Congratulations, denizens of BikeRadar! You may be a week closer to death, and yet no closer to enlightenment; your partner may not love you, and your pets may have asked that you give them some space; and yet here you are, prostrated before this embarrassment of riches. Yes, ladies and gents, it’s 11spd time.
For your delectation this week, we’ve got bikes you can’t afford, a jacket you definitely can’t afford, and a selection of trinkets and tchotchkes that, if you're anything like some members of the BikeRadar office, nobody is going to buy you for Christmas because you are forever alone. In which case you'll have to make do with feasting your eyes…
New road bike kit
3T Discus C35 Team wheelset
Roadies love a bit of carbon bling but rim braking and full carbon clinchers have never been a match made in heaven, despite the great strides made in engineering over the last few years. Disc brakes address the main concerns (wet weather performance and heat dissipation), so it’s no surprise that everyone and their mum is now jumping on the disc wheel bandwagon.
The Discus C35 Team wheelset from Italian manufacturer 3T looks to have the makings of a great all-rounder. The rims are 32mm deep and measure 25mm across externally, with a nominal internal width of 18mm. We weighed our set at 1541g with 15/12mm thru-axle end-caps. That’s a bit more than the 1425g claimed weight on 3T’s website but not bad at all, and we all know that gravity is slightly weaker in Italy so it’s hardly surprising.
Like most 3T products, these wheels are also available in a premium Ltd version that’s a little lighter. There’s also a cheaper alloy-rimmed Pro edition.
£TBC / $1900 / AU$TBC / €1800
Lumo Herne Hill Harrington jacket
Are you a well-paid urban dandy with a burning ambition to be both fashionable and comfortable on the bike? Yeah, thought not. But if you are achingly urbane, this stylish jacket from Lumo might be of interest. Although it’s decidedly sombre in appearance, it hides a neat trick for visibility in the form of strategically placed LED strips – white on the front and red on the rear. These are powered by a small USB-rechargeable lithium polymer battery concealed within a pocket, with a claimed lifespan of 6-14 hours depending on which mode you run the lights in.
It’s also got the obligatory dropped tail, a handy collection of pockets, and it’s made from water and stain-resistant fabric. Better yet, Lumo ships internationally for free.
£250 / $380* / AU$535*
RRP Rearguard Road and CX-Guard
Plastic mini-mudguards (sorry America, fenders) are one of those ideas that sounds a bit rubbish but which turns out to be very practical. They’re no substitute for proper full-Fred guards, but they can be fitted to or removed from virtually any bike in a matter of seconds. RRP has sent us a couple of its latest offerings: the CX-Guard, which fits under your fork crown, to protect your eyes from spray and mud; and the Rear Guard, which is the brand's take on the ubiquitous Ass Saver type thing.
Time will tell if they’re any use, but we’ve had good luck with previous RRP products, and as we’re constantly switching bikes we find guards like these very useful.
- CX-Guard: £7.99 / $12* / AU$17*
- Rear Guard: £8.99 / $14* / AU$19*
Selle Italia NET saddles
Selle Italia is one of the world’s best known saddle manufacturers, maker of the legendary Flite among others. Its NET project is a new take on the bicycle seat, conceived with the aim of being lighter, more comfortable, more durable, more stylish and more sustainable than conventional models. This is achieved using a clever honeycomb snap-together construction that requires no glue, materials that are 100 percent recyclable, and a mesh overlay that can be printed in a range of designs.
We’re assuming that the weight is being compared with other hybrid or ‘comfort’ saddles, because an average 360g for these three isn’t exactly groundbreaking. We’ll also reserve judgement on the style claim, given that a straw poll of the BikeRadar office indicated that few of us had actually laid eyes on an uglier object than the ‘denim’ version of the NET.
Nevertheless, we applaud innovation, and thankfully Selle Italia in its infinite wisdom also does prints that don’t make our eyes bleed.
Pricing is TBC.
MET Rivale helmet
BikeRadar first spotted MET’s Rivale at this year’s Tour de France, where MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings wore it as he powered to victory on stage 14. Aero helmets are all the rage these days, and the Rivale looks like it could offer a decent compromise between drag-saving and ventilation, with its pronounced scoop thing on top in addition to more conventional looking front and rear vents. This large lid weighs a respectable 257g and is available in nine colours and two sizes.
