11spd: this week's best new bikes and gear

Bird Zero 29er, Velo Orange kit, S-Works shoes, Coros SafeSound and more...

Happy Friday everyone! This week we’ve dived headlong into the capitalist maelstrom that is Black Friday, we’ve marvelled at all that is weird and wonderful in the worlds of road and gravel, and we’ve dreamed of soaring above the trails on our bikes.

Canyon made headlines with its most expensive bike ever, while Cube impressed us with a particularly sensible commuter.

The best new bikes and gear

Velo Orange hammered 45mm alloy mudguards/fenders

Alloy mudguards are a must-have for winter riding
Alloy mudguards are a must-have for winter riding

We’re well into wet 'n' grimy season here in the northern hemisphere, with damp and debris-strewn roads the new norm for the next few months.

As such, it’s time to start thinking about mudguards, and if you take your having-a-dry-bum game seriously, there’s no better option than a hardy, full-cover alloy set.

Velo Orange offers a wide range of mudguards for pretty much every wheel size, tyre width and in a number of different styles.

We’ve opted for a set of 45mm wide black hammered mudguards. These will fit tyres up to 37mm wide.

We’ve previously used these mudguards in silver on Jack’s old Pass Hunter long-term test bike, which is also made by Velo Orange.

They look resplendent on Jack's Mr Pink
They look resplendent on Jack's Mr Pink

These particular mudguards are going to be fitted to Jack’s new All City Mr Pink, so you’ll be seeing plenty more of these soon!

  • £50 / $67 / AU and EUR pricing TBC

Velo Orange Grand Cru long reach brakes

These brakes from Grand Cru could bring a level of versatility to your rim-braked bike
These brakes from Grand Cru could bring a level of versatility to your rim-braked bike

We’re an inclusive bunch here at BikeRadar and have a place for all types of bicycle braking systems in our hearts.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that when it comes to tyre clearances, disc-equipped bikes have the upper hand when compared to bikes fitted with modern dual pivot calipers.

The super chunky brakes are said to be very stiff
The super chunky brakes are said to be very stiff

These chunky, long drop brakes from Grand Cru, Velo Orange's house component brand, aims to bring back a bit of fat-tyred versatility to the rim-braked road bike, with the capacious calipers offering clearances for tyres up to 37mm wide.

The chunky brake arms are said to be super stiff and we’re really looking forward to trying these out.

The brakes have tonnes of clearance
The brakes have tonnes of clearance

Like much of Velo Orange’s offerings, the brakes are available in either black or silver finishes.

  • $170 for a pair, international pricing TBC

Bird Zero 29

The Zero 29 is Bird's first 29er
The Zero 29 is Bird's first 29er

Bird is best known for its 650b bikes, only moving into 29er territory late last year. The Zero 29 is the brand’s first 29er hardtail, and it comes with a pretty interesting spec.

Its geometry is aggressive: long, low and slack, with a slammed 301mm height bottom bracket and a 63.9-degree head angle combined with short (42–44mm) offset forks.

Throw in some short chainstays (435–440mm) and a Boost-width rear end held together by a 148x12mm SRAM Rear Maxle, and you’ve got a super playful and robust trail hardtail.

There are plenty of other things to talk about with this bike, like the Hope Pro4 hubs that come as standard, and the inclusion of a Charger RC damper at the entry-level. Stay tuned for a full first-look coming to BikeRadar soon.

  • Frameset: £475
  • Builds: from £1,550

Specialized S-Works Recon shoes

The S-Works Recon is Specialized's latest and greatest off-road shoe
The S-Works Recon is Specialized's latest and greatest off-road shoe

These newly-launched kicks represent the pinnacle of Specialized’s off-road shoe innovation. Well, so far at least.

These are essentially the cross-country, gravel or cyclocross (delete as appropriate) equivalent of the S-Works 7 road shoes, and boast a carbon sole, SlipNot rubber tread and a bespoke BOA dial fastening system. Read more in our detailed first look article. 

  • £325 / $425 / AU$TBC

PRO internal routing tool

PRO's cable routing kit looks like a multi-tool but separates into its component parts
PRO's cable routing kit looks like a multi-tool but separates into its component parts

Routing internal cables and hoses ranks pretty low on most people’s lists of fun things to do, so anything that makes the task less of a headache is certainly welcome.

PRO’s handy little tool set looks like a multi-tool, but it’s actually a cable routing kit designed for workshop use. The individual parts of the kit detach from the assembly, catering to regular cable housings, electronic groupset wiring, and hydraulic hoses.

Pricing and availability is TBC, but if it’s competitive with Park Tool’s cable routing kit then it could be a winner.

NamedSport HydraFit hypotonic drink mix

NamedSport's energy drink mix is pretty reasonably priced and will appeal to those looking to avoid additives
NamedSport's energy drink mix is pretty reasonably priced and will appeal to those looking to avoid additives

NamedSport is the rapidly growing Italian brand that uses its roots in natural medicine to create sports nutrition products from the best ingredients available.

