The pandemic may be growing tedious at this point, but it’s been another big week in bikes, with new products coming thick and fast.
Cannondale went one-legged and full-sus with its Topstone gravel bike and launched an ebike version at the same time, while Zipp launched a new bells-and-whistles 303 Firecrest and the £850 Vitus Sentier 29 hardtail earned praise for its all-round spec and sorted geometry.
Closer to home, editor George Scott gave us the run-down on his lovely Shimano GRX Di2 Mason Bokeh gravel build, while we got a long-termer update on Tom Marvin’s Hope HB.130 trail bike and, with many of you planning to ride to work for the first time, we’ve updated our advice for budding bike commuters.
Read on for the latest kit to arrive on BikeRadar’s various doorsteps.
DT Swiss PRC 1100 Dicut Mon Chasseral wheels
DT Swiss launched its newest climbing-focused Mon Chasseral wheels last month and we’ve got our hands on a set.
Once a spindly aluminium rim-brake offering, the latest Mon Chasseral is a tubeless disc-brake design using 24mm-deep carbon rims built on premium hubs.
The headline-grabbing spec detail was the claimed weight of 1,266g, and I can confirm that they really are that light, around 4g under in fact on my scales (including tape but not valves, which add about 8g).
In-house components have always been central to DT Swiss’s wheels, and the Mon Chasserals are built on a variant of the lightweight 180 hub, with the latest Ratchet EXP internals that’s also featured in the recent update to the benchmark 240 hub.
With hooked rims that measure a mere 18mm internally, the Mon Chasserals are aimed very much at the higher-pressure road end of the tubeless spectrum rather than squishy gravel tyres.
DT Swiss’s own charts recommend a maximum pressure of 7 bar (102psi) for a tubeless 25mm tyre or 6.3 bar (91psi) for a 28, and unlike some of the latest rims from the competition that have hookless rims, these have bead hooks and can therefore be used with conventional clinchers.
While running wider rubber is certainly possible, the rims are optimised for 25s, according to the brand.
Like all DT Swiss hubs, the Mon Chasserals’ 180s pull apart by hand for easy cleaning. Having said that, full disassembly requires a proprietary tool to remove the threaded ratchet ring from the rear hub body.
These wheels are quite understated but feel beautifully made. Can they justify their immense price tag? We’re eager to find out.
- £2,649.99 / €2,948 / $3,734
- Find out more at DT Swiss
Park Tool BKD-1 bleed kit
Park Tool offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of bike tools on the market, but a proper disc brake maintenance kit was notably absent until it launched two of them at the start of the year.
This is the DOT fluid version (for the likes of SRAM brakes), the BKD-1. A separate mineral-oil specific kit called the BKM-1 (for Shimano and others) is also available.
The BKD-1 includes two syringes, tubing and a selection of adaptors to fit different systems, plus replacement o-rings for those adaptors.
There’s a chunky syringe holder, and two universal bleed blocks. Oh, and it all lives in a sturdy plastic briefcase.
Park Tool completists will appreciate the heft of the syringes compared to the disposable variety but the BKD-1’s price tag might raise a few eyebrows.
Realistically, this is a product aimed more at pro bike mechanics who need a do-it-all solution than amateurs maintaining a single type of brake, although doubtless some of you are itching to pony up for both versions to cover all bases.
- £99.99 / $117.95
- Find out more at Park Tool
Temple Cycles stainless bottle cages
We appreciate a stylish bottle cage at BikeRadar, and these stainless steel ones from Bristol-based Temple Cycles are as simple and elegant as they come.
Weighing 43g each, they aren’t quite as robust feeling as Arundel’s stainless option (a personal favourite of mine), but that doesn’t have much bearing on how they actually perform.
What I can say with confidence is they look absolutely lovely on the Genesis Croix de Fer I recently built as a Shimano GRX testbed.
Steel cages will never be the lightest option, but they feel right on a bike with a frame made of the same stuff.
At the time of writing, the cages are showing as sold out, but Temple Cycles tells us new stock is imminent.
Pirelli Cinturato gravel tyres
Pirelli launched its range of gravel tyres last year, with 35mm, 40mm and 45mm options for 700c rims, and 45mm and 50mm options for 650b. All are tubeless-ready and available in a choice of black or tan wall.
The brand splits its range down the middle, with slightly ambiguous ‘Hard Terrain’ and ‘Mixed Terrain’ options.
This tyre here is the former, and “hard” is used in the most literal sense, i.e. the opposite of soft. This means the tyre is designed for compacted surfaces such as dirt, non-loose gravel and tarmac, rather than mud or loose gravel.
The Gravel M (or Mixed Terrain) is chunkier, and it’s meant for rides where the surface varies between loose and compacted.
The Gravel H (or Hard Terrain) is therefore arguably the more versatile tyre inasmuch as it’s likely to be better suited to rides that take you both on and off road. It features a fairly low-profile, closely-spaced chevron tread with slightly wider-spaced knobs on the shoulders.
Both flavours of the Cinturato Gravel have a 127 TPI casing with a bead-to-bead anti-puncture layer. They make use of Pirelli’s SpeedGRIP compound, which claims to be formulated for both wet and dry conditions.
Claimed weight for a 700 × 35mm Gravel H is 410g but the set I have here are somewhat heavier at an average of 454g per tyre.