Hill climbs are close to BikeRadar’s collective heart. Led by former video manager and hill climb maestro Joe Norledge, we started covering hill climb tech and racing in earnest around 2017.
The subsequent popularity of BikeRadar’s Hill Climb Diaries and tech galleries from events draws us back to the scene every year – you lot bloody love a lightweight bike!
The UK Hill Climb Nationals are the culmination of the intense season, and is one of the finest spectacles in cycling.
This year’s Nationals were held on The Struggle – an incredible 4.4km brute of a climb rising from the Lake District town of Ambleside. I was there with present-day video manager, Felix Smith to cover the tech from the race, with our own Jack Evans representing BikeRadar on the hill.
As ever, the bikes were wild, the crowds rowdy and the weather damp.
Attending the Nationals is the yearly highlight of my professional life and I couldn’t be happier with our coverage. Please do give the video a watch – Felix stayed up until 2.30am on Sunday to make it happen!
With my love letter to watching cyclists puke on a hillside out of the way, let’s move on to what you came here for – the finest tech swag to land at BikeRadar HQ this week.
GripGrab DryFoot 2 waterproof overshoes
These overshoes from GripGrab are criminally uncool, but they’re incredibly useful.
Unlike regular tight-fitting cycling overshoes, these are designed to fit over everyday shoes. They have become a must-have in my cycle touring arsenal.
Comfortable and grippy as my (recently resoled – more on this in a moment) beloved Five Ten Five Tennies are, waterproof they are not.
As we approach winter proper, I also suspect they’ll find additional purpose in protecting my oh-so-fashionable office shoes.
The upper is constructed from an unspecified tough polyester fabric. The toe and elasticated arch strap are made from supposedly pedal-proof aramid fibre-reinforced material.
I was doubtful the Velcro closure would be able to contain my sinewy, perfectly toned bulging calves. However, they have, thus far, remained secure in the overshoes’ dry embrace.
- £34.06/€41.95, US pricing TBC
DrJ0n Bagworks DeWidget
The DrJ0n Bagworks DeWidget replaces a spacer above your stem and provides a sleek mounting point for the stabilising strap on a top tube bag.
The 3D-printed widget consists of two stepped spacers/bushings and the sliding portion, which attaches to a bag via an O-ring.
The mount stabilises a bag and will be of most interest to those with a slammed cockpit, where there may not be sufficient space to wrap a strap around the steerer.
At only £16, it’s a worthwhile upgrade for any bikepacker who likes to use top tube bags.
- £16, international shipping available
Wera 844/7 7-piece tap kit
I’m exposing myself as a terminal saddo here, but tapping and chasing threads is one of my favourite bike maintenance jobs – the satisfying munch of cutting a fresh thread is a treat to be savoured.
I’ve made do with a generic tap-and-die set for years.
However, I’ve found the long shank of the taps limiting when trying to clean a thread in a tight space (eg, a mudguard eyelet on a chainstay bridge).
I hope these mini Wera taps will solve my woes.
Most taps attach to a special handle via a square head at the top of the shank.
These Wera taps instead use a standard ¼in hex drive, so you can fit them to a drill (though I’m not sure why you’d want to) or many standard small ratchets.
They are quite a bit more expensive than a budget tap set, but I expect these will see a lot of use in the years to come.
Incidentally, I was made aware of these taps by Dr Jon of DrJon Bagworks via his Instagram account – what a crossover!
- £65.55, international pricing TBC
K-Edge Limited Edition Max XL combo out-front mount
K-Edge makes excellent out-front bike computer mounts.
The Max is K-Edge’s strongest mount. This particular variant features a three-prong GoPro-style mount for attaching lights or an action camera beneath the computer.
This limited-edition finish mount is all the more excellent-er for being purple, and thus a perfect match for the purple flourishes on my Surly Steamroller.
At £89.99, it is outrageously expensive for a computer mount, but can you put a price on style? In this case, I’m leaning towards yes…
- £89.99, international pricing TBC
My resoled Five Ten Five Tennies
First Look Friday is BikeRadar’s weekly offering to the gods of consumerism but, as a chronic contrarian, I like to smugly include used or repaired kit on occasion to prove how worthy I am.
Jesting aside, I will always make time to highlight opportunities to repair stuff.
Repairing is often affordable and, of course, a more environmentally sound option than replacement.
My recently resoled Five Ten Five Tennies are a great example.
As far as I can tell, this model has been discontinued by Five Ten (a great shame) and the original Stealth outsole was beginning to wear thin.
For just £56, Cheshire Shoe Repair resoled the shoes with Vibram New Boulder Idrogrip – a very similar dotty-pattern outsole that is possibly even stickier than the original.
The process took no longer than a week and I couldn’t be happier with the repair.
While I only use the shoes for cycle touring, I have no doubt the outsole would equally please flat-pedal shredders who have trashed their shoes.
- £56, local repair options will be available