11spd: This week’s best new bikes and gear

A secret shock, wide wheels, posh pump, puncture preventers and much more

It’s Friday and that means imminent weekend-ing and eleven more road and mountain bike products to ogle over.

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This week we shared 25 pieces of advice we wish we’d been given when we started cycling, Jack and Joe endured a VO2 max test at the University of Bath, and we ran through our favourite road pedals, all alongside our bread-and-butter of honest, independent product reviews.

Bold Unplugged

The Bold Unplugged has a hidden shock and that's not all it's got up its sleeve...
The Bold Unplugged has a hidden shock and that’s not all it’s got up its sleeve…
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This Swiss enduro bike has two very interesting features. First off, the shock is hidden inside the seat tube. This is apparently done to protect it from the elements while allowing for straighter, lighter tubes. But it’s surely going to make adjusting suspension harder.

... the geometry can be tweaked with reversable flip chips in the chainstay pivot and headset
… the geometry can be tweaked with reversable flip chips in the chainstay pivot and headset
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Second, the geometry is hugely adjustable. Flip chips alter the location of the chainstay (horst-link) pivot, which has three effects. The longest setting increases the rear-centre by 11mm, drops the bottom bracket by 20mm and increases the travel from 160mm to 165mm. This is partly to adjust the geometry but partly to allow different wheel sizes (27.5inx2.3in to 29inx2.6in) to fit the frame.  Adjustable headset cups provide additional head angle adjustment, which can be set from 65.9 degrees to 63.3 degrees.

The carbon frame and high-end parts on this build keep the weight down to 14.7kg in size Large. Not bad for a bike with 165mm/170mm travel.

The Unplugged is the new long-term test bike for me so expect to see lots more of it over the next twelve months.

  • 7,488 CHF / (approx.) £5,698 / (approx.) €6,600

Bergamont Grandurance Elite

The ultimate drop-bar all-rounder?
The ultimate drop-bar all-rounder?
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The Grandurance is touted as the ultimate do it all bike. This Elite version gets a carbon frame and weighs in at 9.27kg. 35mm Schwalbe G-One tyres are fitted and there’s room for up to 37mm tyres, says Bergamont, though there’s ample room to spare with the stock 35s.

Throw in endurance geometry, SRAM’s Apex 1×11 drivetrain and brakes and you’ve got a capable looking all-road/gravel/cyclocross/whatever machine.

Neat fender mounts are present and correct front and rear, which extend its appeal towards commuting or touring duties.

  • £2,499 / €2,799

Tannus Armour tyre inserts

Airless tyre manufacturer, Tannus, has made a foam shield to keep air inside your inner tubes
Airless tyre manufacturer, Tannus, has made a foam shield to keep air inside your inner tubes
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If you’re a mountain biker who hates punctures, but for some reason doesn’t care for tubeless (possibly the thinnest Venn diagram overlaps I can think of) these are for you!

The multicell foam inserts fit around your inner tube, between it and the tyre. In theory, it protects the tube from pinch flats and thorn punctures without the hassle of tubeless, as well as providing some damping to increase traction over bumpy ground.

These fit 29in tyres from 1.95in to 2.5in, on rims from 19–33mm wide, and weigh 650g per pair. Along with tubes that could add up to a sizeable weight penalty over a tubeless setup. Tanus also makes smaller versions for gravel or commuting purposes, for which it’s easier to see the appeal.  

  • €29.99

Are the ’90s back with the Moots Routt YBB soft-tail equipped gravel bike? Matthew Allen certainly seems to think so

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheelset

Bontrager's lightweight and aerodynamic carbon hoops for big tyres
Bontrager’s lightweight and aerodynamic carbon hoops for big tyres
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V stands for volume. The 3V is a wider-rimmed, gravel-friendly addition to Bontrager’s Aeolus Pro carbon road wheel line. It sports a 25mm inner width (as opposed to 19.5mm) to help plump up and support larger road, cyclocross and gravel tyres.

According to Bontrager, this works best with tyres from 32mm upwards. Remember that not long ago 25mm was considered wide for a mountain bike rim.

The 25mm internal rim width is designed for 32mm tyres and up
The 25mm internal rim width is designed for 32mm tyres and up
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Despite their gravel intentions, weight remains impressive. Our set weighs 846g (rear) and 714g (front), that’s 1,560g for a pair (without valves or tape).

They also share the D3 rim profile with their road siblings, which is designed to reduce aerodynamic drag at both the leading and trailing edges of the rim. Meanwhile the Rapid Drive hub delivers 108 points of engagement for seriously quick power pickup. 

  • £1,200 / $1,300 / €1,300

Troy Lee Designs / Adidas Ultra Jersey and Pant

Troy Lee Designs collaborated with Adidas to create this limited edition MTB kit
Troy Lee Designs collaborated with Adidas to create this limited edition kit
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The collaboration between Adidas and Troy Lee Designs is one that few of us saw coming.

The limited run includes short sleeve and long sleeve jerseys as well as shorts and pants for mountain biking. The tops are based on TLD’s popular Skyline Jersey, with Adidas-derived silicone printing and laser-cut ventilation holes. Perfect for when you have a mountain bike ride in the morning and a football match in the afternoon!

Laser cut ventilation should make for a cool, breathable garment
Laser cut ventilation should make for a cool, breathable garment
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Saddleback, TLD’s UK importer, has provided BikeRadar with a stack of Adidas/TLD kit, which we’re having printed with our logos right now. So we hope you like how it looks because you’ll be seeing a lot more of it on the site soon.

