Merry Christmas! Have you unwrapped your presents? A new bike, perhaps? Lucky you! A pair of cycling socks? Well, that’s a step up from the usual Christmas socks.
Santa Claus isn’t the only one working hard to deliver the goods over Christmas. The BikeRadar team is here to bring you our festive edition of First Look Friday. Content never sleeps, eh?
If you’re looking for some two-wheeled entertainment this Christmas (apart from reading BikeRadar, that is) then be sure to check out our round-up of the best cycling films to binge on. If the written word is more your thing, here’s our pick of the best cycling books. Or you could tune into the audio delights of the BikeRadar Podcast, of course.
This week, we’ve been reflecting on the past 12 months and, despite a tumultuous 2020, the year has still produced its fair share of memorable rides for the BikeRadar team.
BikeRadar staffers have also been selecting their Gear of the Year – the bikes and products that have rocked their world in 2020.
So far, we’ve had entries from our resident tech nerd, Simon Bromley; bikepacking aficionado, Felix Smith; fixie fetishist, Jack Luke; and mountain bike shreditor-in-chief, Alex Evans. Look out for more over the coming week.
Anyway, that’s enough preamble, now it’s time to unwrap this week’s festive First Look Friday picks.
Being Gary Fisher
Gary Fisher is one of the most instrumental people in the mountain-bike industry. His time with bikes started back in the 60s, and it was with Charlie Kelly in 1979 that he started the company ‘MountainBikes’ – you’ll be surprised to hear what they made…
This book, co-written by friend of BikeRadar, Guy Kesteven, is a biography of Fisher, documenting his life and times, his mission of bringing the joy of cycling to the masses, as well as his vision of a bike-centric future world.
The 254 pages are packed with impressive illustrations and a whole host of photographs documenting the history of mountain biking. Currently, it’s only available in the US; however, it will be available worldwide soon.
- Buy now from Trek (US only)
Marzocchi Bomber DJ
Dirt jumping might not as popular as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hardcore of riders still pumping through rollers and doubles, flipping and whipping their way through the air.
The OG Z1 Bomber was a fork synonymous with dirt, and Marzocchi has bought it back, with the Bomber DJ based upon the 36mm chassis of the current Z1 enduro fork.
True to its roots, the 100mm Bomber DJ is built for 26in wheels, and takes a 20mm axle, so if you’re still rocking your whippy DJ bike this should bolt straight in. With 100mm of travel and 36mm stanchions, the Bomber DJ should be as stiff as they come.
Adaptors are available for 15mm axles, should you wish.
- £759 / $699
Lazer Jackal MIPS
The Jackal MIPS is Lazer’s all-new trail and enduro helmet. It offers generous coverage, with the rear portion extending to cover the base of the skull.
A rubber gripper is moulded into the rear of a U-shaped area on the back of the helmet, designed to help hold goggle straps steady and prevent them creeping while riding.
The peak can be adjusted between three ‘indexed’ positions, so the goggles can be stored under the peak when not riding. The mechanism for the peak feels very solid and secure.
The helmet comes with a removable camera-mount held in place with two Velcro straps. This is designed so the mount breaks first in the event of a crash, protecting you and your camera.
The helmet is only available in a MIPS liner-equipped option and our size medium sample weighs 402g.
The Jackal MIPS is available now for £149.99, in black, blue, green, white, red, oxblood (yep, you read that right) and white/black.
- £149.99, international pricing TBC
Albion Rain Jacket 2.0
The Albion Rain Jacket 2.0 is a performance rain jacket made from a lightweight and packable three-layer material, which promises ultimate protection for wet and windy conditions.
It’s been updated from the original design, and features a refresh to the cuff construction, a new zip guard and a lighter YKK Aquaguard two-way zip with a useful chord puller. When zipped, the jacket instantly feels snug to the body with a distinct lack of excess material.
It’s available in a smart ‘slate’ colour but our high-vis orange version certainly brightens up a dull day (if there is ever such a thing while out riding…).
The jacket features minimal but tasteful design notes including an Albion logo on the left sleeve, a short front and dropped rear with grippy trim, and a reflective logo on the back.
Not every rain jacket remains comfortable or dry inside when pushing hard and sweating, but this promises to be breathable, as well as packing down small to fit in a jersey pocket. The fact the zip is two-way means it can be easily unzipped from the bottom to dump off excess heat or to access your jersey pockets.
The fabric is bluesign-approved, meaning the production process has met a standard in which it is safe for the environment, workers and customers. We love where we ride and it’s great to know the jacket has had as little impact as possible. It’s also worth noting the packaging is fully biodegradable too.
It’s fair to say that rain jackets have to put up with some pretty harsh conditions but BikeRadar’s video manager, Felix Smith, is hoping this will keep him warm, dry and comfortable through the wettest parts of winter. He’s currently out braving the elements and will file a full review in the new year.