Where has January gone? It seems like only a few days ago it was December, and I’m yet to act on my new year’s resolutions. Fortunately, the cycling world is further ahead of the curve than I am, meaning there’s plenty of new and exciting content on BikeRadar this week.
If you didn’t complete the Rapha Festive 500 and would like to shift any holiday excess weight, we’ve debunked a few myths and delivered some practical advice on how cycling can help you lose belly fat.
We took an in-depth look into the reasons bike prices will fall in 2023, and analysed the health of the industry post-Covid and Brexit.
Women’s-specific brand Liv bikes unveiled its burliest MTB, the new Intrigue, which dishes out 150mm of rear-wheel travel with a 160mm fork.
We’ve got tons of cycling advice on site this week, too. A couple of highlights include the best winter road cycling and MTB gloves to keep your hands warm and the best waterproof jackets for cyclists. As we all know, both are essential items at this time of year, especially here in the UK.
Plus, we brought you a list of the best electric cargo bikes that make carrying heavy loads a breeze. We also highlighted the key differences between road and gravel bikes for those speculating which is best for their next bike.
There are plenty of new reviews on site too, so dive in to find out what our test team think about the latest products, including Fox’s latest enduro helmet, the Proframe RS full-face.
When you’re done with all of that, head over to BikeRadar’s YouTube channel to find out which is the best budget smart trainer, the Wahoo Kickr Core or the Zwift Hub.
Öhlins TTX22M.2 Coil shock
It’s no secret among downhill World Cup riders and fans alike that French superstar Loïc Bruni is revered for having the most stable and planted bikes on the circuit.
Is that because of his riding style, bike, or perhaps his Öhlins suspension? It’s undoubtedly a combination of all three. Still, for the gravity-minded among you, the Öhlins TTX22M.2 is intended to deliver downhill performance in a package to suit any mountain bike.
Built around Öhlins’ twin-tube design, the compression and rebound damping circuits are separated, so adjusting one won’t influence the other, unlike most normal shocks.
The TTX22M.2 features high- and low-speed compression damping and low-speed rebound damping. The high-speed compression has two levels plus a climb mode, so there are three settings in total.
Low-speed compression has 16 clicks of adjustment, and the low-speed rebound has seven. Öhlins claims each click makes a noticeable difference to the behaviour of the shock and covers a wide range of settings.
The iconic yellow springs come in 23lb/in increments, which better cover rider weights and riding styles than the 50lb/in changes in most brands’ coil shocks.
For further tunability, Öhlins has a wide selection of shim tunes available, covering most frame kinematics and rider preferences to provide the best damping characteristics. All these settings can be accessed at any authorised Öhlins service centre.
The Öhlins TTX22M.2 is a fancy bit of kit, with plenty of race-proven success at the highest level. But, will it help us mere mortals? I look forward to finding out.
- £799 / $795 / €885
Hope EVO cranks
Even to the most gravity-fuelled mountain bikers, 155mm cranks might seem absurdly short. However, Hope Tech has introduced these EVO cranks with claims of performance benefits over traditional-length cranks.
First developed to increase ground clearance for electric bikes, Hope believes it has found the Goldilocks of crank length with the new 155mm EVO cranks.
Bar the benefit of fewer pedal strikes, Hope claims having shorter cranks places your hips at a more forward-facing angle, giving you a more neutral body position and greater freedom to move around the bike, delivering greater control.
Not only this, but the shorter cranks are lighter and stiffer, plus they have a quicker spin-up, with claimed improvements when you need a sharp burst of power.
Hope does say the shorter length will affect your gearing, and you should drop two teeth from the chainring for every 10mm you take off your crank length.
These 155mm cranks feature all the usual tricks you find in the Hope EVO range, including being forged and CNC’d from 7051 aluminium. In addition, they use a self-extracting bolt for easy removal and an oversized 30mm 7075 aluminium axle.
- £270 / $342 (ex tax) / €340 cranks only
SR Suntour Durolux 38 Boost EQ
SR Suntour has joined the likes of RockShox and Fox, with a burly 38mm-stanchion fork aimed at tackling the wildest enduro course or taming the gnarliest lines on the mountain.
The fork uses Suntour’s Air EQ spring. This spring self-equalises the positive and negative chambers through a transfer port, rather than a negative coil spring as Suntour has used in other Durolux models. This delivers beginning-stroke sensitivity for all rider weights and a tunable progression with volume spacers.
There are two dampers available. The lower-spec RC2-PCS and higher-spec R2C2-PCS. The RC2-PCS features externally adjustable high- and low-speed compression and low-speed rebound damping. The R2C2-PCS gets high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping dials to fiddle with.
The PCS (Piston Compensator System) is effectively an internal floating piston to prevent cavitation in the damper, much like RockShox’s latest Charger 3 damper. The rebound circuit has an updated Fast Recovery piston, which should improve rebound speeds and fork sensitivity.
The fork is 29in wheel size only and is available in 160mm, 170mm and 180mm-travel options. It uses a 44mm offset. There are air-bleeder ports on the back of the legs, but these must be removed with an Allen Key. The fork has mounts for an anti-lock braking system, which is braking tech we may see developed further in the future.
- R2C2 PCS €899 / RC2 PCS $800 / €869
Granite Stash RT Ratchet Tool
The Granite Stash RT Ratchet Tool is stored inside the fork steerer tube. The spring-loaded mechanism means opening the top cap pushes the tool out for easy access.
The holder acts as a top cap and threads into a mount that inserts through the bottom of the steerer. Thus, the star nut is removed and the two pieces of the holder are bolted together, clamping the headset in place.
The Stash RT features a ratchet with tool attachments at either end. There are nine tool bits, including 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys, a T25 and a PH1 screwdriver bit.
Its slim design will fit in forks with elliptical steerers, such as the Fox 38. It’s also compatible with the RockShox Zeb and Lyrik. In addition, the ratchet design enables you to reach harder-to-access bolts. Plus, the ratchet handle is longer than some multi-tools, enabling you to undo stubborn bolts more easily, especially pedals.
The ratchet clips into its holder, while the tools are connected magnetically. If you’re looking for a neat solution to hold tools within the steerer tube and want to avoid threading the steerer, the Stash RT looks to fit the bill. This nifty package weighs 157 grams.