It’s been a tracktacular week at BikeRadar with all sorts of velodrome shenanigans available for our viewing pleasure from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
One of our biggest stories this week was the Danish track squad’s controversial use of shin tape – a possible aerodynamic advantage that led to complaints being lodged against the team.
Meanwhile, in ultra-cycling news, we got the lowdown on Christina Mackenzie’s incredible and record-breaking Land’s End to John o’Groats ride.
It’s not all been skinny tyres pumped up to a billion psi, though. Hope also made headlines with its all-new Union mountain bike pedals, an SPD-esque design that rather surprisingly uses an entirely proprietary cleat, while we published our reviews of SRAM’s XX1 Eagle AXS groupset and the Cane Creek Helm MKII fork.
Albion Ultralight Insulated Jacket
The Ultralight Insulated Jacket from Albion offers a pretty unusual combination of features.
On the one hand, it’s a highly packable outer shell made from breathable ripstop fabric with a DWR coating, which Albion says is shower-resistant rather than waterproof.
On the other, it’s got insulated sections on the front of the chest and arms, suggesting it’s suitable for pretty low temperatures.
It really does pack down tiny. While many riders will likely opt to put it straight in a pocket, Albion supplies a little stuff sack that will be handy for those taking the jacket bikepacking.
At 88g for a size extra-small, it’s not going to weigh you down and it offers a nice racy fit too, so it won’t undermine your carefully curated roadie wardrobe.
We’re intrigued as to how well the Ultralight will work in the real world. Here at BikeRadar we’re big fans of Gore-Tex Shakedry jackets, but they’re very expensive and usually don’t offer much in the way of insulation on their own.
The Albion isn’t a waterproof jacket so it’s not exactly a direct rival for those, but it’s quite a bit cheaper and could be a great solution for riding in unpredictable weather, something that’s never in short supply.
- Buy now from Albion
Falke cycling socks
Cyclists are the only people who regard socks as a genuine treat rather than a backup option when you can’t think of anything else to buy as a gift – we love us some fresh foot gloves.
Falke is a large German brand that makes all manner of everyday clothing alongside sport-specific products, including cycling socks.
The BC Impulse Peloton socks are a premium-priced option that claims to offer “permanent massage” for your feet via the use of a mesh knit section under the ball of the foot.
They’re made from a typical polyamide/elastane blend that’s designed to keep you cool and wick sweat away effectively.
These come in a choice of five colours, all featuring a pattern said to be reminiscent of a peloton viewed from above.
The BC Impulse Reflective socks have a very similar construction, but add reflectives in a rear-facing splatter pattern, for added visibility.
- BC Impulse Peloton socks: £20
- BC Impulse Reflective socks: £21
- Buy now from Falke
Muc-Off Punk Powder bike wash
Punk Powder comes in compostable sachets and can be mixed with water to make bike wash at the point of use. One 30g sachet makes a litre of bike wash.
The idea is this eliminates a lot of plastic waste – the packaging is entirely plastic-free – and it also eliminates the need to ship heavy bottles of liquid around the country.
Punk Powder itself is claimed to be biodegradable while retaining the cleaning qualities for which standard Muc-Off is known.
As well as the powder, Muc-Off has launched a new Bottle For Life designed for reuse. This includes a neat silicone base so it won’t topple over.
- Punk Powder (2 x 30g sachets – makes 2 litres): £14.99
- Punk Powder Bottle For Life bundle: £29.99
- Buy now from Muc-Off
Facom R1 PICO-CYCNOR limited-edition bicycle socket set
The kit includes most common hex and Torx bits in addition to 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13mm sockets. The driver itself is really nicely made and has a neat head that can swing through 180 degrees.
This special-edition tool kit will also ship with a free matching bottle.