Friday Five-a-side: this week’s best new bike gear

Featuring bikes from Focus, Look and Giant, and kit from Oakley, DVO and more

We’re hours away from turning the computers off and disappearing from the BikeRadar office for a couple of days to shred the trails and pound out the road miles, but first is our weekly installment of new bike kit that’s arrived on the post van this week.

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New road bike kit

Giant TCR Advanced 1

Buy now from:

Rutland Cycling

Giant tcr advanced 1: giant tcr advanced 1
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

Giant’s race-inspired TCR is ready for a year of riding as a Cycling Plus long-term bike, and it looks the business. The TCR has a history of innovation; it was one of the first of Giant’s compact frame designs that changed the way in which bikes were designed.

The 2014 TCR Advanced 1 has progressed from those aluminium days, always keeping bang up to date. An OverDrive2 steerer tube, along with MegaDrive tubing and a PowerCore bottom bracket might sound like the marketing department are working overtime, but our experience of the 2013 model suggests that this should be a cracking bike.

£2,399 / US$3,200

Oakley RadarLock Path glasses

Buy now from:

Evans Cycles

Oakley radarlock path glasses: oakley radarlock path glasses
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

Oakley consistently comes out top in glasses tests; its style, performance and attention to detail are almost second to none. In preparation for this summer’s glasses test in Cycling Plus we’ve got a pair of Radarlock Path Vented glasses with Polarized lenses.

We chose the Path variation because of its concave lower lens edge, which should our fuller-cheeked tester’s face better. Those with a slimmer face might want to look at the Pitch version, or the Asian fit version. As with most Oakley glasses there are myriad lens and frame options available.

£245 / US$300

DHB Cosmo jacket

Buy now from:


DHB cosmo jacket: dhb cosmo jacket
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

The DHB Cosmo jacket is a lightweight waterproof that, if the stats are to be believed, offers a pretty impressive level of performance. The performance of a waterproof jacket comes largely down to three elements – the cut, waterproofing and breathability. We’re especially intrigued by the Cosmo’s fabric. A 20,000mm waterproof rating puts it up there with the likes of GoreTex and eVent, while the 30,000mm breathability rating is also right up there with the big boys. At £60 this looks like stonking value for money.

DHB looks to have done their homework with the features too. A rear zipped pocket doubles as a pouch for the jacket to pack into, while there’s a fleece-lined collar, silicone on the hem, dropped tail and reflective detailing.

£59.99 / US$N/A

Lifeline lights

Buy now from:


Lifeline lights: lifeline lights
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

The nights might be getting shorter, but there’s still a good chance that you’ll need lights when riding at this time of year. So before it gets too late to think about winter kit, here are some new lights from Lifeline.

There are two LEDs in each light. The front kicks out an impressive 80 lumens, and the rear, 30. Both are certainly enough to be noticed, and we reckon the front should be bright enough to deal with the odd un-lit section of road. They both feature USB charging, but with burn times of between 3.5 and 54 hours, you shouldn’t need to do it too often.

£68.98 (pair) / US$N/A

Focus Izalco Max 1.0

Buy now from:

Cyclo Monster

Focus izalco max 1.0: focus izalco max 1.0
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

When a Tour de France team starts using a bike, you can be rest assured that it’s going to be good. Ag2r have done this with Focus’ Izalco frame, and the Izalco Max 1.0 is one of a range of bikes that uses the 760g frame. The Max 1.0 comes with Shimano Dura Ace Di2, as well as DT Swiss wheels, featuring secure RWS skewers. With a full bike weight of 6.3kg it’s certainly no heavyweight, and looks set to be fantastic on the hills. There’s also a 5.3kg model, priced at £7,899, which uses standard off-the-shelf parts.

The Izalco frames are built using Focus’ SSPS (Stable Stiffness Per Size) system, whereby each frame size has customised tube diameter and stiffness relative to its projected stress level.

£5,799 / US$9,500

New mountain bike gear

Novatec Diablo 29 wheels

Novatec diablo 29 wheels: novatec diablo 29 wheels
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

Long gone are the days when 29in wheels were just for skinny whippets who were as interested in shaving their legs as shaving grams from their bikes. But burly 29ers are here to stay, and so a new breed of wheels has emerged.

The Diablo wheelset is built around a hugely adaptable pair of hubs, ready to take quick-release, 9mm, 15mm and 20mm axles up front and quick-release, 10mm, 12mm and X12 rear axles. The tubeless-ready rims are 28.5mm wide, which should give your tyres a decent profile. Ours weigh in at 2,077g for the pair (currently with QR dropouts), which is a little over Novatec’s 1.890g reported weight. Still, that’s not too bad for some big-hitting 29er wheels. It’ll be interesting to see if they live up to Novatec’s claim that “like an avalanche of aluminium and steel, the Diablo29 eats gnarly terrain and demands more”, because that sounds ace.

£489 per pair / US$TBC /

DVO Emerald fork

Buy now from:

Tweeks Cycles

DVO emerald fork: dvo emerald fork
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

DVO might be a new name in the suspension world, but the people behind the brand have decades of experience. DVO has gone for an upside-down design, something we’ve rarely seen recently, but harks back to the Marzocchi Shivers of old. It offers 203mm travel for both 26 and 650b (27.5in) wheels, and has 36mm stanchions and a so-called Carbon Torsion Arch to keep things stiff.

It’s not light at 3.51kg, but we’ll be doing our best to make sure we get to the bottom of whether the Emerald’s extra weight pays off in supreme performance. One thing’s for sure, the bright green anodising is certainly going to stand out from the crowd.

£1,795 / US$2,200 /

Renthal 40mm Duo stem

Buy now from:


Renthal 40mm duo stem: renthal 40mm duo stem
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

Renthal’s two-piece stem design might look like it’s trying to reinvent the wheel, but despite it taking longer to mount handlebars, we’ve found the Duo’s design to be rock solid. Renthal uses 6082 T6 alloy for the stem, with plenty of machining completing the look.

We’ve got the super short 40mm version ready to be fitted to Mountain Biking UK’s long-term Kona Process – the short length and stiff construction should be the perfect complement to the Process’ aggressive trail riding nature.

£79.99 / US$99.95

KS LEV 150mm Integra seatpost

KS lev 150mm integra seatpost: ks lev 150mm integra seatpost
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

When RockShox released the Reverb Stealth dropper post, the rest of bike industry sat up and took note. It wasn’t long before other manufacturers starting releasing their own droppers, ready for the raft of bikes that were appearing with an extra hole in the seat tube.

This is KS’s LEV Integra. Unlike the reverb, it’s cable operated. The stubby lever should keep itself out of harm’s way, and we’ve found the exterior-cabled version to be perfectly reliable.

£319.99 / $394.99

Look 927 Carbon

Buy now from:


Look 927 carbon: look 927 carbon
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing

So we’ve dealt with the gravity set, now here’s something for those who just want to go fast. Look’s 927 Carbon is distinctive, with the ‘A-stem’ merging almost seamlessly into the top tube of the bike. A carbon build, 650b (27.5in) wheels and SRAM XX1 are designed to go as fast as your legs can take you.

£2,615 / US$3,999 (frame and shock only)

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