Thanks to its founding partnership with Named Spa, the brand focuses on creating products that not only aid performance but are also free of the usual nasties that can be found in many highly processed foods.

The HydraFit electrolyte energy drink mix aims to provide 35g of carbohydrates for an instant energy fix, while also giving you a dose of nine vitamins to keep you going. These include magnesium and potassium to aid muscle function, vitamin C to reduce fatigue, and vitamin B6 to increase the metabolism.

For health-conscious cyclists who need an extra boost without overly-processed ingredients, the HydraFit electrolyte drink is free of aspartame, acesulfame lactose and gluten.

A 400g tub contains 20 servings and comes with a free, limited edition Giro Elite 500ml sports bottle.

  • £5.99 / €5.99 (UK and EU shipping only)

Beryl Burner Brake rear light

The Beryl Burner is a brake light for bikes
The Beryl Burner is a brake light for bikes

Designed for city cycling, the Burner Brake is an interesting wee item.

Firstly, it’s pretty damn bright with 200 lumens and a daylight flash mode. Secondly, it’s compact and has a quick release rubber strap attachment so it can clip on to pretty much any seatpost. Thirdly, it’s USB rechargeable.

The biggest two features however are the fact that it’s waterproof and that it can detect when you’re slowing down. Yes, you heard right. It’s really is a brake light for cyclists.

The manufacturer, Beryl, states that a braking algorithm and, presumably, an internal accelerometer, detect when you’re slowing down and dial up the brightness, which sounds like a great idea. It also has five flashing modes.

  • £39.99

Craft FuseKnit Comfort baselayer

Craft's FuseKnit baselayer feels super comfy out of the box
Craft's FuseKnit baselayer feels super comfy out of the box

You can never have too many baselayers at this time of year and Craft’s latest FuseKnit Comfort looks ideal for serious layering up.

It’s not cycling-specific, but the FuseKnit construction means minimal seams so there shouldn’t be any chafing. The casual looks mean it won’t look too out of place off the bike too.

Craft reckons the FuseKnit is good for temperatures ranging from -5 to plus 10 degrees centigrade.

  • £30 / $49.99

Coros SafeSound Road helmet

Externally, the Coros SafeSound looks more or less like any other road helmet
Externally, the Coros SafeSound looks more or less like any other road helmet

Available in Road, Mountain and Urban variants, the SafeSound is Coros’s new range of helmets which incorporate Bluetooth audio, accident detection and a rear light.

A bar-mounted remote controls the Coros' functions
A bar-mounted remote controls the Coros' functions

As the name implies, safety is a priority and the Ear Opening Sound System works by essentially squirting audio at your earholes from small speakers attached to the straps, but not blocking them like conventional headphones.

The helmet’s functions are controlled by a small bar-mounted remote and it links to your phone via Bluetooth. Battery life is claimed to be up to 10 hours.

Tiny speakers on the straps direct sound into your ears, while a microphone is tucked out of the wind at the front of the helmet
Tiny speakers on the straps direct sound into your ears, while a microphone is tucked out of the wind at the front of the helmet

The SafeSound Road manages to do a good job of looking like a normal helmet. This size large weighs 364g, which is heavier than a standard lid, but by no means ridiculous.

  • $199.99 / £155

Pedal Ed Mido riding boots

Riding boots with style from Pedal Ed
Riding boots with style from Pedal Ed

These boots were made for riding! If you rock flat pedals these leather boots could be for you.

The pedal friendly, low heel Vibram soles with its reflectives and detailing make these ideal for epic backcountry adventures or urban shenanigans.

  • £200

Rudy Project Defender sunglasses

The Rudy Project Defender is one swish set of shades
The Rudy Project Defender is one swish set of shades

Vincenzo Nibali and his Bahrain-Merida teammates first started racing in Rudy Project's latest sunglasses during the Vuelta a España earlier this year. Rudy Project says the Defender sunglasses are a blend of "innate racing attitude with the most advanced eyewear technology" which results in a pair of sunglasses packed with features and adjustability.

Available in an array of colour and lens choices, the Defender features an adjustable nose pad and temple tips to ensure a secure fit for an array of face and head shapes. Photographed here is the light adaptive ImpactX Photochromic lenses, also available is the RP Optics lenses.

By removing the lower section, or bumpers, of the frame, lenses can be swapped out between low and bright light conditions. The bumpers can also be changed for alternative colours should you scratch the frame or fancy a different look. The temple tips and Rudy Project logos are also interchangeable.

Multiple vents should mean minimal fogging
Multiple vents should mean minimal fogging

Multiple vents around the frame and the ergonomic design aims to improve airflow between the glasses and face to prevent any fogging.

  • Defender with smoke black lenses: from £129.99 / $199 / AU$279
  • Defender photochromic: from £191.99
Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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