It’s been another busy week at BikeRadar HQ as, on the eve of the 2022 Tour de France, a content wave broke.
We opened the week with news of the updated Pirelli Scorpion Enduro and eMTB M mountain bike tyre range.
Tuesday saw a raft of new releases – digital writer Jack Evans covered ENVE’s new gravel dropper post and Stan Portus not only wrote about but donned Rapha and Palace’s pink-tastic collaborative jersey and bib shorts. Senior technical editor Warren Rossiter brought us a news story and first ride review of BMC’s first electric road bike, the Roadmachine AMP.
On Wednesday, Shimano released its 105 Di2 R7150 electronic groupset, finally caving in to the demand to trickle the technology down to the third tier. Deputy editor Jack Luke penned the news story and senior technical writer Simon von Bromley delivered an opinion piece.
If the initial flood of news wasn’t enough, Thursday brought even more. Trek released a radical new Madone with what would be best described as a hole in its seat tube, and Specialized launched the third-generation S-Works Evade and Prevail helmets, as well as a time-trial specific TT5 lid.
Finally, our sub-editor Gary Walker furnished us with the first review of his long-term bike, the Ribble Hybrid AL Leisure Fully Loaded Edition.
With the highlights covered, let’s dive into some exciting new tech.
Cascada Land Wool Shirt
Flannel is a burgeoning category in adventure apparel and Italian brand Cascada is positioned as one of the more premium options in the market. This shirt isn’t exclusively for cycling and is suited to other sports and casual use, too.
The Land Wool Shirt is crafted from a blend of breathable wool and polyester-blend fabric, which Cascada says guarantees maximum comfort all-year round. It further notes the benefits of wool, such as improved thermoregulation, lack of odour and insulation when wet, combined with the quick-drying nature of polyester.
The inside of the shirt is brushed in order to boost comfort and the sleeves are of a slightly longer length to better conform to your body when out of the saddle. They can also be tucked in thanks to the use of elasticated cuffs.
The cut on the back of the shirt is slightly longer, as well as rounded, and Cascada says it has designed the shirt in this way to offer extra coverage to your lower back when pedalling.
The shirt features two chest pockets for small items, as well as a hidden slot just above the left pocket to store sunglasses.
Poppers replace buttons, so you can quickly adjust the shirt while riding when the temperature rises or plummets.
I’m looking forward to using the shirt on epic gravel days out and depending on the forecast, I’d like to try it during my West Kernow Way bikepacking trip in September.
The shirt is available in a number of arresting colourways and this Earth Shadow option is eye-catching, blends in with the trails and looks the business for that refreshing post-ride pint.
- £106 / $130 / €110 / AU$187
Cascada Cargo bib shorts
Cascada’s Cargo Shorts are another bikepacking item in the emerging cargo short category. While some might question the need, it’s always nice to either free your jersey pockets of supplies or use it as a means of carrying more cargo.
The shorts are made from a high-compression anti-abrasion fabric to reduce friction, as well as drying quickly and wicking away sweat from the body. Cascada says they are ideal for “long rides where durability, comfort and performance are required”.
The shorts feature two mesh panels either side of the thigh for storing supplies, and Cascada uses a silicone gripper at the base of the shorts to keep them in place.
A sun and moon graphic features playfully on the inside of the two mesh panels.
No endurance short is complete without a comfortable chamois and Cascada says it has used a ‘bi-elastic anatomical chamois with antibacterial treatment’ that is OEKO-tex certified, which means the shorts are free of any harmful substances.
The chamois seems to be thinner than other brand offerings, but the shape of a chamois is more important than the thickness, so it will be interesting to see how these shorts perform on longer rides and over multiple days.
The straps feel light, which should promote air flow, and their rear features perforations for ventilation.
The shorts are also said to offer UV protection, which should be useful on the rare searing day we experience here in the UK.
- £159 / $195 / €180 / AU$280
Silca Titanium Cleats
Always a brand to push the boundaries of cycling tech, Silca’s new 3D-printed titanium mountain bike cleats are claimed to last four times longer than brass cleats.
This is not the first time the brand has experimented with 3D-printed titanium, also using it to create the Mensola computer mount, as well as an array of super-light workshop tools.
The cleats are 3D-printed from 6Al/4V titanium and Silca says this increases strength 2.25 times over typical brass cleats, found on pedal systems such as Time ATAC and Link, as well as Crankbrothers. Silca’s cleats use a hollow construction, with an ‘ultra-light gyroid infill’ lattice structure filling the voids.
BikeRadar asked Silca how its cleats compare to Shimano’s SPD system, which are made of steel. It replied that life expectancy is similar in dry conditions, but it will be longer in wet conditions because the cleats cannot rust.
Silca further added that because the cleats are 0.5mm thinner than Shimano, there is less ground contact, which in turn reduces wear considerably.
The titanium cleats are still the disposable part of the pedal and cleat system, and Silca says they are slightly less strong than the steel retention plates used in clipless pedals for this reason.
