11spd: This week's best new bike gear

We check out some heckin' fresh gear from RockShox, Bont, Zipp, Oakley and more

Well hey, how about that? It's Friday already! This week, like many before it, was chock full of interesting and crazy news and gear. Here at BikeRadar we showed off a road e-bike with another rear axle standard (hooray!), clued you in to a couple of mountain bike upgrades you really don't need, and highlighted some very pretty road rockets from Colnago and Ridley

And just as sure as that new carbon wonderbike is 7 percent stiffer and 4.8 percent lighter, 11spd is here with your weekly roundup of the coolest, swankiest and freshest mountain and road bike gear to land at BikeRadar.

RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork 

The Lyric has been updated for 2018
The Lyric has been updated for 2018

Ohh, the Lyrik fork from RockShox. The name itself conjures up images of smashing DH-worthy tracks on a bike that's somehow able to still ascend sans chairlift. 

For 2018, the legendary goodness appears to have gotten better. RockShox endowed the Lyrik with a brand new chassis. It's said to be stiffer, and of course lighter. 

The Solo Air spring tune has been updated and RockShox added more negative volume so it should be even more supple right off the top. That's a very good thing. 

Our man Seb has already put in some miles on this fresh new fork
Our man Seb has already put in some miles on this fresh new fork

Other good things include big 35mm legs, SKF wipers for slippery stanchion sliding, and for those who like to tinker, customisable rebound damping through the internal shim stack.

Two versions are available to swallow, either 27.5 or 29in wheels.

  • £970, international pricing TBC

Brynje Super Thermo-C and Micro-C shirt

Brynje's baselayers are among the least attractive out there but are among the most respected on the market
Brynje's baselayers are among the least attractive out there but are among the most respected on the market

Bryjne baselayers have a near legendary status in the mountaineering community and they first came to our attention via an article on keeping warm by Andy Kirkpatrick on UKC (a seriously good read).

The baselayers were used on the first ascent of Everest and are estimated to still be used by approximately 90 percent of ‘professional’ Polar expeditions today.

Some well-known Norwegian pro riders are also said to forgo their sponsor-supplied kit in favour of Brynje baselayers.

The polyester baselayer is woven into an open fishnet-like pattern that allows a ‘pocket’ of air to be trapped next to your body. The same air can be easily ‘dumped’ by opening the zip of a jersey.

The baselayer is made from a synthetic polyester fabric and feels remarkably soft against the skin — though there is also a Merino wool version available for those who are allergic to or don’t like the feel of synthetic fabrics.

The polyester fibre is said to absorb very, very little moisture, allowing sweat to easily wick away from your body, keeping you comfortable and warm.

Nobody should have to see this — keep it under the jersey, Jack
Nobody should have to see this — keep it under the jersey, Jack

The baselayers are quite possibly the least sexy undergarments ever, with a slightly Rab C Nesbitt-like aesthetic, so are definitely best kept under the wraps of a jersey.

The baselayers were supplied by UK and US distributor of all wares Scandi’, NordicLife, and are available to order directly from there.

Jack has been riding with these two baselayers right through the recent heatwave here in the UK as well as during some more inclement weather, and first impressions are very, very good. Keep an eye out for a review in the months to come!

  • Brynje Super Thermo C-Shirt: £27 / €29.90 / $29 / AU$45
  • Brynje Super Micro C-Shirt: £22.99 / €25.90 / $25 / AU$39

Lezyne Steel Floor Drive

Lezyne has updated its steel drive pumps for 2018
Lezyne has updated its steel drive pumps for 2018

The new Steel Floor Drive pump from Lezyne features the same hefty cast alloy base and steel barrel and piston of the old model, but gains a totally redesigned head for 2018.

The all-new head goes back to Lezyne's roots with a classic thread-on design
The all-new head goes back to Lezyne's roots with a classic thread-on design

While we were fans of the ABS2 valve ‘chuck’, it wasn’t the most intuitive system and Lezyne has openly admitted that it wasn’t particularly well received by dealers or end users.

As such, the brand has decided to move back to its roots with a super solid, thread-on head that is now angled at 90 degrees to improve ease of use. This head will also be available for purchase separately.

As with all of Lezyne’s pumps, it’s fully rebuildable including the vegan-friendly — we’re not sure why Lezyne has chosen not market its pumps as such — rubber o-ring gasket. The pump also retains Lezyne’s signature wooden handle.

The pumps are shipping to distributors now and are available for pre-order.

  • Pricing TBC

Griffin Survivor Summit

Griffin recently sent us through this hardy case for iPhones
Griffin recently sent us through this hardy case for iPhones

There’s no shortage of options for high-quality phone cases out there, but Griffin is among the most respected names on the market.

Clip it without shame we say
Clip it without shame we say

The Survivor Summit series — which is available for all popular smartphone models — is rated to protect your phone for a drop of up to 3.0m in height and is IP-55 rated, so will protect your precious gadgetry against rain and snow.

The case also includes a belt clip backing plate so you can complete that joiner-with-a-rugged-phone look. You know exactly what we mean.

  • £39.99 / $49.99 / AU$N/A

Absolute Black XT M8000/SLX M7000 oval chainring and chainguide

Absolute Black is one of few manufacturers who make oval rings compatible with XT M8000 cranks
Absolute Black is one of few manufacturers who make oval rings compatible with XT M8000 cranks

This chainring from Absolute Black is one of very few oval options that fits Shimano’s asymmetric bolt pattern.

Despite the potential to hold this captive audience to ransom, Absolute Black is asking a pretty reasonable £42.90 for this handsome, highly machined 34t ring.

