#Cecilthetandem is a burgundy, circa ‘99 Orbit Twin, with clearances for mammoth tyres, roughly one zillion braze-ons and a positive can-do attitude.
We’ve used the tandem for all sorts of daft rides this year, including Laura’s first century, which was a very wet and grimy affair.
Buying Cecil has been a great excuse to nerd out on weird tandem techJack Luke / Immediate Media
As well as being an absolute delight to ride, we look damn cute aboard Cecil and the amount of Instagram fodder he’s produced is unsurpassed.
Buying the tandem has also given me a chance to obsess over all sorts of super nerdy tandem techiness — from how to service an Arai drum brake to rekindling my love for the much neglected triple chainset, the experience has been super interesting and I can’t wait to spend more time aboard Cecil next year.
The Octal X is a MTB friendly version of the legendary OctalJack Luke / Immediate Media
The POC Octal has become something of a modern classic and is one of the most popular lids among testers here at BikeRadar.
The Octal X is a slightly burlier version of the road helmet. It includes POC’s ‘aramid bridge’ technology, which in the brand’s words “adds structural rigidity and guards against impact penetration,” and is designed primarily for XC racing.
Just like the road helmet it is based on, the Octal X is incredibly airy, light and comfortable.
Naturally I went for the brightest helmet that POC offers. Not only does this fit in with my favoured clashing aesthetic; it adds a degree of hi-vis, which is always welcome on the road.
Brynje’s base layers have revolutionised my riding and styleJack Luke / Immediate Media
Without doubt the least sexy addition to my wardrobe this year has to be these sleeveless Brynje mesh base layers.
What they lack in attractiveness, they more than make up with performance — the base layers were used on the first ascent of Everest and are estimated to still be used by approximately 90 percent of professional Polar expeditions today.
On the bike, the pocket of air that the thick, totally non-absorbent polyurethane ‘weave’ creates does a superb job of keeping you warm in chilly weather, but also allows you to quickly ‘dump’ excess heat by opening your jersey.
There is also a Merino version for those who are allergic to or don’t like the feel of synthetic fabrics.
Nobody needed to see this…Jack Luke / Immediate Media
If I could recommend you try anything from this list (it’s not realistic to expect you to all go out and buy a tandem), it has to be one of these. They’ve revolutionised my cycling wardrobe and I now won’t be found doing anything outside without one on.
The bike is such a hoot to rideJack Luke / Immediate Media
Although I was only on the Katu for a very short time, it was enough to seriously impress me — the dinky bike is an absolute hoot to ride, but oozes genuine practicality, with a cavernous basket up front alongside mudguards and dynamo lights fitted to most models.
The one-size-fits-all bike starts at £349 for a super basic singlespeed model, rising to £2,499 for the very fanciest electric version of the bike.
Jack has been riding and fettling bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported. Jack has been at BikeRadar for three years now and is regularly testing an esoteric mix of weird and wonderful bikes.