Hello dear readers and welcome to this week’s edition of First Look Friday. We’ve got a packed edition today, with some rather divisive white tyres from Schwalbe, some shiny new sunnies from Rapha to protect your eyes from the glare of said tyres, a cool tool roll from Wizard Works and some tasty on-bike vegan nutrition.
If that isn’t quite enough for you, you’re in for a treat – this week has been stuffed to the gunnels with new tech from across the world of cycling.
We rounded out last week with our coverage from the 2022 Cycle Show at Alexandra Palace in London. Key news included the release of Chris King’s first-ever wheelset to use its own rims, Reilly’s aero titanium bike and Mini Cooper’s (yes, that Mini Cooper) re-entry into the cycling market. Cannondale also leaked details of its updated Topstone Alloy gravel bike.
This week saw the release of Quoc’s SPD-compatible Chelsea Boots, the news that Wahoo has purchased RGT Cycling and Cadex teasing a new wide-stance triathlon/time-trial bike.
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Schwalbe Pro One x Spartacus tyres
This limited x Spartacus edition honours the great Fabian Cancellara. The white colour is inspired by the world time trial champion’s jersey that Spartacus wore for four seasons.
Look closely and you’ll see stripes of colour on the sidewalls: yellow for Cancellara’s 29 days in the Tour de France Yellow Jersey, red for his Swiss nationality and blue for the Tour of Flanders he won three times. Together, they make up the colours of the West Flanders flag.
Speaking to BikeRadar at the Cycle Show, Schwalbe’s Tim Ward said creating a white tyre was “technically more difficult” than black.
In a standard tyre, he explained: “There is a carbon black filler that goes into the rubber mix compound, which gives you the black colour.
“Going away from that means using more silica, which gives more grip but encourages the wear rate.
“The carbon black filler also helps protect the tyre rubber against UV light degradation, and if you take that out you have got to use other compounds to replace them.
“Technically, in terms of its construction the tyre isn’t significantly different from a normal Pro One.
“But the white rubber compound is, and making it performance-wise on par with a normal black rubber compound is technically more difficult.”
Schwalbe says the 28mm Pro One x Spartacus tyres are designed to be run tubeless and feature the Addix Race Compound for “minimal rolling resistance and maximum grip”.
- €72.50 each, limited to 2,000 pieces
Wizard Works Mag-Neato tool roll
Some riders prefer a tool roll to a saddle bag for carrying ride essentials. The best bike saddle bags may be spacious and have a zip for security, but I still find they sway and cause my multi-tool to rattle.
Like other tool rolls, the Wizard Works Mag-Neato tool roll’s straps loop through the saddle rails.
Measuring 27cm wide and 23cm high when unfurled, the Wizard Works Mag-Neato has four pockets for dividing your items. There’s room for a large inner tube, tyre levers, multi-tool and gas canisters or small pump.
The pockets are made from cordura, which does stretch a little, according to Wizard Works. The Mag-Neato’s outer fabric is also cordura and the roll is lined with a recycled polyester “for extra durability”.
Rapha Explore Sunglasses
Unlike most of the best cycling glasses, which are road-oriented, the Explores are designed “for off-road riding and all-day adventures”, according to the brand.
Rapha says the Explore Sunglasses are made from “lightweight and durable” injection-moulded Grilamid. There’s no bar beneath the lens in order not to impede your line of sight.
The lens also feature the brand’s own Rider Optimised Surface Enhancement technology. Rapha claims this boosts contrast on all road surfaces, enabling you to spot hazards sooner and see more clearly.
In addition, the lenses are said to be scratch-resistant and repel dust and spray without fogging up.
The bronze lens I chose let in 12 per cent of light, slightly more than the 10 per cent on the black lens. All pairs come with interchangeable clear lenses, which take seconds to switch in.
Rapha says the Megol arm grippers help the Explore Sunglasses stay on your face when riding off-road. You can also hang the removable security strap around your neck. Strap included, the Explores weigh 32g.
- £130 / $180 / AU$230 / €155
Rawvelo taster pack
Rawvelo makes vegan and organic sports nutrition products it says “support your performance while pleasing your tastebuds”. The endurance-focused company has been around since 2018, but rebranded this year.
The brand also says its “100% natural” products are packed with energy and easy to digest. Rawvelo claims its range is more nutritious than most sports nutrition – the base of the bars is dates and almonds, while its hydration mixes are mainly coconut water.
Rawvelo is a member of the 1% for the Planet business collective, which pledges to donate one per cent of revenue to help solve environmental issues. It claims sachet and bar packaging is easily recyclable and gel wrappers can be posted back to the company for recycling.
The taster pack is a selection of Rawvelo’s best-selling products. For £11.99, you get three energy bars, two gels and a hydration sachet.
Mine comprises classic flavours such as chocolate orange and peanut butter jelly bars, along with the more unusual, such as the blueberry and hibiscus caffeine gel.
As a typical example of Rawvelo’s ingredients, a 45g chocolate and walnut bar is mainly organic date paste, ground almonds, walnuts and cocoa powder sweetened with maple syrup. It packs a nutritional punch, with 199 calories, 23.4g carbohydrates (17.1g from sugar) and 4.3g protein.