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Garmin’s new heart-rate monitor, stainless steel bottle cages and Supersapiens blood glucose monitoring kit

Plus a full stocking of news, reviews and advice

Jack Evans' First Look Friday

Christmas truly has come early to you lucky BikeRadar readers. First Look Friday has fallen on Christmas Eve-eve here in the UK.


While a long freeze and postal strikes have jeopardised festive gift deliveries, BikeRadar’s internet elves have been helping Content Claus publish presents for you.

Before casting your mince pies over what Cycling Santa’s dropped down the BikeRadar chimney, tuck into the week’s website highlights.

Pre-season training camps for professional road cyclists always prompt tech speculation among those interested in WorldTour bikes.

On Monday, the sighting of a new Specialized aero handlebar set the new Tarmac SL8 rumour mill in motion.

Meanwhile, Mathieu van der Poel was pictured riding a blacked-out aero road bike. Could it be a new Canyon Aeroad prototype?

Team Movistar riders were spotted using what could be prototype SRAM Red shifters.

On firmer, but bumpier ground, senior technical editor Tom Marvin issued the latest update to his Revel Ranger long-term review. In other MTB news, our buyer’s guide to the best downcountry mountain bikes now has even more options.

More MTB kit featured in Luke Marshall’s Gear of the Year and Oscar Huckle’s multi-disciplinary selection.

Elsewhere, digital writer Nick Clark did a bike check on Kate Courtney’s Scott Contessa Scale RC.

Back on tarmac, the BH RS1 5.0 scored 4.5 stars for its blend of aero and endurance road bike prowess.

Lastly, the new Wahoo Elemnt Roam V2 upheld the brand’s reputation for producing some of the best bike computers.

Now, here’s more new cycling tech.

Garmin HRM-Pro Plus heart-rate monitor

The HRM-Pro Plus is a multi-sport heart-rate monitor with a chest strap.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Garmin HRM-Pro Plus is the brand’s newest and most premium chest strap heart-rate monitor.

While the software is the same as the model below, the HRM-Pro, you can change the HRM-Pro Plus’ battery without tools.

Garmin says you can twist the battery compartment open by hand to replace the coin cell battery.

It’s more common, even on the best heart rate monitors, to have to undo four screws on the back of the device.

The battery should last a year if used for an average of an hour a day, according to the brand.

The heart rate sensor integrates into the strap instead of clicking in and out. The strap fits chests from 64cm to 109cm wide, or 142cm with the strap extender (£8.99).

Garmin claims the HRM-Pro Plus can support an unlimited number of ANT+ connections and up to three via Bluetooth.

By pairing to bike computers and smart trainers, the HRM-Pro Plus will help you stay within your desired heart rate training zones.

The technological prowess of the best power meters has overshadowed the humble heart-rate monitor of late. But training with power and heart rate gives insight into geeky metrics such as aerobic decoupling.

The HRM-Pro Plus’s advanced running and swimming data and 5 ATM water resistance may be of interest if you do cross-training.

  • £119.99 / €137 / $145 / AU$219 

Arundel stainless steel bottle cages

These glossy bottle cages should withstand a winter’s riding.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Weight weenies, cover your eyes now.

These stainless steel bottle cages from Arundel clunk down the scales at 54g each. That’s twice as hefty as some of the best bottle cages made from carbon.

I moonlight as a hill climber on my lightweight Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, but on my Fairlight Strael 3.0 it’s a case of the more metal the merrier.

The polished metal cages match the frame material of the steel road bike. It already weighs more than 9kg and its wheels are covered by Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders, so weight saving would be futile anyway.

The brand name is spelt out on the back of the cage.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The cage’s mounting spine is embossed with the Arundel logo and connects to the 4.2mm stainless steel tubing, which curves around your cycling water bottle.

To complete the metallic look, I tried to fit my stainless steel Coloral bidon inside but, to my chagrin, it jangles too much and I’ve had to settle for plastic cycling water bottles.

  • £25 / $33.95

Supersapiens glucose monitoring system

The Supersapiens energy monitoring system is UCI-illegal, predictably.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Supersapiens glucose monitoring system is designed to help you avoid bonking on a bike ride.

By tracking your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise, you can adjust your fuelling to stop your levels going too low or high, according to the brand.

Although the UCI has banned Supersapiens from competition, WorldTour teams, including Jumbo-Visma and SD Worx, use Supersapiens in training.

Highly placed athletes at the 2022 Ironman World Championships took advantage of triathlon’s more progressive laws by monitoring their blood sugar with the technology during the race.

Admittedly, Supersapiens did sponsor the event. And experts on carbohydrates for endurance sport, such as Dr Tim Podlogar, do not see the need for cyclists to constantly monitor blood glucose. Look out for a Fitness and Training feature on the topic next year.

The biosensor streams data through Bluetooth and its application is said to be painless.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

To use the Supersapiens system, you press the biosensor into your upper arm and cover it with the Performance Patch to prevent water ingress.

Next, connect to the Supersapiens app via Bluetooth to monitor your blood sugar in real-time – Supersapiens says one sensor lasts two weeks.

The app transfers data to the best cycling apps, including Garmin Connect and TrainingPeaks. The Wahoo Elemnt Roam V2 can display your blood glucose status as you ride.

The Supersapiens Energy Band enables you to follow data on your wrist without having to open the app on your phone.