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Hammerhead Karoo 2, Oakley TdF shades, Muc-Off tubeless valves and Facom’s magic ratchet

Matthew has a new favourite tool

First Look Friday is here.

The 2021 Tour de France is nigh and, as ever, it’s an exciting time for new bike tech. This week saw the launch of Pinarello’s new Dogma F flagship, while Lapierre updated its lightweight Xelius SL all-rounder.

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Canyon, meanwhile, has confirmed that a revised handlebar for the troubled Aeroad is in the final stages of testing and, of course, we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more glimpes of the new Shimano Dura-Ace groupset throughout the race.

Otherwise, don’t miss our detailed guide to Tour de France bikes, our Tour de France jargon explainer and our guide to the women’s La Course race.

This week’s High-Mileage Hero was Simon Bromley’s beloved Bont Vaypor Classic shoes and no, we haven’t forgotten about mountain bikes, either.

Among other highlights this week, we covered Norco’s 2022 range and the new Cannondale Jekyll. Now, let’s get on to this week’s First Look Friday picks.

Facom R.360 ratchet

You know those annoying fasteners that are hard to access with even the best multi-tool, or your regular p-handle wrench?

A ratchet is sometimes more convenient, but in tight corners such as bottle cages, there’s not always much room to swing one back and forth.

This neat little tool from Facom goes one better than a regular ratchet spanner, adding a twist handle to the end of the main one that lets you crank a bolt in or out, without moving the whole wrench.

Undoing a bottle cage bolt
The smallest back-and-forth twisting of the handle will tighten or loosen a bolt.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Better yet, once you’ve selected the direction of the ratchet, it doesn’t matter which way you twist the handle, so you work a bolt out with a tiny back-and-forth motion.

The R.360 has a ¼-inch square drive so for most bike purposes you’ll need a hex bit holder and appropriately sized bits. I’m using a Halfords holder here, but any will do.

  • £33

Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS bike computer

A number of brands have tried to challenge Garmin’s dominance of the GPS bike computer market, most notably Wahoo with the new Elemnt Bolt computer, but the Karoo 2 from Hammerhead might be one of the most interesting rivals yet.

This fully-featured computer has an ultra-crisp 3.2in colour touchscreen (along with physical buttons too), a claimed battery life of 12 hours, and all the connectivity you could possibly want – Bluetooth, ANT+, wifi, and the option to add a sim card too.

It’ll also talk to electronic groupsets from the big three, plus other accessories such as Garmin’s Varia radar.

The Karoo 2 ships with a sturdy-feeling proprietary out-front mount, but also includes an adapter to let it work with more common Garmin-style mounts. It weighs 167g including the mount.

Karoo 2 with a choice of coloured casings
The Karoo 2 can be customised with coloured casings.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

For an extra cost, its body can be customised with a choice of different colour outer casings.

Is the Karoo 2 a Garmin killer? Watch this space.

  • Karoo 2: $399 / £359
  • Custom colour kits: £39

Muc-Off V2 tubeless valves

Tubeless valves aren’t the most exciting part of your bike, but they’re an all-important part of a reliable tubeless setup.

Muc-Off has updated its colourful valves, switching to a different aluminium alloy, claimed to be stronger and lighter.

The new valves are said to be 2g (yes, really) lighter than the old ones and they’re designed to work better with tyre inserts, with slots machined into their bases to allow air and tubeless sealant flow even if there’s an insert getting in the way.

The valves ship with three types of grommet to fit a variety of rim bed shapes, and an extra valve cap that doubles as a core removal tool.

They’re available in lengths of 44mm, 60mm, and 80mm and come in a choice of ten colours.

On my scales, these 60mm valves weigh 13g with the tool-cap installed.

  • £24.99

Oakley Radar EV Path Tour de France sunglasses

Oakley’s Tour de France special editions appear as reliably as the seasons, and they’re always pretty darned cool.

The Radar EV Path is an up-to-date version of a design that’s earned classic status, appearing at the top of level of the sport for over a decade.

Modelled here by BikeRadar’s newest recruit, Stan Portus, we think these look pretty fabulous in Tour de France colours.

Radars were a bold look back in the day, but compared to the massive Freddy the Fearless Fly lenses now sported by many pros, they’re actually pretty conservative.

These get Oakley’s reflective Prizm Road lens, which offers 20 per cent light transmission for bright days.

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