A fancy Db holdall, Smith’s latest urban lid, a weather-proof Le Col jersey and a neat tool from Fizik
Plus all the latest and greatest from this week at BikeRadar
Another week flies by and winter is definitely on its way out – the clocks change this weekend folks!
Yet more kit has made its way to BikeRadar HQ, ready for testing over the coming months. But first, of course, this means it gets popped into our weekly round-up, First Look Friday.
Before you read on, though, take a moment to look back through the week and see what else is new in the world of tech.
The biggest news was, of course, the launch of SRAM’s latest mountain bike groupsets, prefixed with T-Type.
Do you remember SRAM launching its Universal Derailleur Hanger back in 2019? Well, it looks as though it was a sneaky (or, rather obvious) plot to persuade the world’s bike manufacturers to get their bikes ready for this new style of direct-mount derailleur.
Shimano has tried it in the past, but the smart money is on SRAM filling up spec lists on high-end mountain bikes with its derailleurs that no longer need a hanger.
Needless to say, our drivetrain expert, Alex Evans, has been lapping with the new gears for a few months, many miles and very many metres of up and down.
You can find all the details of SRAM’s T-Type Eagle Transmission, our review of SRAM T-Type and a guide on how to install SRAM T-Type to your bike on the site (and on our YouTube channel and podcast).
In other news, Canyon has released the latest version of its Neuron trail bike. It has a more refined geometry, some lovely finishing touches and 140mm of travel. It looks, on paper, like the perfect UK trail bike, but what happened when Luke Marshall reviewed the Neuron?
Staying with flat-barred and knobbly tyre’d bikes, Cane Creek has released perhaps the most Gucci of upgrades – titanium cranks for your ebike. I dare you to look at their price.
Moving on to the curly-bar world, we saw the launch of new tyres from Pirelli and Goodyear.
We also published a review of the Salsa Warbird gravel bike and our Bike of the Week was Giant’s new Revolt X.
Le Col Pro Aqua Zero long-sleeve jersey
While the winter cold may well have departed us by now, it’s certainly not bone dry out there. As such, a breathable wind- and weather-proof three-season jersey still has a solid place in the wardrobe.
Le Col’s race-cut jersey is constructed from a micro-fleece material that’s both soft against the skin and has a fair bit of stretch built in – ideal for conforming to your body’s contours, for an aero fit.
The fabric is hydrophobic, designed to shrug off rain and drizzle, while remaining as breathable as possible.
A full-length waterproof zip means ventilation can be as breezy as you like, while at the back, three deep pockets have ample space for all your en-velo accoutrements.
Finishing details include a zip garage to keep the zipper from catching on your neck, a reflective strip on the rear pocket and silicone grippers along the hem to prevent the jersey riding up and leaving you with a chilly lower back.
There’s also a fourth zipped pocket, to keep keys and cash safe.
It might not be suited to warm and wet rides, but hopefully will work well over a baselayer in single-digit temperatures, and on its own when it’s a touch warmer.
- Le Col Pro Aqua Zero: £170 / $215 / €200
Smith Dispatch helmet
The explosion of urban cycling, especially since the initial outbreak of Covid, has been heartening to see. On my daily commute along the Bristol to Bath cycle path, it’s noticeable just how busy the path is with everyone from committed Lycra-clad commuters through to people getting on with their day in a leisurely fashion.
As such, the space for more ‘urban’-inspired kit grows, with Smith expanding its range of urban-intended helmets in the shape of the new Dispatch.
Though built with a more relaxed style, the helmet still packs in plenty of tech.
Koroyd – a drinking-straw-like material – is used in some areas of the helmet, along with EPS foam in others. The helmet’s safety is backed up with a MIPS liner, designed to reduce the impact of angled hits.
Vents are present on the helmet, too. It might not be up to a fast-paced Alpine climb, but internal channeling should keep the air flowing at friendly speeds, while those located in the brim of the lid further enhance performance, and in theory, help keep glasses fog-free (tech I first saw in ski and snowboard helmets).
There’s a neatly adjustable retention system, with a vertically movable cradle, while the straps are joined by a Fidlock buckle – one-handed helmet removal is on the cards.
In the box, there’s also a rechargeable light that clips onto the back of the helmet, with steady and flashing modes.
- Smith Dispatch: £159.99 / $170 / €170
Db Roamer Split Duffel 50l
With the Northern Hemisphere summer just around the corner, it’s time to think about your luggage-carrying needs. If you have deep pockets, but love minimalist design, Db’s Roamer might fit the bill.
The bag is built from recycled Nylon 840D material, with a carbonate outer coating – it’s sturdy, strong and smooth in finish, giving it a reassuringly premium feel.
Hooks on the outside enable the bag to be looped onto Db’s pull-along bags, if you’ve got a lot of kit to take along. There are some meaty handles, too, for when you need to lug your bag up and onto luggage racks and revolving belts.
Further round, there are padded shoulder straps, with a chest strap for stability – all built with rugged-feeling hardware.
The chunky main zip surrounds the bag on three sides, opening it like a book, and revealing the 50 litres of capacity (70- and 90-litre versions are also available).
This reveals a pair of mesh-enclosed compartments, to split your kit into two. There’s not much else in the way of compartmentalising for your stuff. But, if you like a simple, smart, well-made bag, the Roamer might be up your street.
- Db Roamer Split Duffel 50l: £229 / $279 / €269
- Db Roamer Split Duffel 70l: £239 / $309 / €279
- Db Roamer Split Duffel 90l: £249 / $339 / €299
Fizik Alpaca Carriage Kit
As the world’s most forgetful man, I’m constantly forgetting my kit. So, while I might not be a fan of decorating my bike like a bicycle-baggage Christmas tree, I do like to have some key bits of kit safely stowed on my bike, permanently.
Designed to work on the Terra and Gravita Alpaca saddles, the Carriage Kit provides bag-free stowage of two 16g CO2 canisters, as well as a mini multi-tool that incorporates a CO2 chuck. You can even loop zip ties through the carrier, just in case you need them.
The carrier bolts onto the back of your saddle with a small Torx bolt, and feels pretty solid to me.
A rubber flap secures the tool in place, and doubles as a handy damper between the carrier and the saddle base, which should prevent any annoying rattles.
It comes equipped with 12 tools – 2-8mm hex keys, T10 and T25 Torx, flat and crosshead screwdrivers, as well as the CO2 chuck.
- Fizik Alpaca Carriage Kit: £39.99 / $39.99 / €40