It’s been a busy couple of weeks at BikeRadar’s virtual towers thanks to a host of drool-worthy – and in some cases rather expensive – kit being released from a host of big brands.
Not least of which was Specialized’s brand new Aethos road bike, the range-topping Founders Edition model breaking bank balances around the globe thanks to its £13,000 / $14,500 / AU$22,000 price tag.
In the (slightly) more sensible world of mountain bikes, Specialized was at it again with its brand-new ever-popular Stumpjumper trail bike (after releasing the gnarlier Stumpjumper Evo last week). I managed to spend some time on the bike in the Tweed Valley in Scotland, so be sure to check out my initial impressions here.
We’ve also seen Nukeproof launch a brand new 2021 Mega – its Enduro World Series-winning, Sam Hill-riding monster – that now has an updated frame with space for a water bottle inside the front triangle.
We’ve also tested a Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV, awarding it four out of five stars, Specialized’s Turbo Vado SL 4.0 electric bike and Canyon’s (slightly more) budget-friendly Spectral:ON electric mountain bike.
And because it’s hill climb season in the road cycling world, we’ve listed our top picks for bikes that love to ascend.
Pembree R1V flat pedals
You shouldn’t let the 621g weight for a pair of R1V pedals from UK brand Pembree bother you because they’ve been made to last.
Not only do they have SKF sealed ball and needle bearings – two cartridge ball bearings are located on the outboard end of the pedal, while the needle bearing is closest to the pedal crank – that run on a hardened stainless steel axle, there’s also a dedicated spindle seal made from Nitrile rubber to really help keep the crud from penetrating the inside of the pedal’s body.
The pedal’s main body (its black section) has a concave shape to help improve grip, it also has chamfered edges to help shed mud build-up on the platform and deflect rock strikes.
It’s made from 2014 T6 alloy that Pembree says is significantly stronger than the alloy used in most other pedals on the market. On top of that, it’s increased the thickness of the anodising to keep them looking fresh for longer.
The ‘traction plates’ – the bronze sections of the pedal where the majority of the pins are located – are replaceable should they break, and are also made from the same 2014 T6 alloy as the body so should resist damage well. They’re fastened to the pedal body using two Torx bolts per end.
There are ten stainless steel pins per side, each replaceable and removable.
Pembree also prides itself on sustainable manufacturing processes and each of the pedal’s parts are easily recyclable by Pembree.
The pedals are carbon neutral – including transportation to the customer – and the Pembree factory uses 100 per cent renewable energy. The pedals are delivered in card and paper packaging that can be recycled and any waste material from the manufacturing process is also recycled.
Check out the Pembree website for more information.
- £179 / $232 / €197.38 / AU$324.63
DT Swiss EXC 1501 Spline One wheelset
DT Swiss’s 1501 wheelset has been a go-to favourite for enduro racers thanks to its no-nonsense performance, easy to maintain hub and fairly light weight.
So when DT Swiss announced the 1501s would be transitioning from aluminium to carbon rims along with a price hike, it came as a bit of a surprise.
However, the updated 240 hub with Ratchet EXP freehub, DT Competition Race spokes and decreased rim weight – thanks to the use of carbon – all make for a compelling package despite the $1,899 / €1,499 price tag.
The enduro wheels, denoted by the EXC name, feature a 30mm internal width and weigh 919g for the rear wheel with XD freehub driver and 148×12 axle spacing, and 833g for a Boost 110×15 front wheel.
I’m going to spend some time on the more expensive 1501s soon, so stay tuned for a full review.
- From $1,899 / €1,499
Fox Vue goggles
Fox’s Vue goggles have been developed to provide a wide field of vision thanks to the ‘outrigger’ design. This is where the goggles’ straps are mounted to an extra structure either side of the frame to increase the lens’s width and therefore, to use Fox’s words, the “viewport”.
The lens is a pre-shaped polycarbonate affair that should help reduce distortion and improve optical clarity while protecting your eyes should the worst happen. It also has post mounts for tear-offs, of which five were supplied with the goggles.
The frame is made from an ABS and nylon mix that’s claimed to be super-durable.
The 45mm strap has a silicone band to help it grip helmets and keep the goggles in place.
- From £100 / $134.95 / €110
Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II
Endura recently revamped its MT500 range with a host of updates including a focus on durability to increase the lifespan of its garments and reduce landfill. The Scottish brand has also started an initiative to plant one million trees per year to offset its emissions. It’s admirable stuff.
The MT500 Waterproof Trousers II are made from Endura’s ExoShell40DR material that’s claimed to be waterproof and breathable, thanks to a fluorine membrane sandwiched between the inner soft-touch fabric and outer durable shell. The outer layer is treated with a poly-fluorinated chemical (PFC)-free DWR coating to help repel water.
The trousers are available in sizes small to extra-extra-large.
- £179.99 / $249.99 / €214.99