  • Pant: £220 / $235
  • Jersey: £95 / $90

If Jack and Joe want to get faster, then they need to do some hard training, and that’s what this episode is all about!

Castelli Cabrio gloves

Who needs warm fingers anyway?
Who needs warm fingers anyway?
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Like the feel of riding gloveless but with extra grip and some protection? Well, these super-light high-summer mitts from Castelli are about as minimalist as you can get and “will make it feel like you’re riding with bare hands”. Thumbs? Nope, these have a “unique thumbless construction for extra movement and comfort”.

There are quite extensive silicone grippers on the palm, the Cabrios weigh a mere 25g/pair – a very marginal gain for weight obsessive riders — and they are designed for riding on warm to very hot days 15–35°C (59–95°F), not a dreary England on a cold, wet and windy ‘spring’ morning…

  • £40 / $49.99 / €39.95

Formula Cura 4 brakes

We’re excited to test the four-pot version of one of our favourite stoppers, the Formula Cura
We’re excited to test the four-pot version of one of our favourite stoppers, the Formula Cura
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The original two-pot Cura impressed us in the past with its sharp, consistent lever feel, low weight and reasonable price. We’ve run a couple of sets for months with impressive reliability too. But for extreme applications, it’s a little underpowered.

Enter the Cura 4. It uses the same ergonomic lever, but with (you’ve guessed it) four pistons in the caliper instead of two. We’ve already ridden a few sets fitted to test bikes and initial impressions are positive. But it’s only once we’ve given this set a proper period of abuse that we’ll be able to see if it’s a match for the category-leading SRAM Code.

For now, we can tell you they weigh 466g for a complete rear brake with mounting hardware, 20mm adaptor and 180mm rotor. That makes them about 20g lighter than the Code RSC.

  • £152.49 / €183

Lapierre eZesty AM LTD Ultimate

The Lapierre eZesty is a relatively svelte e-mountain bike which can be made into a regular enduro bike
The Lapierre eZesty is a relatively svelte e-mountain bike which can be made into a regular enduro bike.
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This is (kind of) two bikes in one. It’s an impressively light full-sus electric bike which can transform into a regular enduro bike in seconds.

As an e-bike, it weighs a relatively svelte 18.5kg (many full sus e-MTBs weigh over 25kg!) That’s because the down tube hides a small 250Wh battery and lightweight Fazua motor. Ingeniously, the battery and motor can be quickly removed as one unit to turn the e-bike into a regular bike, weighing a still respectable 15.2kg.

The battery and motor are housed in a single, easily removeable module
The battery and motor are housed in a single, easily removeable module
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Though the motor is not as powerful as most e-bikes, and the battery is half the size, it should offer most of the pedal assistance thrills of a normal e-bike. Alternatively, remove the electronics to enter a race or simply to enjoy the pure, unencumbered thrill of riding a ‘normal’ bike.

Best of all, with the electronics removed a blanking plate takes their place, providing loads of internal sandwich storage.

  • £6,700 / €7,599

Focus Paralane

Focus’s Paralane2 is an endurance road bike with help for the hills
Focus’s Paralane2 is an endurance road bike with help for the hills
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The Paralane squared is the electrically-assisted version of the German brand’s Paralane endurance bike. Focus uses the ‘squared’ symbol to differentiate the electric bike versions from their regular counterparts.

Like the Lapierre, it uses a Fazua motor with up to 400W of assistance, supplied by a 250 Wh battery. It’s a fair bit lighter though at 14.2kg.

As with any e-bike, the motor can only legally step in below 15mph in Europe (this limit is less — well — limiting in the US, at 20mph). On a skinny-tyre, drop-bar bike like this, you’ll likely be spending much of your time above this limit, so the battery will last longer. In theory, the motor is only there to help with hills, headwinds and heavy legs.

Complete with mudguards, it could be a cracking long-distance commuter.

  • £5,499 / €5,999

Thule Crossover Rolling Duffel bag

They see me rollin’…
They see me rollin’…
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Thule is surely best known for its bike racks and other car-mounted cargo solutions. Now it’s launched a broad collection of luggage.

Although not cycling specific, this capacious 87-litre rolling bag has some neat features designed to appeal to bike riders on the move. There’s a protective ‘safezone’ compartment for phones, wallets or eyewear. Thule insists it’s big enough for mountain bike goggles, which it just about is.

Handily, the main compartment is divided in two by a zipping mesh barrier. This is designed to keep sweaty or muddy kit separate from your clean clothes.

Brushed aluminium fittings and sturdy, large wheels make it look built to last. It weighs a respectable 4.5kg.

  • £245 / $330 / €280

Silca Pista Plus track pump

At £145, this is a seriously posh pump
At £145 this is a seriously posh pump
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The newest incarnation of a pump that dates back to 1962, Silca’s Pista Plus has inherited design features from Silca’s even more expensive and exclusive SuperPista Ultimate, for “increased stability and versatility”, notably the three-footed aluminium base and “an enlarged lathe-turned ash handle”, which looks suitably classy.

The push-on Presta valve connector screws into a threaded Schrader valve chuck
The push-on Presta valve connector screws into a threaded Schrader valve chuck
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The steel barrel houses a 3mm thick leather plunger piston, apparently, and German Igus linear bearings, which I suppose is a good thing.

The Pista Plus will get your tyres up to a rock-hard 220psi / 15bar and the large 64mm diameter gauge has a claimed accuracy of 2 percent. The reversible Presta/Schrader push-on chuck can be replaced with Silca’s disc wheel-friendly HIRO chuck. Neat.

  • £145 / $145 / €179.95
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