It’s the end of another week and that means it’s time again for another edition of our First Look Friday feature, where we take a look at the highlights of the latest cycling tech to grace our desks this week.
Of course, those desks are still located at home rather than at BikeRadar HQ, due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
Last week, my colleague Jack had touring on the brain. With the recent announcement of the revised 2020 UCI WorldTour calendar though, my mind has started to drift back to racing, and how we might get to use that growing mound of base fitness many of us have been building recently.
Our reader’s favourite columnist, Matthew Loveridge, also made a compelling argument for why we should all try outdoor cycling. Apparently it’s a very immersive experience, so even though there aren’t any power ups, don’t knock until you’ve tried it.
Last but by no means least, we launched our Power of 8 campaign in association with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). It’s a fantastic initiative and charity to be involved with and we would love your support.
Nimbl Air cycling shoes
Nimbl is a relatively new brand on the road cycling shoe scene. It makes high-end, performance-oriented road shoes by hand in Italy (with price tags to match), and the Air is its climbers shoe.
Nimbl says that its design priorities were to create a well ventilated, lightweight shoe that doesn’t compromise power transfer and pedalling efficiency. Weighing 465g for a pair of EU size 44.5s, they are pretty lightweight, but they’re by no means the lightest shoes on the market (a title currently held by the Specialized EXOS 99).
Personally, though, having the absolute lightest shoe possible doesn’t actually interest me in the slightest. What I care about is the classic styling, heat-mouldable 3k carbon outsole, roomy toe box and good aerodynamics.
There’s a replaceable heel bumper, but none on the toe end so I’ll likely have to be careful walking in them. To be fair to Nimbl, though, these are shoes made with road racing in mind, not walking on gravel tracks or plodding to the cafe.
I’ve long been a staunch devotee of Bont cycling shoes, and these happily appear to share many similarities. If the Airs can prise my feet away from my two pairs of Bonts on a long-term basis I’ll be very impressed.
Nimbl’s shoes are currently only available online, but it has detailed sizing instructions (which essentially involve tracing the outline of your feet on paper and measuring the length and width) to ensure you get the right size.
- €399, international pricing TBC
Kask Bambino Pro Evo helmet
Based around a design Great Britain’s track sprinters were using at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the original Bambino truly rose to prominence after Bradley Wiggins’ incredible 2012 season (in which he won the Tour de France, as well as every time trial he rode that year).
Previously, TT helmets were getting longer and longer, presumably because they tested super-fast in the wind tunnel with your head in a static position. Kask had the idea that riders actually move their head around a lot during races, though. Every time a rider dropped their head, a long tail would cause an increase in drag.
While a short-tailed TT helmet wouldn’t be fastest in the wind tunnel (although our test showed it actually performed excellently there too), maybe it would be in the infamously imperfect real world. Wiggins’/Team Sky’s dominance appeared to confirm this theory, and practically every TT helmet manufacturer in the world started making short tailed time-trial helmets.
So how have we ended up with a Bambino with a slightly longer tail? The fundamentals of aerodynamics haven’t changed after all. It appears Kask’s engineers have tried to find a compromise between the short and long tailed designs, hoping riders try a bit harder to keep their head in the right position.