Autumn is well and truly here, but in the UK at least, summer seemed to finish with a flourish. And, in a neat segue, we hope that the week finishes with a flourish for you, as we bring you First Look Friday.
Plenty has been going on at BikeRadar in the last week, with a whole host of tasty treats to get you in the mood for some autumnal riding. Alex’s mountain bike light reviews have started dropping on site – illuminating reading, I assure you. We refreshed our guide to the best autumn riding outfits, so there’s no excuses for not knowing what kit to wear out and about. We’ve also posted a guide on how to replace your brake and gear cables – getting your bike in tip-top shape pre-winter is a great way to prevent you from fiddling about with tiny adjusters by the side of the road when a gale is blowing!
Outside of autumn-related content, make sure you catch up on the rather pricey co-lab between Contador and Ivan Basso, a lovely piece on riding the highest road in the Julian Alps, and the long-awaited return of the ability to track heart rate via your phone on Strava. The wildly popular tracking app also released StatMaps, an all-new way of visualising your activities.
Finally, if news really is your thing (and you’re reading BikeRadar, so we assume it is), don’t forget to check out the latest BikeRadar Podcast, where Jack and Matthew give us a review of the hottest news from the past month.
Endura MT500 Waterproof One Piece II
A couple of years ago a number of waterproof onesies were released, and I got very excited. Yes, they look a bit weird, and aren’t exactly cheap, but in my experience they’re ideal when the weather turns and you want to stay as warm and comfortable as possible out on the trail.
More recently, you might have read my piece on Endura’s new MT500 line-up, and commitment to environmental protection. Within the refresh of the MT500 range was an update to its Waterproof One Piece, and as if by magic, here it is!
The cut has been improved (it was, in my opinion, rather voluminous previously), the materials are updated and should be even more breathable, and the design as a whole is slightly different.
The jacket and trouser sections still join at the back, but not the front, however the ‘jacket’ overhangs at the rear to give improved aesthetics. The hood is re-modelled to perform well over a helmet, while there’s buckets of ventilation to keep you cool.
The lower legs zip off too, should you want even more air flow around your legs.
At £419.99 it is an expensive piece, but if you consider it’s both Endura’s top-line jacket and trouser in a one-er, it’s easy to see where the costs come from.
Searching through Endura’s website, I did spot this more value-orientated Singletrack One Piece, listed for a more palatable £199.99 / $299.99 / €229.99. If we can get hold of that, we will!
- £419.99 / $549.99 / €459.99
Knog Oi Luxe Bell
This has been an absolute revelation. While bells are required to be fitted to new bikes, they’re often removed hurriedly, if they’re ever actually fitted in the first place.
However, having followed a friend on his gravel bike along a well-used path, with him happily tinkling his bell away, walkers friendlily moving aside with a smile, I decided it was the way forward.
There are two versions of the Oi available: the Classic and the Luxe. They perform the very same role, but as you might expect, the Luxe does it in a slightly more luxurious manner.
The CNC’d alloy ringer is pinged by the brass dinger, mounted on a well-shaped, and easily positioned lever. Inside, the injection moulded alloy shim sits nicely over your bike’s hoses and cables, and is held firm by a rather swish vegan ‘leather’ shim.
Thus far, the Oi has proved worth its weight in vegan leather. The ping is crisp, loud (but not obnoxiously so), and lasts long enough that you can warn others from a reasonable distance, without coming across as passively aggressive. Over bumpy gravel tracks, it has remained remarkably quiet, too.
The Classic version has a slightly different pinging mechanism, and is cheaper at £16.99 / $19.95, but is likely just as effective!
- £34.99 / $39.95
Sector R26 wheels
I am one of those people who’ve fallen heavily for the gravel bike trend, getting out on a weekly basis on my long-term Lauf True Grit test bike. But, like many gravellistas out there, I want maximum versatility from my drop-bar bike.
As such, I’ve managed to get hold of these Sector R26 wheels, onto which I’ll be sticking a pair of smooth rubber for when the desire to tick off some tarmac miles kicks in.
The wheels feature a pair of CNC’d hubs, which can take a wide range of axle standards (including the 142x12mm rear and 100x15mm axles built in to the Lauf), as well as all the freehub standards (mine has an XDR driver for my XX1 cassette).
The spokes have an ovalised form and are called Pillar Wing Spokes. These, Sector says, offer better lateral stiffness under disc brake loads, and have less lateral deflection in use. Furthermore, this bullet-nose shape deals with airflow from a range of angles better, reducing drag.
At the edges, the 26mm deep alloy rim is said to occupy the sweet-spot between comfort and stiffness, aerodynamics and weight.
With an internal width of 19mm, it’s designed to work with tyres between 23mm and 36mm, though is optimised for 28 to 32mm rubber, and is ready to accept tubeless tyre systems.
Peaty’s Clean, Protect, Lube gift pack
A clean bike is a happy bike. A happy bike makes you a happy rider. And, we’re sure that if you bought this triple pack of cleaning and protecting products, Steve Pete would be a happy chappy too.
Yes, Peaty’s range of bike cleaners, lubes, protection sprays and various other items, including tubeless sealants, tapes and valves (including a Chris King collab valve, natch) is brought to you by the man himself, Steve Pete.
Okay, it’ll likely be brought to you by the delivery person or bike shop assistant, but you get what we mean.
There are a number of triple packs available, saving you a few quid on the standalone prices. These also include a Clean, Degrease and Lube kit, as well as a Tubeless Conversion kit.
Ours comes with some Loam Foam cleaning spray, a biodegradable PT17 Maintenance Spray and some Link Lube for your chain.
The Loam Foam helps dislodge dirt on a mucky frame, speeding up the process of spraying mud off. The PT17 displaces water from areas such as your drivetrain, as well as offering a touch of lubrication to moving parts, while the residue it leaves means mud is less likely to stick in the future.
The Link Lube needs shaking to activate, helps drive dirt from the chain and provides all-weather lubrication.
(Bike Wheel Cushion – Bébé Bicyclette – incase you were wondering)