An iconic TT helmet from POC, an aero race number pocket and a lightweight bivvy bag by Alpkit

Plus all the best news and reviews from BikeRadar this week

  The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.
First Look Friday

We come to the end of another week and while the Tour de France may have finished, there’s no time for a break because the WorldTour racing continues and the content train keeps on chugging.

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Of course, if you missed any of our coverage on the sport’s biggest race, there’s still time to catch up on it. Here are some of the highlights:

Away from the racing, there was still plenty going on. In a recent episode of the BikeRadar podcast, our mountain bike experts, Tom Marvin and Seb Stott, discussed whether spending money on coaching rather than your bike might be the best way to ‘upgrade’ your riding.

Tom also reviewed the “unashamedly fast” Cannondale Scalpel Hi-Mod 1 cross-country bike, and Alex Evans brought us the first entry of his long-term review of the Yeti SB165. It’s got 27.5in wheels, and Alex is keen to see if the smaller hoops can still cut it on the mountains.

Elsewhere, Matthew Loveridge took a look at the Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E, an interesting, competitively priced road bike in a new niche the cool kids are calling ‘gravel-adjacent’.

In Bike of the Week, Jack Luke took a look at an incredibly bling Trek Madone SLR, with a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, a Project One paint-job and an equally incredible £13,050 price tag.

Lastly, I’ve been testing Favero’s Assioma Duo power meter pedals for a few months now and have been very impressed. If you don’t mind using a Look-style cleat system, there’s a lot to like.

Now, though, let’s take a look at a few bits of hot new swag to land with us this week.

POC Tempor helmet

POC Tempor
The POC Tempor is a helmet conceptually similar to those usually seen in speed skiing.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Yes, we know this is not a new helmet. Long-time readers will be well aware that this is, in fact, quite an old helmet.

Originally launched at the London Olympics in 2012 on the head of Sweden’s Gustav Larsson, those who were around at the time may remember it caused quite a stir. Even at a glance, it’s obvious why; the design is quite unusual.

While most time-trial helmets are designed to mimic some sort of teardrop or aerofoil shape, POC took a different, more holistic approach and tried to use the helmet as a way of influencing the airflow over a rider’s shoulders as well as their head.

It didn’t really catch on with fashion conscious roadies though, and while a few people (us included) found it to be very fast in certain positions, it wasn’t without its issues.

In 2014, POC relented and released a more conventional time-trial helmet – the Cerebel – in response to feedback from the Garmin-Sharp professional team and a wider industry trend towards short-tail time-trial helmets (mainly thanks to Team Sky’s success with the Kask Bambino).

In recent years, the design has had something of a renaissance and reached an almost cult status in the UK time trialling scene, largely thanks to the influence of aero guru Dan Bigham and his disciples.

Most notably, the Danish men’s team pursuit squad (who were reported to be working with Bigham) demolished the world record wearing POC Tempors in February 2020, with Chris Boardman commenting the UCI should “ban them just for aesthetic reasons.”

Proving there are plenty of people who will happily wear anything if there’s a chance it will help them ride a bike faster, the discontinued helmet had become rarer than hen’s teeth, with second-hand versions occasionally popping up on eBay for well over the original RRP.

However, thanks to UCI rules surrounding the commercial availability of equipment used in its events, the Tempor is now officially back in production, and, naturally, I just had to get my hands on one.

I asked for the fluorescent orange colourway, of course, but it’s also available in hydrogen white if you want something slightly more subtle.

So, if you want to go a bit faster in a time trial (potentially) and don’t mind looking like a Stormtrooper, this could be the perfect opportunity.

NoPinz SpeedPocket

NoPinz SpeedPocket
NoPinz SpeedPockets eliminate the need to damage your skinsuit with pin holes.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

As a recent addition to the BikeRadar team, I was proud to receive one of the few Sportful skinsuits we have in squad colours, and knew the first thing I needed to do was get a NoPinz SpeedPocket added.

The point of it is simple: it’s a clear pocket for holding race numbers. NoPinz can retrofit one to your existing skinsuit or you can buy one of NoPinz’ own skinsuits with a SpeedPocket pre-installed.

In the process of fitting the SpeedPocket, NoPinz can do small repairs or alterations to your skinsuit too, which is a great way to reduce the amount of kit that might otherwise end up in the bin.

Not only does the SpeedPocket deliver a potential aerodynamic benefit, by eliminating the possibility of extra drag from a poorly attached race number, it also prolongs the life of your delicate and expensive skinsuit by negating the need to use safety pins.

Though it’s obviously dependent on how good your number pinning was, NoPinz claims a rider using a SpeedPocket will typically stand to save around 8 to 9 watts at 30mph.

This version is sized for a RTTC sized race number, but NoPinz also offers SpeedPockets designed for single or double UCI race numbers, and for track racing numbers.

Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag

Alpkit bivvy bag red
Alpkit’s Hunka is a lightweight, waterproof bivvy bag.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Now for something completely different.

At some point in the near future, I will be going on an adventure of sorts, taking on challenges well outside of my cycling comfort zone, all in the name of content.

One of these challenges will be to sleep outside in a bivvy bag for the first time in my life. To help make this a (hopefully) more pleasant experience, Alpkit has kindly sent me the latest version of its excellent Hunka bivvy bag.

Made from a 2.5 layer ripstop nylon, it has a waterproof rating of 10,000mm HH (hydrostatic head), a breathability rating of 10,000 MVP (moisture vapour perspiration), and weighs just 352g.

At a length of 215cm, it should be long enough to accommodate all but the tallest people, and it packs down to just 13x15cm, so is relatively easy to carry on the bike.

I’ve got the Chilli red colourway, but Alpkit also makes it in Kelp green or Lego blue if those are more your flavour.

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