Friday Five-a-side: this week's best new gear 03/10/14
It’s the end of yet another week, which means… yep! Time for another Friday Five-a-side round up of the most interesting bits and pieces of road cycling and mountain biking gear to land at BikeRadar HQ.
Keep your eyes peeled over the coming months for our more in-depth opinions as we put some of this kit through its paces.
Bontrager is taking an aggressive stance on tubeless for cyclocross applications with the new affinity pro tlr road disc wheels and matching cxr tires:
Bontrager is taking an admirably aggressive position on tubeless wheels and tires for cyclocross with its Affinity Elite TLR Road Disc wheelset and two sets of matching ‘cross tires: the mud-specific CX3 TLR and the semi-slick CX0 TLR. The key draw here is the extra-tight fit between the rim and tire, which bodes well for reliability at the very low pressures cyclocross demands.
Key highlights on the Affinity Elite TLR Road Disc wheels include modestly oversized 17.5mm-wide (internal width) tubeless compatible rims with brazed-on spoke reinforcements, offset spoke hole drilling and ‘stacked’ hub flanges for more even spoke tension between the driveside and non-driveside, Shimano Center Lock splined rotor interfaces, and convertible cartridge bearing-equipped hubs that can be used with either quick-release or thru-axle frames.
Bontrager designs its own hub shells and axles but uses drivers from dt swiss for the affinity pro tlr road disc wheels:
That rim can easily be made tubeless, too, just by installing the included moulded plastic rim strips and valve stems. Doing so will add 101g to the wheelset’s 1,650g actual weight, though, not including sealant. Tack on another 140g for the excellent external-cam quick-release skewers.
As already mentioned, a tight fit between tyre and rim is the key to a reliable tubeless setup in ‘cross and both the 396g CX3 TLR and 394g CX0 TLR treads are awfully snug. Tyre levers are key but once they’re on, it’s no problem pumping them up with a standard floor pump.
Looking for mud? the bontrager cx3 tlr is ready for action:
Gore bike wear is ready for inclement weather with the fleece-backed xenon 2.0 jacket (left) and the lightweight oxygen 2.0 shell (right), both built with gore-tex laminated membrane fabrics:
Gore Bike Wear once again has a complete range of cold-weather gear ready to tackle chilly winter rides and we’ve just received two jackets to test as the days shorten, and the temperatures fall.
The Oxygen 2.0 GT AS is a lightweight shell built with Gore-Tex Active, a two-layer fabric that emphasises breathability over all-out weatherproofing for highly aerobic activities. Nevertheless, the Gore-Tex membrane (boosted by a DWR coating) still boasts all-day protection against the rain and keeps cold breezes at bay.
The efficient construction also makes the Oxygen 2.0 GT AS easy to stuff into a jersey pocket. Speaking of which, donning the jacket doesn’t mean you won’t have easy access to those pockets, either, thanks to a pair of zippered slots in the back.
The gore oxygen 2.0 shell features zippered cuffs for a tight fit, zippered slots on the rear to access jersey pockets, a radically dropped-down tail, and lots of reflective material for nighttime visibility:
The Xenon 2.0 SO, on the other hand, is aimed at colder – but drier – conditions with its Windstopper outer shell and cosy fleece lining. A pair of zippered, mesh-backed vents up front bring in more cooling air when you’re really working hard while three rear pockets (plus a fourth zippered one) are on hand to stow your gear.
As is usually the case with Gore’s high-end clothing, the cut on both the Oxygen 2.0 GT AS and Xenon 2.0 SO are fantastically trim and cycling-specific, too. Come on, winter – we’re ready for you.
US$279.99 / £209.99 / €249.95 / AU$TBC (Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0 GT AS jacket)US$249.99 / £189.99 / €229.95 / AU$TBC (Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 SO jacket)
Lezyne’s new deca drive is said to pump out up to 900 lumens:
Lezyne may be best known for its extensive range of floor and mini-pumps but, surprisingly, lights now account for about 40 percent of the company’s business.
Headlining our recent shipment of test samples is the new Deca Drive with up to 900 (claimed) lumens of output via three LED emitters. Stated run time at the highest setting is a modest 1 1/2 hours (or up to 21 hours on the longest-lasting flashing mode) with convenient recharging via a micro-USB cable in as little as six hours. The Li-ion battery can also be easily swapped out for a fresh pack (optional) if you want to head out for longer rides, too.
