In these strange, strange times, take solace knowing that BikeRadar and First Look Friday – our weekly roundup of the most kickin’ fresh swageroonie to land at… well, our houses for the time being – will always be here for you.
This week we’ve got a hot mix of fancy eyewear, a (well-timed) new smart trainer from a brand you may have heard of before and a trendy bum bag.
If that isn’t quite enough for you, this week we’ve also brought to your self-isolated eyeballs a close look at Specialized’s new-ish Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon, more 2020 Bike of the Year reviews and further advice on coronavirus and how it has affected cycling.
Smith Squad XL MTB goggles
Along with the anti-fog lens seen across most good goggles now, the top part of the Squad’s frame is open.
This means there’s no mesh over the webbed section of the frame – something only possible thanks to the lower speeds of mountain biking compared to MX. It’s unlikely roost from someone else’s wheel is going to fly into the inside of your goggles so the extra venting is welcome.
The fetching colourway mixes a bright, mirrored red-coloured lens – that’s suited to bright light conditions – and red strap with a muted green/grey frame. Included with the goggles is a spare clear lens for darker days on the bike.
The red lens puts a pink hue on the world, which should help improve the definition of obstacles.
- £85 / $85
Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack 5L
And there’s good reason for that; if you’re tired of having a sweaty back on long rides, but still want to carry valuables around with you – like loads of snacks – then the bum bag is a magnificent bit of kit.
And the Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack is no exception. Made from 100 per cent recycled polyester it has a TPU-film laminate (that gives it the shiny look) that’s claimed to create a weather- and abrasion-resistant outer. It’s unlikely your precious snacks will get wet.
Inside, there’s a divider to keep items separate and there are two stretch pockets either side for water bottle storage.
The rear is made from a breathable mesh, which should help keep things comfortable and reduce sweat soaking through.
The strap is 38mm wide to help spread the weight and is size adjustable with extra straps to help keep the bum bag close your body to reduce it bouncing around.
- £50 / $59 / €55
- You can buy it directly from Patagonia here
Xplova Noza S smart trainer
The Xplova Noza S is the brand’s first direct-drive smart turbo trainer.
The Xplova name is better known for its line of GPS bike computers, some of which also include an integrated camera.
The company is actually owned by Acer, which is an enormous multinational electronics firm that is the world’s fifth-largest personal computer vendor.
The trainer’s in-built power meter is claimed to be accurate to ±2.5 per cent and to offer up to 2,500 watts of resistance, and simulate grades up to 18 per cent. Resistance is generated by a six-pole electromagnet.
The Noza S is compatible with all standard communication protocols (ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth Smart) and will work with everything from 24in wheels right up to chunky 29in mountain bike wheels. Likewise, it is compatible with all popular indoor training apps.
Setup presents nothing out of the ordinary, with all of the accessories required to work with thru-axles included, though you will have to buy a cassette to complete the package.
Note that the freehub is only compatible with HG-style SRAM and Shimano cassettes, and it’s not clear whether freehubs for Campagnolo or XD drivers are available.
An app is used to calibrate the trainer and also works with Xplova’s computers.
- £699, international pricing and availability TBC
POC Crave Clarity glasses
It’s probably worth spending a bit of cash on them, then.
POC’s Crave glasses certainly fulfil that criteria and while they aren’t cheap, they’re rammed full of features.
The lightweight frame is flexible, making them suitable for not just cycling, but other sports. The nose gripper and inserts on the arms are made from hydrophilic rubber that remains grippy even when it’s soaking wet. When you’re sweating buckets or it’s pouring with rain, you can expect the glasses to stay put, which is great for bumpy trails and flat-out roads.
The uranium black translucent frame and grey category three lens on this model are discrete-looking but rowdier options are available.
The category three Carl Zeiss lens is treated to reduce fogging and repel water and muck. The tint means it’s best-suited to fairly light conditions although the pink-ish hue should mean they work in darker places, too.
If you’re a POC super-fan, then you’ll be pleaseed to hear the Crave glasses have been made to work seamlessly with its Tectal MTB lid.
- £210 / $275 / €240