Despite the likelihood of 2020 going down in history as a total write-off, on so many levels, it feels like there is at least some light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel.
At the moment that light is the 2020 Tour de France, with this year’s Grand Depart kicking off the iconic event tomorrow in Nice. All being well, that is.
Be sure to brush up on your knowledge by checking out our guide to all things Tour before the event begins.
Although this year’s race is a little different, we still think it will be as compelling as ever with some of the trickiest stages the peloton has ever tackled, so we’ve taken a look at five of the key stages to watch out for and the eight most important climbs at this year’s event that we think will shape who takes this year’s win.
This week’s top mountain bike buyer’s guides:
- The best mountain bike jerseys | Stay cool and dry for summer riding
- Best dropper posts | Recommendations and our buyer’s guide
- Best mountain bikes under £1,000
Equally, it’s now the time to geek out on the plethora of Tour de France kit, including the brand new Pinarello Dogma F12 ridden by team Ineos Grenadier and 100%’s Sagan glasses. We’ve also listed every bike in the 2020 Tour to help you identify your favourite riders and rides in the competition.
Whether you’re a road cycling fan or not, be sure to check out our how to watch the 2020 Tour de France guide and stay tuned for all the latest tech and news from the race.
This week’s top road cycling buyer’s guides:
- Best smart trainers: top-rated turbo trainers
- Best hybrid bikes: find the perfect hybrid for you
- Best road bikes: how to choose the right one for you
Obviously, much more than just the Tour is happening on BikeRadar, particularly in the gravel cycling world as Canyon just launched its 2021 Grail with SRAM Force Wide and Shimano GRX 1x drivetrain options.
We’ve also thrown a leg over the Juliana Quincy CC Rival gravel bike, awarding it four out of five stars.
In the world of mountain biking, there’s also going to be a return to competition this weekend as the first round of the Enduro World Series kicks off in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Magicshine Monteer 8000S front bike light
The Monteer 8000S’s smaller and older sibling, the Monteer 6500, won last year’s MBUK lights group test thanks to its stellar beam pattern and impressive output.
For 2021, Magicshine has taken that same winning recipe and increased the maximum output of the older light by 1,500 extra lumens, boosting it to 8,000.
At max power, the Monteer has a claimed run time of 1 hour 30 minutes with the supplied 10,000mAH battery. And in the lowest mode, where it outputs a constant 400 lumens, it can run for up to 32 hours.
The light has an IPX5 waterproof rating (resistant to low-pressure water jet spray) and has been drop tested for up to one metre.
I’ve been out testing the light – along with 12 others – over the last couple of weeks so stay tuned for reviews soon.
- $399.99 / AU$649.95
Jagwire Pro Dropper cable upgrade kit
Although dropper post cables are hardly glamorous, having a smoothly actuating post can vastly improve your ride because it’ll reduce the force required to actuate the post, speeding up the dropping or rising performance.
The Jagwire kit has been designed specifically to work with dropper posts thanks to the FLEX-SL outer cable house that’s flexier than standard gear outer. This should make internally routing the cable easier – especially if your frame has curvy tubes – and make the 0.8 diameter Pro Polished stainless steel inner cable move more freely.
Outer cable length is 1,700mm long, the inner 2,000mm and it’s compatible with either SRAM or Shimano cables and derailleurs.
It’s supplied with two sealed alloy end ferrules, two rubber-lined end ferrules, a silicone rubber shim, one cable end, one cable guide and a frame protector.
Stay tuned for a review soon.
e.thirteen Vario Infinite Dropper Post
e.thirteen’s Vario dropper post’s travel, unlike a lot of other posts on the market, is adjustable in 5mm increments up to a maximum of 30mm. The shortest travel Vario, with 120mm of drop, can be extended to 150mm, while the longest travel post, at 180mm, can be reduced to 150mm.
Like other posts, it’s cable-actuated and has ‘infinite’ positions of drop within its travel. The post’s cable is internally routed through the frame.
The seat clamp, which uses two bolts, has 28 degrees of total angle adjustment and can provide up to 12mm fore and aft saddle position adjustment.
Our 31.6mm diameter, 180mm drop post tipped the scales at 628g without remote or cable.
- €203.73 (dropper only)
e.thirteen Vario 1x Dropper Lever
The remote is sold separately, and two are available. This model, the Vario 1x Dropper Lever, mimics the looks and operation of gear shifters like a lot of others on the market.
It’s got three positions of horizontal adjustment and is SRAM Matchmaker compatible. The lever paddle has a section of grip tape to help with consistent and solid button pushing and its return is spring-loaded, which should aid the quick operation of the post.
The lever with standard bar clamp weighed 74g
- €48.64 (lever only)
Ergon SMD2 MTN saddle
This downhill-specific saddle has 360-degree padding, strong CroMo steel rails and a flat profile that’s claimed to give the most freedom of movement. It’s 130mm wide and weighs 226g.
Although Ergon says it’s intended for downhill, I think the seat might be pretty comfortable for general riding duties too.
- $59.95 / €59.95
Ergon GD1 Evo grips
Like the SMD2 MTN saddle, the GD1 Evo grips are designed for downhill and have been developed with help from pro riders such as Rémy Métailler and Vali Höll.
Ergon claims they’ve got more damping compared to the last GD1 and have a conical shape, soft thumb zone and if you’ve got the Factory version (like we have), a unique German-made rubber compound that is said to give even more grip feel.
They’re claimed to be twist-proof on carbon bars, so shouldn’t rotate over really rough terrain, and are available in two diameters: regular and slim.
Our regular pair of green Factory grips weigh 120g. There will be a review coming soon.
- $39.95 / €39.95