Friday Five-a-side: this week's best new gear 14/11/14
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.
Take a closer look at what we’ll be testing in the US offices in the upcoming weeks and months.
New road gear
Backcountry Research Camrat straps
Hate traditional saddle bags? give backcountry research’s new camrat straps a try. repair items are first loaded up in the dual shock cords, and then the whole bundle is secured attached beneath your seat:
For roadies who don’t want to stuff their pockets with repair items but also don’t want to use a traditional seat pack, there’s Backcountry Research’s new Camrat straps. Simply tuck your items inside the handy elastic cords, and then attach the whole bundle beneath the saddle rails with the meaty Velcro-backed nylon strap for a tidy package that holds tight and won’t rattle around.
Lazer’s updated genesis lifebeam helmet has a new built-in heart rate monitor that supposedly has a longer battery life than the original, a more comfortable brow pad, and now transmits in both ant+ and bluetooth 4.0:
Lazer has updated its original heart rate-enabled helmet – a modified Genesis built in conjunction with Israeli outfit Lifebeam – with a new sensor that’s supposedly more accurate and boasts a longer run-time than before. New padding around the brow promises to be more comfortable too.
Unchanged are the helmet’s impressive convenience features for those who ride with a heart rate monitor. Thanks to its clever optical-based heart rate sensor built right into the helmet (complete with wireless data transmission and an on-board rechargeable battery), you can now leave the chest strap at home.
The specialized keg isn’t meant for water; it’s designed to store essential repair items for riders that don’t want to use a traditional saddle bag and have a cage to spare:
Don’t like the idea of attaching anything to your saddle but got a spare bottle cage available? The Specialized Keg is essentially a 16oz water bottle with a screw-top lid and a handy neoprene interior wrap system to keep your tube, CO2 inflator, multi-tool, and tyre lever safe and secure. Inside the lid is a little compartment for glueless patches. It weighs 83g.
The turn zayante road crankset is lightweight and compatible with a wide range of bottom bracket types. the 30mm-diameter spindle and big, hollow-forged aluminum arms promise great stiffness, too:
Stiffness, bottom bracket compatibility, low weight, and a high-quality finish were the goals with the new Zayante road crankset from Turn, the sister company of chainring outfit Praxis. Generously proportioned hollow-forged aluminium arms and an interchangeable forged aluminium five-arm spider rotate on and an oversized 30mm-diameter aluminium spindle that will work with standard threaded, BB30, PressFit30, Specialized OSBB, and even PF86 and PF92-equipped frames.
Turn offers the Zayante with standard 53/39T, semi-compact 52/36T, and compact 50/34T gearing, all with forged Praxis chainrings. We went with the middle size, which weighs 703g plus 116g for a threaded bracket bracket – about 25g lighter than a comparable Shimano Ultegra setup for roughly the same price.
Wilier triestina recently redesigned its zero.7 climbing machine with a sleek new shape, a stiffer chassis, and convertible internal cable routing:
The updated Wilier Triestina Zero.7 has the same frame weight as before (a claimed 750g), but is said to offer improved stiffness, easier maintenance and improved aesthetics than its predecessor. Carrying over is the original version’s excellent handling and silky ride quality.
Given such a light foundation, then, it’s of course easy to build up an ultralight complete bike from there. Our small-sized tester is built with a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical group, Mavic Ksyrium SLR aluminium clinchers, and Ritchey finishing kit for a fantastic total weight of just 6.42kg (14.15lb, without pedals) – and it looks positively menacing too.
The new bontrager line elite tlr disc 27.5 wheels are a bit heavy at around 1,900g complete but they’re generously wide and noticeably stout :
Bontrager is moving progressively wider, with its latest Line Elite trail/enduro wheelset sporting a healthy 28mm inner rim width. These are connected with butted stainless steel spokes to Bontrager’s own Rapid Drive hubset, made with radically oversized aluminium bodies and a 54-tooth ratchet ring that yields a snappy 6.67-degree engagement speed.
They’re competitively light – our 27.5in diameter set hits the scales at 1,772g (957g front, 815g rear). However, that’s somewhat tempered when you factor in the requisite moulded rim strips for tubeless use, which add another 130g for the set.
Slight weight disappointment aside, we’ve already started riding these and have been pretty happy so far. They feel reasonably solid when pushed hard, the wider rims easily set up tubeless without a compressor and lend very good casing support to wider tyres, and the quick rear hub engagement is fantastic on technical terrain. Stay tuned for a full review shortly.
As is usually the case with crankbrothers products, the iodine 3 wheels boast an undeniably distinctive look what with their uniquely machined rims, novel aluminum/steel hybrid spokes, and paired lacing pattern:
Crankbrothers insists that it’s finally exorcised its rear hub reliability demons and we’ve just taken delivery of a set of new Iodine 3 wheels to find out for ourselves. As is typically the case with Crankbrothers, the Iodine 3s are certainly visually distinctive what with their cleverly machined tubeless-compatible rim design, the unique style of spoke anchoring, and the paired spoke lacing. Even the spokes are topics of conversation, with their unusually short 166mm length and radically long alloy nipples.
Internal rim width is 23mm and actual weight for our 27.5in-diameter test set is 1,765g (808g front, 957g rear) – essentially spot-on with claimed figures.
Felt gets into the fat bike game with two models: the entry-level double double 70 and the higher-end double double 30 shown here:
Felt is among the latest mainstream brands to get into the fat bike scene with two models: the very reasonably priced Double Double 70 (known as the ‘Double Dee’ in Europe) and the only-slightly more expensive Double Double 30 we just received at BikeRadar’s Colorado office.
Felt builds the Double Double 30 with a hydroformed and double-butted aluminium frame, anchored up front by a matching hydroformed aluminium rigid fork with thru-axles at both ends. The 80mm-wide single-wall cutout rims are wrapped with Schwalbe’s new 26x4in Jumbo Jim tyres, while Shimano provides a reliable Deore/Deore XT build kit.
Our medium sample weighs 14.08kg (31.04lb) without pedals.
Ghost will now be available in the united states exclusively through outdoor giant rei. the riot 7 lc is the company’s second-tier carbon fiber trail bike with 130mm of travel and 27.5in wheels:
Long a staple in the European market, Ghost Cycles will now peddle its wares in the United States through exclusive retailer REI and we’ve just received a 130mm-travel Riot 7 LC trail bike here in Colorado.
At first glance, the angular carbon fibre frame looks much like any other Horst-link, four-bar bike – which it is, at least in terms of wheel path. The clever Riot Link down by the cranks yields a fully floating shock mount, though, with the supposed benefit of improved bottom-out control. Meanwhile, Ghost secures the rear disc caliper with its Disconnect brake mount, which the company claims reduces stress on the frame and resists brake squeal.
Equipped with a Shimano Deore XT 2×10 drivetrain and brakes, Fox suspension, Easton Vice 27.5in wheels, and a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost, our medium-sized sample hits the scales at 12.42kg (27.38lb) without pedals.
TOGS are simple clamp-on hooks that provide an additional position for your hands on long mountain bike rides:
Bar ends may have gone the way of the dodo but the idea of having multiple hand positions on your mountain bike is still alive and well. TOGS – Thumb Over Grip System – are simple moulded Zytel plastic add-ons that clamp inboard of your existing grips and provide a handy place to hook your thumbs. The resulting position isn’t entirely unlike what many endurance do already on longer stretches of non-technical terrain but with TOGS, you don’t have to worry as much about your hands slipping off if you hit a bump.