The holidays are creeping closer, and this week we've got some great ideas for the mud-loving CXer, commuters, adrenaline junkies and mountain bikers. We're also keeping tabs on the latest and greatest Black Friday bargains.
With another week coming to an end, it's now time to take a sneak peek at the latest gear to land at BikeRadar's UK and Australian HQs.
Rapha Core Winter Jacket
Extending Rapha’s Core range of more affordable clothing is the incredibly pink Core Winter Jacket.
The jacket has a three-layer front to offer wind protection, but the whole jacket is weather resistant, which aims to follow Rapha’s ethos of “getting the basics right” during the winter months.
It’s not clear if “weather resistant” amounts to “waterproof”, but we’re keen to believe this jacket would keep us and you dry in milder rain showers.
A generously sized zippered pocket comfortably fits an iPhone 6 so any devices around that size will be fine.
It’s also available in the slightly more subtle colours of black, navy and red.
- Price: £120 / $175 / AUS$210
- Buy now from Rapha
Specialized Epic Hardtail
When Specialized decided to update their cross-country hardtail, they had one thing in mind — mass reduction. Upon picking up this S-Works model we can safely say they’ve achieved this goal, with a size large without pedals weighing just 8.7kg.
The fork comes with Specialized’s Brain technology, which automatically locks out the suspension using a clever inertia valve. You can then adjust the Brain Fade on the fork to customise how much force it takes to activate the valve. This means no need to worry about lockout levers and a much cleaner cockpit.
Elsewhere the build is suitably premium with a Sram Eagle groupset and new carbon-fibre Roval wheels. As you can imagine, coming from Specialized, all this amazing tech doesn’t come cheap. This particular model is going to our videographer/xc racer Joe Norledge for a long-term test, so keep an eye out for a full review soon.
- Price: £7500 / $8000 / AU$10000
Suplest Edge/3 Pro Cross Country race shoes
Suplest is a small company based in Bern, Switzerland that specialises in high-end footwear. The Edge/3 Pro Cross Country is the brand's flagship MTB race shoe.
Tipping our scales at 448g per shoe they have dual BOA dials with a carbon shield that runs under the cables and is said to provide uniform pressure over the top of the foot.
The wrap tongue is a two-piece construction, which like many similar high-end shoes, wraps your foot like a burrito. There are some snazzy-looking triangular protective panels over the toe and heel, and the pattern continues onto the Japanese microfibre upper.
The Edge/3 Pro's also come with a Solestar cycling-specific insole. The arch on the insole itself is backed by plastic for ultimate support with a neutral height, and features a metatarsal bubble too.
The heel is lined with one-way silver thread, and covered with little silicone dots to keep your heel planted in the shoe.
In the box, you also get toe studs and install tool, and a storage bag too.
Fabric Scoop saddle
Fabric’s Scoop range of saddles have been around for a while, becoming popular in both road and mountain-biking circles
It’s available in three profiles to suit various riding styles, and this particular model is the Radius profile, which is designed for a more upright riding position. So if you have poor flexibility, this is the saddle for you. Prices range from the insane to the more reasonable, with this model sitting at the reasonable end of the spectrum — £34.99 with steel rails.
- Price starting at £34.99 / $39.99 / AU$N/A
New North Coffee
Like cycling? Like coffee? Like the fizzing headache of drinking too much coffee? Then you’ll definitely like Nitro Coffee from New North. It’s a cold brew made from Latin-American blend coffee and purified water, which is then brewed for more than 18 hours and ‘nitrogenated’ to make it smooth and creamy.
Now that’s some crazy coffee talk, but what we think it means is that New North have gone to a lot of effort to make their chilled coffee nice and tasty.
Consensus at the BikeRadar office taste test was that it was indeed nice and tasty, with a distinct chocolatey flavour. However, at 59mg of caffeine per 100ml, Nitro Coffee packs a serious punch, so don’t go drinking multiple cans in one sitting.
Scott Road RC SL Shoes
Costing £400, Scott’s all-new Road RC SL shoe is right up there price-wise, so we’re hoping they’ll have the performance to match the dizzying cost. Obviously they have a carbon sole and weigh just 245g for a size 42.5. That’s light but by no means the lightest, however they do seem to be well made and should take a beating.
Our resident hill-climb fanatic Joe Norledge has already used these shoes at the 2017 National Hill Climb Championships, so expect a full review on site soon. His early verdict: "The price is hard to swallow, but the roomy fit suited my feet well and they’re plenty stiff".
- Price: £400
- Scott Sports
Specialized Hillbilly GRID 29 x 2.6
Back in February we reviewed the 29 x 2.3 version of Specialized’s Hillbilly GRID and were very impressed by its performance giving it a glowing write-up.
Specialized have now sent us this beefed-up 2.6” version of the GRID. The Hillbilly is designed for front-wheel use with it aimed firmly at intermediate to soft terrain with supposed increased high-frequency damping for increased traction with the GRIPTON compound.
Claimed weight for this tyre is 1010g but it comes up at a much lighter 945g on our scales.
Our resident tyre bod, Seb Stott, will be trying this monster throughout the winter so stay tuned for a review.
- Price: TBC
Solo MTB kit
Hailing from New Zealand, Solo has sent over some of its latest MTB kit.
The Challenge MTB Jersey is made from a high-moisture-transfer fabric with special tetra-channel fibres, which the brand says quickly moves sweat away from the skin for fast drying. The lightweight top sees fully flat-locked seams to prevent annoying threads, and there's a drop tail to prevent the sun from shining where it shouldn't.
We’ve also got a pair of the Tech Shorts. Made from a lightweight wicking fabric, they come with a removable inner short and feature two zippered top pockets and two velcro cargo pockets. There are also zippered vents on the front, which were a boon on the quick test ride we’ve had in the Queensland heat.
- Price: £TBC / $59.99 (Jersey), $129 (Shorts) / AU$TBC
Dharco Rouge Gloves
Aussie MTB clothing brand Dharco has launched its first pair of gloves. The lightweight mesh back mitts feature a soft durable synthetic leather palm, velcro-free cuff for easy entry, silicon on the fingers for non-slip grip and phone-friendly thumb.
- Price: £TBC / $36.50 / AU$30
Bontrager has totally redesigned the Velocis making it more aero (it claims to be on par with a Giro Synth), adding a MIPS liner and a bit more coverage on the rear. Our AU/NZ 6063 standard size medium tips the scales at 274g, CSPC and CE versions will be lighter.
Bontrager has also opted for a low-profile Boa retention system and padding from Colorado-based 37.5 Technology, which claims to evaporate sweat faster than traditional brow pads.
It also comes with the Neovisor, a small visor that squeezes into the front of the helmet to add the benefits of a cycling cap, without actually having to wear a cycling cap.
- Price: £150 / $200 / AU$269
The latest release from Aussie outfit Attaquer is the A-Line range and is available in both men’s and women's specific cuts.
With a slightly more relaxed fit than the brand’s Core and Race kits, the jerseys and bibs come in bold colours and are meant to be mixed and matched.
Made from Italian fabrics, the kit sees a mid-weight material for use across a wide range of temps and gets an extended sleeve length complete with grippers, reflective rear tabs, and ‘moisture-wicking technology’ to shift sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfy.
The bibs are made from 30% recycled materials and see gender-specific Elastic Interface chamois designed to interface well with your bathing-suit parts. They’ve also got wide-band rubber leg grippers, an internal stowaway race pocket and mesh bib straps.
- Price: Jersey £117 / $102 / AU$130
- Price: Bibs £76 / $157 / AU$200