Hello and welcome to the latest edition of First Look Friday. This week on BikeRadar, we’ve continued to deliver the pick of the stories from Eurobike 2022. Leading the way was our article on the five trends to emerge from one of the world’s largest bike shows.
Alongside reporting on the launch of Cane Creek’s new eeSilk suspension seatpost, we brought you the latest news from Prologo, Selle Italia, Deda, Giro and Hope, who all showcased exciting new products at Eurobike.
Away from Frankfurt, Thursday saw the announcement of the new Melee road race bike from composite experts ENVE.
As the mercury soared at BikeRadar HQ this week, it hasn’t all been red-hot product launches. If you’ve been inspired by the Tour de France to thrash out some long rides but found yourself suffering from knee pain, we’ve got an in-depth guide that offers some explanations and solutions to get you back in the saddle.
Jack Luke roared “screw the rules” as he made the case for eight ‘uncool’ cycling accessories that deserve to make a comeback. Meanwhile, we served up an exhaustive list of the best road bike wheels and ranked the best CO2 inflators, 11 top water bottles and the best cycling gloves for the long, hot summer of 2022.
That’s a mere sampling of the sumptuous content banquet we’ve served up this week. If you’re not entirely sated, turn your attention to the full tasting menu of mountain bike tech that’s landed on our desks over the past seven days.
Specialized Butter Gravity pants and Butter Trail jersey
There’s no denying the mountain bikers on our team wish we could ride half as fast as Loïc Bruni, and we’re sure that goes for more than just us at BikeRadar.
However, while we may not be able to ride like the fast Frenchman, Specialized has released a new kit so you can look like the four-time elite world champion.
The pants are based on the brand’s trail designs, but with extra protection. The fabric is made from Cordura and elastane to blend comfort and durability. Over the knee, additional protective patches should better resist tearing in a crash.
They feature laser-cut perforations to aid breathability. The adjustable waist fastener enables you to tailor the fit and should keep them securely in place.
Specialized says the cut allows room for padding underneath, whether that’s knee pads or padded shorts, but it’s still slim-fitting enough to prevent them from catching on the saddle.
The tapered legs stop excess material flapping around the ankles.
One thing they’re missing is pockets, though, so these really are race pants as opposed to an everyday item.
The Butter Trail jersey has a more casual cut than the racer pants, so it should allow plenty of comfort on and off the bike. Specialized made it from its MiniR fabric, which the brand claims reflects the sun to help keep you cooler. It’s also said to provide UV50+ protection, which is claimed to deflect more than 98 per cent of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
The soft-feeling fabric comprises 80 per cent polyester, 14 per cent cotton and 6 per cent Spandex. It features a mesh strip running over the shoulder and down the arms for added breathability.
- Specialized Butter Gravity pants: £120 / $160 / €150 / AU$250
- Specialized Butter Trail jersey: £55 / $65 / €60
Acros clipless pedals
These new pedals from Acros aren’t just your standard SPD-compatible pedals. They have a neat trick inside them that other mountain bike pedals don’t. You can adjust the stance width (distance to cranks) 5mm on each pedal by changing the position of a spacer on the axle inside the pedal body.
This enables you to fine-tune your pedalling position to help you refine pedalling efficiency or give you the most stable platform for charging the trails. Plus, it might help those with wider stays to minimise heel rub.
These pedals also come with two axle widths, a narrow axle that’s 52mm and a standard pedal with a 57mm width. The standard pedals here weigh in at 475g per pair.
As mentioned, these pedals use an SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) cleat-compatible mechanism with tension adjustability. You can quickly tailor your preferred pedal firmness and easily find replacement cleats.
The aluminium body has four pins, two on each side at the front of the pedal body, to help offer grip when riding unclipped. Furthermore, the pedals feature removable fibreglass-reinforced skid plates to make clipping in and out easier.
Internally, the bearing and bushings are triple sealed to help keep dirt out, so they spin freely.
- £109.99 / €199.95
Leatt AirFlex Knee Guard Hybrid
Built for pedalling comfort, while offering a decent amount of protection, these knee pads feature Leatt’s AirFlex Gel impact protection, plus sliding hardshell knee cups to deliver protection to EN 1621-1 standard.
The padding offers practical protection around the knee cap and top of the shin, but doesn’t provide any side protection.
The perforated padding is sewn inside a pre-curved knitted sleeve, which uses Leatt’s elasticated MoistureCool and AirMesh wicking fabrics to provide all-day comfort and ventilation. These are seriously stretchable.
A silicon lining around the upper cuff should help them stay in place. Designed to help fend off minor scuffs and scrapes, they’re the lightest pads in Leatt’s line-up and are suited to trail-riding duties.
The pads are available in plenty of sizes, from small to extra-extra-large.
Goodyear Newton MTF and MTR Enduro tyres
The new range of Goodyear Newton MTF and MTR tyres span the brand’s aggressive mountain bike tyre portfolio. This covers trail, enduro and downhill disciplines.
The tread pattern remains the same across the board for each riding style. However, the rubber compounds and casings differ depending on the demands needed from the tyres.
The Newton MTF and MTR Enduro tyres here use a two-ply 120 TPI construction, with a butyl layer in the casing to add protection from cuts and abrasions and help give sidewall support. You’ll find this construction on a Maxxis DoubleDown tyre, for example.
Goodyear uses a triple-compound rubber, its Grip 3 system, which is similar to Maxxis’ 3C tyres.
The Newton MTF tyres use a 40/42/60a formula, while the Newton MTR uses a 40/50/60a blend. The firmer 60a rubber builds the base for the tread blocks. This is covered by the mid-firmness rubber on the centre tread to offer better rolling speeds and durability. In addition, the 40a rubber on the tyre’s edges maximises grip.
The tread patterns and tyre profiles have been developed to deliver the best use for each tyre, and inspiration was taken from motocross tyres. The Newton MTF (front-specific tyre) has a rounder profile and ramped centre knobs to minimise rolling resistance.
The tread blocks are spread out further to help bite into conditions ranging from loose dust to wet loam.
The Newton MTR (rear-specific tyre) has a flatter cross-section to maximise the contact patch shape, improving braking and acceleration. The blocks are packed more tightly together.
The MTR tyre is available in 27.5×2.4in, 27.5×2.6in and 29×2.4in. The MTF comes in 27.5×2.5in and 29×2,5in. Being very similar in design to a Maxxis DoubleDown tyre, these enduro versions aren’t the lightest tyres around. Our Newton MTF weighs in at 1,415g (29×2.5in) and the Newton MTR at 1,255g (29×2.4in).
We’ve been spending some time on the Newton MTF, so look out for a review on site soon.
- £60 / €65 www.paligap.cc