As we near the mid-point of November, the weather has taken a turn here at BikeRadar’s Bristol HQ in the UK, with cooler temperatures and a significant increase in precipitation. The nights are drawing in, and Christmas adverts have broken cover now Halloween and bonfire night are behind us.
While the inclement conditions may make many cyclists cower under their duvet covers in the mornings, not so here in the cheery, always sunny uplands of online content creation.
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to get out on the trails, our mountain biking tech team have put together their top kit tips to help you beat the winter blues and get out on the bike in our latest Spoke Tension feature.
Once you’ve read that, it might be time to top up your winter wardrobe, so pop along to our guide to the best-value waterproof jackets, and treat yourself to a new riding shell.
If your wardrobe is fully stocked, then perhaps you want to keep up to date with the latest news. Yeti has launched a brand new enduro bike, the SB160, with, you guessed it, 160mm of travel.
There was also a new adventure ebike from British brand Cairn, while our editor, George Scott, travelled to London to check out all the fancy new tech at the Rouleur Live show – highlights included a stunning 125th anniversary Ribble prototype.
Right, other than Episode One of our latest podcast series, titled Getting into MTB, below, that’s enough of a look back at last week. The real show begins now.
Magicshine SEEMEE 508 radar tail light
If you spend a lot of time out on the roads, you’ll be aware that knowing what’s going on around you only improves your safety.
While we can’t control the behaviour of drivers, and how close they may choose to pass, knowing what’s behind you may enable you to take a defensive road position and ride safely in traffic.
The radar function detects up to eight vehicles coming up behind you, with a 40-degree spread of view, and up to 140m behind you.
In this regard, it’s similar to Garmin’s Varia.
The unit also acts as a rear light. With six functions, from solid to flashing, battery burn times range from six to 12 hours (the radar only has 16 hours of run time).
The light emits up to 20 lumens, with Magicshine claiming visibility of up to 1,200m.
The flashing mode can be altered in the light’s accompanying app.
Furthermore, when you brake, the light’s internal sensors will pump up the lumens to the maximum possible, to highlight your deceleration to others around you.
- Magicshine SEEMEE 508: $139.99 / £121.99 / €139.99
- Buy the SEEMEE 508 direct from Magicshine
Prologo Energrip gloves
It’s not just the large, white ‘Q’ on the back of these gloves that stands out, but also the eyebrow-raising £79.99 price tag.
No, do not refresh your browser, this is an £80 summer glove.
It had better be good, right?
Well, if Prologo’s claims ring true, and gloves are the final frontier in your quest for marginal gains, then perhaps they’ll be worth the outlay.
The big news is the use of Prologo’s CPC grippers on the palm. The Connect – Power – Control polymer open-topped cones are dotted all around the palm and fingers, strategically placed to absorb vibrations through the bars.
Prologo worked with the performance research centre of Groupama FDJ, associated with the Franche-Comté Sports University. There, the little cones were electromyographically studied and Prologo says there’s a 10 per cent increase in vibration absorption compared to a normal palm.
All of this is said to reduce stress on tendons, muscles and joints, enabling you to ride longer and provide grip in a wide range of conditions.
The back of the hand is built from a fine mesh, while the palm has cooling channels. This is intended to reduce palm sweat.
At the same time, Prologo reckons the back, though thin, has thermal insulation properties, enabling the gloves to be worn in chilly conditions.
- Prologo Energrip Gloves: £79.99/ $85 / €79
Formula Cura X brakes
Formula’s Cura and Cura 4 brakes are some of the most popular within the BikeRadar office, thanks to their impressive power-to-weight credentials, as well as a lovely bar feel. They’re not as grabby as a Shimano, but are firm and positive, with a short, smooth lever throw.
The newly released Cura X takes the Cura brake and adds even more Italian flair.
The axial master cylinder features titanium hardware, as does the two-piston caliper, shaving weight and adding a bit of bling.
This is bolstered by the carbon lever blade, which enables tool-free reach adjustment.
Joining the lever to the caliper is a braided hose. It should be more resistant to impacts, if routed externally, while also resisting expansion under pressure, to give a crisp lever feel.
The lever body itself has a flip-flop design, so it can be mounted on either side of the bar, and attaches to the bar with a split clamp. Shifter and dropper post lever mounting options are available.
Finally, the organic pad has an aluminium backing plate to further shave weight. Formula claims 35 grams, per side, has been shaved off.
- Formula Cura X brakes: £250 / $262 / €255.50
Le Col Sport Thermal Cargo Bib Shorts
Bib shorts might be an interesting new arrival as winter arrives – surely we should be hankering after bib-longs and tights?!
But Le Col’s new bib shorts marry a shorts-length leg with added thermal insulation, and some pockets on the thigh for all your cargo-carrying requirements.
The bib is cut higher at the front, to keep your belly and kidneys nicely wrapped up. Keeping your core warm is key when it comes to staying comfortable in the cooler months.
The fabric Le Col uses is an Italian four-way stretch material, that’s backed with fleece. This adds insulation, while the stretch ensures an accurate fit.
The bibs are also said to be wind-resistant, so chilly breezes will hopefully be kept at bay.
When it comes to the pad, Le Col has picked a triple-layer chamois with gel inserts, there to boost comfort. This should make the bibs handy on gravel rides, too.
So, yes, tights might be appropriate when the temperatures really drop, but Le Col reckons these bib shorts are ideal for chilly, rather than properly cold, days.
Pair them with knee warmers and you may get some extra use out of them. If you’re a mountain biker or gravel rider, you could wear them with a set of mountain bike trousers or waterproof shorts, further extending their use-case into chillier conditions.
The leg grippers are moderately deep, and there are reflective details on the back of the legs to keep you visible on the road.