It’s the first real week of 2020, with the end of year festivities well and truly over, hangovers hopefully abated, and the diet in full swing. All being well, you’re finding time to get out on the bike, and have many, many adventures planned.
With fresh heads, we’ve forged ahead with a raft of excellent bicycle-based content already on BikeRadar this year. Did you see our article on the 27 benefits of cycling? Or, maybe with adventures afoot, you read our guide to completing your first century? You may have also read what the BikeRadar team’s resolutions are for 2020!
If reading isn’t your thing, then don’t miss our video below on what the mountain bikers at BikeRadar are most looking forward to in 2020, or Mildred’s frankly excellent interview with Transcontinental Race superstar Emily Chappell – also available below.
Don’t forget to like and subscribe to both our YouTube channel and the BikeRadar Podcast on your podcast service.
RecovaPro Massage Gun
Do not retune your television!
“What is this rather strange device?” you might be asking. And, you’d not be alone, because while we unpacked it from its carry case, we were also wondering what on earth this fairly heavy, drill-like contraption was, with its multitude of somewhat suggestive looking attachments.
This, it turns out, is the RecovaPro Massage Gun, a percussive massage machine designed to aid pre-exercise warm-up, post-exercise recovery and pain relief from your cycling (and other sport) exertions.
The gun is battery operated and has a range of different shaped implements, which are vibrated in and out between 25 and 55 times per second – depending on which of the five power modes are in use.
The Ball Head is for use on larger muscle groups, while the Bullet Head is for joints and deep tissue, as is the Power Head. The Flat Head is for use all over the body, while the Fork Head is for your neck and spine.
Initial testing in the BikeRadar office has resulted in the occasional yelp from unsuspecting colleagues and those with aching muscles.
Leatt Velocity 6.5 Goggles
Normally one might use goggles to protect eyes from the cold, wind, rain and mud – all very useful things to protect your eyes against when schralping down heavily wooded hillsides – and while Leatt might not be advocating putting yourself in such a position, it also claims that the goggles are bulletproof!
And, apparently, these claims are backed up with a very fancy-sounding international standard: Military Ballistic Impact Standard (MIL-DTL-43511D).
We don’t really want you to put yourself in that position either, but we reckon what it should mean is that even if you’re buzzing your buddy’s tyres down a particularly gravelly descent, your eyes should be pretty well shielded.
So, what else does Leatt offer? Well, the goggles come in tear-off- or roll-off-ready versions, along with a number of lens and strap colour options.
The outriggers snap forward to aid lens removal, with options available after-market offering 22 to 83 per cent light transmission variations. The frame is dual-density while the foam is triple density, and they’ll fit over your specs. The lenses have an anti-fog treatment and are self-draining too, apparently.
- From £73 / $80
The Big Climb, Stephen Norman
- Buy now from Amazon. (£22.50)
Didn’t get enough books for Christmas? Well, here’s another one you can buy with the vouchers you got from your aunt.
The Big Climb is ostensibly a book about the pros emanating from Colombia, a country well known for big hills and high altitudes, ranging from 1950 to the present day.
There are plenty of stories, quotes and pictures, showing some truly gnarly road racing. You’ll certainly be left with a fair idea as to how Colombia developed some of the ‘hard-men’ of racing.
What’s also, er, unexpected, is the ‘brief guide to doping’ – a page describing the array of performance-enhancing drugs that may otherwise have been bewildering.
As is an interview with Dr Camilo Ernesto Pardo Poveda, a doctor who’s been working with Colombian cyclists since 1980. Let’s just say that reading between the lines of his answer to a question about Froome’s performance on stage 19 of the 2018 Giro leaves little doubt as to his opinion on the Sky doping scandal.
Birzman Tubeless Repair Kit
Tubeless: amazing when it works, a royal PITA when it all goes wrong.
When it goes wrong, it’s because your tyre has a hole in it that sealant alone won’t fix, and unless you’re carrying a spare tyre (!) you’re left with needing to repair the tyre or walk home.
Tyre repair kits aren’t new, but this Birzman system is fairly smart in appearance. It looks very similar to the usual 16g CO2 canister, and for good reason. There are many carrying systems for CO2 canisters around, so it makes it an easily portable repair system.
The kit has a threaded end, allowing it to be screwed into bottle boss canister mounts, or if you strap it to a tube, allows a threaded inflator to be screwed into the kit, rather than pre-piercing a fresh CO2 can.
Inside there are five repair strips and a hole cleaning/strip insertion tool, all neatly concealed. It’s a small, simple, and hopefully, effective way to repair your tubeless tyre.
The Ventana is, in our opinion at least, a rather smart looking trail shoe for mountain bikers. Giro says that the shoe is built for all-mountain rides and all-day trail adventures.
Outwith the areas of toe protection and the heel box, the upper uses a thin synthetic one-piece ‘Synchwire’ material with a bit of added mesh, which feels lightweight, and presumably won’t be too sweaty.
It’s secured by a BOA dial across the top, and a single Velcro strap above the toe box.
As alluded to, there’s protection for the toes and heel, while there’s padding inside the heel area to keep a firm hold over the back of your feet.
Down below is a reasonably stiff sole with a Sensor Rubber outsole for grip when you’re scrambling up and down trails on your big mountain adventure. The tread isn’t the chunkiest we’ve seen, so how well they’ll deal with UK slop is yet to be seen. Needless to say, we’ll be working all that out soon.
- $180 / £180