Let's get something out of the way first… no, we are not going to upgrade this feature to 12spd just yet.
While SRAM may be making (tsunami) waves this week with the release of its all-new wireless 12-speed road and mountain bike groupsets, we here at BikeRadar aren’t quite ready to make the jump. Something about our website not having a compatible freehub?
Japes aside, you’d have to be living underneath a (mechanically actuated) rock to have not caught wind of the news that SRAM has totally revamped its top-end road and mountain bike groupsets alongside releasing a wireless version of its Reverb dropper.
This week, we’ve also seen the BikeRadar team weigh in on its very favourite kit for riding in the rain alongside, controversially, hearing why Benedict Pfender thinks waterproof jackets actually suck.
Lastly, with that January pay packet now tucked away snugly in your bank account, why not set your wallet into a panic by checking out our roundup of the very best mountain bikes under £500 on the market today?
Cannondale Synapse 105 SE
We here at BikeRadar readily welcome and, heck, even encourage the recent resurgence in the popularity of tan wall tyres, so our hearts were truly sent aflutter when we spotted this handsome special edition Cannondale Synapse in our workshop.
The bike features chunkier rubber than its standard counterpart and a stealthy all-black finish.
Expect a full review on this one in the month's to come.
- £2,299.99 / $2,850, international pricing TBC
Shimano Ultegra RX mechanical rear derailleur
We reviewed the Di2 version of Shimano’s clutch-equipped Ultegra RX rear derailleur last year and, like the complete groupset, awarded it a full five stars.
We now have the mechanical equivalent of the gravel-friendly mech in for testing and are looking forward to enjoying a quieter drivetrain over the next few months.
- £89.99 / $109.99, international pricing TBC
Shotgun kids' mountain bike seat
Top-tube mounted kids' seats have grown in popularity over more traditional rear-mounted seats in recent years. They can allow for a more engaging ride experience for your little one and, as they’re in sight, it can be a touch safer too.
Spotting a gap in the market for a sturdy mountain bike-proof option, New Zealand-based brand Shotgun has developed a premium top-tube mounted kids' seat.
With the Shotgun, your precious cargo rests their feet on rubberised stirrups and takes a hold of your handlebars. An additional clamp-on kiddy-sized handlebar that sits above your bar is also available (think a DIY Hoverbar of sorts).
The clamp for the seat has soft pads on the inside of the plates and a rubber stopper on the top, so your frame should come out unscathed. The seat is even rated for use with carbon frames.
- £120 / AU$220, international shipping available
ÆRA components AR disc dynamo fork
ÆRA components — the parts and accessories sub-brand of titanium specialists, J Laverack — joins a small number of brands offering an aftermarket carbon fork with routing for dynamo lighting and mounts for mudguards.
The fork features a neat plug on the inside of the fork just above the dropouts on the driveside through which you can feed a cable up to the crown of the fork, where there is a threaded boss for mounting a light.
Prices for the fork start at £360. A gravel version with clearances for larger tyres is also incoming.
If you’re needing dynamo-equipped wheels to complement your fancy new fork, ÆRA also builds a number of wheels equipped with either carbon or alloy rims.
- £360 / $470 / €405, international shipping available
Dynaplug products have been difficult to get in the UK for some time but that should all change now that Madison — one of the UK’s largest cycling distributors — has taken on the brand.
Here we have the Megapill, which is a plus-sized version of the Pill, with storage for up to 8 tubeless plugs. It’s a really well made little thing that feels pleasingly weighty in the hand.
- £59.99 / $74.99
KOM Cycling tyre lever and valve core remover
Sticking with the puncture repairing theme, we have this funky tyre lever with an integrated valve core remover.
The stout tyre levers, which neatly clip together using interlocking pegs, hold a chunky aluminium valve core remover for both presta and schraeder style valves.
- $8.96, international shipping available
Casio MQ-24-7BLL watch
Sometimes it’s nice to leave the Garmin/Wahoo/your choice of GPS behind on a ride.
On the other hand, if you’re anything like me, you have a remarkable knack for misplacing yours before seemingly every ride and don’t have a choice (which is totally not what inspired this particular purchase).
However, how on earth in our perma-connected world will you easily tell the time without a big screen screaming it at you from your bars?!
Enter the £7.99 Casio MQ-24-7BLL. Waterproof, seemingly indestructible, clear and, at this price anyway, essentially disposable if you should ever lose yours.
- £7.99, international pricing TBC
Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wide
Hunt has just expanded its ever-growing range of wheels with these bang-on-trend, super-wide and super hardy gravel wheels.
The wheels are built around Hunt’s new 23mm wide (internal) rims and are optimised for tyres around 40 to 45mm wide, which is the favoured width of many gravelistas.
The wheels are built around the same hubs as its 30 Carbon Gravel Disc wheels and are laced in a 24 front, 28 rear spoke pattern.
No one is going to say £899 is cheap, but in the wider context of carbon gravel wheels, which can bring truly heady prices, they are just that!
- £899 / €1,055 / $1,195 / AU$1,685
Feedback Sports Alpine digital scale
Are you the sort of obsessive cyclist who must know the exact (...to three decimal places) weight of every bike you own? We’re certainly the type and this set of Feedback Sports Alpine scales are a welcome addition to our ever-growing arsenal of weighing and measuring devices.
£69.99 / $63.99 isn't cheap but if you’re a mechanic or chronic weight weenie that’s after an accurate and hardy set of scales, these will not disappoint. The Expedition, a more compact and cheaper set of scales, is also available from Feedback Sports.
- £69.99 / $63.99, international pricing TBC
Passport handlebar bag
Passport — the in-house luggage and accessories brand of ISON Distribution — has expanded its on-bike luggage range in recent years.
This waterproof drybag-style, which uses rubberised straps to cinch everything down, is pleasingly simple and, on paper at least, seems like a steal at just £35.
- £35, international pricing TBC
BikeRadar’s in-house video team has just taken delivery of this oh-so-lovely Canon EOS C200, which will mean the videos on our YouTube channel will be looking shinier, 4K-er and better-er than ever in 2019.
The interest of such a device to you lot might be, at best, passing, but there’s the slightest chance that one of you might buy one via an affiliate link, the proceeds from which would probably allow us to take the rest of the week off.
- £you could buy a car for that!