Commuters looking for a convenient helmet-mounted all-in-one combo light can check out the Macro Drive Duo, which features a 400-lumen claimed output up front coupled with a five-lumen red LED out back – all neatly tucked together in the same aluminium case. Cutouts at the front of the body add some side visibility as well. Claimed run is the same 1 1/2 hours as the Deca Drive but in this case, the non-swappable battery will recharge via the built-in micro-USB port in just three hours.
The new lezyne macro drive duo features leds at both the front and rear for an all-in-one solution for nighttime commuting:
Also new this year is a range of more safety-oriented lights.
The KTV Drive Pro front-only light is the brightest safety option with 70 claimed lumens, and the clever mounting system can be used on handlebars or clothing. Pop off the rear cap and there’s a USB plug built into the body so you can plug it right into your computer for handy recharging. Claimed run time is one hour at the highest setting or up to six hours in certain flashing modes.
Lezyne recently launched the new ktv range of compact safety flashers, including the higher-powered, front-only ktv drive pro (left) and the smaller ktv drive front and rear models (right):
Alternatively, the standard KTV – offered in both front and rear varieties – puts out a more modest 15 lumens (claimed) with 180-degree visibility thanks to a curved lens shape. Like the KTV Pro, the standard KTV’s mount can easily be used on seatposts and handlebars or clipped on to clothing, and the built-in USB stick makes for easy recharging. Claimed run time is 4 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours depending on mode.
Moots has revised the geometry on its standard psychlo-x ‘cross bike, making it better suited for dirt road riding and exploring and turning it into the new routt:
Moots has tweaked its long-running workhorse Psychlo-X titanium ‘cross bike for 2015, incorporating some minor geometry changes as well as a new name: Routt, named for the county in which the company’s Steamboat Springs, Colorado headquarter resides.
Compared with the old bike, the Routt has an 8mm-lower bottom bracket and marginally slacker head tube angle for more stability, plus a slightly shorter reach and longer head tube for a marginally more relaxed fit. The top tube also wears a more dramatic slope. If any/all of this doesn’t suit you, keep in mind that Moots still offers the Routt in custom anything-and-everything, too.
In stock form, Moots contends that the Routt is now better suited for exploring dirt roads and gravel grinding – the sorts of things that so many ‘cross bikes end up doing instead of actually racing cyclocross.
As always, moots still builds its titanium frames in steamboat springs, colorado:
As such, our 52cm disc-equipped sample comes equipped more for back-road adventures than leaping barriers, with standard 50/34T Shimano Ultegra compact gearing, decidedly less aggressive Schwalbe Sammy Slick tyres, and rather heavy Shimano WH-RX31 wheels that boost the actual weight to 8.93kg (19.69lb, without pedals). While we certainly plan on taking some solo jaunts into the unpaved wilderness, we’re also planning on subbing in a more ‘cross appropriate crankset and wheelset, which should drop the weight significantly for race duty.
Speaking of which, hardcore cyclocross racers shouldn’t fear that Moots has abandoned them – the higher-end Psychlo-X RSL retains the same, edgier geometry as before.
See.Sense has updated its intelligent front and rear flashers for brighter outputs and longer standby times:
Less than a year after successfully launching its self-adjusting safety lights on Kickstarter, See.Sense has already released an updated model with an 11-lumen boost in maximum brightness, a standby time that’s been increased by twelve-fold, and a handy automatic on/off feature that shuts the light off after three minutes of inactivity but turns back on once it detects movement.
Claimed peak output for the front version is 210 lumens while the rear supposedly pumps out 125, making both easily visible even in bright sunlight. Impressively, See.Sense was able to do this just by careful heat management, not through a physical change in the emitters.
Carrying over is See.Sense’s clever network of intelligent sensors, which automatically adjusts the light output and flashing speeds depending on the surrounding conditions: brighter and faster when it detects approaching traffic, for example, and dimmer and slower otherwise to conserve battery power.
Even better, the new features are also available to current See.Sense owners – completely free of charge (aside from postage) in some cases, depending on optional upgrades.
US$76.99 / £44.99 / AU$n/a (standard See.Sense. front or rear light)
US$136.99 / £79.99 / AU$n/a (standard See.Sense. front and rear set)
US$94.49 / £54.99 / AU$n/a (See.Sense. Intense front or rear light)
US$170.99 / £99.99 / AU$n/a (See.Sense. Intense front and rear set)
US$136.99 / £79.99 / AU$n/a (See.Sense. Elite front or rear light)
US$256.49 / £149.99 / AU$n/a (See.Sense. Elite front and rear set)
The 100% accuri goggles feature a uniquely shaped frame that lends a greater field of view than usual:
100%’s claim to fame is the unique shape of its goggle frames. Instead of a following a constant arc across the top as is the norm, the top of the Accuri features a distinct upward kink through the center that provides a big boost to the field of view. In fact, it’s so good that it’s actually difficult to see the top of the frame at all when the Accuri is on your face.
