Welcome to another bumper edition of First Look Friday. Over the last week as May passed into June, there’s been a seemingly never-ending cascade of news and reviews on the site to digest. So here’s the lowdown on a busy seven days on BikeRadar.
Early in the week, we brought you reviews of the Scott Contessa Addict RC 15, YT Izzo Core 2 and Cervélo Áspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1 as our comprehensive Bike of the Year 2022 coverage continued to roll out on the site.
Cane Creek announced its new eeSilk stem with 20mm of tunable compliance, Stan Portus reported on the eye-catching new igus:bike, made from recycled plastic, and we took a look at the dazzling custom Colnago G3-X gravel bike Nathan Haas will be riding at Unbound 2022 in Kansas.
By Wednesday, the content cauldron at BikeRadar HQ was simmering nicely as Shimano unveiled a delectable Limited silver-polished version of its GRX gravel groupset in time for Unbound 2022. We want it, and we want it right now.
Meanwhile, technical writer Oscar Huckle was an industrious blur as the UK’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend loomed into view, penning news stories on Shimano’s first carbon gravel wheelset and Pinarello’s new aero-optimised Grevil F gravel bike. Check out our review here.
In more red-hot breaking news, Adidas announced the release of its first road cycling shoe with a Boa dial.
Elsewhere, if you’re yearning for some off-road adventures as summer approaches, rejoice! We served up an exhaustive guide on how to create your perfect bikepacking bike, while over on the BikeRadar podcast we discussed how to get into gravel racing with illustrious guests Amanda Nauman, two-time winner of Unbound Gravel, and London-based multi-discipline racer Dalila Lecky.
Back on tarmac, with the Giro d’Italia wrapping up last weekend, now’s the perfect time to buy the UK’s only official Tour de France guide. Bursting with team profiles, rider interviews, and the all-important stage maps, it’s a must-have for every Tour de France fan.
And if the aforementioned veritable banquet of bike-focused news, reviews and features hasn’t sated your appetite, read on for a finely curated selection of the latest and most desirable cycling gear to crop up on our radar this week.
Prologo Proxim W650 Sport saddle
One saddle to rule them all? Italian brand Prologo offers the Proxim W650 Sport saddle, designed as an electric bike saddle; it also falls into the brand’s all-mountain/gravity product line, as well as its urban and commuting range.
The padding is broken down into areas called MSS (Multi Sector System). These padding islands work individually with their own foams to best support the rider. In addition, they are adapted for the different pedalling positions riders can get into.
The padding on this Sport model is 12mm thick. However, if you’re looking for something more minimalist, the W650 Performance saddle uses 6mm padding.
The W650 saddle features the PAS (Perineal Area System) Discharge Channel. It’s designed to reduce soft-tissue compression and numbness in the prostate area, promoting blood flow in the pelvic region.
The shape is a moderate 250mm long and 155mm wide. The hull is laterally flexible to allow greater freedom of movement when pedalling seated. The rear of the base has been designed as a handle for lifting or moving the bike around. Plus, it has reflective graphics for additional visibility.
The saddle has Chromoly rails and tips the scales at 267g.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 bicycle lamp camera
Are you interested in giving yourself more peace of mind on the roads? Well, perhaps this Tooo Cycling rear light/camera may be able to offer you that.
So, what’s the deal? While this device can’t help keep you safer from other road users than a set of the best bike lights, it does record a wide 105-degree field of view in HD. So, in case of an incident caused from behind, you’ll know precisely what happened and who’s at fault. Tooo also claims the camera will pick up details in low ambient light.
The camera records full HD at 1920x1080P, at either 30fps or 60fps. It comes with a standard microSD card slot, and there’s the option to buy a 128Gb card online from Tooo Cycling. Tooo claims this will save more than 2,400 minutes of footage (or around 40 hours). To get the files off the memory card, you’ll need a microSD card ready (available from Tooo).
Battery life while recording is claimed at 9.5 hours (1080p, 30fps), which should cover most rides. However, this is without the light being on. Tooo says a full recharge should take 2.5 hours.
I shouldn’t forget to mention that it records audio as well, so if you’re ever verbally abused, this should have your back. It’s IPX5 water-resistant (protected from water spray in any direction) and if the camera is damaged, the recorded footage up to the damage should be fine and not corrupted, Tooo claims.
The light is 80 lumens, and there are four modes; camera on, light flashing; camera only; camera on, light constant; camera off, light constant. It’s supplied with two mounts to attach to your bike’s seatpost and various size bands to keep it securely in place. Also, it has an aero seatpost bracket.
Topeak Tubi Pod X
This tyre plug tool from Topeak features burly plugs and a hefty prong, so it’s more suitable for big holes cut into mountain bike tyres, or gravel bike tyres. It features two capsules, one that stores the plugs and the other the tools.
The holder has a soft backing to help prevent frame damage and straps to the frame, so it’s ready when you need it. The prong is stored in an aluminium holder. This also features a neat ‘air-stop’ magnetic attachment that can be inserted quickly into the tyre to prevent significant air loss while you get the plugs ready.
The plugs work in the usual way. You insert one into the fork, then plunge the fork and plug into the hole in the tyre. Another helpful feature of the Tubi Pod X is its plug retainer. This aluminium part unthreads from the tool body to keep the plug in the tyre while you remove the fork.
After you’ve successfully sealed the tyre, the mount houses a small knife to trim the tyre plug. The tool stores five plugs and should have you covered if you get a good-sized hole in your tyre that tubeless sealant can’t take care of.
Gore C7 Long Distance bib shorts
Gore’s C7 Long Distance bib shorts have, for many years now, been claimed to be the brand’s most comfortable bib shorts for longer rides. With several features designed to address the needs of riders who love long days in the saddle, our video manager Felix Smith is hoping these shorts will keep his perky peach happy this summer.
The shorts are constructed from a super-stretchy, densely knit fabric, which is claimed to give “second-skin softness”. Flatlock seams are also used throughout for extra comfort.
The lower part of the shorts is fixed to the straps via what Gore calls its “central torso architecture”. This sees the shorts held in place across the middle of the body to maximise freedom of movement, while the shorts and seat pad are held securely where they need to be.
With padding that has been tailored for all-day riding, you should remain comfortable, no matter how long your ride lasts.The all-important chamois is, as you might expect, designed to provide all-day comfort.
The pad is constructed from three different layers. The first and third layers are made from 80kg/m³ density foam, with the first being made from a more breathable open cell foam. Sandwiched between these is a layer of firmer 200kg/m³ density material, which is said to aid comfort in the sit bone area.
There’s also a section of material on the outside of the shorts around the crotch. This is made from Gore Windstopper fabric, and is designed to protect the rider from cold air when carving their way down alpine descents.
At the time of writing, Felix is getting ready for a 10+ hour ride and is hoping Gore’s claims of superior comfort ring true.