11spd: This week’s best new bike gear

Thule VeloCompact, Scott RC shoes, Shimano pedals and more in this week’s roundup

Ah Friday, the day we all love that only occurs once the other six days are done. For us, it means we show you the latest gear to reach our hands, this time coming from our Sydney, Australia offices. From a smart watch to an oval chainring to latex shoe covers, we bring you 11 fresh products. Let’s go!

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New mountain bike gear

Thule 927 VeloCompact towbar mount rack

Holding up to four bikes, thule’s new 927 velocompact towball mount rack is packed with features :

It may come at a premium, but if you own a tow ball and want to carry up to four bikes, you should find years of use in the VeloCompact. Supporting each bike’s weight by the wheels, this rack is well suited to carrying a wide variety of rides, including the most delicate carbon models.

Grabbing the towball with locking jaws that are likely props from Alien vs Predator, the new VeloCompact locks onto a towball unlike anything we’ve seen before. From here, it’ll carry up to 60kg total without flinching.

Fully loaded, the whole rack can be swung downward for boot access :

Once loaded, you can still access the boot without issue

Even the longest 29ers appear to fit fine with sliding wheel trays, while the adjustable arms can be moved to grab onto just about any surface of a bike. Even fully loaded, just step on the back of the rack and the whole thing swings down for boot or rear door access.

With indicators, brake lights and a license plate holder integrated into the base, this one is ready to safely transport you and your mates’ prides and joys.

While we’ll be testing the three-bike version that can be expanded to four bikes, there’s also a smaller (and cheaper) two-bike version available.

www.thule.com

£380 / $N/A / AU$879

Shimano XT M8000 Race pedals

Shimano’s new xt m8000 pedals receive a few updates :

The launch of Shimano’s XT 11-speed groupset also included some subtly updated pedals. We received the M8000 Race version for review, with the pair weighing in at 339g.

Compared with the previous M780 model, the Races offer a .8mm wider pedal body for a claimed 7.7 percent increase in shoe-to-pedal contact. Additionally, the new models are .5mm lower in platform height. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same proven 25-year old SPD design that remains.

£TBC / $120 / AU$149

www.shimano.com

OneUp Traction ring

OneUp components are now offering a range of wide-narrow ‘traction’ rings. the oval profile is designed to smooth out your pedaling action and increased off-road traction : oneup components are now offering a range of wide-narrow ‘traction’ rings. the oval profile is designed to smooth out your pedaling action and increased off-road traction

The single-ring specialist is at it again, this time offering an extensive range of oval chainrings for 1x-equipped mountain bikers. As we’ve seen from other brands recently, the oval shape for mountain biking is less about power trickery and more about achieving even power distribution, something that’s said to improve off-road climbing traction.

We’ve got our hands on the new XTR M9000/M9020 compatible Traction ring, with our 32t sample weighing 57g, including bolts.

Much like the brand’s normal XTR M9000 compatible wide-narrow ring, this one offers an improved chainline and is threaded for the included M9 bolts. This latter point, along with the 7075 alloy construction, means this ring saves 51g over a new Shimano XTR 32T chainring with its associated backing plates.

From $52 (XTR as shown is $70)

www.oneupcomponents.com

Garmin VivoActive GPS smart watch

Released at ces earlier in the year, the garmin vivoactive smart watch offers a number of cycle-friendly features :

Remember the old Casio calculator watch? Thankfully this one doesn’t have much in common with that – it’s actually pretty smart. Compared with many other smart watches, this one has integrated GPS and so can be used as a sports watch away from a mobile phone. Therefore, combined with ANT+ heart rate, cadence and speed sensors, it makes a rather capable cycling computer.

Despite this feature, it happens to be one of the lightest and most compact smart watches available at just 38g. If you do more than cycling you’ll find use in the run, golf and even swimming ‘apps’ (yep, it’s waterproof). Wear it all the time and it’ll tell you when to move, or how well you’re sleeping too.

Sync it to your phone with the Garmin Connect app (Android or iOS) and it’ll control your music, tell you the weather and warn of incoming calls/texts.

Watch alone: £200 / $250 / AU$339

Watch, with heart rate strap: £230 / $299 / AU$379

www.garmin.com / www.fesports.com.au (Australian distributor)

Syncros SP1.0 digital shock pump