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Shimano’s new entry-level gravel shoes, limited-edition Sagan sunnies, the SaddleDonut and a kickstand hack

The hottest new cycling tech to land at BikeRadar HQ

FIRST LOOK FRIDAY 29-0

In the time since the last edition of First Look Friday, the 2022 Tour de France came to its thrilling conclusion and we saw the start of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes.

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The race will conclude this Sunday and, by then, 24 teams will have tackled eight stages and covered 1,033.6km of riding around the north west of France. Who’s your money on for the win? Let us know in the comments.

De retour en Bretagne, the BikeRadar team has been beavering away producing the very best reviews, buyer’s guides, and tech news in the cycling world.

Highlights include a rundown of six bikes being raced at the 2022 Transcontinental Race, the release of the new Tour-winning Cervélo S5, and an update to our bumper-sized buyer’s guide to the best gravel bikes available today.

Shimano RX6 gravel cycling shoes

The RX6 is Shimano’s new entry-level gravel cycling shoe.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Shimano’s new RX6 SH-RX600 gravel cycling shoes sit alongside the existing RX8 gravel shoe, offering a lower price point in an almost visually indistinguishable package.

The new shoes feature a single Boa L6 dial and a Velcro strap over the toe box.

The synthetic upper is perforated to increase breathability. The carbon reinforced nylon midsole features a vent at the front and rear of the shoe.

A single Boa dial and a Velcro strap take care of retention.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Moulded lugs in a handsome almost tan wall finish off the shoe. Our size 43 shoes weigh 576g a pair.

The shoe is a little less stiff than the existing RX8.
Jack Luke / Our Media

In the hand, the RX600 shoes have a little more flex around the heel compared to the existing RX8 shoes. How much of a difference this will actually make to performance is debatable.

The shoes are available in the pictured Forest Green, as well as in black and a brown-ish camo. The shoes are also available in a women’s fit option (RX6W).

It’s a Race, James Robertson

It’s a Race is a new book by Scottish cycling photographer, James Robertson.
Jack Luke / Our Media

It’s a Race is a new photobook about the Transcontinental Race (TCR) – a 4,000km epic non-stop ultra-endurance event that takes riders the length and breadth of Europe, ticking off a series of mountain-top checkpoints on a route of their choosing.

James Robertson followed every edition of the TCR from 2015 until 2019, and the beautifully designed 228-page book is stuffed full of his wonderful photographs.

The book is jam-packed with spectacular (and occasionally amusing) images.
Jack Luke / Our Media

From attempts to get warm while fully naked in a public toilet to epic mountain vistas, Robertson vividly details what it takes to complete – let alone compete in – this legendary event.

The 2022 edition of the event started this past week and we’ve got a round-up of some of the weird and wonderful bikes being ridden in the race.

Surly Long Haul Trucker kickstand plate

Kickstands are not a crime.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Last week, I claimed boldly that no bike is complete without a kickstand.

Doing my bit to advance the cause and earn my kickbacks from big kickstand, I decided my commuting bike needs a cheeky double legger to further boost its already golden practicality credentials.

My skid-tastic fixed-gear commuter is based on a 1960s path racer frameset (which, incidentally, featured in a previous edition of First Look Friday).

This frameset was absolutely not designed with kickstands in mind. This means clearance is fairly tight around the bottom bracket and seat tube junction.

This is a problem because most kickstands are clamped in place using a rectangular pressed steel plate.

The Surly LHT kickstand plate hugs the radius of the seat tube.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Fitting these into a tight space is difficult because the seat tube pushes the plate too far back, meaning the fixing bolt for the kickstand fouls the chainstay bridge.

Luckily for me, Surly produces a kickstand plate for its Long Haul Trucker touring bikes that features a rounded cutout to get around this exact issue.

The two alloy plates sandwich the chainstays, helping to spread loads. It is also possible to use one plate on the top of the chainstays if your kickstand has an integrated plate.

While a bit of careful grinding could produce a similar result with a stock plate, this solution is a lot neater and doesn’t cost the earth at just £17.99 / $15 a pop.

  • £17.99 / $15, further international pricing TBC

SaddleDonut-Pro

The SaddleDonut-Pro is claimed to improve saddle comfort.
Jack Luke / Our Media

The descriptively named SaddleDonut is a stick-on silicone mat covered with raised nodules that, the brand claims, “reduces micro-sliding, prevents saddle sores and provides comfort during long rides”.

The SaddleDonut works by cradling your ischium bones (sit bones), helping you hold a consistent position on the saddle.

The SaddleDonut-Pro cannot be swapped between saddles.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Once your sit bones have been measured and optimal placement determined using the included instructions, the SaddleDonut-Pro sticks onto your saddle. The donut is designed to be single use and cannot be swapped between saddles.

The SaddleDonut-Pro is available in both men’s and women’s options and costs $39.95.

  • $39.95, international shipping available

100% Speedcraft Sagan limited-edition sunglasses

100%’s latest cycling sunnies feature a handsome tie-dye finish.
Jack Luke / Our Media

100% has released a limited-edition run of its Speedcraft cycling glasses in a jazzy tie-dye finish in honour of the brand’s top sponsored rider, Peter Sagan.

The Speedcraft is a large goggle-like half-frame model with a separate nose bridge and pad.

The finish is matt.
Jack Luke / Our Media

The scratch-resistant lens is said to be coated with a hydrophobic and oleophobic finish, and features small vents at the base to increase airflow

If the bold silhouette of the Speedcraft isn’t to your liking, the brand’s S2 and S3 sunglasses are also available in the same finish.

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  • £199.99 / $200 / €200