It’s the end of another week at BikeRadar HQ and as usual, a carousel of news stories presented an appetising menu.
We opened the week with senior technical writer Simon von Bromley spotting a new Scott time-trial bike at the second stage of the Giro d’Italia over the weekend.
Josh Patterson brought news of the Roval Rapide and Alpinist CLX II wheels, with the brand performing something of a u-turn on tubeless technology.
We also took a look at new Italian brand Scorpi’s futuristic yet nostalgic full-suspension cross-country mountain bike prototype, the El Camös.
Outside of the new releases, technical editor Alex Evans got into the details of his tasty Marin Alpine Trail E2 build, while digital writer Stan Portus delivered a fascinating exploration into Brompton’s new Kent-based factory and the folding bike brand’s environmental strategy.
We also discussed the emerging market of bike trackers with a handy buyer’s guide.
With those highlights now covered, let’s dive into some exciting new tech.
Abbey Bike Tools Hanger Alignment Gauge
Abbey Bike Tools has a consistent track record of reimagining and perfecting the designs of many common workshop bicycle tools. As a result, its tools are premium options designed for the travelling mechanic, although they also represent bulletproof options for home use. The age-old adage of “buy once, cry once” comes to mind.
The Hanger Alignment Gauge (HAG) is the brand’s derailleur alignment tool and although it’s not a new product, it’s designed to be used with the next item on the list.
Abbey says the HAG is “the last hanger tool you’ll ever have to buy”. With the increase in available speeds now reaching 13 with Campagnolo Ekar or Rotor systems, if your derailleur hanger is even a little off, it’ll likely negatively affect shifting quality.
Before using the tool, check your rear wheel is properly secured into the frame. If it’s a quick-release, it’s always best to perform this check with the bike on the floor to allow it to sit perfectly in the dropouts.
You then simply remove your rear derailleur from the hanger and thread the HAG tool in its place. Next, fit the gauge indicator of the tool into place and check the hanger alignment both vertically and horizontally. To eliminate the possibility of a misreading if your wheel isn’t true, I’d recommend using the valve as your reference point.
So why does this tool cost an eye-watering £210 / $185? Crucially, there is virtually no slop in the tool. Cheaper options will have more play, which in turn affects accuracy in use.
Unlike older tool designs, the rotating head allows you to clear obstacles such as pannier racks, so you don’t need to remove the gauge and reattach it to take an alternate reading.
It’s also serviceable and is significantly more compact than other hanger alignment tools. So much so that other brands have now brought out their own updated hanger alignment tools that are clearly indebted to Abbey’s design.
- £210 / $185
Abbey Bike Tools Lever Setter
Abbey’s new Lever Setter is one of the latest tools join its growing catalogue, and is a genius solution for ensuring gear and brake levers are optimally set. If your levers are not well-aligned, this can lead to fit issues and discomfort on the bike.
Typically, the best way to check both levers are at the same height and angle is to remove the handlebar and install the levers on a level surface. However, this can be challenging when the cables are already installed, meaning you have to resort to less accurate methods.
The Lever Setter does away with this problem and makes perfect lever placement a cinch.
To use the tool, remove your stem top cap and thread the Lever Setter in its place. The Lever Setter can then be used with the HAG tool to measure lever placement, using the indicator arm of the hanger tool to make finer checks as you near lever placement nirvana.
Abbey says the Lever Setter can be used with other derailleur hanger tools and will work best when there is at least one 5mm spacer above the stem. You should always run at least one 5mm spacer anyway so the stem doesn’t crush or fracture the steerer tube when fully torqued.
The asking price of $35 / £38 may seem on the steep side for what is ostensibly a very nicely machined piece of metal. But if you own – or are regularly building or adjusting – many bikes, this is a key new piece to add to your toolbox.
- £38 / $35
Le Col Pro All Weather jersey and arm warmers
Le Col has recently launched its spring/summer collection of riding equipment, and the Pro All Weather jersey and arm warmers piqued my interest.
