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Packable insulated jacket, Punk Powder, serious socks and sockets galore

This week's hottest new bike gear

First Look Friday

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.

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Not sure what’s on when? Don’t miss our guide to how to watch the Olympic track cycling, not to mention our primer covering every track cycling discipline and our guide to Olympic track bikes.

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.

We also got a look at Hope’s extraordinary HB.TT, a road-going time trial version of the brand’s cutting-edge HB.T track bike.

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

Orange cyling jacket with insulated front
Albion’s Ultralight jacket offers an unusual combination of features.
J Loveridge

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.

Jacket in stuff sack next to an exceptionally perfect Jack Russell
The Albion packs down to approximately the size of a small Jack Russell’s head.
J Loveridge

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.

Waist adjustment at side of jacket
There are toggles on either side to cinch the waist in.
J Loveridge

The Albion isn’t waterproof 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.

Falke cycling socks

Hi-vis yellow cycling socks on model
The BC Impulse Peloton socks are a premium-priced option that feel really nicely made.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

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.

Muc-Off Punk Powder bike wash

Last week Muc-Off launched its brand-new eco-conscious Punk Powder bike wash, and now we’ve got hold of some.

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.

Spray bottle and cardboard packaging
The Bottle For Life Bundle gets you a sturdy aluminium spray bottle.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

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

Finally, we have this neat little socket and bit set from Facom.

The R1 Pico is an expanded version of the kit we featured last year except, this time, it comes in yellow, presumably to honour That Very Big Bike Race.

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.

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