The festive season is upon us. Surrounded on all sides by tinsel, mince pies and dubiously bearded Santas, there’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is fast approaching, and with it, the dreaded Final Post deadlines. Basically, if you don’t order your Christmas gifts soon, you’ll be dishing out boxes of chocolates, scented air fresheners and disposable barbecues from your local fuel station.
It can all get very stressful, so take a moment for yourself. Breathe, relax, and run your eyes through this list of lovingly collected and curated cycling goods. You might even spot some gift inspiration for yourself or others.
New road bikes and gear
Zipp 454 NSW wheels
Zipp’s new 454 NSW aero wheels are here, awaiting our tame TTer’s attentionsJamie Beach / Immediate Media
You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can make it a little more aero, and that’s exactly what Zipp aimed to do with its new 454 NSW wheelset. The design is said to harness the power of biomimicry — an emerging science that imitates the models and systems found in nature to help provide solutions to complex engineering problems. For these new hoops, it was a humpback whale’s fins that provided the inspiration.
Name the aquatic mammal that inspired this shapeJamie Beach / Immediate Media
We know it all sounds farfetched, but bear with us. These majestic creatures (the whales) have an incredibly small turning circle, thanks to vortices generated by its fins, and Zipp claims that this same effect is created through raised Hyperfoils™ on the rims of its new wheels. The 454 name is derived from the 5mm height difference between the rim’s 58mm highest and 53mm lowest points — hence the name ‘Sawtooth’. We’ve put these in the hands of our tame TTer, and will report back on what he thinks.
The GoPro Remo remote lets you talk to your action camera from afar. The future is now, peopleJamie Beach / Immediate Media
What’s cooler than talking to your action camera (“GoPro, record!”)? Talking to it remotely via your WRIST, that’s what. We paid a visit to the company’s London offices last week and came away with a bunch of test units, including this new Remo remote.
It comes with housings to clip onto clothing, pets or round your wrist, and there’s a single button so it can function as a one-button remote. The Remo is rated as waterproof up to 5m/16ft, but we’re not jumping into a lake to find out if that’s true.
The SealSkinz Halo overshoe has something very clever…Reuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
Modestly described as “possibly the most significant development in overshoes in a generation”, these latest offerings from wet weather wonders Sealskinz have already won design awards for their innovative approach. But there is a reason for these bold claims — they have LEDs built into them that are visible up to a claimed 500m. These little red lights go into a pouch at the rear and should boost your visibility no end.
…a blinking light. Genuinely, no sarcasm, we think this is a splendid ideaReuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
The overshoes themselves are made from hard-wearing neoprene with Kevlar-reinforced heel and toe areas, and reflective detailing. They should be able to fend off the worst of the British winter too, with storm flaps inside the zip, a silicone leg gripper, and heat welded taped seams.
There’s also a set of Sealskinz Halo gloves with an integrated flashing LEDReuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
There’s also an accompanying set of all-weather gloves, featuring a powerful triple LED light in the back of the hand which delivers up to 200hrs of run time from a little watch battery. The gloves themselves are made from lightweight, three-layer material that’s claimed to be totally waterproof, windproof and breathable. Details like an extended stretch cuff for extra warmth, a nose wiper on the thumb, and smartphone compatible material on the index finger and thumb are also welcome.
Young Jack models the Q36.5 Termica jacketReuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
Don this and you’ll feel like a spaceman, venturing boldly forth to galaxies unknown. We did! Undeniably avant-garde in its looks, this winter riding jacket boasts a panoply of clever-sounding technologies. Hermetically sealed internal collar? Check. Hydrophilic membrane? Check. Jazzy silver finish? Oh yes.
The bold looks won’t be for everyone, but it has some cool-sounding technology, like a ‘hermetically sealed collar’Reuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
Designed for any conditions (with the right layering underneath), the Q36.5 Termica jacket is a lightweight (400g) cold weather jacket designed for high-intensity training. The brand was launched in 2013 by an Italian with 20 years’ experience in the cycle clothing industry, and is undeniably high-end. We’ll take it out for a few foul-weather rides over Christmas and report back on its efficacy.
And there’s a pocket on the sleeve!Reuben Bakker-Dyos / Immediate Media
Fabric’s R200 mini pump features a smart head that swaps easily between Presta and Schrader valves, and can inflate up to a claimed 120psiJamie Beach / Immediate Media
This could be a lovely stocking filler for that special someone (or yourself) — a shiny, clever little mini pump. Fabric’s R200 road pump features a smart head that can easily switch between Presta and Schrader valves, it comes in a nice brushed metal finish, and is rated up to 120psi. But arguably the best bit is the extensible head:
We do like an extensible valve head. We doJamie Beach / Immediate Media
This lets you pump away merrily without accidentally breaking the connection ‘twixt pump and valve. And if you’re planning on getting that wheel up to 120psi, you’ll have a lot of pumping to do… It also comes with a snap-on frame mount (not pictured).
