Friday Five-a-side: this week’s new bike gear 05/12/14

Oval MTB chainrings, water-hose scrub brushes, lateral-float pedals, electric muscle stimulators and more

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time to show off the latest hot gear that has arrived on BikeRadar‘s doorstep. This week we have a wide range of gear, from straight-ahead solutions like hydration packs to handy products like a brush that mounts on a hose to some flat-out unusual products like road pedals with 25mm of lateral spindle float.


New mountain gear

Giro Rivet II glove

Giro's minimalist Rivet II glove goes for bar feel over bulk
Giro’s minimalist rivet ii glove is favors bar feel over bulk:
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

The Rivet is back in Giro’s glove line. This minimalist glove features a three-piece, micro-vented Pittards leather palm and a stretchy and breathable mesh upper. In keeping with the bare-bones theme, there’s no Velcro strap, but there is a stretchy cuff at the wrist to help keep the Rivet in place.

US$30 / £ TBA / AU$ TBA

Easton Lock-on Grips

Easton's Lock-On Grip features a number of clever features
Easton’s lock-on grip features a number of clever features:
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

The carbon handlebar experts at Easton made a point to sweat the details in developing the firm’s latest grip. Unlike most other lock-on grips on the market, Easton’s design features internal plastic sleeves under the metal clamps to protect carbon bars from scratches. They’re also right and left-specific, with integrated aluminium bumpers at the end of the grips to further protect your handlebar when you take a digger. Easton’s grips come in 30 and 33mm diameters and in six different hues.

US$25 / £25 / AU$45

Osprey Raptor 6 hydration pack

The Osprey Raptor 6 is designed for long rides where you don't need to pack a lot of gear
The osprey raptor 6 is designed for long rides where you don’t need to pack a lot of gear:
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

Osprey’s Raptor 10 is one of our favourite packs of all time, but some long rides call for a lot of water without the need to carry a bunch of gear. Enter the Raptor 6, a more compact pack with a 3l reservoir and just enough storage space for a pump, spare tube, an energy bar or two and a rain shell.

US$120 / £75 / AU$138

Absolute Black Oval Chainring

Absolute Black's ovalized narrow/wide chainring seeks to make pedaling more efficient
Absolute black’s ovalized narrow/wide chainring seeks to make pedaling more efficient :
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

Not every ovalised chainring should be compared to the monstrosity that was Biopace. The team at Absolute did their homework in developing an ovalised narrow/wide chainring and feel they, along with Rotor, are the only two companies that have properly clocked the contours of ovalised chainrings to maximise their performance.

This 32t oval ring has smallest diameter in the so-called “dead spot” (making it the equivalent of 30t) and the largest diameter in what the company considers to be the peak power zone (making it the equivalent of 34t) which, according to Absolute Black, makes it faster than a traditional 32t chainring.

Absolute Black makes its Oval ring in 32t and 34t versions in a 104 BCD (shown), as well as a spiderless version for SRAM GXP cranksets.

US$66 / £46.99 / AU$100 (104 BCD, 32t version)


The Brush-X can make cleaning up after a muddy ride much easier
The brush-x can make clean up after a muddy ride much easier:
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

Winter riding comes with its own unique set of challenges, including how best to keep your bike clean. The Brush-X has a 6ft (183cm) hose and a fitting that will attach to a common garden hose. The head features a set of soft-tipped polyester bristles that can scrub hard to reach places such as front derailleur cages, and chainstay/bottom bracket junctions.

US$24 / £TBA / AU$ TBA

New road gear

Marc Pro

The Marc Pro is an electric muscle stimulator
The marc pro is an electric muscle stimulator: the marc pro is an electric muscle stimulator
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

The Marc Pro is a recovery tool that seeks to flush out metabolic waste and bring in oxygen and fresh blood to tired muscles by causing them to fire with electric stimulation. Consisting of stick-on electrodes and two dials to control voltage, the Marc Pro is an alternative to active recovery options like a light spin.

We asked company founder Ryan Heaney why someone would use this instead of just doing, well, a light spin on the bike.

“I wholeheartedly believe active recovery is the best way to recover,” he said, adding that icing or using compression are limited methods of recovery. “To recover, you need to flush out waste, and you can’t be still. You need to get the lymphatic system going. There is no heart to pump the lymphatics. You need to use muscles to squeeze the areas and push out the waste. Massage can do that. But actually moving your muscles is the best way.

