We’re deep into December now, and while Christmas decorations are festooning houses, trees and high streets across the land, we’ve not hit full Christmas Content mode here on BikeRadar just yet – you’ll have to wait for next week for that.
This week, we’ve cracked on with our usual collection of news, views and reviews. We kicked off with Canyon’s new Torque – a bike built for the rigours of your local hills, even if those hills include the RedBull Rampage site in Utah. We also looked at Strava’s year in review, gave 12 tips for newbies to Zwift and reviewed the Merida Big Trail 600.
We’ve been working hard on our collection of Best Lists to help you choose new bikes, components and clothing. These are all populated from the reviews our experienced testers have ploughed plenty of time into, so you can be sure the advice is as good as you’re going to get.
Sportful Supergiara Puffy
On first impressions, the Supergiara Puffy looks rather, er, unique. And it certainly stands out from the crowd with its short-sleeve-yet-insulated construction.
The jacket is aimed at gravel riders (who else?!) who are off on big adventures where a bit of warmth might be handy, but speeds are still high (so a full-on insulated jacket might be too much).
The torso has Thermore insulation built into a water-repellant outer shell. This keeps the important bits of your body dry in a shower and comfortable in chilly conditions.
There’s some insulation in the shoulders too, but there’s also plenty of thinner stretch material in the arms to ensure mobility isn’t compromised.
The ends of the arms are kept snug with an elasticated hem to keep cold drafts out of your core.
Finally, the whole shebang folds into that little mesh pocket on the chest, for easy stowage – Sportful even says it can be strapped directly to your bars.
So, er, why might this work? Well, the forearms are a really good place to regulate temperature, so by keeping them out in the wind you’re less likely to overheat. At the same time, keeping your core protected from the cold can help keep extremities comfortable too.
We’ve only ridden in it once, and it was far too warm. But, it’s lightweight and comfortable! Now it’s chillier, we’ll be back out in this funky-looking jacket.
- £180 / $199.95
Sendhit First Aid Kit
While we all assume we’re riding gods, sometimes things go wrong and we end up on the floor. Thankfully, the vast majority of the time we can shrug it off and have a joke with our mates. But sometimes a little bit of first aid is needed.
Sendhit’s First Aid Kit is designed with mountain bikers in mind.
Inside the kit, you’ll find plenty of items to help patch up a battered and bruised rider, either to help them get home, or to keep them comfortable while assistance is on its way.
There are bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes, scissors, safety pins, rubber gloves and a whistle to help emergency services track you down.
That’s all handy, but the kit goes further.
The pouch is water and mud-splash resistant, and has emergency actions printed on the outside to help you do the right thing, quickly.
Inside is a comprehensive emergency field guide – a number of languages are covered (you can chuck language pamphlets away, if you’re not well versed in Spanish or Italian for example).
This runs through procedures to help diagnose and patch up a range of potential injuries, as well as further explaining how to keep someone stable while the pros are on their way.
The pouch is pretty compact, and the whole lot weighs around 100g – weight worth carrying, we reckon.
£25 / €29.99
Hornit Clug Pro
File this under ‘one of those things you didn’t know you need’.
We all need to store our bikes somewhere, and there are tonnes of storage methods around, from simple hooks costing a few quid all the way up to elaborate tracked modules that’ll swoosh a bike from one end of your garage to the other.
For those who keep their bikes inside their houses, there are even plenty of aesthetically pleasing racks around, including the Clug. These plastic devices rely on Clug and tyre deformation as you push the tyre into the Clug, before everything returns to its original shape with enough stability to prevent your bike falling out.
However, Clug has gone one step to securing your bike further with the Clug Pro, with added Fidlock (yes, the magnetic bottle cage company) security.
The magnet is attached to the end of a cord. Pass this through the wheel, clip male and female Fidlock parts together, and twist to take up the slack.
This relieves you of the worry of a bike falling out of its Clug.
Clug Pros come in various sizes, with tyre compatibility from 23c road tyres to 3.2in mountain bike rubber.
- £25.99 – £27.99 (Clug Pro isn’t available globally yet)
Nobody wants their bike nicked when riding round town, but locks can be annoyingly bulky items to either carry in a pack, fix to an unwieldy bracket on the bike, or (as we seem to do) swing from your handlebars.
Litelok isn’t the first brand to make a wearable bike lock, but the new Litelok Core is likely one of the most secure.
The 75cm or 100cm lock straps round your waist while you’re cycling around town, with a rubbery-plastic non-locking closure attached to an elastic strap for comfort.
The body of the cable features a high-tensile core mated with a steel ‘exoskeleton’, all of which is shrouded in a plant-based polymer cover.
It’s fairly flexible, and in our brief ride around town, it felt fairly comfortable when pedalling.
The lock body is made of hardened steel.
Fancy-looking locks aren’t much cop if they aren’t secure. The Litelok Core is rated Solid Secure Bicycle Diamond, as high as a bike lock gets.
The Supernova is the latest super-light sunglass from Koo, coming in (on our scales) at an impressive 23g.
Big lenses are all the rage at the moment, and while these aren’t quite as crazy as some, they’re still plenty big enough to offer buckets of coverage and a very generous field of (protected) vision.
The Category 2 Nylon Toric lenses are made by Zeiss, and they let 23 per cent of light through, making them ideal for normal daylight conditions (a darker lens might be better for those super-bright sunny days, though).
The lens is frameless, so there’s no plastic rim to get in the way of what you’re looking at, and there’s an interchangeable nose pad too, including an Asian-fit nose piece.
The lens is said to be shatterproof, and comes with a hydrophobic coating, so vision should remain as clear as possible if you do get caught in the rain (or you just sweat a lot…).