Another week has come and gone and it's time for the weekend. But, before you crack a beer and prep for a weekend full of glassy tarmac and flowing singletrack, have a gander at the latest bits of kit that have rolled through the doors of our Australian and UK HQ's.
New mountain bike gear
Ritchey WCS XC Mountain Pedal
Go to any XC race and nearly everyone will be on either Shimano or Crank Brothers pedals, which is fine, but if you fancy some extra spice in your pedalling life other options are available. Case in point, these Ritchey WCS XC Mountain Pedals. They’re shiny and pretty light, with a claimed weight of 298g. Unfortunately our set weighed 299g so we’ve put them in the bin. Just kidding!
Tenuous bike humour aside, they look very similar to Shimano SPD pedals with an almost identical cleat. Our XC tester Joe Norledge has been putting this pair through its paces, with a full review due soon.
- £125 / $149.99 / AU$N/A
Videography and photography are a huge part of what we do here at BikeRadar so it’s not just fancy bike kit we get to play with. f-Stop, makers of adventure camera bags has sent us its 40l Ajna backpack from the Mountain Series range to see how it fairs out on our shoots.
One of the USPs of f-Stop’s bags are the internal ICUs (internal camera unit) that are fully customisable and have removable padded layout frames. We’ve been sent the Ajna along with the Large Pro ICU and have just about managed to squeeze in a Sony FS700 — a stalwart of our video production camera kit over the last few years — along with a couple of lenses and accessories.
Even though it’s a tight fit, it’s an ideal size and weight (a none-too-unreasonable 1.7kg for the bag without ICU) for riding to and from locations. An internal pouch for hydration packs and a specific hose routing port are thoughtful additions for those really remote-location shoots. Elasticated straps on the front of the pack allow for secure tripod placement, so you don’t need to worry about floppy weight distribution descending through the trails to the next spot.
Built-in attachment points, straps and external accessory pouches are also available to further customise your bag for your photographic and videographic needs.
- £249 / €249 / AU$N/A
Luck Galaxy MTB Shoes
Spanish brand Luck specialises in making fully customizable shoes for both road and mountain biking. This Galaxy model is firmly aimed at the XC crowd, featuring a full carbon sole and lightweight perforated upper.
They don’t come cheap, but remember Luck shoes can be fully customised to your exact measurements and design. Combined with a fully replaceable sole means they should last a long time too, whilst keeping your feet nice and happy.
- £N/A / €299 / $N/A
Alpinestars Slopestyle Shirt
The Alpinestars Slopestyle shirt is one of those garments that blur the lines between casual and technical wear. A quick look on its website shows that it’s constructed from a ‘heavy cotton man shell’. We suspect this is a typo as further down the page it says ‘heavy cotton main shell’. Either way the idea is that the shirt looks casual, e.g. chilling out at the pub, but has technical features that should make it great for shredding on the trails.
- £68 / $99.95 / €99.95
DMR VTWIN Pedals
You wait for a pair of pedals all year and then two come along at once. These VTWIN pedals from DMR have some interesting features, making them more versatile than your average clipless pedals.
The number, position and length of the pins can all the changed, but we’re more interested in the plastic plates that can be switched out to affect the thickness of the pedal body. This claims to help your float preferences and improve your overall ride experience. Claims we’re hoping to test in the coming months.
- £129.99 / €179.99 / $N/A
New road gear
Fuji SL 2.1 Disc
A few months back we noticed that Fuji had quietly added a disc equipped version of its featherweight climbing bike the SL to its website, and now we have got our hands on the SL 2.1 Disc.
Because of the extra hardware and modified layup to accommodate the discs, the SL 2.1 Disc doesn’t quite match the caliper version's airy frame, tipping our scales at 8kg / 17.63lbs.
The SL 2.1 Disc is made with Fuji’s second tier C-10 carbon and is made using only four bonded joints — the seatstays and the chainstays. The FC-440 carbon monocoque also gets the internal ‘rib’ that runs the length of the fork legs, which Fuji says creates a stiffer structure and makes for razor sharp handling.
