It's been another busy week here at BikeRadar. We've officially announced our Road Bike of the Year and Enduro Bike of the Year winners. We also spotted an intriguing rear suspension Pinarello road bike that's been raced underneath Team Sky and witnessed the tragic passing of ultra-endurance legend Mike Hall. Here's the best stuff that's landed on our desks this week.
Bike GPS tracker
This GPS tracker unit may look like something out of a spy novel and, in fact, it’s been supplied to us by a Detective Store – (seriously, take a look there’s some real eye-opening stock inside).
The idea is that this GPS/GPRS tracker lives within your bike’s head tube where an in-built GPS antenna and SIM card (not included) work to keep you informed of exactly where your bike is.
Text message prompts can pull links from Google Maps while geofence functionality means you can assign a virtual border which, once crossed, will send you a notification.
The construction of this device seems pretty crude, and the instructions and installation method didn’t fill us with confidence, but we love the fact that devices like this could soon lead to a reduction in bicycle crime – or at least an increase in the number of stolen bikes making it back to their rightful owners.
- £75.90 / €91.08 / $98.67
Flaer Guard & Flaer Revive cleaning products
Scottish company Flaer recently sent over a couple of its bike cleaning products. The Revive and Guard sprays are intended to be used together as part of a two-part cleaning process that aims to refresh and protect your bike.
The first of the two 750ml bottles is labelled Revive, and like most other bike cleaners the solution is applied directly to a dirty bike where it is recommended to be left for up to five minutes. A hose down plus a little scrubbing should be all that’s required to leave your bike spangly once more.
Bottle two is Flaer’s Guard solution and should be applied to an already clean bike. Safe to spray on metal and carbon, the idea is it forms a defensive barrier, making your bike easier to clean next time around as well as providing a ‘good as new finish’. Brakes are best covered when applying this product, but should contact be made with your pads, rotors, blocks or rims then Flaer says a quick wash down with water should avoid any contamination.
As official sponsor of CUBE’s Action Team, the solutions are set to be put to good use throughout the Enduro World Series and other races.
- (750ml) Revive £7.50 / (750ml) Guard £10.00
Lazer Frank sunglasses
The Frank sunglasses from Lazer are part of a huge new range from the Belgian brand. They’re casually styled but are designed with leisure cycling in mind and are available in a wide selection of colours.
The fashionable fixed lens frames are nice and light offering minimal interruption to peripheral vision. They’re priced so reasonably that you probably won’t cry when you inevitably drop or sit on them, too.
- £39.99, international pricing unavailable at the time of writing
DMT: RS1 Shoes
As DMT’s range topping road kicks, the new RS1 shoes debut plenty of exciting technology for those who are partial to spendy footwear.
Of immediate interest is DMT’s skeleton system, which channels four nylon tubes within the shoe’s two-piece uppers. Inside these tubes are cords that are connected to a single BOA ratchet dial. The result is a tightening action that is spread across much more of the foot than regular designs.
There’s also an entirely carbon sole that’s ventilated and features a replaceable heel section as well as a ‘skidproof’ insole.
As well as this black/silver colour option they’re also available in black/white. Our UK size 10 / EU size 45 sample pair tipped the scales at 616g.
- £275 / €309 / $385
Hiplok Z-Lok security ties
This might just be the smartest thing we’ve seen for a long time. You can think of the Z-Lok as a tough, reusable cable tie.
It’s designed as a short-term security solution, and is perfect for securing bikes while outside shops, for securing helmets to bikes, or for adding a little extra security to bikes mounted on car racks.
The Z-Lok functions in the same way that a regular cable tie does, though its release requires the use of a two-pronged release key. This key arrives in the package and fits neatly onto a key chain. Each tie is 420mm in length, meaning they’re large enough to secure a frame to a post yet can be tightened right down to secure smaller items too.
Of course, the Z-Lok is meant only to deter the opportunist thief, though the steel core and dual-lock mechanism should put up a good fight against anything other than serious hardware.
Z-Loks are sold in pairs and are available in red, yellow or black.
We’ll be putting ours to the test so stay tuned for a full review.
- £14.99 / $17.99
Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark 1c
Regular readers will have noticed that a member or two of the BikeRadar family are partial to a little overnight snooze out-of-doors, preferably getting to the location of said snooze by bike.
Known more concisely as bikepacking, this activity is in hot contention to overtake gravel riding as the hottest cycling niche for 2017.
With the seasons moving towards the warmer months, our thoughts are quickly turning towards the idea of sleeping outdoors and we’re amassing a host of interesting bikepacking products for test this year.
A comfortable night’s sleep is the key to a good bikepacking trip and we’ve just received this lightweight, synthetic bag from Mountain Hardware.
While down sleeping bags have a better warmth/weight ratio and compact far better than their synthetic counterparts, their performance is massively compromised if they get damp — a highly likely occurrence when bikepacking in the UK.
The Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Spark is among the lightest bags on the market yet is rated down to 1c, which when combined with a suitable insulated jacket, should see anyone comfortably through even the chilliest summer camping trip.
In a bid to save weight, the Thermal Q synthetic insulation is strategically distributed throughout the bag to optimise warmth around your extremities and core, with less around your legs, head and beneath your ride-weary body.
This bag is going to be featured as part of an upcoming roundup of bikepacking gear in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled!
- £129.95 / €157 / $159.00 / AU$185
Topeak Frontloader bikepacking bar roll
It’s all very well amassing a pile of bikepacking gear, but you need to have a solution to transport said gear.
Topeak recently launched a range of bikepacking kit and its handlebar roll immediately caught our eye.
The Frontloader features quick release buckles which allow you to remove the bag from your bike with minimal effort — a far simpler solution than the majority of other bar rolls which rely on straps to attach to your handlebars.
While the Frontloader will work with any roll top stuff sack, the included one has a nifty valve to allow air to release, making compacting a sleeping bag or spare clothes a far easier affair.
The whole Topeak bikepacking range is available now and we’re going to be trying it out over the next few months.
- £65.00 / €75.90 / $80.90 / AU$TBC
Cadence Exon Denim riding jeans
In a throwback to the height of circa-2008 fixie culture, Cadence has launched its new line of cycling denim.
Like most cycling-specific jeans, the Cadence Exon denim is mixed with a very small amount of lycra to provide a degree of stretch that will conform to even the most knobbly of knees.
The trendy trousers also boast Cadence’s “patented seat reinforcement” which is said to “slow blow out from riding”.
A cursory Google search revealed that blow out is a symptom of trousers wearing out as opposed to some kind of violent cycling induced flatulence. We’re certainly glad that we cleared this up before we headed out to the mean streets of Bristol for field testing.
As with seemingly all high-end denim these days, it’s suggested that you wear the Exon jeans until the “smell becomes unbearable”, and even then you’re encouraged to wash them in only lukewarm water.
While we understand that this process can help mould raw denim to the sculpted, statuesque shape of your cycling-toned legs, we can’t help but imagine that the potent combination of sweat, road grit and artisan-coffee spills will force us to resort to the washing machine sooner than Cadence would like.
Available to order now directly from Cadence for $130 or via any of its international distributors.
- £89 / €122 / $130 / AU$170
Flux 350R wheelset
Tom Wragg, the man behind Ruby the Trail Dog, has recently launched his own wheel brand and is off to a strong start with these £1,000 carbon road hoops.
Designed for great all round use, the Flux R wheelset uses a 44mm deep rim at the front and a 50mm deep rim for the rear. This is said to reduce the effects of crosswinds on the wheelset with minimal effect on the aero qualities of the wheels.
The wheels are available with either Chris King R45, DT Swiss 240 or DT 350 hubs. The same rims and Sapim CX Ray spokes are used throughout the line.
We’ve opted for the DT 350 hubs and with 25mm Schwalbe Pro One tyres set up tubeless, our wheels weighed in at 1,030g for the front and 1,230g for the rear with tyres — this is impressively light for a pair of mid-depth carbon wheels which cost many times less than their competitors.
Every wheelset ships with a pair of Swisstop Flash Pro carbon specific pads and you can choose from a number of jazzy colour options for the logos — matchy matchy is everything.
With mountain bike wheels seemingly also in the works, we’re looking forward to seeing where this new brand goes.
- £999, international pricing not available at the time of writing
The NeilPryde Bura is among the lightest road frames on the market, and although we’ve gone for the slightly less fancy non-SL version of the bike, our test model weighs in at a mere 950g (claimed) for a size 56cm frame with the full bike coming in at 7.89kg — a very respectable figure for a 105 equipped bike with cheaper alloy wheels.
The Bura is the brand's out-and-out race bike and is optimised to be a stiff and lively ride that maintains a degree of comfort via dropped skinny stays and the usual assortment of funky layup magic up front.
We’d like to think there is a connection between NeilPryde’s heritage in wind sailing and the webbed sections located around the main tube junctions, but can’t help but feel that might be a little spurious and imagine these are added in the name of stiffness and aero gains.
We’re also particularly fond of the angled bolt on the seat clamp wedge which is far easier to access than some other integrated systems we’ve used.
Jack is going to be riding this bike over the next few weeks and you should expect a first ride review in the near future.
- £1,650 / €2,000 / $2,100 / AU$N/A
PBK Floral jersey
Online retailer Pro Bike Kit recently launched its own line of cycling kit and hidden among a wealth of exceedingly handsome kit was this lairy floral number.
Unsurprisingly, self-professed kit hoarder Jack almost immediately seized this as his own and we think it’s going to become a favourite for the summer. The jersey itself is really nicely made and rather interestingly, uses only organic inks which is said to prevent irritation. It is, however, worth noting that the cut isn’t too racy, so size down if you prefer a more fitted jersey.
Available for pre-order via Pro Bike Kit.
- £49.99 / $63.49 / AU$82.99