All you need to buff your bike up to a fine shineJack Luke / Immediate Media
When it comes to making sure your bike looks beautiful, polished and buffed to perfection, No Quarter has produced a cycle detailing kit containing shampoo, wax, microfibre cloths and cleaning tools, such as a wax applicator sponge, cleaning sponge and a soft brush for reaching those awkward spaces in the frame and drivetrain.
We’ll be putting the Candy 7 pedals from Crankbrothers through their paces in the coming weeksReuben BakkerDyos
Combining a four-sided entry system and a supportive platform for additional traction and power transfer, the Candy 7 pedals from Crankbrothers are designed to be light enough to be used in competitive situations, strong enough to deal with hard riding, and dependable enough for long-duration endurance rides.
An aluminium body with steel spring, the wide spacing means the mechanism is less likely to get chocka with mud, which will be of particular interest to anyone who rides in mucky conditions, and they also have a five year warranty. Ours weighed in at 321g for the pair, just 1g over the advertised weight.
The Crankbrothers Candy 7 pedals combine an open mechanism with a sturdy platformReuben BakkerDyos
Might we also add that while looks aren’t everything, these are some damn fine looking pedals. Magenta and black might not be to everyone’s tastes, but we think it conjures up hints of a punk aesthetic.
Is it a box of chocolate? Perhaps a gift of perfume inspired by that new bike smell?Jack Luke / Immediate Media
When cleaning your bike is more involved than simply a quick squirt of cleaning fluid and a spray with a hosepipe, a selection of handmade detailing products are the only way to go.
Enter Crankalicious, the British brand boasting ‘handmade cycle care’. While this may be the second set of cleaning products in our list today, let’s face it, a clean bike is a happy bike.
No… It’s a set of amusingly named bike cleaning productsJack Luke / Immediate Media
Crankalicious has gone for amusing monikers in its products; the ‘Like Pneu’ tyre cleaner, for example, or the ‘Science Friction’ ceramic chain lube.
Presented in a set that looks more like a gift box of posh toiletries than a selection of bike cleaning products, this set is part of its Christmas gift range and would certainly make an impressive-looking gift for the cyclist who likes to spend time lovingly waxing their bike.
The Charge Cooker 20 kids’ bike comes just in time for ChristmasJamie Beach / Immediate Media
Since it was founded ten years ago in Somerset, UK, Charge Bikes has steadily built a reputation for no-nonsense bikes that are great fun to ride. Now with Christmas round the corner, we’ve been sent its new Cooker 20 kids’ model, for riders aged 5+. Because nothing beats a bike for Christmas.
Chaaaaarge!Jamie Beach / Immediate Media
It comes in “tough pink” or “monster green”, and is built on a rigid alloy frame for low weight, with wide 2-inch Kenda tyres.
Shimano 7-speed Tourney gears are coupled with a Shimano Revoshift grip shift and provide a good range of gears for smaller legs. Mechanical disc brakes promise impressive skids in any weather and overall weight is a respectable 10.5kg. Buy this and you’ll make one young rider very happy.
The container is water resistant, so you can splash through puddles to your heart’s contentJack Luke / Immediate Media
Sometimes you just want to ride your bike free of encumbrances like rucksacks and enduro packs, but if the traditional method of taping spare tubes to your frame doesn’t appeal and you don’t want bags strapped to your bike, the Fabric Tool Keg could be the way to go.
The attachment system has proved very popular with the water bottles Fabric producesJack Luke / Immediate Media
Using Fabric’s innovative attachment system that does away with the need for a bottle cage at all, you can pop spares, tools, cake money, jelly babies, or whatever else you fancy in a BPA-free and watertight bottle, slip it on your frame and away you go. Available in black or white.
The new Women’s Camber Comp Carbon from SpecializedPhil Hall
New for 2017 comes the women’s range of Camber full-sus mountain bikes from Specialized. Specialized has a particular approach to women’s bikes; it uses data from thousands of body geometry bike fits its collated to determine firstly whether a specific frame is required and secondly what shape and geometry that should take.
In the case of the Camber, Specialized has concluded that for the purposes of trail-based mountain biking where the rider is in a more dynamic, less fixed position than road cycling, a well designed frame will suit riders of either gender. So the new Camber Comp Women’s shares a frame with the men’s or unisex Camber, but with women’s specific finishing kit such as the Myth Sport saddle.
The bike features a subtle, sparkly finish — and attracts a LOT of attentionPhil Hall
The Women’s Camber Comp Carbon features, as the name suggests, a carbon frame — but oh my days what looks! A subtle glitter finish in the satin-finish navy/purple paint plus orange highlights are a striking combination. Add to that RockShox Revelation RL forks with 130mm of travel and a Fox Float Performance 130mm shock with a women’s specific tune, with a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain and Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes, and you’re ready to go.
We’re looking forward to taking this out for a spin. Look out for a first ride soon!