Built with an Ultegra 6800 mechanical drivetrain, the SL 2.1 Disc also sees Shimano R805 non-series hydraulic flat mount brakes, a 140/160mm six-bolt rotor combo and front and rear 12mm thru-axles for added stiffness and ease of wheel alignment.
- £2,499 / $N/A / AU$4299
There are few things worse than getting a flat tire on your commute to work or with a load of groceries in tow. For many, changing a tube is only an inconvenience, however, there is a large portion of the population for which a puncture means a trip to the bike shop.
To battle this problem for 2017 Specialized is specing its Alibi fitness bikes with its own Nimbus Airless tires. Airless tires are not a new innovation to the bike industry, but as with everything else we ride they are getting perpetually better with every new release.
Developed in collaboration with Tannus, the Nimbus tire is actually the Tannus Aither 1.1 in Specialized’s Nimbus tread pattern. Measuring 38mm wide, the 700cc tires are made from a micro-closed-cell polymer resin which Tannus calls Aither. Tannus says the compound is similar to what’s used in running shoes and the internal air bubbles allow for a bit of elasticity or, in layman's terms, ‘give’ in the tire.
The drivetrain is made up of a 7-speed Shimano Tourney rear derailleur, Shimano Altus shifters and 42t front chainring complete with chain guards. At the back there is a Shimano Tourney 14-34t cassette with “mega range” cog, while stopping power is provided by Specialized’s own V-brakes
- £375 / $490 / AU$625
SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel
The SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel is claimed to be the world's first isotonic gel and SIS says it doesn't need to be taken on with water to be effective.
Each 60ml sachet contains 22g of carbs and SIS says its formula allows the gel to pass through the stomach quickly with no fluid needing to be drawn into your stomach to dilute the gel.
They are definitely on the watery side as far as gels go, though the texture is a little lumpy. Our orange flavored samples taste pretty good and aren't too sweet, but if that doesn't tip your fancy they come in seven flavours.
- Box of six 60ml gels £11 / $12 / AU$24
Northwave Extreme RR
First announced at Eurobike 2016, the Northwave Extreme RR is a sleek, low profile shoe featuring its own patent pending ‘XFrame’ technology, which supposedly eliminates pressure point issues via thin “next generation” uppers.
All this technology is served by a single Speed Lace Winch 2 buckle (think BOA but not) that has a two-way lever for ease of use. Tighten using the winch, then micro adjust by pressing the button which releases the closure system one click at a time. Pull the lever up and it’ll disengage the system allowing for quick removal of the shoe.
Our pair of Extreme RRs, with cleats, weighed in at 596g.
- £295 / $383 / AU$508
At our Australian HQ not much bike testing would get done without the huge EVA foam roller that has a permanent space in the office. The trouble is, it's huge, takes up a fair bit of space while in use and for our weak little t-Rex cyclist arms can be quite a strain.
The Rolflex is a small and highly adjustable roller that can be used on your legs, arms, neck, back, hands and feet. With both a softer foam roller and a trigger point roller, the Rolflex is ideal for working the tiredness and knots out of your legs after a long ride. We’ve also found in our first couple of uses that it’s much easier to regulate pressure on typically tender areas like the IT Band.
There are six size positions for the pivot point, meaning it can accommodate almost any size extremity while pressure is regulated with your hand. There’s also an extender handle for the quadzillas among us as well as a daisy chain to help you roll out your back.
Because of its size and adjustability, it's also very portable and will easily fit in a race bag or suitcase
- £TBC / $60 / AU$TBC
Attaquer Nylon Pocket Pouch
Australian apparel brand Attaquer has added a pocket pouch to its product range. "Almost waterproof", the nylon pouch adds a touch of class, organisation and durability to your usual sandwich bag, while keeping your phone and paper money dry.
The pouch comes in black, navy, pink or sky blue and is large enough to store your phone, keys, cash, spare tube and CO2 cannister. There are compartments inside the pouch to keep things organised and a small zipped pocket to ensure you don’t flick out your house keys when stopping to repair a puncture.
- £24 / $30 / AU$40