Wahoo’s sliding smart trainer, Reynolds carbon wheels, the wheel builder’s bible and Pas Normal x Fizik gravel shoes

Plus all the best news and reviews from the week just gone

First Look Friday 15 09 2023

We’ve come to the end of another content-filled week on BikeRadar, but fear not – First Look Friday is here to ease you into the weekend.

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Before we take a look at some of the latest gear to arrive at BikeRadar headquarters, though, let’s recap some highlights from the week just gone.

Senior technical editor, Tom Marvin, shared his highly anticipated review of the Classified Powershift hub. Is it a true game changer for bikes with 1x drivetrains, or another solution in search of a problem? I’ll leave that up to you, dear reader.

We took a look at the Cannondale Scalpel used by Lachlan Morton to complete the 2,670-mile Tour Divide in just 12 and a half days.

Specialized also unveiled its new Roubaix SL8 endurance road bike, with an updated FutureShock suspension system and refined frameset.

Senior technical editor, Ashley Quinlan, had the pleasure of attending a rainy launch in Portugal (while the UK basked in the sunniest and warmest weather of the year so far), and brought us his first ride review of the S-Works version.

Zwift unveiled its roadmap for the coming season. As well as announcing more gamified events and an expansion to Watopia, Zwift detailed updates to its Climb Portal feature and changes to how it classifies e-sports racers.

Deputy Editor, Jack Luke, has rekindled his love for knobbly tyres in recent months, leading him to reflect on the good (and bad) mountain bike tech trends that have sprung up since he was last “shredding the gnar”.

Finally, Giant announced the latest update to its Defy endurance bike. Said to be lighter and racier, it notably eschews any additional tech such as suspension or pivots.

Instead, Bikeradar’s senior technical editor, Warren Rossiter, says it feels like “pure road bike heaven”.

Wahoo Kickr Move

Wahoo Kickr Move smart trainer
Wahoo’s new Kickr Move smart trainer allows for fore-aft movement along its central axis.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

It’s only a year since it released its highly rated premium smart trainer, the Kickr V6, but Wahoo is back with the Kickr Move – a new high-end trainer with a unique selling point.

Spec-wise, the Kickr Move is almost identical to the Kickr V6, except for one key detail – it has an integrated track, along which the flywheel and drive system can move fore-aft by eight inches.

Wahoo says this offers a “giant leap” in comfort and realism, by mimicking the movement of your bike that you’d experience when riding in the real world.

Wahoo Kickr Move smart trainer
It’s a big and heavy piece of hardware.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

On receiving the Kickr Move, however, the first thing you’re likely to notice is how big and heavy it is.

It tipped my scales at 29.5kg with the SunRace 11-speed Shimano cassette and 130/135mm quick-release skewer and axle adaptors attached.

The Kickr Move comes fully assembled inside its shipping box. All you need to do to set it up is slide it out, make sure the correct axle adaptors are attached, mount your bike and plug it in. Very simple.

Wahoo Kickr Move smart trainer cassette
Wahoo includes an 11-speed Shimano-HG compatible cassette.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

Like the Kickr V6 on which it’s based, the Wahoo Kickr Move has a maximum power output of 2,200 watts, can simulate gradients up to 20 per cent and has a claimed power meter accuracy of +/- 1 per cent.

It also uses the same 7.3kg flywheel and electromagnetic resistance unit, and offers ANT+, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.

Priced at £1,399.99/$1,599.99/€1,599.99, the Wahoo Kickr Move costs £300/$300/€300 more than the Kickr V6 (which is still available).

Reynolds BlackLabel 46 Expert DB

Reynolds BL 46 Expert DB wheelset
The Reynolds BlackLabel 46 Expert DB is a new all-round road wheelset for fast riding and racing.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

Reynolds recently revamped its range of mid-depth, carbon road bike wheels, with a new ’46mm platform’ featuring three wheelsets.

