It’s Friday, which means it’s officially time for our weekly show-and-tell of the most interesting bikes and kit to arrive in the BikeRadar office. Also, this week has been our first whole week with our new website. We hope you’re enjoying the new style.
This weekend is a big one in the mountain bike calendar as it’s finally time for the first downhill World Cup of the season in Slovenia. Intriguingly for us tech geeks, Cannondale chose this week to tease us with their new downhill bike, which uses two shocks (sort of).
On the road side, we announced the winner of the best all-road bike in our Bike of the Year awards, the Canyon Grail AL 7.0. Meanwhile, Jack confessed his love of a discontinued, Japanese-market-only, rear-suspension, folding road bike. Let it never be said that BikeRadar doesn’t have diverse opinions.
Santa Cruz Chameleon SE+ Carbon
We’re lucky to have our hands on this carbon carbon carbon carbon carbon Chameleon… Immediate Media
As the name suggests, the Chameleon is designed to be as versatile as possible. It’s Santa Cruz’s cross-country/trail/bike-packing/bike-park hardtail. Adjustable dropouts accommodate 29in or 27.5-plus wheels or even single-speed drivetrains.
29er versions come with a 120mm fork while 27.5-plus builds, like we have here, come with a 130mm fork. The geometry is relatively roomy in the reach (458mm in this size Large) but the 67.3-degree head angle and short 415–430mm chainstay length should keep the handling agile and lively.
The alloy version has been around for some time now, but the carbon Chameleon has just arrived in the capable hands of our tester, Tom Marvin, who will be riding it hard this year. Stay tuned to find out how it rides and what he gets up to with it.
For now, it’s safe to say Santa Cruz aren’t going to be bothering the likes of YT or Canyon on the value front. This SE+ build comes with carbon wheels, Hope Pro 4 hubs and supple Maxxis 2.8in tyres, but it’s perhaps a little disappointing to see mid-level brakes, fork and drivetrain when you’re paying this much for a hardtail.
Riese & Müller Multicharger Vario
Could this ruggedly utilitarian e-cargo bike replace your car? Immediate Media
Fed up of schlepping your heavy weekly shopping around on your regular bike, but refuse to use the car? So was our tech ed Tom, so he’s got hold of this electric cargo bike from Riese & Müller.
This top-line version comes with all the bells and whistles — from an extra 500Wh battery on the downtube to complement the one inside it (£839), huge volume custom pannier bags (£149), to mini handlebars and foot pegs (£140).
The Vario model has an Enviolo continuous variable transmission hub driven by a Gates belt drive, a Bosch CX Performance motor, Magura MT4 brakes and a SR Suntour XCR32 fork and Thudbuster seatpost to boost comfort. Cheaper versions are available, with a Shimano Nexus hub from £3,539.
Not content with just his shopping, Tom’s also been carting bikes, bits of cars and furniture around, just because he can! Look out for more e-cargo features, featuring this bike, very soon.
Bontrager XR3 Team Issue 2.8in MTB tyre
Bontrager makes a rare entry into the plus-tyre market with a 2.8in version of its fast-rolling XR3 Immediate Media
Despite having obvious comfort and traction benefits, plus-tyres are on the decline. Yet Bontrager is backing the 2.6in tyre, and still offers 2.8in tyres such as these.
The XR3 is designed to be a fast-rolling trail tyre, which can be used for cross-country racing. Although also available in 29 x 2.4in, a 2.8in version of such a speed-focused tyre may seem strange to some, but we’ve found bigger tyres can roll faster in some cases.
These tyres weigh 846g each.
Muc-Off antibacterial equipment cleaner
Clean up your sweaty indoor-training equipment with this antibacterial spray Immediate Media
If you train indoors you’ll probably be familiar with the sweat-stained indoor trainer or turbo-training bike.
This cleaner is designed to sterilise any indoor equipment, killing 99.99% of bacteria without damaging any surface finishes.
Simply spray on and wipe off. It smells sweet and apple-y too. Whether it works significantly quicker than non-cycling-specific gym cleaners is yet to be determined…
Hexlox Universal thru axles
Hexlox’s universal axles fit any fork, while the key (left) installs the hexagonal Hexlox nuts into the Allen bolt head to secure it against theft Immediate Media
The Hexlox is an anti-theft device that fits inside any Allen-key bolt. It requires a special key to loosen or tighten the bolt, thereby stopping thieves from stealing bits of your bike.
To secure the most removable parts, Hexlox offers compatible products, including quick-release skewers and thru axles to keep your wheels safe.
This kit fits any 12mm (road) fork axle, but other kits are available for 15mm (mountain bike) forks, along with 12mm rear axles to fit all thru-axle frames.
The axle self-adjusts to fit your fork’s width and has two thread pitches to suit different fork threads. Once installed with a Hexlox nut, it can only be removed with a Hexlox key (sold separately).
Easton EC90 SL Cranks
Easton’s cranks use Race Face chainring technology to easily swap between 2x and single-ring systems Immediate Media
These lightweight road/gravel/cyclocross cranks use CINCH technology shared with Easton’s sister company, Race Face. This means direct-mount single chainrings or 2x spiders can be easily swapped onto the crank arm.
They have a standard road Q-factor of 149mm and are also available with (or can be upgraded with) Easton’s Cinch 30mm power meter spindle.
The Canadian-made hollow carbon arms are available in 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths. Our 172.5mm set weigh 345g for the bare arms and spindle, or 588g including a 2x spider with 52/36T rings.
Michelin Power Gravel 40 tyres
The Michelin Power Gravel could prove a versatile all-road option thanks to its file tread and tough tubeless casing Immediate Media
Michelin pioneered tubeless mountain bike tyres but have been slow to bring tubeless tech to the road.
While not a true road-specific tyre, the Power gravel is designed for gravel roads and is tubeless ready. It also boasts a protective casing throughout the tyre’s carcass, so it should be safe to run low pressures without too much risk of puncturing, especially in this chunky 40mm size.
It’s available in 33mm, 35mm and 40mm widths. We’ve got the latter, which weighs in at 477g.
dryrobe Advance Short Sleeve
dryrobe can make you look like a pound-shop Yoda, but warm you will be… Imm