It's Friday and that can only mean one thing: it's time to leave the keyboard behind, put your phone on airplane mode and spend some quality time with your bike. But, before you do that, check out the latest bits and bobs that have rolled into our UK and AU offices.
Our resident Scotsman Jack Luke asked the hard questions and found out why inner tubes smell like fish, and Seb told us everything we ever wanted to know about rear suspension. We also took a closer look at the Masters hour record holder Norman Alvis' bike, watched Danny MacAskill destroy some wheels, and learned what not to do with clipless pedals.
Onto the new stuff!
Trek Procaliber 8
Earlier in the year Trek trickled it’s IsoSpeed decoupler down from the pricy carbon Procaliber XC frames into the more budget-friendly alloy frames.
The Procaliber 8 is the highest spec of the alloy models and sees the same G2 Geometry as the pricier models and boost hub spacing. Our size 18.5 sample is rolling on 29in Bontrager Duster Elite 23 wheels and is wrapped in Bontrager XR2 Team Issue 29x2.20 rubber.
- £TBC / $2,199 / AU$2,899
Schwalbe Magic Mary Addix SpeedGrip 2.6
The Magic Mary is Schwalbe’s gravity inspired tyre, which now comes in the firm's Addix compound. This particular model is the Speedgrip version, meaning it has a harder compound, resulting in a bit less grip, but greater longevity.
Perhaps not the tyre for a wet DH or Enduro race, but perfect as your everyday trail tyre. It now comes in this fashionably wide 2.6 size for all you cool folk who are into wider rubber.
- £58.99 / $NA / AU$NA
Fabric AM Grip
The all-new AM Grip from Fabric is a 137mm long, 31mm wide lock on style grip, which has a sticky Micro_Hex grip pattern. After doing the ‘hold the grip in our hands and give them a twist test’ in the BikeRadar office, we can safely say they feel nice and grippy.
The lock on bolts are neatly covered by a small flap of rubber, giving them a very clean look. They’ll be available in any colour as long as you like black.
- £19.99 / $NA / AU$NA
Shimano just announced its latest road shoe the SH-RP901 (or RP9) at Interbike, and we’ve just slipped our feet into the brand's lightest kicks yet. Weighing 265g in a size 45 by our scales, the RP9s swap a velcro and ratchet strap for an IP1 Boa dial.
The heel cup also gets a redesign which is said to offer a "suction cup-like fit".
Rated at a 10 of 12 of Shimano’s stiffness scale, the shoe is perforated, gets an insole with adjustable support and comes in a women’s version, too.
- £TBC / $300 / AU$369
F-stop is well known for its adventurous camera packs which are used by some of the world's top sports photographers and videographers for their comfort, ruggedness and adaptability.
It’s been a while since F-stop has launched new packs but its latest four-bag Urban series is each named after famous neighbourhoods around the world - Dalston, Florentin, Kalamaja and Fitzroy.
The 21L Dalston is essentially one big main space sandwiched between a laptop sleeve pocket by the back padding and a front pocket for papers and smaller items. Included is an internal organiser with five dividers allowing customisation to fit your gear. Access is via the dual full length side zippers.
Those with larger camera setups will need to consider if there is enough space but for the mirrorless camera photographers, this might be a low profile portaging option for you.
All the Urban series bags come in three colours - aloe drab green, navy or F-stop’s very distinctive nasturtium orange.
- $149 / AUS$ / £149
Skratch Labs Endurance Recovery Mix
Designed as a high-calorie food you can drink, Skratch Labs say its new Endurance Recovery Mix is the next best thing to next to a freshly cooked meal, a hug or a back massage after a workout.
The non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian, kosher mix uses six to eight ingredients depending on the flavour and uses real milk protein (as opposed to whey protein) which Skratch says makes for a thick creamy taste by just adding water — no need to calculate new carb to protein ratios by adding milk for thickness and taste.
Speaking of carb to protein ratios, the Endurance recovery mix sees a five-to-one ratio (36g carbs 7g protein and 3.5g fat and 275g sodium per 12oz / 354ml serving) and comes in Chocolate, Vanilla and Coffee (with 45g on caffeine), and is free of emulsifiers, flavoring agents, colouring agents, and preservatives.
- 12 Serving bag: £TBC / $32.50 / AU$49.50
- Single serving: £TBC / $3.50 / AU$TBC
Nike Vaporwing Elite
Nike has been making eyewear for some time now and has been trying its hand at performance eyewear and we've just got our hands on the brand's flagship sports sunnies, the Vaporwing Elite.
The lens was designed in collaboration with Zeiss for an uninterrupted field of view and, according to Nike, accurate perception clarity and acuity. Nike also says the lenses are cut with aerodynamic angles that “drastically reduce wind resistance.”
The styling is pretty aggressive and likely to polarise — to us they look like something out of the movie Tron.
Though they only tip our scales at 26g, they carry a surprisingly heavy price tag of £286.95 / $395 / AU$560.
Swrve Durable Cotton Slim Trouser
Swrve specialises in making rugged outdoor wear for all those rugged outdoor pursuits that pop up on your Instagram account everyday. We’ve got a pair of the brand's Durable Cotton Slim Trousers, which have a stretchy four-way fabric to keep you stylish-yet-mobile when cycling/hiking/climbing/extreme ironing.
The waist is cut a bit higher at the back and the rear pocket fits a mini U lock, making them ideal commuter wear. The quality feels top notch so we’d hope they’d last you a long time.
- £80 / $NA / AU$NA
Sportful R&D Strato Top
With winter approaching in the northern hemisphere, extra warmth and comfort when out riding is never a bad thing and Sportful looks to have those cold and dry days covered with this, its R&D Strato top.
Designed to be a mix of thermal jersey combined with a sewn-in windproof gilet-like outer, the Strato uses these layers to keep its wearer warm while reporting to have “outstanding breathability” that comes from the airflow between the inner and outer layers.
Two front zips allow for extra ventilation for when you’re chugging along in those winter chain gangs.
While the Strato pictured doesn’t have a reflective material for the outer layer (like Proviz jackets), there is reflective trim dotted about the place for safety. It’s also available in black or orange.
- £120 / $167 / AU$204
PRO Turnix Offroad Saddle
Unsurprisingly, the Turnix Offroad comes with features aimed specifically at mountain bikers. PRO says the wider nose design is for a more supportive platform for climbing while compared to the regular Turnix, the PU material (polyurethane leather) has a gripper feel to reduce rider movement.
Additional rubberised inserts of PU cover the outer edges to protect any damage in the event of a crash.
The Turnix Offroad is available in three widths: 132, 142 and 152mm. This 142mm width saddle topped our scales at 235g.
Pricing and availability not yet available.
ABUS Folding Lock BORDO Lite 6055
Designed to lock your bike up when the risk of theft is on the lower end of the scale, the BORDO Lite 6055 is compact at 15cm in length and weighs in at 419g (lock and key).
There wouldn’t be too many rides where I’d want to carry a 419g lock in my jersey pocket, although ABUS does point out it’s small enough to do that. For chilled pub/cafe rides it could be a handy companion so your mind isn’t outside thinking about whether your bike is still going to be there when you leave.
- £50 / $N/A / AU$N/A