We love the machined aesthetic of Absolute Black's kit
We love the machined aesthetic of Absolute Black's kit

We’ve also opted to try out the brand's oval-friendly, direct-mount guide. While clutch derailleurs have largely negated the need for a chainguide, this one comes in at a mere 30g including mounting hardware. So it’s not a lot of extra weight to carry given the extra peace of mind it affords.

This funky top-cap is a little fungi looking
This funky top-cap is a little fungi looking

Absolute Black also included this nifty, super-light integrated top-cap/bolt combo thingy. We think it looks a little like an anodised Chanterelle, but it doesn’t smell half as good as its fungal lookalike.

This is going to make its way onto Jack’s Bianchi Methanol long-term test bike, so you should expect a full report on how he gets on with the kit very soon.

  • Chainring: £42.90 / €54.99 / $61.99 / AU$N/A
  • Chainguide: £48.95 / €59.95 / $65.95 / AU$N/A

Bont Riot MTB

Bont's Riot MTB shoes are one of the cheapest heat-mouldable options out there
Bont's Riot MTB shoes are one of the cheapest heat-mouldable options out there

We’ve already seen Bont’s Riot Road shoesin a previous edition of 11spd and we’ve just received the dirt-oriented version.

The “entire chassis” of the shoe is heat moldable owing to the brand's “proprietary resin” that becomes highly pliable at high temperatures. Bont claims that this makes its shoes among the most comfortable on the market.

The shoes are secured using a Boa dial and a large Velcro strap that crosses over the top of the shoe. This claims to support the forefoot better than other designs and a cursory pad about the office indicates that these are indeed comfortable shoes.

Available in Bont’s usual range of lairy designs, we’ve opted for a slightly more muted black/blue colour combo that should go well with the majority of kit.

  • £170 / $188 / AU$247.00

Oakley Crossrange sunglasses

Oakley's Crossrange sunglasses have swappable ear pieces
Oakley's Crossrange sunglasses have swappable ear pieces

Always at the forefront of innovative sunglasses is Southern California-juggernaut Oakley. 

These Crossrange sunnies are built for double duty, or to simplify the life of the multi-tasking athlete who needs one pair of glasses for shredding the bike and working the scene at the bar. 

Both the Unobtainium earsocks (Oakley's verbiage there) and nosepads (where's the cool name?) can be interchanged and are said to increase their grip with sweat. 

In typical Oakley fashion, a boatload of colours and lens tints are available, including styles that you can custom design as well as the oh-so-fancy Prizm lenses we have in on test.

  • Starting at £145 / $150 / AU$209

Bikase Utility Pack handlebar bag

The interior features a couple of gear organising pockets
The interior features a couple of gear organising pockets

On the flip side of the fashion-focused, uber trendy world of high-end shades comes a useful handlebar bag from Bikase. Actually, it's not the complete opposite as bar bags have had a resurgence with the popularity of bikepacking and touring. 

The Bikase Utility Pack attaches with two Velcro straps and a shock cord around the stem. It can sit in front of the bars or on top of the stem. 

Size wise, it should be useful at 23 x 15 x 4.5cm (9 x 6 x 1.75in). That's plenty of space to fit a smartphone, banana and Moleskine.

  • £28 / $35.99 / AU$47 

Zevlin Super Crack chamois creme

Sore bum no more! Zevlin isn't being subtle with the product name
Sore bum no more! Zevlin isn't being subtle with the product name

Coming out of Texas, USA (although that's obvious) is the two brother team of Zevlin. Zevlin makes bar tape, T-shirts, and bodycare products, including Crack chamois cream.

What's the difference between Crack and Super Crack? If you really want to know, it's the tingle. Super Crack has a bit of tingle, similar to other companies "Euro style" creams.

  • Two sizes are available: 8oz for £18.50 / $23.95 / AU$31; and 2oz for £7.69 / $9.95 / AU$13

Zipp Tangente Speed RT25 tires

Zipp's Tangente Speed tires come in 23 and 25mm widths. We have the bigger size in for test
Zipp's Tangente Speed tires come in 23 and 25mm widths. We have the bigger size in for test

Zipp claims its Tangente Speed tires have the lowest rolling resistance and highest cornering grip, and set up tubeless without sealant. Wow, can they also make me skinnier? And more handsome? 

Seriously though, in BikeRadar's road tire test, the non-tubeless Tangente tires faired quite well in rolling resistance and ride quality, and we imagine the tubeless versions will only improve on that.

As far as airing up without sealant, well that's something we'll have to see to believe. 

Claimed weight for the Tangente Speed RT25 is 292g, the 28mm is 302g.

  • £71 / $74 / €84 per tire

Kali Interceptor helmet

Kali's new Interceptor helmet features new crash protection technology
Kali's new Interceptor helmet features new crash protection technology

Bicycle helmet technology has been slowly evolving in the last 3–5 years. MIPS got the ball rolling, Koroyd has been pushing the standards lately, and now Kali Protectives is aiming to make a safer helmet, too.

What makes it safer? Specially placed sections of a padding called Armourgel. Bike helmet crash performance is claimed to be improved by lowering low G impact forces by 12 percent and rotational forces by 25 percent.

The little green open dots are said to squish upon linear impacts and bend sideways on rotational hits. 

Outside of all that safety stuff, the new Interceptor lid is built for trail and enduro antics with 24 vents, extended rear coverage, a Boa dial and an accessory mounting system. 

  • £139 / $180 / AU$235 
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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