Another week ticked off, and a new month kicked off! Welcome to First Look Friday, bringing you some of the freshest kit to land at BR HQ recently.
Before we crack on with the products, as usual here’s a highlights list of the articles and features appearing on BikeRadar in the past seven days that you won’t want to miss.
Important news this week included the announcement of Colnago’s TT1 time-trial bike, developed in collaboration with UAE Team Emirates, while BMC revealed its prototype Speedmachine triathlon bike, the fruits of a joint research project with Red Bull Advanced Technologies that aspires to produce the “fastest bike in the world”.
Elsewhere Bryton’s new flagship Rider S800 computer aims to deliver some credible competition to Garmin and Wahoo, while Continental has introduced the 50mm-wide Terra Hardpack gravel tyre, designed for bikepacking.
This week’s BikeRadar Podcast posed the important question: What are high-pivot mountain bikes, and are they better?
And on the subject of MTB debates, we put Orbea’s Rallon M-LTD head-to-head with the radical GeoMetron G1 in order to explore whether enduro bikes have now found their geometry sweet spot, or whether there’s still scope to push the boundaries.
Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes
A few weeks ago we bought you news of a new bikepacking and gravel riding (though also totally applicable to mountain biking) shoe from Five Ten (and Adidas, their parent company).
It’s called the Trailcross Clip-In and, unlike many other gravel-focused shoes, is much more trainer-like than XC/road race slipper (Adidas caters to that market too, though).
Such rough ground can be a real chore to push your bike across while wearing fancy, stiff carbon-soled shoes, so the trainer design makes a lot of sense.
The sole uses Five Ten’s famous Stealth rubber in its trademark polka-dot design, while the upper is ridiculously light and breezy. There’s some toe protection, while the heavily sculpted heel box and lace strap should keep heel lift to a minimum.
The sole has been designed to be rigid enough for efficient pedalling, without being so stiff that you’ll be teetering on the edge of grip and comfort when you do need to get off the bike. There’s some midsole EVA foam in there too to further boost comfort.
Apidura Backcountry Hip Pack
Hip packs (or bumbags, as we always used to call them) have been making inroads into the MTB world for a few years now. With no padded back panel clinging to your back, and with the rise of on-bike storage, a few litres of packable space wrapped around your hip mostly makes for a pretty comfortable option.
Apidura’s Backcountry Hip Pack is aimed at the mountain biker, as well as riders who’re up for a bit of exploring.
The 2.5l capacity is fairly generous, with a large main compartment complemented by a couple of internal stash pockets (the zipper on one of them even doubles as a chain-link holster!), while there’s a zipped pocket on one side of the hip belt and a mesh stuff pocket on the other.
The construction is lightweight and weather resistant, with a deep storm flap protecting the zip. The zip toggles are large, so grabbing them with gloved fingers ought to be nice and easy. Reflective and high-contrast details should improve your visibility when out after dark, too.
Hip packs live or die by their waistband – it should offer support, stability and comfort, at times elements that act against each other.
Apidura’s pack has broad wings at either side of the waist, with elasticated sections to help mobility. The strap itself, though, is thin around the front of the body, with Velcro and a clip there for security.
Oakley Sub Zero
Oakley reintroduced its Sub Zero glasses last week. The unmistakable design first appeared in 1992 before being discontinued in 1995.
Despite being around for only three years (or possibly because they were), the glasses have developed a cult status among Oakley aficionados.
The reimagined design pairs the Sub Zero’s original lens shape with more contemporary optical technologies. The Sub Zero has Oakley’s Prizm Lens technology, which features in many of the brand’s best sunglasses. It also has Oakley’s ‘Unobtanium’ nose pad and ear socks, said to provide a no-slip grip.
The Sub Zero is part of Oakley’s new MUZM collection which will feature “iconic styles” updated with modern technology. The brand has hinted more retro re-releases are in the pipeline.
Rimpact CX Insert Set
Inserts are big in mountain biking and increasingly so in gravel (and cross). The idea is that a foam ring sits inside the tyre void, reducing the chance that the tyre can compress so far on impact as to pinch itself against the rim. As such, punctures and rim damage can be reduced.
Some also claim to improve tyre stability, as they push against the sidewall of the tyre, preventing tyre roll at lower pressures.
Rimpact’s CX Inserts are built for 700×33-45c tyres and rims 17-25mm wide, and feature a dual-density foam that hardens on impact to dissipate impact forces, reducing punctures and rim damage.
Some inserts, especially those that sit close to the rim (rather than ‘float’ inside the tyre) can be hard to fit, but we found these only made fitting tyres marginally trickier.
Our set weighed in at 58g each, which isn’t ridiculous, though Rimpact says you’ll want to add around 25% more sealant too – though the foam is closed-cell, there is a larger internal surface area to cover, so more sealant is needed.
The inserts come with a 44mm valve, though a 55mm options is available, and they can be specced with Peaty’s MK2 valves, or no valves at all.