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Heated cycling gloves, MTB tow rope, winter bib tights and indoor training energy

This week's gear highlights

First Look Friday 26 Feb 2021

Another week, another seven days closer to having to pretend you enjoy the company of others again. Is there a vaccine against bad banter?

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This week we covered a £450 rain jacket from POC, SRAM’s acquisition of pedal brand Time, and took a close look at gravel bike setup and specs.

Jack Luke told the story of an unforgettable 420km ride in Scotland, Helen Cousins gave a final verdict on her Specialized Diverge X1, and Robyn Furtado introduced her Canyon Grail 6 WMN long-termer.

Read on for this week’s gear highlights: two to keep you warm, one to keep you fuelled, and one to give a helping hand.

Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Gloves

Most riders get by with some combination of heavy gloves and possibly liners in winter, but for those of us with poor circulation or Raynaud’s syndrome, keeping hands warm in the colder months is a constant battle.

Heated gloves for cycling are one of those concepts that have been around for years but has never really hit the mainstream.

However, these gloves from Sealskinz – a brand well-known for its excellent waterproof socks – house a small lithium battery in each cuff and offer three levels of heating via elements hidden between the layers of fabric.

They claim to be waterproof and windproof, and incorporate Primaloft Gold insulation in their construction.

The gloves are mostly made from synthetic materials, but goatskin leather is used on the palms and the insides of the fingers, basically everywhere that comes into contact with the bars.

Sealskinz claims five to six hours of run-time, and charging involves taking the batteries out of their little pouches.

  • £150

Shotgun MTB Tow Rope + Kid’s Hip Pack

Do you want to take your child on proper rides but find they struggle on big climbs? A tow rope could be the solution.

This colourful option from Shotgun has a wide strap that hooks over the saddle of the towing bike, while a short length of parachute cord wraps around the stem of the towee.

The rope is elasticated and very stretchy, measuring 1.7m un-stretched but extending up to 3.3m under tension.

As you’d expect, it’s for uphill use only – you simply unhook the rope at the top of a climb and enjoy the descending independently.

Although it’s primarily aimed at children, the Shotgun is rated to pull 225kg / 500lb, meaning towing adults is feasible too.

With e-MTBs becoming ever more popular, there are plenty of riders who might want to tow a non-powered friend uphill.

Shotgun doesn’t forbid this sort of tomfoolery, but does suggest it’s probably a good idea if the towee pedals too, to ease the load on the towing bike’s motor.

As well as the tow rope, Shotgun sent us a matching hip pack (or fanny pack, or bum bag, if you prefer). It’s styled to appeal to the youth but honestly wouldn’t look out of place alongside products from mainstream hipster-approved brands, and will fit waists up to 110cm / 43in.

Shotgun calls the distinctive animal-themed print “Shred Til Bed”, words we could all live by.

  • Tow Rope + Kid’s Hip Pack Combo: £75 / $90
  • Tow rope only: £55 / $60
  • Hip pack only: £30 / $60
  • Buy now from Shotgun

Isadore ThermoRoubaix Tights 2.0

Good kit is key to winter riding pleasure and comfy bib tights are hugely important.

These longs from Isadore are pitched as an “early winter” option. They make extensive use of brushed fabric for warmth and have a DWR coating to help repel water and dirt.

Why early winter? Isadore also offers two heavier-duty options, the Medio ThemoRoubaix and Ovada Deep Winter tights, which add extra insulation and wind-resistant fabric for seriously cold weather.

The ThermoRoubaix 2.0 tights are made up of many panels and include sections of ‘micro perforated’ breathable fabric in areas where it’s deemed useful, i.e. the back of the knees, the foot stirrups and the upper back.

There are strategically placed reflectives for visibility and, just in case this is the sort of thing that tickles your environmental pickle, one of the two fabrics the tights are made from is 17 per cent recycled elastane and 83 per cent recycled nylon. So there.

Science in Sport Turbo+ energy drink and gels

Turbo-specific energy products? Apparently so. If the boom in indoor cycling had escaped your attention (where have you been?), then the launch of the Turbo+ range of energy products from Science in Sport is testament to the popularity of Zwift and other training apps.

Science in Sports says the Turbo+ gels contain menthol to improve the ability to tolerate hot environments and make it easier to breathe, plus there’s caffeine for a pre-workout kick. There’s also 22g of carbohydrate per gel, along with beta-alanine and L-carnitine to “facilitate improved muscle buffering”, according to SIS.

The Turbo+ energy drink (it comes in powder-form to be mixed before your interval session) differs from a normal drink in that it’s designed to be rinsed around the mouth for five to 10 seconds before swallowing. Science in Sport recommends doing this every five to 10 minutes.

Like the gels, the energy drink contains menthol, plus there’s a healthy dose of sodium to replace the salt lost through sweating (indoor training is sweaty business). Both the gels and drink come in a blueberry flavour.

Whether you need turbo-specific energy products (or turbo-specific anything) is another matter, but if you do then Science in Sport has that covered.

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