Phew! What a week. If you’re anything like us, you’ll have consumed a vast quantity of Christmas food, had a few festive bike rides, lazed around a bit, hung out with family/friends and — hopefully — opened a nice selection of cycling-related presents.
But for now, sit back, enjoy the last of the mince pies, turkey sandwiches and Christmas leftovers, and rest a relaxed gaze over the newest kit to land in the BikeRadar office this week.
Fizik Luna X5 saddle
Not standard testing procedure thatOli Woodman / Immediate Media
The X5 is a new women’s specific mountain bike saddle from Fizik, and it’s got some very interesting features
It has a central cut-out to relieve pressure on soft tissue, a popular feature of women’s saddles. Fizik says the saddle has been anatomically mapped to a women’s body contours, and it’s construction itself is designed to provide comfort and support while riding over long distances or over rough terrain.
We have to admit to cheating a tiny bit with this one. We may have actually had a bit of a ride on it already, and while it needs a bit more testing, and taking into account the usual disclaimer that saddle choice is a very personal thing, so far we’ve been impressed.
The saddle shell has a three-part construction, which Fizik calls its IschialFlex Technology. The central section has a carbon-reinforced nylon spine which provides strong support. The wings are designed to flex and have a cut back, the idea being that they won’t rub on the upper legs, and will flex with each pedal stroke to move with the rider rather than staying rigid and, potentially, chaffing. Weight: 262g
This wee Cannondale is going to capture the hearts of children and parents alikeOli Woodman / Immediate Media
If Cannondale’s Scalpel could shrink in the wash then the result probably wouldn’t be far from this ultra-cute balance bike from the brand.
Wearing familiar paint and with the all-important Lefty fork up front, it’s unmistakably a Cannondale.
Ultimately we aren’t sure if this little balance bike from Cannondale will appeal more to kids or parents but an influx of recent fathers here at BikeRadar means that custody of this particular example may even result in a fight.
This Tifosi may look like a custom build but it’s actually ready to order on the company’s websiteOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Sometimes the more you spend the less you get, and that’s especially true with this bike.
Its slender carbon frame claims to come in at under 800g and wears one of the nicest finishes we’ve seen in a very long time with flashes of deep candy red under its lacquer.
Gloss red meets matt black in a volcanic mishmash of excellenceOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Tifosi has chosen some of the world’s lightest components to dress this spindly climber and so you’ll find lashings of German weavework including tubular rims and finishing kit from AX Lightness, THM’s stunning Clavicula chainset complete with carbon chainrings and EE Cycleworks’ almost skeletal brakes.
Tifosi has really gone to town with the finish on this bikeOli Woodman / Immediate Media
The result is a bike that weighs just 4.85kg or 10.69lbs in a size medium!
The Bossnut V2 builds on lessons learned by its valuetastic parentOli Woodman / Immediate Media
For most mountain bikers in the UK the previous generation Calibre Bossnut would need no introduction, it’s one of very few budget full suspension bikes out there that we know to offer a genuinely brilliant ride.
This new V2 Bossnut builds on the success that the brand has had with that bike but features several important revisions, including a slightly longer top tube and a new one-piece rocker link for a stiffer rear end. That means there’s room for a 2.35-inch rear tyre for the first time too.
A side-on view of the Calibre Bossnut V2Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
We are hoping it’ll impress just as much as the first one and have handed it over to our heavy-handed Scot — Seb Stott — who will soon determine if that’s the case.
£999 — when purchased with a GO Outdoors card (£5 per year)
Muc-Off’s Matt Finish detailer is ready to rid your ride of greasy fingerprintsOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Tired of finger prints and glossy marks ruining the finish of your matt paintwork? Muc-Off’s Matt Finish Detailer could be just what you need. Simply wipe it on any matt, satin matt or matt vinyl surface and leave it to dry for a non-sticky protective layer that promises to be streak and gloss free.
We couldn’t resist giving it a quick try…
Oily fingerprints were spoiling the matt finish of this tidy S-Works Tarmac…Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
…though this was something that Muc-Off’s matt-specific cleaner made light work ofOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Muck, Sweat & Gears: A Celebration of Cycling book
Muck, Sweat & Gears by Alan AndersonOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Part encyclopedia, part miscellany, this little green book is full of random snippets of cycling info and tips, told with an array of amusing anecdotes and quotes. There’s everything from explanations of common cycling parlance through to philosophy, history (see ‘A chronology of brakes’) and notable characters.
In fact, it’s the perfect kind of present for the cyclist who has pretty much everything else. While Christmas might be in the recent past, don’t forget birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the variety of other events that pop up over the coming year.
Rapha’s Souplesse insulated giletOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Looking for a little more warmth around the torso this winter?
The Souplesse Insulated Gilet is designed to provide it. It’s got a race fit and does sit very snugly, so if you’re towards the upper end of a size or have a curvy figure, you may want to size up. This is partly because, while the back is made from a stretch fabric, the front isn’t.
However, the front is constructed from a windproof outer fabric with Polartec Alpha insulation, which feels like a soft, downy inner layer, a little like a layer of fine faux fur, and is designed to provide the insulation element.
Polartec Alpha insulation feels as good as it looksOli Woodman / Immediate Media
There’s a nice high neckline to help keep drafts out, plus the usual well-thought-out storage space you’d expect to find, including three rear cargo pockets, a zipped pocket for stowing valuables and an internal pocket, plus headphone sockets and loops for a race radio.
It comes in sizes XXS to XL, and in two colour options: light turquoise and dark navy.
Are you tired of doing the weird car-park dance where you balance on one leg in a pose reminiscent of a drunken yoga teacher, foot on top of your shoe, trying not to drag your jeans in the mud while attempting to simultaneously get changed and not flash your naked body to the family in the car parked next to you?
Well, those days may be at an end. Muc-Off has come to the rescue with the Dirtbag, a waterproof changing mat-cum-bag which you can stand on, strip your muddy clothes off on and bundle the whole thing up in one go.
There’s even helpful instructions on the top: ‘step on in’.
Store your spare tube, gas and levers out of the way on your saddle, and leave your pocket free for snacks!Specialized
Like to ride light, unencumbered by kit in your back pockets? Specialized is also clearly a big fan of efficient storage with its SWAT line of accessories.
SWAT stands for Storage, Water, Air and Tools, and encompasses a range of accessories and design features that mean you can get your bike to carry as much kit as possible, rather than keeping it in a bag or on your person.
The Road Bandit is a little Velcro roll that takes an inner tube, CO2 cannister, CO2 nozzle and tyre levers and secures them to your SWAT-compatible Specialized saddle. All you need to do is hop on your bike and go!
The Eelo 1885 is a folding e-bike for those on a budgetOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Here we have a folding electric bike that a) doesn’t cost the earth and b) won’t require Herculean muscle to move it around.
Okay, so coming in at 14.81kg/32.6lbs it’s hardly a lightweight, but it’s nearly 2kg/4.4lbs lighter than the lightest motorised Brompton. That’s partially down to its alloy frame and finishing kit, but the Eelo’s dinky 14-inch wheels and tyres must also be a factor.
As well as providing the usual pedal assistance that most e-bikes do, the Eelo has a trigger at the handlebar that directs the bike’s rear wheel motor to deliver power right up to its 15.5mph cut off — no pedalling required.
Apparently its 36v LG branded lithium battery pack takes up to six hours to charge and will then go on to deliver a healthy range of up to 49 miles (79km). You even get a front light and mudguards.
Let’s be honest, it almost looks too good to be true. We’ll be giving it a good go during the New Year to find out if that is the case.