11spd: Santa Cruz Carbon Chameleon, Troy Lee Designs Five Ten shoes and a gravel tyre from Michelin

Plus a capable cargo carrier, anti-theft axles and more

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.
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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

Santa Cruz Chameleon
We’re lucky to have our hands on this carbon carbon carbon carbon carbon Chameleon…
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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

Riese and Muller
Could this ruggedly utilitarian e-cargo bike replace your car?
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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 XR3
Bontrager makes a rare entry into the plus-tyre market with a 2.8in version of its fast-rolling XR3
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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

Muc-Off antibacterial spray
Clean up your sweaty indoor-training equipment with this antibacterial spray
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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
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
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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 EC90
Easton’s cranks use Race Face chainring technology to easily swap between 2x and single-ring systems
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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

Michelin Power Gravel
The Michelin Power Gravel could prove a versatile all-road option thanks to its file tread and tough tubeless casing
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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
dryrobe can make you look like a pound-shop Yoda, but warm you will be…
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Ever been too cold or embarrassed to get changed out of your muddy/sweaty riding kit in a busy car park? dryrobe aims to fix this problem.

It’s essentially a big, baggy gown with waterproof exterior, a warm fleecy liner and a full-length zip. It’s loose enough for you to change out of your riding kit and into something more comfortable without sacrificing modesty or warmth, leaving you to drive home in comfort.

It’s even said to wick moisture away from your skin while you’re getting changed, so you’ll be nice and dry too.

KIND bars

KIND bars
Gluten-free nut fans have another snacking option in KIND bars
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KIND produces a wide range of gluten-free snacks, which could be just the thing for when you’re out cycling.

Many of these pocket-sized bars contain more than 50 percent nuts, making them relatively high in protein. They also contain dried fruit, rice flour and sugar, often in the form of honey or maple syrup.

KIND claims the bars contain 40 percent less sugar than similar snack bars. These bars contain between 11g and 23g of sugar per 100g.

Vaude AM Downieville Mid Shoes

Vaude AM Downieville
Vaude’s AM Downieville shoes look like a promising MTB option for the money
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Vaude is probably not the first brand that springs to mind when thinking of MTB clipless shoes, but these look like a competitive option.

A reinforced heel and toe cup offers protection against trail debris while the raised inside ankle support should offer some protection from the crank in a crash.   

The foot is secured with laces, which tuck under a Velcro flap, giving these shoes a striking resemblance to Shimano’s ME 7. A simple Velcro strap secures the foot higher up.

The nylon sole feels reasonably stiff and the outsole has deep tread for off-bike grip. This pair weighs 998g in a size EU 44.

Five Ten Impact Pro X Troy Lee Design shoe

Five Ten Impact Pro
Benchmark Five Ten Impact shoes now available to match your Troy Lee kit
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Five Ten has been the brand to beat when it comes to grippy flat pedal shoes for years. They’ve collaborated with another MTB clothing legend, Troy Lee Designs, to come up with this snazzy shoe.

It’s based on the long-praised Impact Pro shoe but with a new lighter upper and a new polyurethane midsole, which is claimed to be more durable and cushioning, while being 30 percent thinner.

The super-sticky Stealth rubber tread is now 25 percent deeper and uses alternating small and large tread circles to better grip the pedals. The Troy Lee graphics just look cool and match the riding kit.

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