Friday Five-a-side: this week’s best new bike gear
It’s Friday, and that means only one thing in the BikeRadar office – it’s time for our Friday Five-a-side round up of the most interesting bits and pieces of road cycling kit and mountain biking gear that have arrived on the post van this week…
New mountain bike gear
Acre Supply The Hauser 10L hydration pack
xxxx:Jonny Ashelford / Future Publishing
Mission Workshop’s off-road specific satellite brand, Acre Supply, is finally offering a range of US-made products, including The Hauser – a 10-litre weatherproof hydration pack. It’s packed with features such as a ‘tool-roll’, which helps keep all of your tools neatly together, hidden carry straps for helmets, a specific bladder compartment and a perforated back panel to improve breathability and add support across the hips. Available in four subtle, tasteful colours, the Hauser carries many of the same aesthetic hallmarks that have made Mission Workshop’s products so desirable.
US$195 without bladder, US$230 with bladder. UK prices TBA
Saracen’s hugely popular ready-to-race Myst downhill bike is back and looking better than ever in this striking gloss black and bright fluro yellow paintjob. Packing the robust RockShox Boxxer RC at the front and a Fox VAN RC shock at the rear, the Myst throws out a well-balanced and highly capable 203mm of front and rear travel. With the braking and transmission duties taken care of by Shimano, as well as Maxxis High Roller II tyres and a Kore finishing kit, the only thing missing is a date with a steep, root-strewn trail to throw it down.
Designed and delivered without compromise, ENVE’s entry into the direct mount stem market has arrived. Constructed from uni-directional carbon with a carbon faceplate (with alloy friction plate) and chromo hardware, ENVE’s must-have downhill stem is 50mm long, has a 20mm rise and a claimed weight of 117g, making it incredibly light. It was tested and race-proven by the Santa Cruz Syndicate, and is also available in a 60mm long, 15mm rise option.
Answer is well known for offering some of the best weight to strength ratio bars on the market, and has gone one step further with the SL range of carbon bars. These bars are constructed from a continuous one-piece layup to create a dense layer of material with consistent wall thickness throughout, allowing excess material to be used in key areas. Claimed to be up to 15 percent lighter than Answer’s previous carbon bars, the SLs also have 145mm of Grip Grit finish at the end of the bars to improve adhesion of control-based components. With a four-degree upsweep and an eight-degree backsweep, the 780mm wide option pictured here weighs a claimed 215g.
Fat bikes’ unique appearance and go-anywhere nature is certainly helping to boost their popularity, and an increasing number of brands are starting to offer these larger-than-life bikes in their ranges. Constructed from Tange seamless double-butted chromoly, and with unstoppable 26x4in tyres, the Cooker Maxi is a bike with bite. It runs on a 10-speed SRAM drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes and and is finished off with products from Charge‘s own product line.
These theft-proof commuter lights have rolled off the crowd-funded production line at Sparse, a San Francisco based start-up. The lights are die-cast zinc and have a wrap-around lens that gives 180-degree visibility. These lights are a fit-and-forget fixture: the front light takes the place of a spacer under the stem and the rear light slips over a seatpost – it’s fit all posts between 27.2mm and 31.9mm. Batteries are not included because the lights don’t need them. Extra long micro USB cables provide the juice, which will last four hours once topped to the max. They’re a cool upgrade for a slick commuter but they’re not cheap. EU buyers will need to import a pair at the going exchange rate – thought that’s to be remedied by March, we’re told.
US$139.99 / £85 (approx)
Fat Lad At The Back Lad’s Balmy short-sleeve jersey
xxxx:Jonny Ashelford / Future Publishing
Last year, we were tickled at the launch of Yorkshire clothing brand Fat Lad At The Back and its line of mamil-ready cycling gear for the bigger man. From a wardrobe of largely black kit (it’s slimming, don’t you know), we were sent this summer jersey. We’re looking forward to getting out on the bike in it – less to experience the cut and feel, but more to see whether the Yorkshire wit that produced the humorously self-deprecating jersey will bring a little joy to other cyclists and motorists. Sorry, America you’ll have to import.
If you like Incredible Hulk green in a high performance shoe, then these Spiuk Pragma Ts are just the ticket. They’re billed as a triathlon shoe, but the styling screams ‘road’, with a minimal pull-on heel strap and the double ratchet-tightening system. They won’t win any awards for their stiffness – either in the sole or the vent-tastic upper – but we reckon they’ll be comfortable on hot rides.
In 2013, AG2R-La Mondiale test rode Italian brand Fi’zi:k’s first foray into cockpit components. The aluminium Cyrano R1 stem has titanium bolts, comes in seven lengths from 70 to 130mm, and is 31.8mm in diameter. It weighs a claimed 128g and is designed to be used with Fi’zi:k’s Cyrano handlebars, which follow the company’s highly successful bull/chameleon/snake taxonomy based on a rider’s flexibility.
Swift Carbon won’t be a name familiar to all, but the brand has impressed us with its road bikes for a couple of years now. In 2014 it’s making headway in the lower levels of the professional circuit – Aussie Pro-Continental team Drapac ride Swift bikes, and so do up-and-comers NFTO in the UK. The Swift Neurogen is its TT. We’ll withhold judgement on the ride and performance of the UCI legal frameset and simply let you drool over the everso-good-looking rig for now.