While summer is drawing to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, here in Australia spring has well and truly sprung. The days are getting longer, the magpies are out and swooping in full force. Right now, the open road and winding singletrack are calling, but before you head off why not check out the latest and greatest gear to roll through the doors of our Queensland and Bristol offices.
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Best new mountain bike gear
Bontrager — Drop Line dropper post
Trek’s component brand Bontrager has jumped into the dropper seat post game with its Drop Line model. It’s got all the features you’d like to see with internal routing, infinite adjust and an under-bar lever remote. The Drop Line is available in a variety of lengths but only a 31.6mm diameter, so make sure it fits your bike before taking the plunge.
£239.99 / US$399 / AU$TBC
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
Action cameras have come a long way in recent years and so to help you capture and edit more of those sick edits, Garmin has entered the VIRB Ultra 30 into the fight for top dog, with a host of new features not seen previously in the VIRB lineup.
Voice recognition, 3-axis image stabilization and now 4k30fps all come as standard in this premium little camera. The user interface has received a much improved redesign and from our initial testings is highly intuitive.
Is this the GoPro killer we've been waiting for? We've got a full review coming soon so you'll just have to wait for the answer.
Challenge Limus 33 Open Cyclocross Tyre
OK... so not strictly mountain biking but 'cross is as good as, right?
Challenge has a reputation for making quality handmade tyres straight out of Italy and none more so than in the world of cyclocross where tyre pressure and treads are a dark art.
Challenge's Limus tyre is notorious for cutting through the deep muddy courses we expect to experience in the fields of Britain this winter. The tyre comes in two forms of tubular (the team edition and the pro version) and an open tubular version (clincher essentially), which is what we have here.
£60 / USTBC / AU$TBC
Specialized CruX Sport E5
Continuing on the 'it's not quite mountain biking but it's still a muddy sport' theme we've just taken delivery of this 'cross bike with a colourway that's hard to ignore.
The Specialized CruX Sport is the second out of four models in the CruX line up. While the more expensive Elite and Expert models are equipped with full carbon frames and SRAM 1X gearing, the Sport is constructed with an E5 aluminium frame, carbon fork and Shimano 105 gearing.
A Praxis Alba crankset with 46/36 chainrings, combined with a 11-28 Shimano 105 cassette, provides more than adequate gearing for the terrain it is designed for. Shimano hydraulic discs supply the stopping power and 33mm Tracer Sport tyres will hopefully keep you rubber side down.
We have an upcoming feature on this bike, so keep your eyes peeled for a full review soon!
£1,600 / US$2,000 / AUS$2,700
Best new road bike gear
Scott Foil 10
The aero bike that won Paris-Roubaix, the new Scott Foil has built up quite the list of accolades since it was announced last year. While our test bike isn't as blinged out as Matt Hayman's cobble buster, the Foil 10 is spec’d with a full Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, direct mount brakes and tips our scales at 7.71kg in a size medium.
Although the frame is made with Scott’s second tier HMF carbon fibre, it gets all the aero bells and whistles of the top-tier Foil Premium. Scott says the fork, head tube, seat tube, seatstays and seatpost have been optimised aerodynamically both independently and as a system. According to Scott, this adds up to a bike that saves six Watts on average over the tested yaw spectrum compared to its predecessor.
The Foil 10 doesn’t get Syncros' (Scott’s component brand) nifty integrated bar and stem, but boxy stem and ergo shaped bars should provide for a twist-free front end. Rolling on 25c Continental Grandsport rubber, the Foil 10 sees a 52-36 mid-compact crankset combined with an 11-28t cassette at the back.
£3,499.00 / US$4,799.99 / AU$5,800
Giro Cinder MIPS
If you're at all familiar with Giro's helmet lineup, it's hardly difficult to spot where the new Cinder MIPS has got its design influence from and at first glance it could easily be mistaken for Giro's top-of-the-line Synthe.
The Cinder MIPS weighs a fair bit more than the Synthe, coming in at 320g, but it has a significantly lower impact to your wallet — about half the price. As usual, Giro has a decent range of colours to match your bike and kit.
£125 / US$TBC / AU$TBC
Reid Vantage Comp 1.0
Aussie consumer-direct brand Reid has sent over its newest disc equipped roadie, the Vantage Comp 1.0. Pitched as a racer, our size medium Vantage Comp is Reid's first full carbon bike and sees an aggressive geometry with 72.5-degree head angle and 544mm top tube.
All the cables are internally routed through the frame and fork, and Reid has taken full advantage of the malleability of carbon with not a single round tube in the frame. Weighing 9.15kg in a size medium, it's quite a surprise to see front and rear 12mm thru-axles on a bike in this price range.
Reid has also opted for a cable actuated hydraulic braking system, which sees a standard cable actuated mechanical lever with all the hydraulics contained inside the caliper. We’re interested to see how it performs with the 160mm rotors.
The bike also comes with 25c Continental Grand Sport and tubeless ready (with Stans tape and valves) Alex ADT470 Double Wall Alloy Race wheels, though Reid says there’s room for 28c rubber.
£999 / US$1699 / AU$1,700
Fly 6 [V]
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution, and for the new Fly6 [V], Cycliq has opted for just that. Instead of clips, mounts, rubber bands, bolts or any of the other common mounting systems we see on lights, the new Fly6 [V] gets a velcro strap.
The whole back of the unit has been redesigned which Cycliq says has brought the face of the unit 5mm closer to the seatpost. Beyond the cosmetic changes, the Fly6 [V] still films HD 720p video, is treated with hydrophobic nanotechnology inside and out, and offers 30-lumens of light.
Cycliq also tells us they’ve improved the battery and internal power management to provide for less battery degradation and longer battery life (though they're still only claiming up to six hours).
£99 / US$169 / AU$199
THM — Scapula CT fork
THM specialises in producing lightweight exotic carbon fibre bicycle parts and having recently merged with 3T we’re expecting to see more of them in the future. Just like a super car this stuff is not cheap and only available to a lucky few, but it’s still amazing to see what can be done when money's no object.
A particular highlight on the Scapula CT fork is the integrated crown race and feathery weight of 305g (uncut steerer) on the BikeRadar scales.
€829.90/ £TBC / US$1,006.00 / AU$TBC
SKS Raceblade Pro XL mudguards
With winter just around the corner it's sadly time to be thinking about how not to get so wet.
The SKS Raceblade Pro XL are meant for bigger rubber (25-32mm) and weigh in at a not-too-unreasonable 365g — a weight penalty we'd take any day for comfort on wet wintery rides.
The Raceblades come prebuilt, so no faffing around with bolts and rubber bands which means that from taking them out of the box to getting them on the bike it took no more than two minutes. We like that. Good job SKS.
£50 / US$TBC / AU$TBC
Abus uGrip Plus 501
Rated as Sold Secure Gold, the Abus uGrip Plus 501 features a soft touch elastomer casing preventing both potential damage to your bike's paintwork and the cutting disc of an angle grinder. A bike frame mount is included for either horizontal or vertical positioning.
The lock comes with a spare key and a key code (for additional keys) just in case you're the type of person that loses the main key and the spare key. I definitely didn't do that once and this lock isn't replacing the lock that's slowly being forgotten about in our bike storage. Yep, definitely not.
£80 / US$TBC / AU$TBC