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Italian-made Melon Optics glasses, environmentally-friendly chamois cream, Five Ten riding shoes and a cosy puffer jacket

Plus premium protection from Dianese

First Look Friday thumbnail

Who doesn’t love a bargain? I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself when I say if there’s a chance to save money, I’ll jump at it. That means the annual Black Friday event – no matter how bewildering – is like music to my penny pinching ears.


At BikeRadar, we’ve done our best to sift through the chaff to bring you the very best Black Friday deals on the products most-suited to cycling. Check out all of our Black Friday deals here.

In the world beyond retail, we’ve had a bumper week on-site. We’ve updated our best mudguards and fenders article with a complete buyer’s guide and product recommendations, so if you’re into riding in the wet you can find out exactly what you need to know to weatherproof your rig.

Continuing the the wet weather and winter theme, we’ve also given our best mountain bike jackets list a refresh with plenty of hot new products. If you’re in the market for a riding jacket, this is the article you need to read!

Switching back to road, but this time in the form of a podcast, resident tarmac gurus Jack and Simon go full tech on Shimano’s yet-to-be-released SPD-SL power meter pedals, using information gleaned from Shimano’s own patent filing.

Jack’s also managed to review Specialized’s 2021 Diverge bike that’s equipped with the Big-S’s SWAT storage and Future Shock 2.0, awarding it four out of five stars.

In the land of mud and ruts, I brought you an update on my Yeti SB165 mega-bucks long-term test bike, where I’ve been swapping parts out and being impressed by the reliability of Yeti’s Switch Infinity link.

We’ve also spied an all-wood gravel bike from Tampa Cycles. Make sure you check out the article!

Melon Optics Alleycat glasses

Melon Optics Alleycat glasses
The Alleycats are large but look great.
Alex Evans

The Alleycats, Melon says, are the “raddest and baddest pair of performance riding shades on planet earth”. Although that’s quite a claim, they do look great with their thin, modern frame and large high-clarity lens.

The frame is made from TR90 – a super-flexible plastic – so should be robust enough to brush off any abuse thrown in their direction. To boot, they’re pretty light and my pair tipped the scales at 31g.

All of Melon’s five available lens types (red chrome pictured) have been made by Zeiss, so are guaranteed to be good quality. Along with the supplied lens (of your choosing), a low light lens is also included with every pair of Alleycats.

The customisation options don’t stop at the lens, though. The frames, nose-piece and melon logo are all customisable, too. Also included is a microfibre cloth and a hard case for the glasses.

Natural Little Bee Bum-ble-Bee Chamois Balm

Natural Little Bee Bum-ble Bee Chamois Balm
Chamois cream does a good job of protecting your backside’s skin on long rides, so go one step further with this all-natural balm to really keep your tush happy.
Alex Evans

Made entirely from natural ingredients, the Bum-ble-Bee Chamois Balm should be super-kind to your behind.

Containing entirely raw and unrefined products – such as shea butter, coconut butter, almond oil and beeswax – the balm is designed to lock in moisture while allowing your skin to breathe, and each of its constituent parts has a function.

For example, the beeswax is antimicrobial and a natural antiseptic, the coconut butter has anti-inflammatory properties, and the bergamot essential oil is a natural analgesic.

On top of all this, it smells delightful and feels great.

Natural Little Bee Bum-ble-Bee Chamois Balm
These chemical-free products should help keep your derrière in check on long rides without doing any damage – there’s a lip balm too.
Alex Evans

Other products are available from Natural Little Bee, including lip balm that’s based on the same principles as the chamois cream.

Adidas Five Ten Trailcross XT Mountain Bike shoes

Five Ten Trailcross XT mountain bike shoes
They have Five Ten’s ludicrously grippy Stealth rubber sole.
Alex Evans

Since Five Ten was taken over by Adidas, its range of mountain bike shoes has expanded.

The Trailcross XT is an offshoot in the MTB genre for people who want to spend as much time hike-a-biking to the top of the trails as they do descending, touting a “lightweight, cushioned feel of a trail runner and the pedal-gripping power to ride any summit”. We love the sound of that.

Unsurprisingly, the soles are made from the famous and highly grippy Stealth Phantom rubber that’s world-renowned (and practically unrivalled) for its grip.

Five Ten Trailcross XT mountain bike shoes
The Trailcross XT shoes are designed for epic days on the bike where you’ll spend as much time hiking up to the top of a descent as you will riding your bike downhill.
Alex Evans

The shoes are light and airy – our size 42 pair weighs 772g – and have drain ports to help expel water so they dry quicker. They’ve also got protective rubber in key areas to ensure they’re robust enough.

Elsewhere, they’ve got a neoprene cuff to reduce the chances of debris, mud and water getting inside.

  • £130 / €137.67

Madison Isoler Insulated Reversible men’s jacket

Madison Isoler Insulated Reversible men's jacket
It has a fairly tight fit so won’t flap, but there’s enough space underneath for more layers when the temperatures really drop.
Alex Evans

I can’t stand being cold. Insulated jackets are, therefore, always high up on my wish lists. Since breaking the zip on my trusty and ancient Berghaus, I’ve been living in and out of sub-standard coats while trying my hardest to not totally soil my Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody in the woods.

Enter the fairly-affordable, Madison-branded Isoler insulated jacket.

Although it’s not the most tech-filled puffer around, it’s got three pockets, a snug-fit and a DWR coating to help you combat the cold.

The Isoler’s main trick is it’s reversible; on one side it’s a subtle black colour, the other bright red, so can be tuned to reflect your current mood.

  • £79.99

Dianese Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards and Trail Skins Shorts

Dianese Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards
At 370g a pair (size medium), they’re seriously light weight.
Alex Evans

As the latest addition to Dianese’s comprehensive protection lineup, the Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards are touted to be exceptionally malleable, moulding to the shape of their wearer’s knees.

They’ve also got plenty of ventilation and high levels of protection.

Dianese Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards
Their honeycomb structure provides protection without adding excessive weight.
Alex Evans

The PRO-SHAPE 2 protectors – the honeycomb-like structure on the front of the pad – has been inspired by auxetics and is claimed to convert impact energy into heat, dispersing, Dianese says, 83 per cent of an impact’s force.

They’re also highly ventilated with just over half of the protection area open to air flow thanks to its criss-cross design.

Dianese Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards
The Trail Skins Pro Knee Guards have been shaped to fit a rider’s knees perfectly.
Alex Evans

They’re made from stretchy material to help hug your legs without constricting them and have two Velcro fasteners on the rear to secure them in place.

In the same range of products are the Trail Skins Shorts.

They’ve got an in-build chamois that’s been designed for maximum comfort with as few seams as possible. Their mesh-like fabric gives them high levels of elasticity and there are two hip protection pads either side of the shorts.