Naturally, the cleats include a titanium cleat plate and mounting bolts. Silca has opted to use Torx T25 bolts rather than 4mm hex bolts that cleats traditionally employ.
There is nothing worse than having to dig mud and debris out of a cleat bolt that has ingressed over time. Using a torx bolt reduces the risk of rounding the bolt and increases tool purchase.
We weighed the cleats at 12g on our scales of truth. The cleat weighs 9g, the plate 1g and the mounting bolts another gram each.
We have the Shimano SPD variant in, but Silca also makes titanium cleats compatible with Crankbrothers pedals and 10-degree Time ATAC pedals.
- £85 / €76.95 / $85 / AU$124
Castelli Free Aero RC bib shorts
Castelli’s Free Aero RC bib shorts replace the Free Aero Race 4. Designed with WorldTour pros in mind, the shorts are said to “do everything well”, resulting in a short that is aerodynamic, comfortable and suitable for hot conditions.
The Italian brand has halved the number of panels used in the lowers from 10 to five, which also reduces the number of seams. Castelli uses a fabric that it calls ‘Forza 2’, said to be super-light and stretchy, that simultaneously supports and compresses the muscles.
The straps are also minimalist, with an open-panel design for increased breathability. Castelli advises a 15- to 35-degree temperature range for the shorts.
Interestingly, the legs of the shorts are completely gripperless, relying on the Forza 2 material to stay in place. Castelli says it achieved this after 28 prototypes, and the lack of a gripper is said to improve comfort.
The shorts also include a mesh rear pocket for storage, where a pro would typically store their radio. We mere mortals can use it to store food or valuables.
We cannot forget the chamois and the Free Aero RC shorts use Castelli’s tried-and-tested Progetto X2 Air seamless pad.
There is a women’s short available too, and both men’s and women’s options are available without bib straps for £15 less.
- £175 / €76.95 / $85 / AU$124
Roval Terra seatpost
Specialized’s in-house brand Roval’s Terra carbon seatpost is designed for rider comfort. The brand says it is particularly well suited for riding mixed terrain, gravel and rough roads.
Roval also has the Alpinist seatpost for the road, which is a featherweight option that’s claimed to weigh in at 136g in its 300mm-length option.
By comparison, the Terra is claimed to weigh 194g in its zero-offset, 330mm-length variant.
Specialized says the Terra seatpost delivers comfort via its specific carbon layup. It claims to use “composites with varying elongation characteristics at specific locations”.
The brand claims the post provides 18mm of vertical compliance at full extension, in its 20mm offset variant.
What instantly struck me when handling the post in person was how thick the carbon layup seems to be compared to other posts, yet its weight is very competitive. If it keeps my perch comfortable, I’ll be happy.
The saddle is attached via a single bolt. While I prefer two independent bolts to adjust the fore / aft and tilt, I’ve never had an issue with this design on Specialized seatposts in the past.
We have the zero-offset, 380mm-length post here and on our scales, it comes in at 231g.
The post is only available in a 27.2mm diameter, in either zero or 20mm offsets, both in 330mm or 380mm lengths.
- £205 / $250 / €240 / AU$350
POC Myelin helmet
Always a brand to innovate, POC’s Myelin commuter helmet is designed to be recycled at the end of its life.
Helmets are usually impossible to recycle due to the concoction of materials they’re created with. The Myelin is designed to be easily disassembled into individual components once it’s finished with and is made from 50 per cent recycled materials.
The Myelin incorporates a shell made from woven recycled fabric and POC says it hasn’t used any adhesives in its construction.
The Myelin passes the relevant helmet safety standards across all jurisdictions.
An EPS foam liner is used for protection and there are a selection of small ventilation holes built into the top of the helmet.
POC claims a medium helmet weighs 340g – on our scales, a size M came in at 386g.
The helmet is available in sizes S-L and in five colours – Granite Grey, Lead Blue, Sapphire Purple, Epidote Green and Uranium Black.
It’s certainly a novel concept and it has a bold look – descriptions in the office have likened it to the “upholstery of an office seat” and “the inside of a tennis ball”, whereas I’d argue it’s reminiscent of viking armour.
- £100 / $100 / €100
Newtown Park Master The Glance Continental Pale Ale
Sub-editor Gary Walker needed a beer to quench his content thirst this week, and lo and behold his prayers were answered by Newtown Park Brewing Co.
Based in the the UK’s unofficial craft-beer capital, Bristol, the team at Newtown Park are huge cycling fans.
The brewery, established by husband-and-wife team Michael and Lara in 2020, even has its own road-cycling club.
Master The Glance is a new ‘continental pale ale’ brewed to celebrate the Tour de France.
It features a new French hop, Barbe Rouge, from Alsace, alongside more familiar Citra and Centennial varieties for a thirst-quenching pale ale with tasting notes of ripe strawberry and raspberry and a sessionable ABV of 4.5 per cent.
Master The Glance is available to buy directly from Newtown Park’s website, or from its taproom bar in Bristol.