“A light ride also brings in fresh blood and oxygen, which kickstarts the tissue-regeneration process. That should be your primary recovery. Problem is, most people don’t want to get back on the bike and do a light ride. It’s your legs you want to recover. But you get back on bike and your back hurts, your neck hurts. Those aren’t being helped by the ride. And people often do too much on a recovery ride. Marc Pro is capable of activating muscles to flush waste, bring in nourishment, but there is zero fatigue caused and zero stress.”

In initial testing, the Marc Pro feels a little odd — watching your leg muscles jump on their own is unsettling at first — but doesn’t hurt. We’ll report back after more testing.

US$649 / £TBA / AU$ TBA

Nikola lateral-float pedals

Nikola's founder wanted do incorporate the side-to-side feel of skating or rollerblading into cycling pedals
Nikola’s founder wanted do incorporate the side-to-side feel of skating or rollerblading into cycling pedals: nikola’s founder wanted do incorporate the side-to-side feel of skating or rollerblading into cycling pedals
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

Typically, float in pedals refers to the cleat sliding inside the pedal. With the Nikola, the entire pedal body slides 25mm on an oversized spindle.

Founder Nick Stevovich came up with the idea to incorporate some of the side-to-side feeling and movement from his rollerblading hobby with a cycling pedal. He claims the pedals can improve power and efficiency, based on tests with a group of riders at Cleveland State University.

The pedals weigh 252g a piece, are 32mm tall at their thickest point, and work with the included Look cleats.

It is certainly a unique design, and we look forward to testing it and reporting back in a review.

US$339 / £TBA / AU$ TBA

 Bontrager B3 (wool) ¼ zip longsleeve baselayer

Bontrager's new merino baselayer is soft and stink-resistant
Bontrager’s new merino baselayer is soft and odor-resistant: bontrager’s new merino baselayer is soft and odor-resistant
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

Trek’s house brand Bontrager has been stepping up its game recently with clothing, and for this winter has a new set of baselayers.

As with other clothing companies, Bontrager has taken to coding some of its pieces by temperature range. The baselayers are broken down into B1 (synthetic, for warmer days), B2 (synethic/merino blend for ‘mild’ days of 35-60F/-2-16C) and B3 (full merino for days below 35F/2C).

The B3 is thin, soft, warm and, like all full-merino clothing, odour-resistant.

US$109 / £79 / AU$ TBA

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB shoe covers

The WxB Barrier is waterproof and stretchy, with a thin fleece liner
The wxb barrier is waterproof and stretchy, with a thin fleece liner: the wxb barrier is waterproof and stretchy, with a thin fleece liner
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

The big story with these is the ease of getting the stretchy nylon/polyurethane covers on and off your shoes, thanks to an open-heel design. Instead of wrestling to get a standard shoe cover over your heel, then holding it taut while securing the back strap, with these you deal with the front and cleat area first, then Velcro the heel, then Velcro the back portion.

Pearl has this open-heel design on a few of its new shoe covers, included thicker options for colder weather.

The P.R.O. Barrier WxB shoe cover is designed for wind and water protection on cool but not cold days, with a thin fleece liner.

US$50 / £TBA / AU$ TBA

Bkool Pro Trainer + Simulator

Bkool software enables you to race others around the world virtually
Bkool software allows you to race others around the world virtually: bkool software allows you to race others around the world virtually
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

The Bkool Pro Trainer is an electronic turbo trainer that works with the included Bkool simulation software and other training software via ANT+.

The Pro Trainer is relatively light at 24lb / 10.9kg, and easy to set up: a quick-release clamp secures the rear hub (with the included quick release), and your rear tyre sits on the resistance roller.

The Bkool software allows you to ride courses in 2D, 3D or, when available, with video. You can make you own courses in 2D by simply uploading a TCX file from a ride you did with a Garmin. As you climb or descend, the trainer will adjust the resistance at the rear wheel.

Perhaps the most engaging feature of the Bkool software is the virtual racing mode, in which you can compete against others on virtual courses. The tricky part is coordinating time schedules. In our initial testing, it seems most of the participants are in Spain (Bkool is a Spanish company), so virtual races might be more convenient for those in European time zones until Bkool establishes a bigger community.

US$721 / £TBA / AU$ TBA