Other features include comfortable fleece-backed dual-density foam, posts for tear-offs, and silicone grippers to keep the strap from sliding around.
The best part, however, is the aggressive pricing (international figures TBC) – and replacement lenses come pretty cheap, too.
Borealis designed its new echo carbon fiber fat bike around the rockshox bluto suspension fork:
Fat bikes have traditionally been regarded as solely wintertime vehicles but Borealis is hoping to shift that perception a bit with the new Echo. The carbon frame is built around RockShox’s 100mm-travel Bluto suspension fork and includes routing for stealth-style dropper seatposts, plus it’s respectably lightweight at 1,370g (claimed) – all of which should make it more appealing to ride even when the ground isn’t covered in snow.
That said, the Echo certainly looks well equipped to tackle Old Man Winter with clearance for 4.8in tyres on 100mm-wide rims, fully guided internal routing, three water bottle mounts, and the latest 197mm rear hub spacing with thru-axles front and rear.
Borealis certainly didn’t spare any expense on our test loaner, either, with the top-shelf model featuring a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Race Face Next SL carbon cranks, 80mm-wide Turnagain aluminium rims, and a 35mm-diameter Race Face carbon bar and machined aluminium stem, all rotating on Borealis’s own hubs and 120tpi 45NRTH Hüsker Dü tyres.
The 80mm-wide turnagain single-wall rims feature stainless steel eyelets:
Actual weight for our medium sample is just 13.07kg (28.81lb) without pedals.
Performance bicycle wants to equip your body as well as your bike with a full range of mountain bike clothing. both the farlow and crest jerseys feature fast-drying fabrics and a casual look:
Winter may be coming but it’s not here just yet and there’s plenty of warm-weather riding still to be had.
Performance bellies up to the bar with the Mando baggy shorts, which feature casual styling but a relatively trim cut around the hips and crotch, and two-way stretch fabrics to prevent snags during technical moves. Cinch straps are built into the waist to hold everything up but there are also belt loops if you’d prefer that route. Either way, no liner is included so you’re free to add your own.
The performance mando baggy shorts don’t come with liners so you can instead wear the ones you likely already know and like:
Completing the look are the similarly casual Farlow or Crest jerseys, both with quick-drying fabrics and single hidden rear pockets for your phone or car keys.
Once you’re done with your ride (or while you’re on the way to town to meet with friends), stave off the chill with the Herb pullover hoodie with its brushed polyester fabric, single kangaroo-style front pocket, and zippered security pocket on the sleeve.
Reynolds’ latest blacklabel 27.5am wheels feature 23mm-wide carbon fiber rims that bring the weight down to just 1,532g for the set including rim tape:
Looking to lighten up your trail or enduro rig? Reynolds builds its top-end BlackLabel 27.5AM wheels with 23mm-wide (internal width), tubeless-compatible carbon rims, butted DT Swiss stainless steel spokes, and DT Swiss 240s hubs to yield a wheelset weighing just 1,532g (709g front, 823g rear, actual weights, pre-taped) yet is supposedly still tough enough for the rigors of the Enduro World Series.
Time will tell in terms of long-term durability but at least for now, these things sure do look good. Previous experience with DT Swiss 240s hubs is very positive, too, and the wide range of hub end caps and freehub body styles should make for easy compatibility with nearly any bike, too.
Park tool is constantly developing new tools to keep up with emerging bikes and gear. just in from ‘big blue’ is a set of picks, a set of snap-ring pliers, an open-ended wrench specifically designed to work with hydraulic brake fittings, and the new bbt-49 to work with newer shimano threaded bottom bracket cups:
Park Tool is constantly changing its lineup of bike tools to handle the evolving landscape of componentry and we’ve just received a fresh batch at BikeRadar‘s Colorado office.
First and foremost is the new MWF-1 metric flare wrench with slotted openings and dual 8/10mm ends specifically for use on master cylinder compression nuts.
Other more universal tools in our care package include the UP-SET utility pick set (for opening up freshly cut housing or fishing internally routed lines), the RP-SET snap ring pliers (commonly used in suspension work), and the BBT-49 bottom bracket tool for Shimano’s newest downsized external-bearing cups.
Finally, there’s the GLV-1 mechanic’s gloves to give you a more secure grip throughout.