SDG’s new Bel Air saddle, POC’s mega-bucks Tectal helmet and a Troy Lee Designs jersey

Plus highlights from across 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

Across parts of the world, we’ve been enjoying a gradual relaxation of the lockdown rules that were imposed by governments earlier in the year.

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That means we’ve been allowed to spend more time on our bikes doing the things we love and, in some countries, with more people from different households.

On BikeRadar, we’ve been trying to keep you informed about the latest and most exciting kit that’s been released such as Specialized’s brand-new 3D printed Power saddle, Roval’s super-lightweight climbing wheels and SR Suntour’s $500 GVX gravel suspension fork.

We’re also aware that more people than ever are getting into cycling, whether that’s for recreation and exercise or just travelling from one place to another as a form of transport.

So, if you’re looking for a new bike, be sure to check out our road bike buyer’s guide, mountain bike buyer’s guide and our podcast in buying a used bike.

We’ve also tried to entertain, and Tom’s opinion on the death of I-Beam saddle and seatpost standard is sure to spark up an opinion or two.

Finally, we’ve said farewell to our much-loved, ultra-fit, dog-owning, hill climbing, cross-country mountain bike riding hooligan Joe Norledge, who’s moved to pastures new to work for another YouTube channel.

Joe holds a special place in the hearts of all of BikeRadar’s staff and will be sadly missed but not quickly forgotten.

SDG Bel Air 3 saddle

SDG Belair 3 bicycle saddle
The hull’s colour matches the SDG logos.
Alex Evans

First launched back in 1995, the SDG Bel Air saddle has become one of the most iconic perches, with SDG having sold over one million examples of their ever-popular model.

Although the new Bel Air 3 retains some of the original’s looks by keeping a slightly raised rear and its 140mm width, it also gets a host of updates.

The saddle’s been on a bit of diet with the overall length decreasing to 260mm, by lopping a part of its nose off, and its shoulders have been slimmed down in size too. Although its dimensions have reduced slightly, SDG has kept plenty of padding for seated comfort.

There’s a perineum nerve pressure relief channel that runs the full length of the saddle and it’s backed up by a large cut-out in the hull directly underneath the pressure relief channel, which is designed to improve comfort further.

The saddle’s hull is said to have flexible edges enhanced by built-in flex where the rails attach and there’s a stiff centre for ‘efficient pedalling’.

The cover is seamless with no bumps, stitches or hard-wearing shoulders for a clean look.

And its padding is made from a mid-density injection moulded EVA foam. It’s available with carbon rails (181g), lux-alloy rails (236g) or black steel rails (318g).

It can be bought in eight colours and costs from £54.95 for the steel-railed model up to £179.95 for the carbon saddle.

  • From £54.95 to £179.95

POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet

POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC mountain bike helmet
The bold mono block colours are very on brand.
Alex Evans

It’s tricky to put a price on your personal safety, but the POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC lid certainly puts that theory to test with a £220 / €250 / $250 price tag.

So what do you get for that impressive asking price, then? Not only does it have SPIN – POC’s proprietary tech that works in a similar way to MIPS, reducing the transfer of rotational forces into the brain – but it also features a host of other bits of potentially life-saving kit.

It’s got an integrated medical ID chip that’s readable by compatible near-field communication (NFC) devices. The chip can store your medical information so if you’ve been knocked unconscious or can’t respond to a first aider’s questions, they can treat you appropriately.

There’s also a RECCO Reflector built-in. This is the same radar reflection tech used by emergency services when they’re scanning for people trapped in avalanches. For an MTB lid, this means if you’re injured in the wilderness and unresponsive, you’re more likely to be found.

A polycarbonate shell covers the EPS foam liner to help protect it from damage. This protection is enhanced thanks to an Aramid Bridge that, POC claims, improves the structural strength of the lid.

It’s got an adjustable visor, a goggle clip and adjustable retention cradle. Our size medium weighs 379g.

The best news about the Tectal Race SPIN NFC lid is that it scored five out of five stars in Virginia Tech’s independent helmet test.

  • £220 / €250 / $250

Troy Lee Designs Flowline long-sleeve jersey

The Flowline jersey is simple and discrete, which is a bit of departure from TLD’s old-skool love of skulls, cogs and fire motifs, and that’s no bad thing.

It’s made from Troy Lee Designs Dura Knit fabric and, like a lot of Patagonia’s kit, is Bluesign certified, and claimed to have wicking and quick-drying properties.

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It feels airy and comfortable when worn so keep tuned for a full review soon.