It's been a busy week! We've taken a look at some custom road shoes, upgrades that you probably want but maybe don't actually need, debated what might be the best 'bike for life' and learnt that cycling is actually good for your sex life. All while Jack and Reuben get prepared for their arduous 300km mountain gravel ride in Italy. Phew. What a week.
Giro Sentrie Techlace road shoes
Sitting just below the flagship Factor Techlace, the Sentrie Techlace shoes take all the same ideas but bring the price down a touch. They’ve still got the two Techlace closures and a Boa up top, though it’s the L6 dial that offers 1mm tightening adjustments and a pop release, but no reverse operation.
The carbon sole is made with Easton's EC70 plate, which sits beneath the EC90 SLX2 as seen on the flagship shoes but still features a low stack height and is plenty stiff.
You also get The Super Natural Fit footbed with interchangeable arch supports for a custom fit.
And in our opinion, they look a heck of a lot better then the top-end Factor TechLace, though you may disagree, and in a size 42.5 weigh in at 245g.
£200 / $250 / AU$300
Polar M460 bike GPS
Polar reckons the M460 is the perfect 'GPS bike computer' for the most devoted riders, and looking at the spec list, the most devout subservients to the world of tech will get the most out of it.
As you’d expect, it has plenty of data collecting capabilities, from its GPS sensor and barometer to heart rate monitor connectivity and power meter Bluetooth-ability. Perhaps the most fun, though, is the Strava Live Segment capability, so you can get an on-the-fly head’s up that your favourite segments are coming up, getting you ready for that extra bit of GRRRRR as you hit your top trails. Once you’re past it, it’ll make or break your day by letting you know just how well you’ve done.
£200 / $230 / AU$329
Bont Riot road shoes
Bont’s latest iteration of the Riot shoes ditch the retention straps in favour of Boa dials paired with ever-trusty velcro straps.
The Riots come with heat mouldable carbon composite soles, making these the cheapest mouldable shoes on the market. Under our very scientific squeeze test, the soles do have a bit of give. But as this is Bont's cheapest model, it would make sense to leave the rock solid soles to the higher end models.
As seen here, the shoes come in some absolutely raucous colours if you’re into that kind of thing. It's a big departure from the old Riots that were only available in black or white.
Our shoes arrived in sizes 42 and 46.5 weighing in at 289g and 329g respectively per shoe.
£150 / $TBC / AUS$TBC
Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR wheels
‘Cheap for carbon’ is how these Line Pro 30wheels were described in the office – yes, $1,200 / £900 sure as hell ain’t cheap for a set of push bike wheels, but if you’re in the market for some carbon hoops from a well-known brand, these certainly don’t stand out price wise.
On the trail, though, we’re hoping they do stand out. Trek’s OCLV carbon has been moulded into bike frames for ages, and here is looped around to make the 29mm internal width rims. These are held in place by 28 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes, surrounding Bontrager's Boost spaced straight-pull hubs. The rear has their Rapid Drive 108 freehub for super-quick engagement, and should you wish to tie your hands in marriage to them, you’ll get a 6-bolt disc attachment, Shimano freehub driver and all you need to set them up tubeless for your honeymoon.
Front wheel: £430 / $550 / AU$800
Rear wheel: £470 / $650 / AU$900
Cane Creek Helm suspension fork
Cane Creek is better known for its rear shocks, so when we heard a rumour that a fork was imminent, we were excited. The Helm is adjustable between 100-170mm, although it’s optimised for 140-170mm, and comes out of the box at 160mm, with two travel adjusters included.
Suspension geeks should be kept busy with the Helm – instead of a positive air chamber that bleeds into the negative, there’s independent adjustment for each – to get the most out of this you may have to do a bit of experimenting, but spend your time and we reckon it could feel great. Once you’ve set that you also have High and Low Speed Compression adjustment, as well as Low Speed Rebound, so there's plenty to get excited about.
£950 / $1,100 / AU$1,400
Avanti Competitor Plus 2 mountain bike
Kiwi brand Avanti has sent over its latest 27.5+ hardtail the Competitor Plus 2. With an alloy frame, 120mm RockShox Reba RL fork, complete Shimano SLX 1x drivetrain, the Competitor looks like it will be a bag of fun to ride.
The 2.8in WTB rangers are wrapped around Weinmann X-A40 Doublewall rims with Boost hub spacing and there’s still plenty of clearance for wider tyres and mud both front and rear.
As for the contact points, they all come from Zero, Avanti’s in-house components brand, except for the X-Fusion HILO Ace dropper with 100mm of height adjustment. The bike also sees tidy external cable routing, which will please the home mechanic, and a retro orange, brown and black paint job.
£TBC / $TBC / AU$2,600
Flat Tire Defenders Foam Inserts
2017 seems to be the year that foam inserts become ‘a thing’, so it was no surprise when the Flat Tire Defenders landed at BikeRadar towers. The premise is simple: install the inserts on to your rims, set your tyres up tubeless and away you go. The claimed benefits are pinch flat protection, lower tyre pressures and minimising tyre/rim damage.
Our tester extraordinaire Seb Stott has already had great success with a rival brand, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on with this model from Flat Tyre Defenders. This Enduro/Trail 29inch model isn’t cheap, but neither is replacing a damaged rim, so perhaps it’s a price worth paying.
Enduro & Trail 29inch kit: £TBC / $119.50 / AU$TBC
Park Tool CM-25 Professional Chain Scrubber
Made from die-cast aluminium, the Park Tool CM-25 is a hardy workshop-ready chain cleaner built for daily use.
With a metal body, it’s something that should stand up to years of abuse, and replaceable RBS-25 Brush and Sponge cartridges mean that once the internal hardware begins to wear out it can be easily replaced for less than the price of a brand new chain cleaner. But, the initial investment is pretty big.
CM-25 Professional Chain Scrubber: £79.99 / $98.95 / AU$189.99
RBS-25 Replacement Brush Cartridge: £TBC / $18.95 / AU$39.99
Focus O1E Pro mountain bike
Back in the summer of '16, Focus unveiled its newly designed F.O.L.D. (Focus Optimised Linkage Design). Coincidentally, it also announced two new bikes at the same time featuring the new linkage design, the 140mm JAM trail bike and the very XC-orientated 100mm travel O1E.
The O1E Pro features the same full carbon frame and linkage as the top-of-the-range Team model, as ridden by Florian Vogel on the world cup circuit. It comes specced with SRAM Monarch XX and RockShox Sid XX suspension with dual remote hydraulic lockout.
Concept provides the finishing kit while everything rolls on DT Swiss M1900 wheels. We'll be giving this bike a razz at the Glentress 7 XC race at the end of May.
£3,700 / $4,750 / AU$7,500
South African outfit Versus has sent over a selection of its Race socks. They’re lightweight, soft on the skin and super comfy. They’ve got a mesh panel on top of the foot to aid ventilation and they're the perfect height, but best of all they're not that expensive by cycling sock standards.
£20 / $10 / AU$20
Taylors limited edition Rider's Roast coffee
Cycling and fancy coffee are right up there on the hipster spectrum, but Taylors has cranked the hipster dial up to 11 by releasing this limited edition ‘Allez! Allez! Rider's Roast’ in the lead up to the Tour De France. There’s not much to say other than it’s coffee that’s "powerful, nimble and perfectly balanced".
All we can say is that it tastes great and has been fuelling the BikeRadar team's coffee habits with aplomb.
£3 / $TBC / AU$TBC