It's Friday, 11spd is here and it's only 66 sleeps until Christmas — could today get any better?
We think yes, especially if you're in the mood to learn about how we tested £11,000 worth of locks to destruction, how these fishy grips could improve your bike handling or why this new bike from RAAW is really interesting in a really boring way.
But to whet your whistle for the weekend of shred-tastic-gnaring ahead, here are 11 of the hottest, freshest, spiciest road and mountain bike products to land at BikeRadar HQ this week.
2018 Genesis Flyer
Riding fixed in the winter is a favourite pastime of those looking to get strong for the (oh so distant) summer and people who loathe maintaining drivetrains during the grotty months — and plain ol’ masochists.
More importantly though, riding fixed is a great chance to create some prime Instagram fodder, with pictures of your sans-multiple-gears bike standing against improbably steep gradients bound to improve kudos among your peers.
Jack recently took delivery of this exceptionally handsome Genesis Flyer — which we first covered in our roundup of Genesis’s 2018 range last month — just in time for a (naturally) much-Instagrammed visit back home to Highland Perthshire in Scotland.
The bike is constructed from Genesis’s own Mjönlr tubeset, which is matched with a carbon fork. Genesis own-brand alloy offerings make up the cockpit with a set of fittingly old-school boxy wheels shod with Clement’s excellent Strada LGG tyres (in tan wall, of course) finishing off the build.
Genesis also gains serious brownie points for including full length mudguards with the bike, which on the face of it at least makes the Flyer a near perfect winter-wagon straight out of the box.
Jack’s clocked up a healthy 400-ish-km on the bike during the last week, traversing all sorts of inappropriate terrain, and you should expect to see a full review of the bike on the site in the next few weeks.
- £749.99, international pricing unavailable
Laser Cats and Such Minty Meowments kit
Where do we even start here…
Laser Cats and Such is a new super-fun brand that is dedicated to making high quality, feline-inspired cycling kit.
That said, this probably isn’t the most far out option in the Laser Cats range, with the Avocato kit perhaps taking that purr-ticular prize (sorry).
The kit itself feels excellent, with flat-lock stitching, laser-cut hems and generously wide and seamless bib straps. The matching Blobby Leopard socks from DeFeet finish off a high quality package.
We don’t want to give away too much here as we have something fun planned for this kitty-kit, so keep your peepers peeled…
- $140, international shipping available
- Buy the Minty Meowments direct from Laser Cats and Such
- Buy the Blobby Leopard DeFeet socks direct from Laser Cats and Such
Happy Bottom Bum Butter chamois cream
Happy Bottom is a unique chamois cream that uses natural ingredients instead of the list of mysterious potions that make up regular arse-lotions, and is made by friends of cycling legend Charlie Hobbs and sold by the man himself via Charlie the BikeMonger.
A base composed of vegetable glycerine and Egyptian geranium oil is infused with clove and tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties and lends the cream a rather pleasing aroma that’s a far cry from the more medicinal whiff of regular chamois cream.
The cream looks a little waxy in the tub, but as soon as it’s exposed to the clammy warmth of a crotch, it spreads out like butter on hot toast (the toast is your butt). The cream is also “vegan as hell”, which means that vegans can use it, and I guess also eat it — don't eat it!
Charlie also sent us through his new and rather genius, itty-bitty little 10ml tubs of chamois cream (not his chamois cream) and Jack has been taking this along with him on longer rides, finding it an ideal aid for any sore spots that may arise during a longer day out.
- £17.99, international pricing unavailable
dhb Blok mesh base layer
dhb’s Blok collection is a range of affordable cycling garms that break the usual you-can-have-it-red-or-black norm for budget gear, and continues to delight those with more lairy tastes at BikeRadar.
However, some days even Tom Marvin has to tone it down, but someone as jazzy as him can’t completely let go of his funky tastes, which is where the Blok base layer comes in. Even the most austere cycling outfit can be brightened up by a flash of fluro green poking out from a casually unzipped jersey.
We can’t decide if the pattern is more reminiscent of a circa ‘96 Kona Lava Dome or an Art Attack project gone awry, but we know that we really like it.
