Semi-custom aero shoes, road kit inspired by contemporary art and design, a new heart rate monitor and comfy socks

Plus highlights of the best features, news and reviews from BikeRadar this week

  The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.
First Look Friday

The content train keeps on rolling here at BikeRadar. As usual, there have been plenty of hot new tech launches, bikes, reviews and features.

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I had the great pleasure of writing a feature for BikeRadar Builds on my Planet X Exocet 2 time trial bike. It’s been wonderful to be able to partake in some socially distance racing on it in recent weeks, at Bristol South Cycling Club’s midweek time trials around Chew Valley Lake.

Technical editor, Alex Evans, also took a deep dive into the details of Norco’s Torrent HT S2 for Bike of the Week.

The big launch of the week was arguably Specialized’s unveiling of its 2021 Sagan Collection, which included all sorts of bling bikes, framesets and accessories. Designed to celebrate the brand’s current biggest star, Peter Sagan, you might not be able to ride like him, but you can at least now ride one of his bikes.

On the subject of fast bikes, we also published our first ride review of Merida’s latest update to its Reacto aero road bike platform, the Reacto Team-E. Used by the likes of Mark Cavendish and the rest of the Bahrain-McLaren professional team, it’s lost a little weight, gained a little tyre clearance and improved its aerodynamics.

It hasn’t lost as much weight as this heavily customised, 6.2kg Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 though. Used by Ronan McLaughlin to demolish Alberto Contador’s Everesting record, no part was overlooked in pursuit of marginal gains.

In other news, the September edition of Cycling Plus is now on sale. Amongst heaps of other juicy content, it also includes a 28-page guide to this year’s delayed Tour de France. It’s been wonderful to have WorldTour racing back on, so check out the revised men and women’s 2020 WorldTour calendars if you want to plan your pro racing fix.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the latest and greatest tech to land on our desks this week.

This week, we received an incredibly bling pair of semi-custom aero cycling shoes from Bont, some classy road kit by Mono, a new heart rate monitor from Wahoo and some nice socks from Proviz.

Bont Zero+ semi-custom cycling shoes

Bont Zero+ semi-custom
Lightweight, aero and in BikeRadar colours? Yes please…
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

We’re big fans of Bont shoes here at BikeRadar. Their incredible pedalling stiffness, combined with a highly customisable fit makes for ideal race day cycling shoes.

As an avid follower of all things aero, I’ve had a standard pair of Bont’s aero Zero+ shoes for a few years now, but this latest set in BikeRadar colours really is something to behold.

They were created as part of Bont’s semi-custom programme, which allows consumers to customise both the colours and fit of the shoes, beyond the standard adjustment range possible by heat moulding.

As it happens, Bont’s standard last fits my feet just fine, but double or triple wide fit, flat soles, double wide Asian fit, low volume and even small adjustments to the actual carbon shaping are available too, should your feet have special requirements that need to be accommodated.

At $539 (around £410 / €455), this semi-custom option doesn’t come cheap by any means, but high-end, stock offerings from other premium brands command similar prices, and they’re actually cheaper than some of the most expensive production shoes on the market.

Regrettably, we can’t put a figure on exactly how much more aerodynamically efficient these shoes are than a standard shoe, but testing by other companies suggests the aerodynamic qualities of your shoes can actually make a significant difference.

Weighing in at 562g for the pair of size EU 45s, they’re also pretty lightweight too.

Mono Cycling spring/summer 2020 Block jersey and Waves bibs

Mono Block Jersey 20 Racing Green
Mono’s latest Block Jersey comes in Powder Blue or this fetching Racing Green colour.
Yogamaya von Hippel

Road cycling and style are two things that have long been associated, and though many cycling brands focus purely on performance metrics nowadays, some take a slightly different approach.

Mono, a brand created in 2016 at the heart of London’s racing scene, makes premium road racing kit with an eye on modern art and minimalist design.

For spring/summer 2020, Mono has updated its Block Jersey and Waves bib shorts. We think the Racing Green colourway is particularly fetching, and pairs best with the Black Gold bibs.

For those who want something brighter, the Block Jersey is available in a Powder Blue colourway, with Midnight Blue Gold bibs to match.

Befitting its racing heritage, the kit is cut tight to optimise aerodynamic performance, with longer sleeves, three standard pockets and UV protection to SPF 50.

The bib shorts have a multi-panel construction with flat-lock seams and a Cytech Endurance HD chamois to maximise comfort.

  • Mono Block Jersey 20: £95 / $125 / €105
  • Mono Waves Bibs: £125 / $165 / €139
  • Buy now from Mono

Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor

Wahoo Tickr
Wahoo latest Tickr heart rate monitor claims a massively improved battery life.
George Scott / Immediate Media

Even in the age of power meters, a good heart rate monitor is still a vital piece of equipment for the performance oriented cyclist.

Whether you’re looking for extra data to provide context to your power output, or simply for a more accessible entry point to training with defined zones, a chest strap heart rate monitor is still the most accurate and reliable way to find out how your body is responding to an effort.

This latest Tickr heart rate monitor by Wahoo has been updated to extend its battery life by nearly 50 per cent, from 350 hours to a claimed 500 hours on a single coin cell battery, and has LED lights on the top of the pod to let you know it’s connected to your device.

Wahoo Tickr
It uses a single coin cell battery and the chest strap connects via poppers on the pod.
George Scott / Immediate Media

It can connect via ANT+ or Bluetooth, but, unusually for a Bluetooth operated sensor, it can also connect to three separate devices simultaneously, which could come in handy if you like to record rides on virtual cycling apps such as Zwift with multiple devices to guard against losing ride data due to a computer malfunction.

  • Price: £39.99

Proviz classic Merino cycling socks

Proviz classic Merino cycling socks
Proviz’s classic Merino cycling socks are warm, stylish and practical, just like BikeRadar’s editor, George Scott.
George Scott / Immediate Media

These latest socks from Proviz, a British sports brand specialising in high visibility and reflective kit, are a classic performance sock with a few clever details.

Merino blend cycling socks are great for keeping your feet warm and dry on long days in the saddle.

Not only is wool a great insulator, but it can also absorb a high amount of water without feeling wet. Crucially, it’s insulating properties aren’t lost when it gets wet either, so if you suffer from cold feet on wet rides these could be a game changer.

On top of that, the socks have a subtly integrated reflective band at the top of the sock, helping to keep you seen after dark.

Having previously only been available in quiet colours like black, grey and blue, they’re now also available in fluorescent pink and yellow.

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