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We Are One carbon fibre wheels, Misspent Summers’ MTB racing yearbooks and Leatt wet-weather riding kit

Plus a PNW Components dropper post lever

First Look Friday thumbnail

Welcome to our look back at the first full week of 2023, and what a week it has been.

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A glut of news stories broke on Thursday as first Cannondale announced the launch of a new Synapse AL. Meanwhile, BikeRadar’s super sleuths spotted EF Education-EasyPost riders on an unreleased fourth-generation Cannondale SuperSix Evo and some some tasty new prototype tech on Specialized’s Project Black pro bikes.

Whether you’re starting the year in the way you intend to continue, or you’ve decided 2023 is going to build pace rather than begin with a bang, make sure you check out our 10 cycling new year’s resolutions and our tips on how to stick to them.

If one of your resolutions is to use bikes as a mode of transport – as well as for fun – then be sure to study our suggestions for the best commuter bikes.

BikeRadar’s fearsome content custodian Gary has done just that, finding his almost perfect match for commuting in the shape of Ribble’s Hybrid AL Leisure. Read his thoughts – and potentially get inspired to commute by bike – in the latest instalment of his Ribble Hybrid AL Leisure Fully Loaded Edition long-term review.

Sticking to the theme of winter cycling is our list of the best mudguards and fenders. If you’ve never ridden with a mudguard on your road or mountain bike, we seriously recommend investigating getting one; they’re game-changers for keeping you drier, cleaner and more comfortable out on the bike.

Next up in the new year checklist is a four-star review of Polygon’s very affordable Siskiu T7 29 trail bike. Tech writer Luke Marshall reckons the Siskiu represents one of the best bang-for-your-buck mountain bikes on the market.

Rounding off our Gear of the Year series are senior tech editor Warren Rossiter’s picks, which include a groupset, clothing and a helmet.

Finishing up the highlights from BikeRadar’s opening week of 2023 is a marvellously in-depth review of the newest, flagship Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset, by tech aficionado Simon von Bromley.

We Are One Composites Convergence Triad wheels

At 1,900g a pair, they’re neither super-light nor too heavy.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Like all of We Are One Composites’ products (including the Arrival bike), the Convergence wheels are hand-made in Canada.

We Are One claims the all-new Convergence rims have a 32 per cent impact strength increase over its Union rims, thanks to a complete redesign of the carbon layup process and use of new materials.

The 7.5-degree offset nipple seats are claimed to improve strength.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Thanks to their ‘wavy’ rim profile, the spoke nipples are mounted with a 7.5-degree angle. This, the brand claims, gives them the “perfect perpendicular angle [to the hub] with no point loading”.

Unsurprisingly, their ride characteristics have been tuned.

The hand-laid carbon weave is beautiful.
Alex Evans / Our Media

In reducing rim depth to 18.5mm and adjusting the carbon’s layup direction, We Are One claims to have isolated “the cause of both radial and lateral levers” on the rim. In simple terms, this means they’ve been tuned to be laterally stiff (for steering accuracy), but vertically damped (for bump absorption).

The Convergence design is offered in three internal rim widths: 28mm (Sector), 30mm (Triad) and 33mm (Fuse).

The Triad wheels have a 30mm internal width.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Increasing rim width will change the tyre’s contact patch and shape, and will also tune ride feel, where the wider rims are likely to feel stiffer.

They come with a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and a crash replacement scheme is also offered.

Their construction has been tailored to make them 32 per cent stronger than the brand’s Union rims.
Alex Evans / Our Media

It’s possible to buy any of the rims from We Are One to build to your own hubs, or a full wheelset laced to Industry Nine Hydra hubs.

A pair of We Are One Composites Convergence Triad 29in diameter, Boost axle spacing, Industry Nine Hydra hubs with an XD driver weigh 1,900g (876g front, 1,024g rear).

Hurly Burly 6 and The World Stage 5 mountain bike yearbooks

Treat your coffee table (or loo) to one of Misspent Summers’ race yearbooks.
Misspent Summers

Whether you’re a racer, a super fan or just a casual mountain biker (or anything in between) Misspent Summers’ downhill World Cup and Enduro World Series race recap yearbooks are an absolute marvel.

They’re printed on 130gsm FSC-certified paper (newspapers are between 35 and 50gsm) with a silk finish.

Each of the yearbooks’ pages exude quality with their high-resolution images’ colours popping.

With photography from some of the world’s best MTB snappers, and words written by some of the sport’s most knowledgeable journalists, studying the 260-plus pages of either Hurly Burly or The World Stage is an eyes-on-stalks affair. It gives you the opportunity to relive the most exciting, jaw-dropping and discipline-defining moments of the 2022 race season.

Where you keep your HB or TWS is up to you, but mine have pride of place in the ‘throne room’ (aka, the toilet). On each read or scan, exciting memories are spun back up in my mind, and new details found in each of the incredible images.

These are a must-read for any mountain biker.

