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Hutchinson Challenger tyres, MAAP Roam Jacket, Gore winter MTB kit, a book by Brompton’s CEO and a cycling zine

Plus the latest news, reviews and cycling advice

First Look Friday 16 Sept

This week has seen a slew of new bike releases with Canyon, Trek, BMC and Santa Cruz all announcing new machines.

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Canyon has updated its all-round race bike, the Ultimate. While there may be an air of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ about the new bike, Ashley Quinlan’s first ride impressions suggest Canyon has hit its goal of achieving the perfect balance for many riders.

Also on Thursday, Trek released the new Domane, which ditches front IsoSpeed to create a faster bike.

The brand also announced a new version of its Fuel EX that, on first impressions, rewards aggressive riders. Tom Marvin was on hand to write a first ride review.

Santa Cruz released a new version of its trail bike, the 5010. The previous iteration was the last 27.5in-wheel bike in the brand’s line-up, and with this new version switching to a mixed-wheel setup Santa Cruz has waved goodbye entirely to bikes with 27.5 wheels in twos.

BMC revealed the Kaius gravel bike that takes inspiration from its Teammachine road bike with an ultra-light frame and aerodynamic touches.

Away from bikes, Zwift announced it was releasing a smart trainer. The new piece of hardware could rival many competitors – especially with its relatively low retail price.

While Zwift’s smart trainer and the brand’s CEO using the word ‘Zwift’ as a verb may hint at the possibility of genericide, it isn’t the only training platform in town. We published our guide to RGT Cycling, having updated our guide to the best training apps last week.

We also delved into the world of gravel dropper posts and tyre sizing, profiled Hope’s HB.916 and reviewed the 2023 Giant Propel Advanced SL 0.

Hutchinson Challenger tyre

The Hutchinson Challenger costs £29.99.
Stan Portus / Our Media

The Hutchinson Challenger is a budget road bike tyre for training, endurance riding and sportives, according to Hutchinson.

It has a new dual-compound design with harder rubber in the centre of the tyre and a softer rubber on the exterior edges.

The tyre has a dual compound to balance durability and performance in bad weather.
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The harder, central section is said to minimise the risk of ride-ending cuts, while the softer edges are for “superior grip when cornering”.

The sides of the tyre have grooves to help with grip when cornering and a dimpling across the tyre is said to improve safety and grip.

A 66 TPI casing underneath the rubber balances protection and performance while offering puncture protection.

Look closely and you can see the dimpling.
Stan Portus / Our Media

Hutchinson says the rubber on the Challenger is thicker than on its other tyres, increasing the potential mileage to 8,000km.

The Challenger is available in 700x25mm, 700x28mm and 700x30mm with a tubeless version due in 2023.

  • £29.99 / €32.99

MAAP Roam Jacket

The jacket has an oversized cut.
Jack Luke / Our Media

MAAP’s unisex Roam Jacket is designed for commuting by bike but appears to take greater inspiration from walking jackets than typical cycling rain jackets.

The jacket is cut to be slightly oversized to fit over your normal clothes. I suspect this a response to the trend for wearing larger, mountaineering-style coats from brands such as Arc’teryx as casual wear, too.

After all, MAAP is not averse to playing into fashion trends and hype, as its collaborations with Perks and Mini prove.

MAAP says the jacket uses a midweight 265g/m2 3-layer shell that is waterproof and windproof, with an additional water-resistant coating. The jacket has taped seams for more protection from the elements.

While many commuter or mountaineering jackets will have Velcro cuffs, the Roam Jacket has an internal elastic cuff with a stiffer exterior layer, which should integrate with gloves in a similar way to the Castelli Alpha RoS jacket’s double cuff.

The jacket has a hood with a rain peak and there are elastic straps to adjust its fit.

Reflective details are dotted across the jacket and there are two pockets on the front.

  • £220 / $295 / AU$386 / €260

Gore Lupra Jacket and Trail KPR Daily jersey

The Lupra Jacket is breathable and lightweight.
Max Wilman / Our Media

Gore has introduced several new items to its mountain biking collection for this winter season, including the Lupra Jacket and Trail KPR Daily jersey.

The Lupra Jacket is a breathable and lightweight mountain bike jacket. Gore says it can be worn cycling up and down hills. It is also said to offer greater freedom of movement than traditional rain jackets.

Behind these claims is Gore-Tex’s Infinium fabric, known for its water resistance, breathability and stretch.

In the front of the jacket, there is Gore-Tex Windstopper fabric to block out any cold air.

The jacket is “engineered for cycling”, with a slightly longer back to provide protection from wheel spray and elbows that are cut to be suitable for a riding position.

The Lupra’s hood is said to fit over a helmet and it can be worn with a rucksack, according to Gore.

Besides being tailored to the demands of cycling, Gore says it has enough style to be worn off the bike. And like the MAAP Roam Jacket, it does appear to be fairly neutral and not scream ‘bike’.

More obviously ‘bike’ is Gore’s Trail KPR Daily jersey. Gore says the mountain bike jersey is lightweight and rugged, offering “next-to-skin comfort”.

It features a round neck collar, a longer back for coverage and a double-layer cuff and hem for durability.

The jersey is made from 100 per cent recycled materials that are breathable and quick-drying.

  • Gore Lupra Jacket:  £179.99 / $180 / €179.95
  • Gore Trail KPR Daily jersey: £59.99 / $60 / €59.95

The Brompton: Engineering for Change by Will Butler-Adams and Dan Davies

The book is co-written by Will Butler-Adams and Dan Davies.
Stan Portus / Our Media

The Brompton: Engineering for Change is co-written by Brompton’s CEO Will Butler-Adams and Dan Davies, a journalist and economist who has written for the Financial Times and The New Yorker.

The book tells the history of Brompton, from founder Andrew Ritchie’s first folding bike designs in 1975 to Butler-Adams joining the company in 2002 as an engineer and later organising a buyout and becoming CEO.

The book takes a close look at how Bromptons are made, as well as delving into their potential as a sustainable mode of transport.
Stan Portus / Our Media

It focuses on the challenges Brompton and Butler-Adams have faced over the years, how the company has grown from producing a few hundred bikes per year to over 90,000, and why people have fallen in love with these small-wheeled, folding bikes.

But Butler-Adams also uses it to outline his arguments around shifting the perception of manufacturing and the need to change urban transport in detail, often with a frankness that makes for refreshing reading.

  • £25

Cycle Shorts zine

The zine celebrates cycling while addressing its cultural and societal impact.
Stan Portus / Our Media

Cycle Shorts is a zine “inspired by the wonderful world of cycling” that aims to explore different aspects of cycling culture while highlighting alternate ways of thinking about life on two wheels.

This first issue, which follows an initial pilot, has articles on cycling and pregnancy, and the therapeutic benefits of cycling with others, to name just two, as well as an interview with Thighs of Steel co-founder Harri Symes.

The zine includes reading and listening lists highlighting articles and podcasts that address cycling’s problem with diversity as well as its emancipatory potential.

The zine also has a directory of “people doing good things”, from frame builders and bike co-ops to grass-roots organisations getting more people into the sport.

The project is not-for-profit and the organisers encourage people to reach out to them and get involved.

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  • £4 (unwaged), £6 (waged), £10 (supporter)