We’re officially on the countdown to Christmas! With less than six weeks to go (sorry), there’s still plenty of time to do that all-important Christmas shopping. If you’re stuck for gift ideas, don’t forget we’ve covered all bases in our ultimate Christmas gift guide for cyclists!
In other news this week, we’ve delved into Black Friday, bringing you the best deals going.
Now we’re well and truly into that wet and gloomy time of year (here in the UK, at least) you might want to check out the backpack that has waterproofing in spades. Plus, if you’ve been enjoying the Hill Climb Diaries as much as we’ve been making them, make sure you’ve not missed last week’s season finale.
Meanwhile, here are 11 of the tastiest things to have landed at BikeRadar HQ this week.
Ben Plenge’s Strength Factory
Longterm friend of BikeRadar, Ben Plenge, has taken his MTB coaching platform online Ben Plenge
This isn’t a tangible item per se, but we recently became aware of this new online MTB strength and conditioning programme from longterm friend of BikeRadar, Ben Plenge, and couldn’t help but share it.
You may know Ben, having tested bikes for MBUK back in the day and he’s also been putting our very own Joe Norledge through his paces for a number of years now.
Plenge started the Strength Factory in 2014. The MTB Strength and Conditioning programme is accessed online through a monthly subscription. It gives users a gym-based strength programme specifically tailored to MTB riders and racers.
All you need is access to a gym and there’s no minimum term or contract. Pricing is given in GBP but since this is a virtual product, it’s available to anyone.
Shimano XTR M9100 pedals
Shimano’s new XTR XC pedals make some improvements over the old model Jack Luke / Immediate Media
It wasn’t that long ago that we dangled the shiny carrot of the new XTR groupset in front of your nose and now we have the XC pedals to match.
Designed for better mud clearance, new M9100 XC pedals have a wider and cylindrical contact area, which are claimed to provide more efficient power transmission.
As we said in our full overview of the groupset, one of the biggest developments here is the option to have a shorter spindle — 52mm — that matches the Q-factor of its SLD-SL road pedals. This spells out a lot of potential for gravel riders as well as XC racers.
- Price: £119.99 / $179.99 / €TBC
Continental GP 5000 tyres
The GP 5000 is here Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Continental made big news last week, releasing its first set of tubeless road tyres, and the new ace up its sleeve to replace the beloved GP 4000 S II. Now we’ve got a pair of our very own… though only the clincher version for now.
Make sure you read our full breakdown in all its detailed geeky goodness.
- €60.99, international pricing TBC
Ohlins RXF 36 fork
The new Ohlins RXF 36 Jack Luke / Immediate Media
We recently announced the release of the new RXF 36 Trail fork from Swedish company Ohlins in September and we’re excited to finally have our hands on one.
The fork features a range of travel from 120-180mm, so it caters for everything from trail to enduro riding. It also has adjustable rebound and low-speed compression (15 clicks) and a 3-click range adjustment for high-speed compression. It even has a climb mode setting for good measure.
- Pricing and availability TBC
Veloflex Raven tubulars
Yes, tubs are still a thing Jack Luke / Immediate Media
They’re at it again. Veloflex tyres have a great reputation, and now we’re getting up close and personal with the Italian brand’s Raven tubulars.
Designed for the roughest road surfaces, they’re said to be perfect for racing on cobbles and their graduated diamond tread provides low rolling resistance while the deeper grooving of the sidewall is designed to remain grippy while cornering. Now we just need to find some wheels to mount them onto!
- €92, international pricing TBC
Vans SK8-HI MTE BOA shoes
We’re not sure how we feel about BOA dials on a pair of Vans… Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The BOA closure system isn’t new to the Vans range — the brand has been using it on in its snow boots for a while now.This is, however, the first time we have seen it used on a skate shoe.
Obviously, it’s not a cycling-specific product, but it’s interesting to see this cross-disciplinary approach, using a mechanism that cyclists are all-too-familiar with and this will certainly appeal to those looking for a more casual shoe to wear while riding.
Specialized Power Cranks – Shimano Ultegra upgrade kit
Specialized’s new power meter claims to be among the most accurate on the market Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Power meters are the best way to monitor your efforts and progress in real-time, helping you take your fitness to the next level.
The Specialized Ultegra 8000 Power Cranks are claimed to be among the most accurate in the market. The S-Works Dual-Sided version is also said to be the lightest and stiffest.
We told you all about the launch back in March, and now we’ve got our hands on the Ultegra 8000 left crankarm, we’ll report back on its claimed accuracy after we’ve had a chance to try it out.
The Power Cranks are available in sizes 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm, and are compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth.
Ritchey WCS ErgoMax Handlebar
Ritchey’s new gravel and endurance-focussed drop bar Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The Ritchey WCS ErgoMax handlebar is its new riser-ish gravel bar.
The 10mm rise at the clamping area puts the rider at a slightly more upright position, while the 12-degree flared drops provide stable and confident handling over rougher surfaces. This should make them perfect for gravel bikes, as well as endurance road bikes.
Columbia Altitude Tracker hooded jacket
Josh is very happy with his new jacket Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The Columbia Altitude Tracker hooded jacket is a 700-fill power goose down jacket to keep you warm pre- and post-riding, worn casually or spectating at your local ‘cross races throughout the winter.
Although not cycling-specific, the jacket has a drop tail which will prevent any riding up while cycling and is constructed from a water-resistant nylon fabric. A Scuba-style hood, elasticated cuffs and drawcord waist will also keep the elements out.
Four zipped outer pockets offer secure location for any valuables and the whole jacket packs down into one of the pockets for easy stowage while not being worn.
Available in orange (photographed), black or navy in sizes S-XXL. A women’s-specific cut is also available.
Hunt TT Disc Wheel
Hunt is developing a tubeless disc wheel Benedict Pfender / Immediate Media
After the success of the Tanfield brothers, who made it to two podiums at the National TT Championships on Hunt’s prototype tubular disc wheel, the brand has now produced a tubeless version, and it’s pretty stunning to look at.
It’s yet to undergo wind tunnel testing, but after extensive rounds in the velodrome with the Huub-Wattbike Team, Hunt believes it’s going to be in the realms of 2-3 watts faster than a Mavic IO.
The prototype weighs in at 1.187kg and is estimated to cost around £1,000, though this is yet to be confirmed. Hunt hopes to have the wheels ready to buy before Christmas. Watch this space!
- Pricing and availability TBC
Canyon Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 LTD
Here’s a bike to set your heart aflutter Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The Canyon Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 SL already impressed us, but now we’re excited to have the top-end model — the Canyon Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 LTD — in our hands, though it may just float away, coming in at a paltry 5.8kg. This high-spec beauty will set you back a wild £11,799.
The spec on this bike is what dreams are made of; a full SRAM eTap drivetrain, Lightweight Meilenstein clincher wheels, a THM Clavicula M3 SRM power meter crank and Canyon’s own H36 Aerocockpit.
The frame is claimed to be just as stiff, comfortable and durable as the Ultimate CF SLX. We’ll let you know if that’s true when we’ve put it through its paces.