Leatt Mono Suit MTB HydraDri 5.0

The fit is snug without being tight, and there’s plenty of space for arm articulation (although if you’re in this position while riding, something has clearly gone wrong).
Alex Evans / Our Media

One-piece mountain-bike specific wet-weather riding kit is certainly becoming more popular, with offerings not just from Dirtlej, but also Scott, Endura and now Leatt.

Leatt’s inaugural range of one-piece riding suits is two-tiered, with a more affordable 3.0 version costing £280 that senior technical editor Tom Marvin awarded 4.5 stars in a recent review.

The bottoms are more akin to salopettes rather than traditional waterproofs, and have shoulder straps to keep them in place.
Alex Evans / Our Media

This costlier 5.0 model will set you back £370, but that’s still cheaper than the Scott Trail Storm WP One Piece’s £409.99.

For the cash, it would be fair to expect a bumper list of features. Fortunately, the Mono Suit doesn’t disappoint.

The waist can be cinched in to adjust fit.
Alex Evans / Our Media

First up, and most importantly, it boasts a 30,000mm waterproof column rating and a 30,000g/m2/24hr breathability rating thanks to its three-layer DWR-coated 360-degree stretch fabric.

Its hood has three points of adjustment and can fit easily over helmets, while the peak has been stiffened to stop it flopping. It can be securely stowed thanks to its in-built magnet.

The hood fits comfortably over helmets.
Alex Evans / Our Media

The trousers and jacket are connected around the entire waist, with a long crotch-to-neck zipper to aid entry and exit. There are internal braces to keep the bottoms in place if the jacket is removed.

It has six pockets (four on the trousers, two on the jacket) and four air vents (two under-arm, two on the inside thigh).

Leatt’s Mono Suit MTB HydraDri 5.0 is jam-packed with features.
Alex Evans / Our Media

The arm and ankle cuffs have Velcro tabs to adjust their fit, while the waist can also be cinched in.

Thanks to its construction, it has a tough and weighty feel. The size-medium test sample tipped the scales at 1,235g.

Keep tuned for a full review of the 5.0 Mono Suit soon.

  • Leatt Mono Suit MTB HydraDri 5.0: £370

Leatt Shoe 7.0 HydraDri Flat

The smooth, single-piece outer should make cleaning them much easier.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Continuing the theme of wet-weather riding kit from Leatt is its catchily named Shoe 7.0 HydraDri Flat.

To the best of my knowledge, this is only the third dedicated flat pedal waterproof shoe on the market; the other two being Five Ten’s Trailcross Gore-Tex I’ve reviewed previously and Vaude’s AM Moab Mid winter STX.

The high ankle cuff should improve how watertight they are.
Alex Evans / Our Media

In a bid to topple Five Ten, Leatt has approached the waterproof shoe from a slightly different angle.

Although they’re still shoe-like in construction, feel and weight, the Leatts look more like the external waterproof covers our clip-pedal road bike brethren use rather than the Five Ten flats MTBers are accustomed to.

Underneath the outer skin is a more traditional-looking shoe.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Externally, the abrasion-resistant one-piece construction has a single waterproof zip with a popper clip at the cuff, giving them their unusual looks.

The ankle opening extends higher than most shoes out there, hopefully improving how watertight they are.

Leatt hopes its RideGrip Pro compound will rival Five Ten’s Stealth rubber.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Internally, there are more traditional-looking pull-string laces across the tongue.

Leatt claims they have 10,000mm waterproof and 10,000g/m2/24hr breathability ratings.

The heel and toe box are reinforced.
Alex Evans / Our Media

In terms of traction, the outsole is made from Leatt’s RideGrip Pro compound and has a WaffleGrip Pro pattern.

The EU42 test samples weigh 909g a pair.

I’m going to be testing the shoes over the dark and damp winter months, so keep your eyes peeled for a review soon.

  • Leatt Shoe 7.0 HydraDri Flat: £190

PNW Components The Loam Lever Gen 2

With the bar clamp, it weighs 50g.
Alex Evans / Our Media

The cable-actuated dropper post market is packed full of top performers from a vast range of brands, where most posts (bar a few outliers) can be used with virtually any dropper lever from any other brand.

This has opened up the lever aftermarket upgrade market, with riders looking for more performance or different-shaped levers to suit their needs.

It’s available in seven colours.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Available in seven colours (safety orange pictured) and bar clamp, SRAM MMX and Shimano I-SPEC II and EV compatible, PNW’s newest Loam Lever looks to build on the brand’s already successful formula.

The lever (and 22mm clamp) weighs just 50g, but is made from CNC-machined aluminium and pivots on a sealed cartridge bearing.

The silicone thumb pad is textured for extra grip.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Its hardware (cable stops, cable clamps and other bolts) is made from stainless steel, and its biggest draw is the large, textured thumb pad made from grippy silicone.

It pivots on a sealed cartridge bearing.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Whether your dropper lever needs replacing or you’re looking for more performance, the Loam Lever Gen 2 could be for you.

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