- £20 / €23 / $27 / AU$35
Mechanix Speciality 0.5mm high dexterity gloves
Mechanix gloves have been around for donkey’s years and the brand's range is vast.
These particular gloves are designed for maximum dexterity and are made with a 0.5mm thick material, allowing you to access nooks and crannies with ease.
There are no bold claims about how much more attractive the gloves will make you, but we suspect they might make fitting tubeless tyres a little less torturous and will last infinitely longer than nitrile gloves, and we reckon that alone is worth its weight in gold.
- £24.99 / $27.99, Australian pricing unavailable
Cole TX38 disc cyclocross wheels
Cole recently sent us through these lovely carbon 'cross tubs and have left us itching for an hour of redlining while running around a muddy field… maybe.
Cole wheels are best known for their nifty spokes and hub flanges — the flanges are angled inward to reduce stresses on the spoke heads, and the heads of the straight pull spokes sit inside little alloy balls allowing them to move more freely.
According to the Cole website “the hub spheres rotate to perfectly align spokes during assembly for unmatched power transfer,” whatever that means.
The 35mm deep wheels should be ideal for cutting through deep mud and at 1,510g on the BikeRadar scales of truth you should have no issues getting them up to speed either.
- Pricing TBC
Raleigh Mustang Comp
The mention of the name Raleigh will likely bring back memories both good and bad, but it’s unlikely to make you think of bikes such as this — the company’s new Mustang gravel bike.
This top spec model pairs SRAM’s Apex 1x groupset complete with hydraulic discs to its alloy frame, while details such as the tapered carbon fork, thru-axles, tubeless compatible rims plus 36mm Celement X’Plor tyres are usually found on bikes costing a whole deal more.
It’s nicely finished too, without the overdone graphics and paintwork that some manufacturers seem to love at the moment.
Understated paint and dropped stays make for a sharp-looking bike
- £1,500 / international pricing TBC
Erdinger alcohol-free beer
One of the best pints of beer I ever drank was an alcohol-free Erdinger. As official sponsor of the Dolomiti Superbike, a cold glass of this Bavarian brew was handed to each finisher of the event. Back then it tasted like a dream, but my physical exhaustion and total dehydration definitely may have influenced my thought process.
Strictly this beer does still contain alcohol, albeit just 0.5% ABV, so you shouldn’t notice any ill-effects the next morning. Its isotonic properties and richness in vitamin B12 mean there are plenty of worse beverages to be knocking back.
Pulling the labels off and watching unsuspecting friends stumble around on little more than a placebo effect could also be fun.
- £1.30 / international pricing TBC
Garmin Vivosport fitness band
If you’re looking for a fitness band with an optical hear rate monitor and in-built GPS then you’ll find a fair few options out there, but not many can match the versatility of Garmin’s waterproof and multisport friendly Vivosport.
This band-based beauty has been living on Oli’s wrist for the past few weeks. We’ll soon be posting a review to conclude on how it stacks up with its closest competition.
- £170 / $199 / AU$275
Milky Way Protein bar
Move over Milky Way, here comes Milky Whey. Yes, Mars has updated its confectionery classic to better reflect the increasingly health-conscious youth of today, by jamming a whole 19.2g of protein into its 51g bar.
Purists might be alarmed by the bar’s alien texture and flavours, which have definitely been altered over the original.
It’s part of a wider range of bars that have had the whey treatment, including the legendary Mars and Bounty bars.
- £2.49 / international pricing TBC
Kryptonite Avenue R50 COB rear light
The nights are already closing in here in the UK as we prepare for the gloomy dark before and after work phase, which means the arrival of this little rear light from Kryptonite is most timely.
It’s a USB-rechargeable COB LED component that can output between 10 and 50 lumens thanks to several illumination modes.
Kryptonite’s figures claim between two hours 15mins and over 11 hours of run-time depending on the mode chosen.
Should the light’s battery fall beneath 10 percent charge then it’ll slip into its most economical mode thanks to a safety feature that should see you home safely.
We’ll be putting this light — plus plenty of others from the Kryptonite range — in daily use so stay tuned for reviews.
- £24.96 / international pricing TBC