Welcome back to First Look Friday. This week on BikeRadar, we dived deep into the world of gravel bikes with a full review of the RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork, the brand’s suspension fork designed to make your gravel bike even more capable off-road.
We also got the lowdown on Fox’s new 32 Taper-Cast Gravel suspension fork with its 40mm travel, putting it squarely head-to-head with the Rudy.
What’s more, we checked out the latest 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon, sporting revised geometry and a new Lefty Oliver fork. Plus, there was news of 3T’s Exploro Ultra gravel bike that’s been aero optimised for huge 61mm tyres.
Meanwhile, Time released its first bike in years, and you guessed it, it was a gravel bike – the Time ADHX.
There have been plenty of other product launches to get our teeth stuck into this week. Crankbrothers has released the new Highline 11 dropper post with its carbon stanchion to help trim weight, there’s a new MTB tyre range from Continental and Fox has updated the chassis on its new 36 fork in a bid to shed weight.
If you’d rather relax and be entertained, be sure to check out the BikeRadar Podcast, where we tell tales of our best, and worst, rides.
And if you’re still not sated by that little lot, read on for a curated selection of the hottest new bike products to arrive at BikeRadar HQ this week.
Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep
If you watched the Tour of Flanders last weekend, you will have no doubt seen these outlandish Oakleys adorning Mathieu van Der Poel’s face as he took his second victory in Belgium’s biggest bike race in three years.
The Sutro Lite Sweep glasses are designed to give all-day comfort and performance, while making a bold statement. The sporty design is intended to deliver optimised coverage, field of vision, retention and impact resistance.
The frames are made from Oakley’s O-Matter material and there are moulded ear socks on the arms to help keep them in place without causing discomfort. The non-slip nose piece should help here too.
The all-important lens is Oakley’s Prizm, which the brand claims boosts colour and contrast. This model features the Prizm Trail Torch lens, with 35 per cent light transmission for mid to bright conditions, and suitable for MTB use as well as on the road.
Selected Sutro Lite Sweep models feature the vented lens for better airflow to prevent fogging. For those who aren’t a fan of the bold colours, Oakley is releasing more traditional colour options without the vented lenses.
Hope Tech 4 E4 brake lever
Hope’s new Tech 4 brake lever and E4 caliper have recently landed with us and will be out for testing soon.
I’m keen to see if the brand’s claims of 30 per cent power improvement are met. You can find all the details about the new brakes in our news story, but here’s a quick run-down of the main details.
Hope says it has increased the hydraulic ratio of the new brakes. There’s also a new lever design to increase the mechanical power, plus new sealing to reduce friction and provide a lighter lever feel.
Along with the roller bearing lever-blade pivot, this all adds up to brakes that should provide far more power and modulation over the Tech 3 brake lever.
The lever design uses a hinged clamp to help save weight, and Hope has redesigned the master cylinder to reduce its stack height.
Integration with gear shifters and dropper levers is said to be improved, with a 30-degree angle adjustment to fine-tune setup.
The E4 calipers have seen an update too, with hybrid-style stainless-steel pistons and a phenolic insert. This is intended to minimise heat transfer and maintenance while improving piston movement in the caliper.
The new brakes come with a race compound pad that needs little bed-in time and should provide less brake fade than standard organic pads.
Syncros Boundary 1.0HS Digital shock pump
Updating its digital shock pump, Syncros has made the Boundary 1.0HS smaller and lighter than the previous version.
It still features the same 300psi / 20 bar maximum pressure from its 11cc stroke volume from an aluminium alloy shaft.
The gauge and handle are made from composite material to help keep the weight down, and the gauge keeps its slanted design for ease of reading when in use.
The pump is said to measure psi and bar to an accuracy of 0.1 psi, so you can fine-tune your settings.
The display also now features a protective screen to keep it from getting damaged in a pack or toolbox. Plus there’s a large air-release dial to allow for easy adjustments to the air pressure.
Reserve Fillmore valves
If you run a tubeless setup for your wheels and tyres, you might well be aware of the struggle involved in seating a tyre, and the pain and extra time it can take to remove the valve core to make sure you have enough flow rate from the pump or canister to pop the tyre bead.
Reserve has released the Fillmore core-less valves to essentially eliminate this issue. By using this new design, Reserve claims these valves have three times more airflow than a standard Presta valve, updating technology that’s a century old.
Another benefit for tubeless riders is the claim of no blockages from the sealant, and that you don’t need to remove the core to inject sealant through the valve.
The cap is an essential part to seal the valve, and it also enables you to deflate the tyre in a controlled way by unscrewing the threads a turn or two, and then depressing it.
Anything to make living with tubeless easier seems like a win in my book.