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A ‘cheap’ gravel suspension fork, an oh-so-fancy digital torque wrench, a pressure washer and more

Plus Hunt's cheapest alloy rim-brake road wheelset

A 'cheap' gravel suspension fork, an oh-so-fancy digital torque wrench, a pressure washer and more

Don your ceremonial feasting robes for the lords of bike tech hath bestowed upon us a smorgasbord of the freshest bike swag going for you tech-mad hungry hippos to devour with this week’s edition of First Look Friday.

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We have a power washer from Bosch, a gravel suspension fork from Suntour, Hunt’s cheapest alloy rim-brake wheelset and an oh-so-fancy digital torque wrench from PRO.

If that isn’t quite enough for you, let’s look through the highlights from this past week on BikeRadar.

Kicking off our week, we had the notoriously cold (but never cold-hearted) Matthew Loveridge extolling the virtues of taking hot drinks on rides.

We then saw a flurry of bike launches from Cannondale, Canyon, Propain, YT and Ragley – what a week!

Along the way, we also saw Simon report back on his Giant TCR Advanced Pro long-term test bike and rounded up the best electric mountain bikes we have tested.

Bosch Fontus power washer

Bosch Fontus power washer
The Bosch Fontus is a power washer that, I hope, will make my life better.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The Bosch Fontus is a portable battery-powered power washer with an in-built 15-litre tank, and I’m hoping it is the answer to my bike washing woes.

I live in a terraced house that looks out onto the street. There is no access to the rear of our home and no standpipe at the front of the house.

Running a hose through the house is a nightmare and, in any case, at the end of a wet and muddy ride, the last thing I want to do is traipse through the house to set it up.

After one particularly grim ride, I resolved to find a better solution and eventually settled on the Fontus.

There are a number of washers on the market similar to the Fontus (we’ve reviewed a number of them) but, for me, this struck the right balance of having a decent-sized tank, good run time and relative portability.

I find the idea of having to drive to the start of a ride perverse (not least during a pandemic), so portability isn’t a massive concern for me. That said, packed away, the Fontus isn’t so large that it would be inconvenient to pop in the boot of a car.

Set up is straightforward. The hose is attached using a locking quarter turn connector, with the gun attaching to the end of that. The included gun and brush are stored within a hinged door on the front of the washer.

Bosch claims the Fontus skooshes out 15-bar of pressure. The brand’s lowest-powered mains pressure washer ramps that up to 120 bars, so this should be much kinder to bearings.

I am going to follow up with a full review on BikeRadar this month, so stay tuned for more info soon.

  • Without battery: £206.99 (international pricing TBC)
  • With battery: £269.99 (international pricing TBC)

Elite Fly MTB bidons with lid

Elite Jet MTB bottle
The Elite Jet MTB features a clip that covers the mouthpiece of the bottle.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

I have got so, so, so bored of drinking from dirty cycling bottles this winter.

One particularly muddy ride around Bristol that left my bottle caked in field runoff was enough to put me off gravel riding for a few weeks, so I set out on the hunt for the perfect bidon.

Enter the Elite Fly MTB – a simple cycling water bottle that integrates a clip-top lid onto the cap of the bottle.

The cap completely covers the mouthpiece of the bottle and should keep it clean – and, thus, your tummy (hopefully) E. coli free.

Elite Jet MTB bottle
The bottle is eminently squishable.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The bottle itself is also very nice. It’s made of a super-flexible plastic that leaves no trace of deformation even after the most violent of squeezes. The nozzle also comes apart easily for cleaning, and allows for a generous skoosh of water.

For mountain bikers, gravel riders, or those foolish enough to ride in the winter without mudguards, these could save you from an afternoon of porcelain romance.

The bottle is available in 550ml, 750ml and 950ml sizes, and comes in white or black.

I rather wish it was available in jazzier options but, for now, I am merely satisfied knowing that I am not gulping down clumps of animal poo with each sip of water.

SR Suntour GVX gravel suspension fork

SR Suntour GVX gravel fork
The GVX was launched last June.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The SR Suntour GVX is a new-ish gravel bike suspension fork that launched in June last year.

Priced at ‘just’ $500, it seriously undercuts all of the other commonly-available suspension gravel forks on the market. For comparison, the Fox AX gravel fork, which is based on a modified 32 fork, comes in at around $1,000.

The air-sprung SR Suntour GVX is based on 32mm alloy stanchions. The travel is adjustable to 40mm, 50mm or 60mm. This gives the fork an axle-to-crown length of 436mm in its shorter travel setting, growing to 456mm in its longest.

