Friday, Freitag, Freideg, viernes, vendredi, reede, pyatnitsa... However you say it, nothing sounds as good as Friday feels. The week is all but over and if you can just make it through a few more hours of anecdotes about your colleague's house renovation (plumbers, amirite?!) you'll be home and free. So put your headphones on, crank up a good song, and read on for our round-up of the best new bikes and kit to land at BikeRadar HQ this week.
New road bikes and gear
Ribble Endurance Disc
The era of carbon disc road bikes has very much arrived and brands are falling over themselves to join in the fun. Bargain specialist Ribble has come up with the Endurance Disc and true to form, it’s very well specced for the money, with Dura-Ace Di2 components and matching RS785 hydraulic levers.
The wheels are Shimano’s RX31 clinchers and the complete bike weighs 8.4kg, which may not sound terribly impressive, but bear in mind that it’s an XL.The Endurance’s frameset leans towards the racy with fairly tight clearances and no provision for mudguards. As with all Ribbles, you can have virtually any spec you want, and builds start at just £1,099.95.
£2,799.90 / US$3,633 / AU$4,736 (converted amounts)
Hoy Alto Irpavi .002
On a slightly more modest budget? How about this alloy disc road bike from that large-legged Scotsman’s brand? The Alto Irpavi weighs 8.9kg in a size medium and comes kitted out with Shimano’s lumpy but very functional RS505 hydraulic levers, along with a smattering of 105 bits and an FSA Gossamer crank.
The wheels are mid-level Alexrims on Joytech hubs — nothing Earth-shattering, but they’ve got proper thru-axles rather than standard skewers. Better yet, the bike is discounted by £125 as it’s about to be replaced by a 2017 model…
£1,125 / US$1,459 / AU$1,904 (converted amounts)
Hackney GT socks and arm warmers
Are you the shy and retiring type? Like to blend into the crowd? Well then, Hackney GT's clothing probably isn't for you. The London-based brand is what happens when a DJ and music promoter turns his cycling hobby into a business. Russ Jones AKA ‘The Hackney Globe Trotter’ doesn't seem to take himself too seriously and his attitude to life is reflected in his gloriously unrestrained range of cycling kit.
These eye-catching socks and arm warmers are just a taster of a range that's anything but subdued — we recommend checking out the website. Oh, and all the kit is made in
Bang Red socks — £10 / US$13 / AU$17
Robi Green socks — £10 / US$13 / AU$17
Robi arm warmers — £20 / US$26 / AU$34
Aptonia Ultra Gels
Energy gels! Love 'em or hate 'em, they’re very useful for events when eating proper food is a bit of a challenge. Decathlon’s in-house Aptonia brand now offers a gel for every occasion at very reasonable prices. The Ultra Gel 300s are for “long training sessions”, the 500s are for “long training sessions and competition over three hours”, and the 700s are for “very long training sessions and ultra competitions” — make of that what you will.
In any case, you get to choose from 14 (fourteen!) flavours ranging from straightforward fruity ones to more outlandish things like Salted Caramel. Trust the French, eh?
Ultra Gel 300 4x32g — £2.29 / €2.99
Ultra Gel 500 4x32g — £2.99 / €3.99
Ultra Gel 700 4x32g — £3.69 / €4.99
Selle Italia Novus SuperFlow saddle
First launched in 1994, Selle Italia's original Novus was the result of a collaboration with Ferrari, its side-profile somewhat reminiscent of a Formula One car. The brand reintroduced the Novus name to its line-up last year, and now there's a 'SuperFlow' version, which is Selle Italia speak for a cut-out that extends all the way to the nose of the saddle.
Available in two sizes, this 146mm-wide large version weighs a reasonable 229g on our scales, in part thanks to its titanium rails. There's also a 137mm-wide small, for the narrower of butt. With fairly firm padding that looks nice and supportive, this should be a solid choice for racers who need some pressure-relief to protect their delicate bits.
£134.99/ US$219.99 / AU$TBC
If you're not lucky enough to have dedicated storage for your bikes and you have to coexist with them in a confined space (like say, an apartment), you're likely familiar with how damaging they can be to your walls, and how unwilling they are to stay upright. Lock-on MTB grips will do a great job of scratching up paint, and roadie bar-end plugs have an annoying habit of snagging on things and pulling out.
The Gripster from Cyclogical aims to cure your bike-leaning ills and protect your renter’s deposit in the process. Made from a soft, rubbery plastic, you can either insert the end of a handlebar into the Gripster or you can clip the device over your bar. Either way, the flat face sits against the wall and prevents the bike from moving using the magic of friction. A small magnet means you can store the Gripster on your fridge door or a radiator when you aren't using it.
