Welcome to another edition of First Look Friday, where we bring you a round-up of the week’s biggest and most exciting stories and showcase some of the latest tech to grace the desks of the BikeRadar team.
Last weekend, we saw the UK’s National Hill Climb Championship, which took place on the frankly brutal Winnats Pass in the Peak District, a 900-metre climb with an average gradient of 16 per cent and sections ramping up to 23 per cent.
In other esoteric racing news, we also heard about Daniel Johansson’s experience racing a three-day penny-farthing stage race in Sweden, where he clocked speeds of over 50kmph.
Earlier this week, Shimano released a Dura-Ace themed version of its S-Phyre RC9020s shoes, alongside new gravel and track-specific shoes.
Bold announced the Linkin, a new trail bike that takes design features and components from Scott, which acquired Bold in 2019.
And, finally, I spoke to the team behind MIPS to find out what is MIPS and how it works.
The Kask Wasabi debuted earlier this year at Strade Bianche, where it was worn by a number of the Ineos Grenadiers.
Kask says the helmet is designed for all weather, thanks primarily to a nifty sliding middle panel in the outer shell. Sliding the panel down shuts off airflow into the helmet, which Kask says can increase the temperature of a rider’s head by 1.5˚C.
If that doesn’t keep your head warm enough, the Wasabi comes with a Merino wool lining, which is said to help with temperature regulation.
As this is a pro-level lid, Kask stresses the aerodynamic performance of the Wasabi, stating wind-tunnel testing shows it comes second only to the Kask Utopia in terms of slipperiness.
Wind-tunnel testing is also said to have shown opening the vent loses you less than one watt at 50kmph, which might be quite a redundant stat for many.
On our scales, the helmet weighed 318.3g for a size large.
- £269 / $350 / €300
Camelbak MULE Commute 22
Camelbak is well known in mountain biking for some of the best thought-out riding packs around, and has become the ‘Hoover’ of the hydration pack world.
The brand has turned its attention to the gritty streets with a pair of new packs, based loosely on two of its longest-serving MTB packs, the MULE and the HAWG, with the MULE Commute 22 (as seen here) and HAWG Commute 30.
The MULE Commute 22 has many urbanite features, such as sturdy abrasion-resistant 330D Cordura exterior materials with a PU coating, weatherproof zips and stretchy ‘Command Centre’ pockets for fast access to your electronics. Most important, though, is the storm-proof laptop sleeve, with taped seams to help keep your pricey electronics safe and sound.
Despite the black design, it’s covered in 360-degree reflective materials to keep you as visible as possible when you’re weaving through rush-hour traffic on a dark and dank Tuesday evening. There’s a light loop, too.
Megmeister 4 Seasons Winter Jacket and Hybrid Wind Vest
Megmeister might be more familiar for its baselayers, but its new autumn/winter collection has a few pieces that look to carry through the brand’s commitment to high-end sustainable sportswear.
Megmeister’s Hybrid Wind Vest uses a Sympatex fabric, which was developed as an eco-friendly alternative to Gore-Tex and is said to be 100 per cent waterproof, while being breathable.
As is common with cycling gilets, Megmeister’s vest uses different fabrics depending on location. There’s a Merino mesh fabric in the back of the vest, where ventilation takes precedent over waterproofing.
A high collar helps keep the wind from getting in and gives a snugger feel, while the YKK zipper can be opened from the bottom up for some extra ventilation. Slits in the back of the vest mean you can access your jersey pockets.
The exterior fabric of the brand’s 4 Seasons Winter Jacket feels and looks a lot like a softshell hiking jacket, has a decent amount of stretch and is said to be windproof and water-resistant.
Looking inside the jacket, the seams are taped to stop any water ingress and there’s crisscrossed lining designed to offer some insulation.
I got a size medium and the fit of the jacket doesn’t feel race-y or restrictive, and I can easily wear it over a jersey or other thicker winter layers.
You’ll probably want to pair this with a jersey, as there are just two small zippered pockets on the sides of the jacket. These are big enough for a bank card, phone and keys, but you’d be stretched to fit enough supplies in them for long winter rides.
There are also women’s versions of the jacket and the gilet.
- Megmeister Hybrid Wind Vest: £119.95 / €129.95
- Megmeister 4 Seasons Winter Jacket: £189.95 / €249.95
Cannondale Palace collaboration
When EF Education First (now EF Education-Nippo), Rapha and Cannondale collaborated with skateboarding and streetwear brand Palace for the 2020 Giro d’Italia, it divided opinion. Some said the kit and bikes were, frankly, awful and others were relieved to see something so playful in the sport.
A few months back, we were treated to the second instalment in this cycling-skateboarding love affair. Cannondale paired up with Palace once again to honour the bike brand’s 50th anniversary with a special edition of its Bad Boy commuter bike, dubbed the ‘Mad Boy’.
To accompany the Mad Boy, there’s a collection of clothing, including T-shirts, caps, trousers, hoodies, Gore-Tex jackets and a buff, all of which shares the same hypebeast-ready graphics as the bike.
The T-shirt I received has ‘Mad Boy’ written on the back in a style that mimics airbrushing, a technique that’s been around for a long time but is arguably most recognisable from 80s and 90s hip hop and the “zany rave-flyers” from which this collection is said to take inspiration.
The buff has something of a rave flyer feel about it too, with gaudy graphics depicting faux-spiritualism in the form of an eye-on-hand motif and a cheeky corporate rip-off, with ‘Palasonic’ written in the style of the Panasonic logo.
- Cannondale x Palace Mad Boy T-Shirt: £45