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Dirt protection from Mudhugger, the Meltdown MTB yearbook, a multi-tool from Topeak and Lezyne’s Matrix bottle cage

Plus a pair of eco-friendly FiveTen shoes and this week's hot stories on BikeRadar

First Look Friday thumbnail

As we tick off another week on planet Earth it doesn’t seem like things are slowing down in the world of two wheels, although the start of March 2021 has been a particular treat.


We got an almost voyeuristic look inside our senior technical editor’s garage and it’s fair to say Warren’s collection of bikes is something rather special to behold. Otherwise, Warren’s been busy out testing – as ever – and has reviewed the Brompton Electric H2L 2-speed. Is this electric folding bike an urban success?

Meanwhile, BikeRadar’s technical writer, Simon Bromley, has reviewed Orbea’s Orca OMR M20i Team road bike, praising its comfortable frame and confident handling.

What else have we been testing? Well, workshop manager Will Poole has swung a leg over the aluminium-framed BMC Teammachine ALR Disc Two, awarding it 4.5 out of 5 stars thanks to its nippy handling and smooth ride, proving that carbon doesn’t always rule the roost.

Getting our Poirot-style hat on, we’ve scrutinised and deconstructed the first few WorldTour and pro races to see whether we’ve spotted the pro racers riding any juicy 2021 tech.

And hot off the press, Canyon has issued a ‘stop ride’ notice to Aeroad CFR and CF SLX riders, after Mathieu van der Poel’s handlebar snapped at the Le Samyn one-day race in Belgium. If you’re an affected customer, get in touch with Canyon directly.

In the world of mountain biking, we’ve compiled a list of our best enduro helmets for 2021 and also reviewed the relatively affordable Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS trail bike.

We’ve also managed to find time to review the Canyon Exceed CFR Team, a lightweight hardtail XC race bike. Although it’s expensive, technical editor Tom Marvin reckoned it’s cracking value for money.

Meltdown MTB Yearbook

Misspent Summers Meltdown MTB Yearbook
Meltdown, what a year 2020 was!
Alex Evans

Re-live the tremendous highs and spectacular competition from the 2020 mountain bike downhill, enduro and cross-country seasons with this breathtakingly presented and impeccably well-written yearbook from the Misspent Summers outfit.

Their crack team of writers have perfectly captured the tumultuous, pandemic-stricken year of mountain bike competition in print, depicting each event – including the World Cup, World Championships, Enduro World Series and Crankworx – in a nail-biting and wholly engaging way.

Misspent Summers Meltdown MTB Yearbook
It’s the perfect book for in-front-of-fire reading.
Alex Evans

The yearbook’s pages are also graced with features, insight and opinion from a host of cycling legends and larger-than-life characters, including Rob Warner, Ed Masters, Sven Martin, Olly Wilkins and a host of others.

Misspent Summers Meltdown MTB Yearbook
The pages are full of amazing images and beautifully written words.
Alex Evans

To top it off, the luscious photos, taken by some of the industry’s finest snappers, are printed on FSC-certified high-quality paper. There truly is no other book like this on the market… except for Misspent Summers’ previous yearbooks, Hurly Burly and The World Stage.

Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue

Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue mountain bike shoes
Primeblue is a material produced using recycled ocean plastic.
Alex Evans

Five Ten’s Stealth dotty rubber has become famous for one incredibly important reason – its unparalleled flat pedal grip.

This model of the Freerider’s upper is now made from Primeblue, which uses entirely recycled material, in part from Parley Ocean Plastic, an organisation that pushes for clean oceans by collecting waste and lobbying, as well as recycled polyester and sustainably-sourced cotton.

The Freerider Pro also features an OrthoLite sockliner – that’s designed to absorb shocks through the bottom of the shoe – and a three-layer reinforced, impact resistant toe box. The looks of the Freerider Pro Primeblue remain unchanged, however.

The Freerider Pro Primeblue looks like to take Five Ten’s trusted performance to the next level with sustainably sourced and made materials.

  • £120

Topeak Mini PT30 multi-tool

Topeak Mini PT30 multi-tool
The PT30 has a host of useful functions.
Alex Evans

Renowned for producing high quality tools, Topeak’s Mini PT30 is no exception – and at 176g, including its pocket-friendly neoprene case, it’s not going to act like an anchor either.

Because it’s loaded to the hilt with useful tools (30 in all), it should cater for almost all trail-side capers. Highlights include 2mm to 10mm Allen keys, a chain splitter tool and master link tool, a tyre reamer (for rounding out ripped tyres in preparation for a tubeless plug), a plug insertion tool and a serrated knife.

It’s diminutive in size, too, measuring just 74mm x 40mm x 19mm so should slip comfortably into any riding pack, or at a push, trousers or shorts pocket.

Because it’s made from chrome vanadium steel, it should resist corrosion well if you’re frequently riding in wet conditions.

Whether you’re a mountain biker, roadie, commuter or just a casual cyclist, the PT30 looks like a one-stop-shop for your mechanical woes.

  • £39.99 / $52.95

Rear Mudhugger mudguard

Mudhugger Rear mountain bike mudguard
The Mudhugger Rear arguably isn’t the best-looking mudguard.
Alex Evans

Front mudguards are commonplace on mountain bikes, and usually attach to the front suspension’s fork arch. Rear mudguards, however, are considerably less common thanks to the intricacies and number of moving parts (especially on full suspension bikes with dropper posts).

Mudhugger hopes to have found the solution by finessing its rear mudguard to remain stable and rattle-free over the rough terrain mountain bikes are subjected to. Instead of fitting it to the seat tube, the system is designed to attach to the bike’s seat and chainstays.

Mudhugger’s website includes extensive fitment instructions and advice on how to attach the Rear Mudhugger to your bike.

An uncut, large Rear Mudhugger, with the six zip ties needed to secure it, weighed 297g on my scales.

I’m excited to test the guard on the trails because anything that helps to keep me dry and clean makes me happy. Keep tuned for a full review soon.

  • £30

Lezyne Matrix Team Cage bottle cage

Lezyne Matrix Team Cage bottle cage
At just 36g, there’s little to moan about with the Matrix Team Cage.
Alex Evans

This side-loading (either left or right) bottle cage from Lezyne has minimalistic looks and a low 34g weight, which should make it suitable for almost any cycling discipline and bike frame with standard cage mounts.

Lezyne claims it has been tested to securely hold full water bottles and has been made from a durable composite material. It’s available in a host of colours, but I particularly liked the all-black look because it’s stealthy and should match any frame.

  • £20 / $24.99