As the name implies, these wheelsets use 46mm-deep rims, with a CFD- and wind-tunnel developed profile that Reynolds says “is extremely versatile yet best in class in terms of aerodynamics”.

While many brands have trended towards blunt, U-shaped aero rims in recent years, Reynolds has developed a rim shape that is markedly different.

Reynolds BL 46 Expert rim
The BlackLabel 46 Expert rim is 46mm deep and 31mm wide.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

It still uses a wide design (31mm maximum external width, 21mm internal width), but the rim tapers sharply to a narrower edge at the spoke bed. Reynolds says the hooked rims are optimised for use with 28c clincher or tubeless road tyres.

The BlackLabel 46 Expert DB we have here is the mid-range option. These feature the same rims as the Pro wheelset paired to a more economical hub, with an 8- rather than 6-degree freehub engagement angle.

The lowest-priced option in the range, the AR 46 DB, uses a rim with a heavier carbon layup and a cheaper hub again.

Reynolds BL 46 Expert DB rear hub
The rims are built around Reynolds/Ringlé Super Bubba X Road DB hubs with 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes front and rear.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

The wheelset is built with 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes front and rear, and the freehub body can be swapped between Shimano HG, SRAM XDR and Campagnolo N3W, for compatibility with all of the latest road bike groupsets.

The BlackLabel 46 Expert DB wheelset has a claimed weight of 1,430g, though on our scales the wheelset weighs 1,463g with tubeless tape installed.

It costs £1,800/$1,899.99/€1,930.

Jobst Brandt’s the Bicycle Wheel

Jobst Brandt the Bicycle Wheel – ISBN 9781739126735
If you want to build the best wheels possible, start with this book.
Jack Luke / Our Media

Jobst Brandt’s the Bicycle Wheel is considered the definitive textbook on the science and craft of spoked bicycle wheel building.

First published in 1981, a facsimile re-edition of the book has been released by Isola Press to coincide with the launch of its biography of Brandt.

A mechanical engineer by trade, Brandt was famed for his immense knowledge of cycling tech, hardcore rides and bristly manner (Tom Ritchey’s account of his relationship with Brandt is worth a read).

Jobst Brandt the Bicycle Wheel – ISBN 9781739126735
The book is well-illustrated, authoritative and frank.
Jack Luke / Our Media

The first chapter of the book outlines the theory of spoked wheel design. There are some gaps and outdated comments in this section – carbon rims and disc brakes aren’t discussed at length, for example.

However, the wheel-building chapter truly is the best primer for a mechanic looking to perfect their craft.

Pas Normal x Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoe

Pas Normal x Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoe
The Pas Normal x Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoe brings a new flavour to Fizik’s existing shoe.
Warren Rossiter / Our Media

Copenhagen-based clothing brand Pas Normal Studios makes technical cycling kit with an understated design philosophy and a focus on current fashion trends.

Its latest collaboration sees it partner with saddle, shoe and accessories manufacturer Fizik, to create a distinct version of the Vento Ferox gravel cycling shoe.

As expected, Pas Normal’s take on the Vento Ferox is more in line with its Danish design principles. It combines a buttermilk white upper with a large navy Velcro strap dominating the forefoot area, and white rubber tread on top of a painted navy sole.

Pas Normal x Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoe
A full-carbon outsole hides underneath the white tread.
Warren Rossiter / Our Media

Given its racy ambitions, Fizik specs its X1 Carbon outsole, which has a 10 out of 10 stiffness rating (according to Fizik’s arbitrary internal index).

The uppers are made from a woven mesh over a PU-laminated layer to protect your feet from the elements. As well as the aforementioned Velcro strap, Fizik specs a Boa Li2 dial up front for easy lace tension adjustments.

Pas Normal x Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoe
The shoe uses a large Velcro strap and a BOA Li2 dial for tension adjustments.
Warren Rossiter / Our Media

On the scales, our pair of size-EU45 shoes weighs 734g (367g per shoe).

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The Pas Normal X Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon gravel shoes are priced at £290/€330.