It’s the end of the working week and that can only mean one thing – your weekly adrenaline hit of the latest red-hot tech to land at BikeRadar HQ.
Before we unveil this week’s quintet of goodies, let’s recap on the week just gone.
We’ll first jump back to last Friday afternoon, when deputy editor Jack Luke analysed the possible after-effects of Shimano’s crankset recall, where the arms are susceptible to de-bonding and delamination. No fewer than 4,519 incidents have been reported of the cranksets separating in the US alone.
We’ve now learnt 2.8 million cranksets are covered globally, affecting the brand’s Ultegra 6800/R8000 and Dura-Ace 9000, R9100 and R9100-P models. Is simply inspecting them and not replacing them until they show signs of damage enough?
Outside of crankgate, we were treated to managing editor Gary Walker’s review of the Sony LinkBuds wireless headphones. The former music journalist came away very impressed by their light weight and clear sound, while facilitating safe cycling.
In a complete 180 from banging beats, digital writer Jack Evans took one for the team and sampled a cocktail of the latest energy drinks, picking out his top choices he thinks you should spend your hard-earned cash on.
Jack’s stomach must be made of hardy stuff, because he’s also recently partaken in a sodium bicarbonate trial, and didn’t suffer any after-effects.
Finally, senior technical editor Ashley Quinlan brought us news and some first impressions of the new Specialized Creo 2. The bike has shifted further into the gravel genre, with clearance for 57mm/2.2in gravel bike tyres and inherits the Future Shock 3.0, which debuted on the Roubaix SL8.
POC Elicit Ti glasses
POC’s Elicit Ti is a 3D-printed titanium version of its frameless Elicit sunglasses that are its lightest shades yet by a whole gram (yes, you read that correctly).
Weighing in at a feathery 22g, the Sweden-manufactured, non-folding cycling glasses are constructed from recovered medical-grade titanium – or in plainer speak, waste generated in making surgical tools.
The brand says it wanted to combine “sustainable thinking with a strong focus on performance”.
POC says the titanium starts as a large powder block and after the temples are solidified, the rest is blown away and reformulated into another block that can be used again. The open lattice-like design of the temples is claimed to promote rigidity and reduce weight over what POC calls the ‘Grilamid plastic’ used on the standard Elicits.
Outside of the titanium trinkets, you won’t find too many differences from the Elicits. The Elicit Tis come with a Violet Silver Mirror lens, as well as a spare clear option in the box.
The large, frameless lenses are curved to enhance coverage and two sizes of nosepiece are provided to customise fit. The lens is treated with POC’s RiPel coating, which is claimed to protect them from dirt, water, sweat and other contaminants, as well as an anti-scratch treatment.
The Elicit Tis are a rather decadent purchase, retailing for £130 more than the standard Elicits. If you want a set of these glasses, you’d better be quick because there are only 365 available.
Miss Grape ILCOSO
Miss Grape’s ILCOSO, which translates as ‘The Thing’, is a modular mount that attaches to your handlebar and enables a bar bag to be attached underneath it. It’s quite unlike anything else on the market and solves a number of typical handlebar bag shortcomings.
The fact the bag doesn’t need to be strapped to your frame means you can avoid potential paint abrasion, nor do you need to worry about your bag interfering with any brake and gear cables.
There’s also space to install a phone, bike computer mount or a front light on the optional upper accessory mount – these items can be tricky to mount when you have to factor in a traditional handlebar bag.
The ILCOSO can be installed on flat or drop handlebars and the holder is made of a PA6 polyamide, which Miss Grape says allows for optimum elasticity, strength and low weight. The instrument-holder tube is made of anodised aluminium.
Miss Grape says the ILCOSO is safe to mount on either aluminum or carbon handlebars, although it’ll currently only work with 31.8mm-diameter bars. The Italian brand says it is developing a 35mm-bar compatible version.
With the ILCOSO in place, you then simply install your preferred dry bag into the cradle. The maximum bag diameter is 19cm, according to Miss Grape, and the load capacity is rated to 3kg.
Miss Grape offers its Trunk 8 and Trunk 16 Waterproof bags in its range, the latter of which I have here.
I’m looking forward to seeing if the ILCOSO system can eliminate these common handlebar bag woes on my next bikepacking trip.
- Miss Grape ILCOSO – €128 (dry bag sold separately)
- Miss Grape Trunk 8 Waterproof Bag – €59
- Miss Grape Trunk 16 Waterproof Bag – €66
Lake MX238 Gravel shoes
The Dutch brand says it has tried to combine the comfort and performance of a road cycling shoe with the walking ability of an MTB shoe, without excess weight or bulk.