Picking a random gravel bike as an example, the Arc8 Eero has an axle-to-crown length of 395mm. At the gnarlier end of the spectrum, the Focus Atlas that I tested in January has an axle-to-crown length of 420mm.

All of this is to say that no matter what stock bike you put it on, the fork is going to mess with your bike’s geometry. It is also almost certain that it will void the warranty too.

There are, of course, exceptions – something like the Salsa Cutthroat is officially compatible with suspension forks, but it’s an exception. If you want to run the fork, I advise you consult your manufacturer.
SR Suntour GVX gravel fork
Look at those adorable little stanchions.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Most suspension forks – gravel or otherwise – use a combination of offset at the crown as well as the dropouts to provide the desired overall offset.

The GVX goes down a different path, losing the offset at the dropouts and using an angled crown to provide between 47mm and 45mm of offset depending on the travel of the fork. This gives the GVX a linear non-offset look, a bit like a conventional fork if you squint.

The fork has clearances for tyres up to 45mm wide with a 700c wheel or 50mm with a 650b wheel. It’s designed for flat-mount brake calipers, will work with either 12mm or 15mm thru-axles, and even has mounts for mudguards in addition to the included mini fender.

SR Suntour GVX gravel fork
I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in with testing this fork.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The GVX is a bit of an odd proposition as an aftermarket option, but I’m not opposed to it.

I was pleasantly surprised by quite how much I enjoyed the FutureShock system on the Specialized Diverge, so I will (as always) keep an open mind as I get stuck into reviewing this fork.

Of course, my enthusiasm doesn’t change the fact that few mainstream bikes on the market will be officially compatible with it. Stay tuned for further updates on the fork and more gravel suspension discussion on BikeRadar in the coming months.

  • $500 / £499 / €499 / AU$N/A

Hunt 4 Season Aero road wheelset

Hunt 4 Season Aero road wheelset
I’ve already started giving these wheels a good thrashing.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Hunt’s 4 Season Aero wheelset is its cheapest rim brake wheelset at £349. Designed for dependable year-round, hassle-free riding, the wheels are built around a 19mm wide (internal) rim that measures 28mm deep.

Included within the box is a pair of external cam quick releases, a cassette spacer and three replacement spokes.

Hunt 4 Season Aero road wheelset
The wheels measure 19mm-wide internally.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The latter is the most notable inclusion – although the wheelset is built with standard bladed J-bend spokes, having a few to hand is no bad thing.

If you want to take them with you on the bike, I recommend taping them to the inside of your seatpost.

The front wheel is laced with 24 spokes radially and 28 spokes in a two-cross pattern at the rear.

Hunt 4 Season Aero road wheelset
Any wheelset that claims to be ‘all-season’ should be built with brass nipples.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The build uses brass nipples, which is essential on any wheelset designed for all-season use – alloy nipples can save a small amount of weight, but are more prone to corrosion and seizing in the long run.

Hunt 4 Season Aero road wheelset
I’m testing the wheels with a pair of Pirelli Cinturato tyres.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The wheels are tubeless-ready and I will be running these with 28mm-wide Pirelli Cinturato tyres.

The bearings are said to be an upgraded spec option, which have increased sealing on the outside exposed face with low-friction seals on the internal face.

These are due to be fitted to my All-City Mr Pink and will be subjected to a thorough thrashing this winter and spring. Stay tuned to BikeRadar for a full review later in the year.

PRO Team digital torque wrench

PRO Team digital torque wrench
A digital torque wrench could be a useful addition to the workshop of a mechanic who already has ever other tool under the sun.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Pretty much every single bolt on your bike will now specify a precise torque value. This makes a torque wrench an invaluable investment for any committed home mechanic.

If a plain ol’ analogue torque wrench won’t cut it, a digital torque wrench could be the answer.

PRO – the component and tool brand of Shimano – released a suite of new tools back in November and this oh-so-shiny digital torque wrench was among them.

PRO Team digital torque wrench
You know the torque wrench is digital because it has binary 1’s and 0’s moulded into the case.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

The wrench is said to be +/- 3 per cent accurate across a torque range of 1Nm to 25Nm. Once you hit your specified torque, you get a cheerful little beep.

PRO Team digital torque wrench
You can choose between three different units.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

If you’re a full-time curmudgeon, you can also have the torque wrench display in ft/lb, in/lb or kg/cm.

The whole unit comes neatly packaged up in its own case and ships with six hex bits, two Torx heads and a ¼in adaptor.

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  • $250 / €199.95 / AU$350 / £N/A