You can’t launch an aero product without making some lofty claims, and MET’s is that the Rivale saves 3W over the aero-road competition at 50km/h. That’s pretty much our average speed everywhere, all the time, so it sounds good to us…
£110 / $190 / AU$TBC / €130
Canyon Inflite SLX 9.0
German value-for-money killer Canyon popped by BikeRadar towers this week with this mouth-watering 'crosser in tow, letting us fondle it for a minute or two before callously snatching it away again. The Inflite SLX 9.0 is a fully race-ready machine built around a lightweight alloy frame. It comes ready to shred with SRAM’s Force 1 1x11 groupset, Reynolds Assault tubulars, and some choice finishing kit including the funky VCLS 2.0 seatpost. At under 8kg, this seems like a ridiculous amount of bike for the cash – we want one!
£2399/ $NA / AU$TBC
New mountain bike kit
Transition Transam 27.5
The Transam hardtail has been a long running model for Transition and this is the latest version in complete-build 650b form (there’s also a 29er version). The chromoly frame has been subject to subtle geometry tweaks over last year’s bike: the seat angle has been steepened, the front centre has grown slightly but the biggest difference is at the rear. Now, thanks to a new dropout design that allows for adjustment in chainstay length, the Transam can tuck its rear rear wheel in closer than ever before – right down to a slammed 16.5in (418mm) figure, in fact.
The parts list looks full of solid-performing bits, with a mix of SRAM GX and Race Face kit for the 10-speed 1x transmission, Shimano hydraulics and ST i23 tubeless-ready wheels from WTB. We are particularly curious to see how the 130mm Suntour Aion fork performs. This bike will be staying with our sibling mag MBUK for long-term testing, so we’ll keep you posted with how it rides.
£1,500 / $1,800 / AU$TBC
Shimano AM7 shoes
The AM7 is the replacement for Shimano’s longstanding and much-loved AM41 flat pedal shoe. Just like the AM41, the AM7 has a near-identical clipless version, which is known as the AM9.
Shimano has stuck with similar lace covers to its previous generation shoes which, as well as providing a distinctive look, add a bit of protection and for wet-weather use should prevent crusty post ride laces. The asymmetric upper includes proper ankle protection and under your foot there’s still a tacky Vibram sole. We haven’t had these on the scales yet but they certainly feel ligher than the shoes they’ve replaced. We’re off to get them dirty now but stay tuned for a full review.
£90 / US$140 / AU$200
Topeak Toolmonster Air
Just like a Swiss Army knife, the Topeak Toolmonster Air is one of those tools where you just keep finding more and more features. In fact, this two-piece hunk of stainless steel manages to make itself useful for no fewer than 19 functions. You get all the useful multi-tool bits plus plenty extra – there’s allen keys from 1.5-8mm, a couple of Torx ends, several wrenches, spoke keys and an integrated chain breaker.
The Toolmonster isn’t only for righty tighty and lefty loosey-ing though, just as the name suggests, an integrated Co2 inflator means it’ll also inflate on demand. There’s nothing monstrous about its compact dimensions or 170g weight either.
£68 / US$115 / AU$TBC
Scott Vivo Plus helmet
The Vivo is the lighter, less-aggressive brother to Scott’s Stego helmet. This is the Plus model, which means you get MIPS technology inside – this smart system allows your head to twist in a crash, thus reducing forces that your brain is subjected to.
Inside Scott has used its own MRAS2 turn dial retention system, and you’ll find further adjustment at the straps and the visor. This medium example comes in at 350g. Keep your eyes out for a full review of this one too.
£95 / $
Specialized Hillbilly Grid tyres
This meaty mud plugger has been available in the US for some time now, but has recently become available in the UK – just in time for another glorious British winter! It’s a new design to the Hillbilly DH of old, but we've spotted a DH casing version sporting this new tread profile.
The widely spaced tread and 2.3in width should make it well suited to cutting through the slop, and medium-height, knurled knobs should stick well to rocky surfaces. The 50a/42a rubber compound and well-damped Grid carcase ought to help it track the ground nicely as well. Aaron Gwin was using a pair with this tread pattern (albeit downhill casing versions with cut-down tread) at the opening round of the 2015 DH world cup in Lourdes, France. He won that race in spectacular fashion, so the CV is promising already. Stay tuned for a review in the next few months. Let it rain!
£35 / $60 / AU$TBC