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DT Swiss’s most affordable E 1900 Spline wheels, pricey Öhlins enduro forks, POC women’s riding kit and WTB tyres

Plus Evel Knievel socks and gloves made by Fist

First Look Friday thumbnail

It’s all hands on deck here at BikeRadar, as time gallops on its forward trajectory into the unknown.


Whether that unknown brings with it new product launches with exciting, revolutionary technology or just a re-hash of the same old hat is unquestionably a personal viewpoint.

One person’s treasure can be another’s tat.

Either way, we’re always excited when news of a new product drops into our inboxes, such as Fulcrum’s relaunch of its Red Zone Carbon MTB wheels. The brand’s latest wheels have dual asymmetrical, offset spokes with a wavy rim pattern to accommodate spoke placement. They certainly look unusual, but are they reinventing the wheel? It’s too early to tell.

In a slightly less glamorous but highly practical topic, we’ve drawn up a list of the seven best outdoor storage solutions to keep your bike safe. Read up, because these ideas could help reduce the chances of your bike getting stolen.

Next up, our Tom’s been a busy man reviewing high-speed cross-country bikes. He’s published reviews of the hidden-shock Scott Spark RC Team Issue AXS, super-speedy Intense Sniper XC Expert whippet and the razor-sharp KTM Scarp Master XC race thoroughbred.

Scott Spark RC climbing
Though the Scott Spark RC Team Issue AXS is not as direct as some, there are no excuses when it comes to the hills.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

What else? Well Rapha has launched a pair of lightweight trail riding knee pads, claimed to be the most protective pads in their class. Are they worth the £80 / $110 / AU$140 / €95 asking price? We’ve got a set to test, so will report back with our findings.

Do you like punishing yourself on the climbs? We’ve listed seven of the steepest road bike climbs in the UK. Get them on your hit list for 2022!

Meanwhile, in the northern hemisphere, it’s winter. That means gravel season is in full swing (when is it not in full swing?), so be sure to get the best gravel bike tyres for your rig. Then why not complete the winter look with the best cycling jacket money can buy?

Of course, there’s more, but for now we hope you enjoy this week’s selection of hot new and interesting products.

POC Women’s Mantle Thermal Hoodie

POC Women's Mantle Thermal Jacket
The Mantle is a great-looking riding top.
Alex Evans / Our Media

This stretchy softshell riding top from POC is made from recycled polyamide (a posh term for plastic) double-layer fabric. Its brushed, textured liner provides insulation, while its exterior is claimed to be durable, making it perfect for colder days out on the bike.

The exterior is coated with a PFC-free DWR treatment to help repel the elements, while the chin-high, quarter-length zip should keep you protected from wind and rain.

Its stretchy hood can be worn under a helmet thanks to its tight fit, while its cuffs are made from Lycra for a tighter fit.

It has a single zipped pocket on the rear and loop on the breast for a pair of the best mountain bike sunglasses.

  • £130 / $180

WTB Verdict and Vigilante mountain bike tyres

WTB Verdict and Vigilante mountain bike tyres
What a pair!
Alex Evans / Our Media

Updates to the popular and top-performing Verdict and Vigilante tyres from WTB are claimed to bring performance enhancements thanks to changes in knob shapes and updated siping.

These changes are said to improve cornering and braking performance, where the knobs flex less. The tyres’ profiles have also been updated in a bid to improve the transition from the centre to outer knobs while cornering, making them grip more predictably.

This was a key criticism of the previous models of the tyre, especially on hard-pack terrain, so it’s great to see WTB addressing the issue head on.