The Gripster is a simple concept but one that on first go seems to work quite well. It's still a prototype but Cyclogical is planning a crowdfunding campaign to bring it to market at a retail price of around £8-9. If you're keen, you can sign up for Gripster news here.
New mountain bikes and gear
Canyon Stitched 720
Ever take your bike off some sweet jumps? If the answer to that is a resounding yes, then this new dirt jump bike from Canyon will be right up your street. It's based on their aluminium framed Stitched 360 dirt jump hardtail, but with the addition of 100mm of travel at the rear-end to allow you to take on the biggest of booters.
As you'd expect, it keeps things real with 26" wheels shod with fast rolling Maxxis rubber, so if you're into doing that flippy-whippy-turny-in-the-air stuff then it won't slow your stunting down.
As there's only one gear, the rear suspension pivots around the bottom bracket shell and there are rather neat adjustable dropouts to allow you to tension the chain too. Up front, the RockShox Pike DJ fork has 100mm of travel and it's unencumbered by a front brake so you can spin the bars to your heart's content.
£1,479 / US$N/A / AU$N/A
BTR Fabrications Trail Tool
There are few things more satisfying than creating a trail of your own. If you're willing to put in a hit of hard work, then it's the gift that keeps on giving. The downside (beyond getting some really serious calluses) is having to hump around a selection of tools. The Trail Tool makes life easier by acting as a rake, mattock and tamper, all in one. It's based on the classic McLeod tool, with one edge having a sharp edge for cutting roots and chopping down into soil, while the other works as a rake to clear the top surface or to break up earth.
BTR makes these by hand from super tough steel with a zinc plating to prevent corrosion. The 1.4m long handle is 30mm thick, so you'll have to go some to snap it. As well as the rather cool laser-cut logo, those holes in the head serve a rather clever purpose, allowing you to lock the tool to a tree to prevent anyone 'borrowing' it without permission when you leave it in the woods.
£75 / US$N/A / AU$N/A
Urge Archi-Enduro RR
French brand Urge made a name for itself with some rather distinctive looking lids and this new full-face enduro specific lid is no exception. Designed with input from fast Frenchies such as Fabien Barel and Florian Nicolai, it uses a mixture of 'natural linen fibre' (we assume they don't mean bed sheets) and fibreglass in the shell to provide crash resistance that Urge says outperforms carbon fibre and ABS plastic. Urge says that it's light and comfy enough to wear all day
The extra wide face guard is designed to improve visibility, while the huge vent in the chin guard means that even when you're absolutely hanging, your poor little lungs will still have plenty of oxygen available to keep you going. Another neat design feature is the raised back of the helmet, which means you can comfortably wear a pack without it forcing your hear forwards all the time.
We're looking forward to giving it a go, though hopefully that won't involve us repeatedly smashing our heads into the ground in the name of testing — that's what freelancers are for.
£TBC / US$299 / AU$TBC
Fox Factory Float X2 with 2-position open/firm lever
As the extremely snappy name suggests, this is a new version of Fox's hard hitting X2 air shock with the addition of a lever that allows you to stiffen it up to tame pedal bob when climbing. The real magic (okay, it's science really) is that it does this while still retaining the independently adjustable high and low speed compression and rebound damping. It's a shock fettler's dream come true.
With this being the tip-top-end Factory version of the shock, you also get a shiny and slippery Kashima coating on the shock shaft to minimise breakaway friction and maximise bling. It also has the high-air volume EVOL can to keep it nice and supple over the small bumps — indeed, from past experience it's so slick it probably kills seabirds.
Our extremely tall and also very Scottish tester Seb Stott will be giving this and a number of other enduro shocks a sound thrashing, so we'll see whether the X2 really deserves gold or whether it's the suspension equivalent of a pot bellied cyclist in full team kit.
£559 / US$629 / AU$929
Öhlins RXF 36
When it comes to setting track records in motorsport, few brands have as much of a track record (please forgive us) as Swedish shock shamans Öhlins. In recent years they've been applying that knowledge to the world of mountain biking, starting off with rear shock and recently moving into front suspension with their RXF34 trail fork.
The RXF 36 shares the clever TTX damper but uses (you guessed it!) beefier 36mm diameter upper legs to provide a stiffer and more enduro-race ready unit. It also gets Boost hub spacing to increase stiffness without adding much more weight. That also means that the fork is compatible with 29" and 650+ wheels and Öhlins reckons it'll also work with some 650b bikes.
The sealed cartridge damper offers high and low speed compression damping as well as rebound adjustment, with a twin tube design that keeps internal oil pressures low, which is said to offer increased performance and control. You also get not just two but three — count 'em! — chambers in the air spring, which allows you to set the sag and also tune the progression of the fork.