The MX238 Gravels feature Lake’s MX Competition Last. This sees a larger toebox and tighter heel than its MX Comfort Last and slightly more volume over its MX Sport Last.
Lake specs its Competition 100% Carbon Fibre Sole, with a Mountain Race X Real Rubber Sole bonded on top. The rubber sole has plenty of tread, which I’m hoping will come in useful for hike-a-bike moments and negotiating sloppy terrain.
This particular Black Suede/Gold colourway uses an ECCO Fullgrain Suede Leather upper. The two other available colors (Beetle/Black Microfibre and White/Black Microfibre) instead rely on a Clarino Microfiber, a Japanese-engineered material designed to emulate leather as closely as possible, while being 30 per cent lighter.
Lake integrates strategically placed perforations for ventilation towards either side of the foot of the shoe.
Closing the MX238 Gravels are a set of tried-and-tested BOA Li2 dials.
They’re available in EU sizes 36 all the way up to 50, with half sizes offered between 39.5 and 46.5. You can also choose between a Regular and Wide fit – I’ve opted for the Regular width in a size 45.
The shoes weigh 826g for the pair on our Scales of Truth.
Velocio road clothing
Velocio originally launched with a women’s collection in 2014 before diversifying into various road and gravel sub-genres of clothing, all with the aim of using sustainably sourced materials.
Velocio Ombre Ultralight Mesh jersey
Velocio’s Ombre Ultralight Mesh jersey is designed for the hottest days in the saddle and is claimed to incorporate 88 per cent recycled materials in its construction.
The jersey has the same fit as the brand’s performance-focused Concept Merino Jersey, with the mesh fabric claimed to offer unparalleled breathability and slightly more compression.
A 25mm elastic waist gripper is designed to keep the jersey in place. There are four pockets out back for storing your essentials.
The jersey is available in three colours – Deep Sea, Oxide Red and Meringue, in sizes XS to 4XL.
I tested the jersey on a 330km audax a couple of weeks ago and it’s quickly become one of my favourites. It’s plenty breathable, doesn’t have too constricting a fit and seems as if it may be more versatile than some of my other hot-weather favourites.
Velocio Luxe Bib Shorts
The centrepiece of the Luxe collection is these Italian-made long-distance bib shorts, recommended for 15-30°C temperatures.
Velocio also offers its Women’s Luxe Bib Shorts, which use a 4cm shorter inseam length and an easy-pee function. Contributor Katherine Moore awarded them 4.5 stars.
The shorts have a 63 per cent polyamide and 37 per cent elastane mix, and use a three-panel design, resulting in fewer seams. Fewer seams typically result in lighter weight and increased comfort, which sounds just the ticket.
Velocio says the Luxe bib shorts offer the most compression out of its range and specs an Elastic Interface Signature HD chamois. This is a dual-density pad, which incorporates an anti-vibration, super-high density layer with a supportive high-density layer to create all-day comfort and support.
Reflective logos are included for added visibility and a minimal striped leg gripper keeps the shorts secure.
They’re available in sizes XS to 4XL and seven different colours, so there should be a matching option for your cycling kit. I’ve opted for a size large in Black.
I’m looking forward to putting these to the test and wonder if they’ll become my go-to for bikepacking and audax escapades.
Velocio Luxe gloves
Rounding out the Luxe range, these gloves eschew Velcro for a minimalist design and use Velocio’s Luxe fabric back, the same material found in the Luxe bib shorts.
The durable synthetic palm is strategically padded and the back panel is rated to UPF50.
There are seven colours and five sizes, from XS to XL. I’ve opted for M in Black.
- Velocio Ombre Ultralight Mesh Jersey – £158/$189/€170/AU$227
- Velocio Luxe Bib Shorts – £279/$279/€251/AU$335
- Velocio Luxe Glove – £41/$49/€45/AU$59
Bridgedale MTB socks
A bonus inclusion, Bridgedale is a British brand that only makes socks for all manner of outdoor activities. The brand has recently branched out into mountain biking and has sent us three options that encompass all seasons.
Bridgedale says it wanted its range of foot-specific socks to provide suitable levels of warmth, a precise fit, reduce underfoot vibration and protect the ankle and Achilles tendon.
Do they deliver? These socks are destined for senior technical editor Tom Marvin’s tootsies, who will no doubt put them through their paces in the autumnal and winter slop.
- Bridgedale MTB Winter Weight T2 socks – £25
- Bridgedale MTB Mid-Season Weight T2 socks – £24
- Bridgedale MTB Summer Weight T2 socks – £21