality ones.
Reanimated brand Silca has impressed us over and over with its extremely high quality workshop equipment (remember that hideously expensive pump?) and the Italian Army Knife Nove looks to be a really nice little tool.
Measuring roughly 73x34x12mm, it includes the most common Allen keys (2/3/4/5/6/8mm) along with a T25 Torx, a Phillips PH2 and a flat-bladed screwdriver. The lovely machined side plates include magnetic missing-link holders and the tool weighs 79g.
The Xplova X5 GPS computer offers all the usual metrics along with navigationMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
It’s now the norm for cyclists to record their rides using GPS computers and the range of units on offer has exploded.
Taiwanese manufacturer Xplova has come to the party with the X5, a versatile device with a colour touchscreen that offers all the usual metrics along with navigation. More unusually, there’s a forward-facing, wide-angle video camera integrated into the unit that’s designed to record clips of up to a maximum of nine seconds in length.
The unit can be configured to film when certain conditions are met (e.g. passing a heart rate threshold), the idea being to compile a sort of video story of your ride, rather than simply to record the whole thing.
The Xplova’s video camera records clips up to just 9 seconds in lengthMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
It doesn’t end there however, as 3G connectivity (with a sim card) adds the ability to connect to other riders’ devices or upload rides directly to Xplova’s own logging service. (We’re pretty sure it’ll work with Strava and other services too, but are in the process of ironing out technical issues to achieve this…)
The unit weighs 120g, plus a handful for the included Garmin-style out-front mount, and it measures roughly 110x61x22mm (including the protruding section that engages with the mount).
The Camelbak Quick Stow Flask has a 500ml bladderMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
Ever find yourself in a situation where you want to carry a drink, but not the empty bottle when you’re done with it? The Quick Stow Flask is what you need. This 500ml bladder-cum-bottle rolls up to a fraction of its filled size once it’s empty and it weighs just 39g.
Once empty, the Quick Stow Flask stows quicklyMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
The nozzle looks like a hybrid between the proven ‘Jet Valve’ of the universally popular Podium and the bite valves found on the company’s hydration packs. An insulated ‘Chill’ version will also available.