A dirt-cheap do-it-all drivetrain from Microshift, a delightful headset, a book for Spring Classics nerds and new Muc-Off kit
Plus the best from this week on BikeRadar
St Patrick’s day is a great excuse to sink a rake of the Emerald Isle’s finest stout but, if you’re after stronger stuff to forget your worldly woes, why not chase the heady endorphin rush of a rash cycling purchase?
Struggling for inspiration? Fear not – there’s plenty of wallet-worrying swag in this week’s edition of First Look Friday.
From a budget drivetrain begging to be the basis of another bike you don’t need to a jewel-like headset, we’ve got something for everyone.
First Look Friday shows but a slither of the new tech that has been featured on BikeRadar this week.
The leak of Campagnolo’s upcoming Super Record WRL groupset was the biggest talk in town, but the price tag of its new Hyperon Ultra climbing wheels also inspired plenty of vibrant discussion in the office.
This week also saw the launch of our debut MBUK video. This is a really fun watch that isn’t to be missed!
We also saw the release of a retro throwback gravel bike from Canyon, new gravel shoes from UDOG and updated trail eMTBs from Liv/Giant.
Struggling to keep up with everything? Subscribe to our newsletter to have the very best of BikeRadar delivered directly to your eyeballs every Tuesday and Friday.
Microshift Advent shifter, cassette and derailleur
Microshift Advent is the brand’s family of second-tier 9-speed drivetrain components.
In keeping with many of Microshift’s products, Advent X is available with thumb (pictured), trigger, grip or drop-bar shifters.
It is also available in wide-range 1x or 2x setups. In short – if you want a weird drivetrain, Microshift probably has you covered.
We’ve got the 9-speed 2x setup in for testing. The requires a long-cage rear derailleur, which weighs in at 388g.
By way (weigh?) of comparison, an SRAM SX rear derailleur – which is probably the closest equivalent to this – weighs 341g.
The 9-speed 11-42t cassette is fairly agricultural. With the exception of the alloy 42t cog, it is made from pressed steel plates, and is riveted together. It weighs 432g.
That budget-oriented construction is reflected in the price of the groupset – the cassette is only £34.99 and the derailleur £49.99 (international pricing TBC). Pricing for the shifter is TBC.
Industry Nine iRiX headset
Industry Nine is best known for its hubs, but it recently branched out into stems. It has now also expanded into headsets.
As with its hubs and wheels, the new iRiX (a composite of ‘Iris’, the Greek goddess, and personification of the rainbow, and Roman numeral IX), are jewel-like.
You have a choice of 11 stock colour options or, if you’re feeling brave, you can pick any combination of those for each individual component.
BikeRadar’s MTB presenter, Tom, has gone subtle with his choices, pairing silver cups with a black top cover and purple top cap.
The headset is manufactured in Industry Nine’s base in Asheville, North Carolina, while the bearings are supplied by Enduro.
To keep those stainless bearings spinning smoothly, the crown race and top cover feature removable and replaceable silicone lip seals to keep contaminants at bay.
To back this up, the iRiX is covered by a lifetime warranty, so it should keep your turns as smooth as the day you fit them.
- $165 to $215 depending on spec, international pricing TBC
- Buy the iRiX headset direct from Industry Nine
The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races by Peter Cossins
The Classics season kicks off in earnest on Sunday with the first Monument of the men’s WorldTour season, Milan-San Remo.
There’s no better time, then, for pro cycling fans to swot up with Peter Cossins’ updated book, The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races.
While the Tour de France may dominate newspaper coverage through July, the Monuments strike a different chord with fans and riders alike.
The five races that make up the Monuments – Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy – pit riders against the toughest parcours the sport has to offer, requiring grit, determination, art and science in equal measure.
Cossins’ second edition, released yesterday (Thursday 16 March), takes a detailed look at each of the Monuments: their complex and tumultuous histories, and the riders they have immortalised.
- £15.99, published by Bloomsbury Sport
Muc-off Metal Utility Toolbox
Muc-off’s Metal Utility Toolbox features a desert-rat appearance – you may be mistaken for a mercenary rocking this bad boy.
The toolbox features a single large compartment, which the brand says has a capacity of nine litres.
Muc-off claims the toolbox is eco-conscious, with the metal construction said to be designed for long-term use.
The powder-coated matt finish adds a textured feel, and also a level of surface grip to the folding grab handle positioned on top of the box.
The clam-shell design features a locking latch, which when amplified by the metal gives a reassuring closure.
- £40, international pricing TBC
Muc-off Absorbent Bike Mat
After a wet ride or a wash, bikes pool oil and water on the floor as they dry.
If you have no choice but to keep your bikes in the house (as is the case for most of us at BikeRadar), this leaves you turning to the kitchen drawers to sacrifice a sacred tea towel to protect the hardwood floors.
Muc-off’s Absorbent Bike Mat promises to solve this age-old problem, while also sparing the embarrassment of explaining why Charles’ face has been inked out of your commemorative kitchenware.
The Absorbent Bike Mat has a heavy-duty rubber non-slip base, which the brand says prevents contaminants from making their way to your floors.
The mat can also be used beneath a turbo trainer, with Muc-off claiming it can absorb two litres of water – will that be enough to keep up with BikeRadar’s most resident perspirer Jack Luke?
Muc-off’s Absorbent Bike Mat measures 400×2,000mm, which the brand says will fit most bikes, though wide bars may pose an issue.
The mat rolls up for easy storage, and Muc-off recommends hosing it down to clean because it is not washing machine safe.
- £49.99, international pricing TBC