It has been a wild week in the world of cycling. First, our very own Matthew Loveridge (formerly Allen) tried his hardest to break the internet by making the case that every bike should have a kickstand. Suffice to say, his opinion polarised your views, but no matter how much you resist, Matthew’s got a point, right?
- Best mountain bike 2020: how to choose the right one for you
- Best mountain bike lights 2020: 8 top-rated options for night riding
Next up we delved into the detail of linking bikes to teams and riders for the upcoming 2020 WorldTour season. We’ve all got our favourites, so make sure you check out the article to find out who’s riding what.
In the off-road world, DT Swiss announced an upside-down dropper, dubbed the D 232 One, that has an impressively light 369g claimed weight. Unlike most droppers, this post’s body slides onto the stanchion that’s clamped in the frame.
DT Swiss is also claiming that it’s a total breeze to maintain. We’ll get one in to review to verify or debunk these claims soon.
If you’re looking to get gnarly in 2020, be sure to look at our best convertible enduro lids article to find out how you should be spending your cash.
Plus, Joe Norledge, our resident XC whippet, said a teary goodbye to his 2019 long-term test bike, the Scott Scale 900 WC.
And, finally, we tested Propain’s new Tyee CF 29 enduro rig in warmer climes and enjoyed its coil-sprung, long-travel goodness.
Enve G Series gravel handlebar
This enormously expensive G Series gravel handlebar from carbon connoisseurs Enve certainly looks the part. Finished with a sleek black and slightly matt look, they come in a range of widths from 42cm all the way up to a whopping 48cm.
The drops are dramatically flared outwards to help provide more control on gnarly gravel descents and the extra width means there are plenty of different places to rest your hands on long and tiring rides.
The bar’s carbon layup is also designed to absorb bumps and impacts, reducing the amount of buzz generated by the trail to help reduce fatigue. A pair of the 46cm wide bars weighs a meagre 250g, too!
I’ve bolted a set of these and an accompanying stem and seatpost to my 2020 long-term test bike — more on that very soon!
- £340 / $350
Enve Road Stem
The Enve Road Stem’s rather bland name doesn’t do its exotic price point justice. The super lightweight stem (just 127g for the 90mm version) is made entirely from carbon and designed for road, gravel and cyclocross activities.
Enve claims the stem is both stiff and compliant in all the right places. Stay tuned to my long-term test bike updates to find out if that rings true.
- £260 / $265
Enve keeps the bland naming with its Seatpost, which uses a twin-bolt clamp design and is made entirely from carbon fibre. The 400mm version we’ve got here, uncut, weighs 204g. Parts like these are a weight weenies Elysium!
Like the rest of the Enve kit mentioned here, check in on my long term reports to see how they fare in the real world of commuting and gravel riding.
- £270 / $275
Firepot dehydrated meals
The bikepacking bunch certainly put their kit through its paces and have a list of demands that are sure to make engineers and product managers wince. They ride long distances over tough terrain for hours at a time in search of the next bit of trail or bigger and better adventures.
These strenuous demands transcend all elements of a bikepacker’s life, including food which is probably one of the toughest things to get right.
Firepot thinks it’s got the solution with slow-cooked, lightweight, nutritious, dehydrated meals that should be perfect for the adventure enthusiast. To top it off, the meals are wrapped in ecologically-friendly, compostable packaging!
To find out more check out the website.
- From £6.95
- Buy Firepot dehydrated meals direct
Lezyne Carbon Drive HP pump
Even the most discerning, weight-conscious roadie gets punctures and needs a way to reinflate their tyres at the roadside.
I’m hearing some of you screaming at your computer screen “just use CO2 cartridges!” and, yes, while I agree they’re convenient to use and can inflate tubeless tyres, they’re not very environmentally-friendly and a pump is way more adaptable.
Plus, at a mere 83g it’s hardly going to break the scales. I’ve already used mine in anger on a ride and it works very well indeed.
- £90 / $99.99
Sealskinz waterproof cold weather mid-length sock with Hydrostop
Socks aren’t exactly glamorous but can be key when dictating how long a ride is going to last. Speaking for myself, at least, I know that if I’ve got wet and cold feet I am going to be heading home or back to the car much earlier than if my extremities are dry and warm.
Enter Sealskinz socks. Claimed to be 100 per cent waterproof and breathable, they use a Hydrostop material to inhibit water ingress.
The cold weather version has a Merino wool lining to increase their ability to keep your feet warm.
I’m going to be putting these through their paces this winter and will report back soon.
- £42.50 / $52.20 / €47.50
Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR trousers
Finding riding kit that works well in the winter is tricky and compromises are always going to be made. Fully waterproof kit is frequently too hot to wear, softshell kit gets soaked through when it’s raining but is better at keeping you from overheating, and once your kit is drenched in sweat (unless it’s Merino-wool based) the amount of time you’ve got left in the saddle is normally quite limited.
I’ve found that the Madison Zenith 4-Season pants provide the best compromise for most weather conditions.
The DWR coating brushes off passing showers and splashes from puddles, the softshell material doesn’t make you feel like you’re boiling in a plastic bag and they feel comfortable next to your skin even when they’re caked in mud and soaked through.
At just £89.99 they’re considerably cheaper than a lot of other brands’ offerings and have a host of neat features, such as three-layer waterproof panels on the backside and crotch, elasticated waist adjustment, plenty of pockets, reinforced areas around the ankles and ankle cuff adjustment to name just a few.