It’s been another busy week here at BikeRadar. The sun’s been shining and we’ve been hard at it producing content to help you, our beloved audience, be as informed and entertained as possible.
Continuing on the off-road theme, we also updated our mountain bike groupsets guide and best gravel and cyclocross shoes list, and covered the news about the ‘ludicrously long’ 2021 Commencal Meta AM 29.
In our latest podcast our senior technical editor for road, Warren Rossiter, has a chat with Specialized’s road and gravel lead, John Cordoba. They talk about the Specialized Roubaix, its history and its influence on the rest of Specialized’s range.
Our Bike of the Year reviews are also continuing to trickle out. This week saw three road bikes: the Specialized Roubaix Comp Ultegra, the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Dura-Ace and the Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 Aero. All of them scored highly, but which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Lastly, we updated our buyer’s guide to tubeless road tyres. It’s always a hot topic and, like disc brakes for road bikes, generated a fair few comments. Whatever your opinion on the subject, our guide will hopefully leave you at least a little more informed about the pros and cons of road tubeless.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the latest hot tech to arrive at BikeRadar.
This week we’ve got some very lovely stuff indeed. There are power meter pedals from Favero, some fresh summer kit from Katusha, a new chain lube by Tru-Tension with some very bold efficiency claims, and a very cool set of aero chainrings from Verve.
Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals
For any cyclist who takes their training seriously, a power meter is an invaluable tool. There are a number of different options on the market in 2020, all offering a variety of placement, style and price point.
For a long time, crank based options have been the most popular, but in recent years pedal based power meters have begun to rise in prominence.
These particular pedals by Favero come with some impressive headline specs, such as +/- 1 per cent power accuracy, independent left/right measurement, rechargeable internal batteries (claimed 50-hour battery life) and ANT+/Bluetooth connectivity.
Installation is also simple, needing just a standard 8mm Allen key, like any other pedal. This makes them wonderfully quick and easy to swap between bikes.
Favero claims an integrated gyroscope means the power meter internals are capable of determining the constantly changing angular velocity of the pedal (because no one has a perfectly smooth pedal stroke), enabling it to measure power more accurately than power meters that assume a constant pedal speed throughout each revolution.
Of course, every power meter manufacturer claims its way of doing things is best, so it remains to be seen how the data from the Assioma Duo pedals aligns with or differs to other power meters. My initial impressions are very positive though.
The pedal body itself is compatible with Look Keo style cleats. No problem if you’re already a Look cleat user, but devotees of Shimano SPD-SL, SpeedPlay or other pedal systems will need to be willing to change cleats (or consider Garmin’s new Rally RS200 power meter pedals).
Look out for a full review here on BikeRadar in the near future.
- Weight: 305g for the pair
- Price: £628 / €695 / $787
Katusha K Illusion 2 Superlight jersey, Icon bib shorts and race cap
Katusha is a premium cycling apparel brand perhaps best known for its sponsorship of professional WorldTour teams such as the former Katusha-Alpecin squad, and now Israel Start-Up Nation for the 2020 season.
As the name suggests, the Superlight jersey is designed to be lightweight, extremely breathable and suitable for hot days in the saddle.
The matching Icon bib shorts are similarly designed for all-day comfort in hot weather. They have a TM Evo 3D chamois pad, mesh straps and matching K Illusion 2 graphics.
In terms of the K Illusion 2 design, Katusha says it draws inspiration from competitive cycling. The 3D geometric K shapes and contrasting colours represent the rapid changes of pace often found in racing.
Both the Superlight jersey and the Icon bib shorts have Katusha’s 37.5 technology, which uses active volcano sand particles embedded in the fabric. It’s claimed to help maintain your ideal core temperature of 37.5 degrees and keep the micro-climate next to your skin at the ideal humidity of 37.5 per cent.
In hot weather, Katusha says this will help cool you down, but it also claims that it can help warm you up in slightly cooler weather because the particles will retain some of your body’s energy.
I’m not entirely sure how we could test this claim, but it certainly sounds good and I’m looking forward to logging some kilometres in this kit over the summer.
- Katusha Superlight jersey: £126 / €140
- Katusha Icon bib shorts: £180 / €200
- Katusha race cap: £22 / €25
Tru-Tension BananaSlip Tungsten All Weather lube
I love a good chain lube – it’s an easy way to reduce drivetrain friction and extend the life of your parts.
This new lube from Tru-Tension, which is designed and manufactured in the UK, is wax based and contains tungsten disulfide, a friction modifier that was originally developed for use in space.
Tru-Tension claims this lubricant dries to a complete solid, is water resistant and can even help smooth out the imperfect surfaces of your drivetrain on a molecular level, thus reducing friction even further.
It also has a faint but distinctive banana fragrance, which is… Good?
Reassuringly, we don’t just have to take the marketing hype at face value because it’s performed extremely well in tests by independent specialists such as Zero Friction Cycling.
Like other wax based lubes, your chain and drivetrain need to be meticulously cleaned and stripped of all grease, oils and contaminants before the initial application, but everyone does that anyway, right?
- £10 (50ml)
Verve aero chainring set
Having recently picked up a Verve Infocrank on a well known online marketplace, I needed a new set of chainrings to make the package usable.
When we initially reviewed the Infocrank back in 2016, our tester was full of praise for the data, but criticised the original TA chainrings for not quite being as pretty or as good, in terms of shifting quality, as the benchmark Dura-Ace 9000 chainrings.
This 53t aero outer chainring by TA (a French chainring and component manufacturer), and the 39t inner by Praxis look to address both of those concerns, though.
CNC’d from 7075-T6 alloy, the outer chainring is machined on the rear to save weight and has the usual ramps and pins to improve shifting. It’s also available in other size combinations if you need larger or smaller chainrings.
Besides the marginal aero gain from having a completely smooth outer surface, the extra material also increases the stiffness of the outer chaining, which in turn helps give much snappier front shifting. Problem solved.
And while this will be subjective, I also think it looks so much cooler than the original outer chainring. Yes, the whole package still looks quite industrial, but it looks very purposeful on the right bike (something similarly black and angular) and I think the bold simplicity of it is quite pleasing.
They are admittedly not the cheapest chainrings on the market, but they have been specifically designed for the Verve Infocrank, including a cut-out for the driveside strain gauge pod, and they are roughly comparable in price to top of the range offerings from the major manufacturers too.
- Weight: 53t = 152g; 39t = 32g (130BCD)
- Price: £206 / €229
- Buy now from Verve Cycling