Friday! Your five days of merciless toil have come to a close. A weekend filled to the brim with the richest of cycling spoils awaits in reward for your tireless graft — loamy singletrack, empty roads and tailwinds forever at your back. We promise.
And here to kickstart your weekend of pedal-icious indulgences is 11 Speed, your weekly fill of the finest wares that fall into the grubby mitts of our team of resident fettlers.
The Factor One is here, and we can’t WAIT to ride itJamie Beach / Immediate Media
It’s finally here, and we can’t wait to get out riding. The Factor One is a very exciting bike: it’s from a small brand, but with massive heritage. Factor Bikes was formed nearly ten years ago in the UK as a showcase for the engineering expertise of Norfolk-based motorsports company bf1 systems, and it quickly blew people away with the superbikes it produced.
See that ‘Twin-Vane’ down tube to help funnel wash from the front wheel? AeroJamie Beach / Immediate Media
This latest model keeps the distinctive ‘Twin-Vane’ down tube to help funnel wash from the front wheel through the frame rather than around — a feature introduced on predecessor the Vis Vires. It’s also got an integrated one-piece carbon cockpit and aero details like hidden rear brakes, an aero seatpost and scalloping on the top tube. Elsewhere there’s Dura-Ace Di2 with a 53/39t crankset paired to a 11-28t cassette, and it runs on Black Inc. carbon clinchers. We’ll be posting a full review very soon.
This is one of the most beautiful cycling books we’ve ever seenJack Luke / Immediate Media
This hardback book is stuffed with some of the best photos of mountain climbs you’ll see. They were all shot in Europe by photographer Michael Blann, and feature the big beasts like Alpe d’Huez, the Stelvio Pass and Sa Calobra, as well as some lesser-known ones like Lagos de Covadonga in Asturias, northern Spain.
It focuses on European climbs and combines some you know (Mont Ventoux) with some you don’t (Lagos de Covadonga)Jack Luke / Immediate Media
We’ve already featured a selection of them in our feature 11 of Europe’s toughest road cycling climbs, but honestly, it was so hard to leave any photos out, they’re that good. There’s a really nice detachment to these pictures that’s achieved by shooting the action from afar. Stick the book on your Christmas list.
This Fendor Bendor has a reflective design by top illustrator Bicycle CrumbsJamie Beach / Immediate Media
What’s better than a fully reflective Fendor Bendor mudguard from those clever Swedish chaps at Ass Savers? One designed by talented illustrator Bicycle Crumbs, that’s what. Described as the “Jedi laser sword” of mudguards, they say it’ll keep you visible and safe, and dry as a nut.
As with all Ass Saver products, it mounts to your bike in seconds without any tools, and this one is completely foldable — it can easily be stored in a bag or jersey pocket as emergency protection. Fits road, ‘cross, MTB hardballs and fixies, it weighs 60g.
Manchester-based print shop Pedalare have some super designsJamie Beach / Immediate Media
While prints celebrating life on two wheels are easy to find, these one are particularly nice. Pedalare is an online shop based in Manchester, England, and designs include celebrations of tough climbs like Alpe d’Huez (pictured) and Mont Ventoux, and bicycle-themed quotes from some big names including Pantani and Eddy Merckx.
It’s a business with heart, too: they’ll donate 20% of all profits to local charities. The first one they’ve chosen to donate to (until mid-October) is the Mustard Tree, which is committed to providing support to homeless people in Manchester.
Mont Ventoux Running Club t-shirts, by Thread+Spoke
Wanna join the Mont Ventoux Running Club? You’ll need this t-shirtJamie Beach / Immediate Media
During Stage 12 of this year’s Tour de France, a collision forced GC favourite Chris Froome to leave his bicycle and run towards the finish line on Mont Ventoux. These new t-shirts from US brand Thread+Spoke celebrate that bizarre moment.
They come in men’s and women’s versions, in a range of colours (yellow/black/charcoal/navy/royal blue/military green/white), and handily include the advice “helmets on for safety”. Don’t get any ideas though, we’re not encouraging you to become a triathlete.
Vans sent us through these cool, urban cycling focussed shoes to try out, the SK8-Hi Reissue DX SHoesJack Luke / Immediate Media
Vans recently sent us through a pair of its legendary mid-height shoes from its new range of urban focussed riding garb and footwear, Transit Line.
Although you may typically associate mid-height Vans with grungy teens dossing around shopping centres, they continue to have a devoted following in the skateboarding and BMX scene. And for everyday cycling, with their generous ankle support and legendarily grippy waffle pattern sole, they’re a good choice.
Over a regular pair of shoes from Vans, the Transit Line shoes feature reflective thread in the laces, a water resistant upper and increased cushioning around the ankle.
We’re looking forward to wearing these while doing fixie skids and drinking artisan coffees in the weeks to come.
We were big fans of the previous generation SAM and we’re looking forward to getting out on the new oneJack Luke / Immediate Media
The new SAM from Focus has just landed in our offices and at first glance, it appears to be the archetypal updated mountain bike for 2017; it’s gotten slightly longer, a little slacker and marginally lower.
The Pro 11G sits between last year’s SAM Ltd and the SAM 3.0 Factory that we reviewed — with a burly Yari fork up front, a SRAM GX groupset and sticky, Continental Mountain King 2 rubber.
A handsome and purposeful looking steedJack Luke / Immediate Media
We were big fans of the previous incarnation of the SAM and we’re looking forward to seeing how this updated enduro beast handles the trails.
Raceface NEXT SL G4 cranks — 436g of carbon lustJack Luke / Immediate Media
Raceface has just sent us its updated Next SL crankset. Now in its fourth generation, these cranks claim to be the lightest production crankset on the market and come in at a ridiculous 436g with a 34t chainring. Despite this, the cranks still feel pretty darn solid in the hand.
They are also arguably the most versatile cranks on the market, with pretty much every spindle and ring combination you could ever want available from Raceface.
Raceface claims that the new cranks are both stiffer and lighter, which is said to maintain a more consistent chainline when using a 1x set up. The pedal inserts have also been beefed up and are now made of a “Commercialized Super Alloy”, which is 20% stronger than the 7075 used before.
Will stuff ever stop getting lighter, stiffer and stronger? Only time will tell, but for now we’re certainly happy with how these cranks stack up.