As we conclude another working week here at BikeRadar, here’s a quick recap on the stories and products that made it another interesting one in the world of bikes.
Matthew Loveridge was particularly taken by UK brand Fairlight’s update to its Faran steel touring bike. The new Faran 2.0 remains a practical all-rounder with mounts for just about everything you could conceivably bolt to a bike and is available as a frameset or in a range of builds.
Matthew also took some time this week to celebrate all things weird in the world of bikes in an opinion piece that sends kudos to the originality of designs such as Cannondale’s Slate and the 3T Exploro. An honourable mention even goes to the ill-fated SpeedX brand and its ambitious Leopard smart bike.
With the results in for our mountain bike lights test, the detailed individual reviews of each light have now started to trickle onto the BikeRadar homepage. The overall test winner – Magicshine’s Monteer 8000s Galaxy – was the only light to emerge with a full five-star rating with tester Alex Evans stating it is a truly exceptional product.
Another top scorer this week came in the form of Schwalbe’s Racing Ralph Evo TLE cross-country tyre, which delivered exceptional traction and control.
Sticking to the mountain bike side of things, enduro riders looking for a new long-travel fork should absolutely not miss out on Seb Stott’s versus article and video that pitches RockShox’ all-new Zeb against the Fox 38.
Finally, senior technical editor, Warren Rossiter chatted to road racing legend Alberto Contador this week in our BikeRadar Meets Podcast about his new venture, Aurum Bikes, and the brand’s debut model, the Aurum Magma – as well as aero bikes versus climbing bikes, current bike design trends and the bikes he rode during his racing career. Give it a listen below…
Bontrager NCS II mudguards/fenders
The simple installation process is partly thanks to Bontrager’s ‘no cut struts’, which use pinch bolts on a sliding rail to achieve a close fit without the need for any cutting. The generous selection of stainless-steel hardware included in the pack makes these compatible with a huge combination of frames and brakes. You’re bound to end up with a few useful spares for your toolbox afterwards too.
This 700 x 28–35mm set sits in the middle of the size range offered by Bontrager; the smallest accommodates 700c tyres from 18mm to 25mm and the largest is happy with 35mm to 45mm rubber.
A nice touch is the Blendr mount at the rear ‘guard that makes for tidy integration of Bontrager’s Flare rear lights.
£40 / $50
Bontrager Ion Pro RT and Flare RT light set
Bontrager makes very good bicycle lights and bundles a selection of them together into various front and rear sets to save buyers a small amount of money.
This particular set pairs Bontrager’s powerful Ion Pro RT front torch with the diminutive Flare RT rear light. Bontrager says this is the ultimate ‘see and be seen’ bicycle light combo with both featuring daylight running modes that claim visibility of up to 2km.
The 178g Ion Pro RT with its integrated battery pack and 1,300-lumen maximum output actually topped our recent road bike lights grouptest but is also a popular choice among mountain bikers, too.
Our reviewers enjoyed its pleasingly warm and well-shaped beam and easy to use yet versatile band-on clamp that attaches securely in seconds.
Compatibility with Bontrager’s Blendr system means the Ion Pro RT can be mounted directly to stems and on helmets too. Claimed run times range between 1.5 hours at full power to 3 hours at an 800-lumen solid setting, 6 hours at 400 lumens or up to 26 hours on flash settings.
The Flare RT rear uses a light sensor to automatically adjust its output to best suit the environment you’re riding in. It’s particularly compact and totals only 40g.
Its most powerful 90-lumen daylight flash mode delivers a claimed run time of 6 hours or 12 hours for the 45-lumen flash setting. Two steady modes are also available: a 25-lumen setting that gives four and a half hours of claimed run time and a 5-lumen setting that lasts a claimed 13.5 hours.
The standard clamp is offset to angle the light perfectly when attached to a seatpost, but once again Blendr compatibility means mudguard or helmet mounting is relatively simple for those who have already invested in Bontrager.
Another pleasing feature for the more tech-focused is that both of these lights can connect with Garmin and Bontrager Transmitr devices as well as Shimano Di2 groupsets for wireless control.
Castelli Estremo winter gloves
Fresh mornings are already here and it won’t be long before the temperature dips below zero. Keeping riding in such conditions requires proper kit, and the Estremos look just the ticket for those who want toasty fingers whatever the conditions.
As Castelli’s warmest winter glove, the double-lined Estremo prioritises weather protection and insulation.
The Gore-Tex logo at the Velcro cuff indicates a windproof and water-resistant outer that’s paired to a fleece lining.
There’s grip-boosting silicone detailing at the palm along with a padded outer section to relieve pressure at the handlebar.
They’re available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
£95 / $99 / €99
Oakley Airbrake MTB goggles
These are designed for everything from enduro to downhill riding and are available in a wide range of finishes including colourful collaborations with the likes of Greg Minnaar and Troy Lee Designs. A lightweight mesh maximises ventilation at lower speeds while helping to prevent mud and trail debris from entering the goggles.
The price tag is firmly Oakley too. Keep your eyes peeled for a review of these in the near future.