The Pro All Weather jersey, in this rather fetching Sky Blue colourway, uses PolarTec NeoShell technology to keep you suitably warm in more inclement weather.
The jersey features a waterproof membrane should you get caught out in a downpour. Le Col says the fabric is fully waterproof, so it will perform well in showers and will dry quickly – although as it isn’t taped, it isn’t suitable for riding in the rain all day.
The jersey also features a YKK zip, and ample storage with three deep pockets at the rear, as well as a zipped side pocket for valuables. There are also reflective details and logos for added visibility.
The jersey is designed to be paired with the brand’s similarly branded arm warmers, which Le Col says feature an Italian Roubaix material to offer additional warmth. There is a silicone gripper on the inside of the warmer to keep it in place.
The jersey is available from sizes XS to 3XL and the arm warmers XS to XL.
The Pro All Weather jersey and arm warmers bundle should make for a solid choice on cold morning rides. It presents as thin enough to stop you from being too toasty once the weather warms up – and of course, you have the added versatility with the arm warmers. Le Col advises a 7-14C temperature range.
- Le Col Pro All Weather jersey – £170 / €220 / $220 / AU$315
- Le Col arm warmers – £35 / €45 / $45 / AU$64
- Le Col Pro All Weather jersey and arm warmers bundle – £164 / €212 / $212 / AU$303.20
- Non-UK territories subject to local taxes
Specialized Power Pro with Mirror saddle
Specialized has just released the Power Pro saddle and it is the first non S-Works saddle in the brand’s range to feature its Mirror technology. Mirror technology is a 3D-printed honeycomb structure upper said to reflect your anatomy ‘perfectly’. It had previously featured on the S-Works Power with Mirror and S-Works Romin EVO with Mirror.
Specialized has achieved a (slightly) lower price point with this latest offering by trading carbon rails for titanium, which the brand says makes for a stronger saddle. As a result, it is suitable for gravel riding and mountain biking as well as road use.
The base uses the brand’s new ‘reclaimed’ carbon fibre process to also shave some of the cost. This process sees scraps of carbon left over from production combined with injected nylon to create the base, in what is the first of the brand’s efforts to develop a “closed-loop production”.
We’ve called the 155mm width in and Senior Road Technical Editor Warren Rossiter will be putting the saddle through its paces for a full review soon.
- £290 / $325 / AU$500 / €370
Silca Aero Socks
A brand well-versed in exploring the pinnacle of marginal gains, Silca claims its aero socks shave between four and eight watts compared to a ‘standard’ sock.
Former Zipp lead engineer and Silca CEO Josh Poertner convinced one of the brand’s Pro teams to move every rider to aero socks for every event, as they would save between eight and twelve watts at 50kmph. However, the ribbed Lycra cuffs which lead to the aerodynamic advantage would constantly fall down.
Silca’s goal was to manufacture an aero sock that wouldn’t fall down, and to try to achieve this it partnered with an unspecified team in Italy. The socks feature a smooth frontal surface and three rows of ‘turbulators’, which are the chevrons you see on the side of the sock. Silca says these turbulators introduce small vortices in the boundary layer, which energise the flow and promote flow attachment further around the leg, resulting in less drag.
The brand says the socks are knitted from Q-Skin, a silver ion-infused polyamide that’s claimed to be anti-bacterial and odour resistant. Silca also says the Q-Skin fabric allows better softness and moisture control than other yarns commonly used to knit socks. As a result, Silca says the socks aren’t just aerodynamic, they are also among the most comfortable.
What’s noticeable in the flesh is the thinner material at the toebox and thicker Q-Skin fabric at the cuff. The fit is also well-considered and compressive.
Available in sizes XS through XL, the socks are available in four colours. We have the Pro White version here but you can also choose from Monochromatic Black, Bubblegum and Snow White.
- £25 / €26.95 / $30 / AU$44