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A £180 bottom bracket for life, Mission Workshop’s jazzy handlebar bag, DHB’s lightweight winter baselayer and a new Spurcycle bell

The very best kit to land at BikeRadar HQ this week

FIRST LOOK FRIDAY 02-12-2022

Before we get stuck into this week’s edition of First Look Friday, let’s take a look back at the stories that make BikeRadar the best cycling tech site out there.

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Simon started the week by making waves in the indoor cycling community, throwing shade at ERG mode. He also picked apart key changes in the UCI’s tech rules, and analysed how they will affect bike tech in 2023 and beyond.

We also took a look at the BMC Kauis – the brand’s lightweight go-fast gravel bike that seeks aero gains in an unexpected way.

Alex Evans’ round-up of the best kit he has used this year – the first of our 2022 Gear of the Year articles – is also not to be missed.

Thursday brought a deluge of new bikes – leading the charge was the Ridley Grifn, an all-new all-road bike that is claimed to do it all.

Scott then shed light on its new Lumen electric mountain bike and the day was rounded out by new bikes from Giant and Orbea – phew!

If that isn’t enough for you, why not look back at the freshest new kit to land at BikeRadar HQ?

Mission Workshop x Afterschool Projects handlebar bag

A tie-dye bar bag? How could I resist.
Stan Portus / Our Media

I am a sucker for a good handlebar bag, and a tie-dyed purple bar bag made from cotton duck was impossible for this cycling fashion victim to ignore.

Produced in collaboration with Afterschool Projects, each of these limited-edition Mission Workshop Toro bar bags is made from hand-dyed Dimension Polyant X-Pac X10 fabric.

This pairs a traditional cotton duck (a type of thick canvas) outer later with a waterproof film lining, creating a sturdy bag that holds its shape well.

A rubberised panel should protect the bag.
Stan Portus / Our Media

The bag is fairly small with a 1.7-litre capacity – a performance pencil case if you will.

Those strapping an aero-ruining bar bag to the front of their bike are unlikely to be overly fussed by performance. Nonetheless, the bag is pretty light at 128g.

The bag is also available in black and blue tie-dye options.

DHB Aeron Lab Polartec long-sleeve baselayer

I own so much kit for winter cycling… and I’m yet to be perfectly comfortable on a single winter ride.
Jack Luke / Our Media

When it comes to temperature management, I could give ol’ Goldilocks a run for her money.

Most of my appearances in a BikeRadar video will include moaning about (usually) being too hot.

Autumn presents the biggest challenge for this sweaty Scotsman – it’s not cold enough to go full Arctic ranger, but damp climes usually demand a weatherproof outer layer.

Over time, I have ended up with a glut of jackets with lightweight windproof shells that are paired with a layer of sweat-wicking insulation around the core. However, all use thin materials for the sleeves. The MAAP Alt_road Thermal Jacket and the Sportful Total Comfort are two good examples.

Unwilling to put up with chilly elbows any longer, I have finally procured a lightweight cosy (but not too cosy!) long-sleeve baselayer to accompany these jackets.

I’ve been really impressed with the vest version of the DHB Aeron Lab Polartec baselayer, and have similarly high hopes for this long-sleeve version.

I’ve used the sleeveless version of this baselayer for a few seasons now and I’ve been really impressed.
Jack Luke / Our Media

The baselayer is made from Polartec Delta. ​​This is claimed to keep you cool and dry by placing hydrophilic (something that water is attracted to) yarns next to your skin.

Moisture is then wicked away to the other hydrophobic (water-repellant) yarns. This certainly aligns with my experiences.

The lightly waffled texture also helps trap a layer of air against your skin, boosting warmth.

If all of this sounds a bit obsessive and over-complicated, you’re correct – I know of no other rider who is as tediously passionate about winter layering as I am.

If this baselayer doesn’t work out, I will continue to add to my ever-growing winter kit mountain until I reach temperature-management nirvana.

  • £50, international pricing TBC

Spurcycle Compact Bell 31.8mm

The Spurcycle Compact Bell is now available with a 31.8mm clamp.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Spurcycle made (sonic) waves when it launched its iconic Original Bell back in August 2013. This was followed by the slightly cheaper Compact Bell in 2020.

Other than a short-lived minimalist multi-tool, bells have remained the brand’s sole focus.

At launch, the Spurcycle Compact was only available to fit on 22.2mm bars (the diameter of the grip area of most flat bars).

The bell is now available with a 31.8mm clamp. This is good news for roadies because the low-profile bell oh-so-unobtrusively mounts to the clamping area of drop bars.

  • £39 / $39

Enduro Bearings Maxhit BSA30 bottom bracket

Will this spell the end of Jack’s BSA30 woes?
Jack Luke / Our Media

With the notable exception of Shimano, most brands’ cranksets now use 30mm spindles (or, as good as 30mm if you include SRAM’s 28.9mm-diameter DUB spindles).

This isn’t a problem on most press-fit bottom bracket standards, which are designed specifically around larger spindles.

However, it isn’t quite so simple on a standard threaded BSA/ISO bottom bracket.

Ignoring any spacers etc, all external bottom brackets are a two-piece construction, with a bearing pressed into a shell.

The size of an external bottom bracket cup is theoretically limited by clearance around the inside of a crankset spider and, usually, by the chainstays.

More practically, an understandable unwillingness to introduce new tools to suit a larger bottom bracket cup that will be used on a small number of bikes also limits sizes.

Thus, assuming the cup size remains the same as a 24mm-spindle bottom bracket, any increase in crankset spindle size demands a corresponding decrease in bearing size.

Smaller bearings are rarely a good thing on bikes, and this is especially true on bottom brackets – smaller bearings result in a smaller load area, which can result in increased wear.

This has certainly been my experience with every BSA30 bottom bracket I have used – I have been lucky to get more than 1,000km of riding out of some replacement bearings smacked into a BSA30 shell.

I have been lucky to get 1,000km of riding out of some of the (admittedly cheap!) 6806 bearings I have pressed into my old BSA30 shell.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Enduro Bearings’ Maxhit bottom brackets get around this issue by making the bottom bracket cup itself the outer race of the bearing. This offers two claimed advantages.

First, with no outer race, the bearings can be made “much larger”, doubling the load capacity compared to standard bottom bracket bearings according to Enduro Bearings. This is claimed to lead “to exponential increases in durability and performance”.

The bottom bracket shell is the outer race of the bearing.
Jack Luke / Our Media

This setup also removes the interface between the bottom bracket shell and the bearing, reducing the chances of the bottom bracket creaking. It also removes a point at which play may develop.

The bottom bracket shell is machined from 440C stainless steel. Enduro Bearings claims this offers exceptionally high hardness and wear resistance.

The construction of the bottom bracket also means they are claimed to be less sensitive to preload (over-preloading a bearing can significantly reduce its lifespan).

While £179.99 / $179 is a lot of cash, if you find yourself regularly trashing bottom brackets, the lifetime guarantee for the Enduro Bearings Maxhit makes it a more appealing option.

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  • £179.99 / $179, further international pricing TBC