11spd: This week's best new bike gear

Two new gravel bikes, super purple shoes, a squishy fork, suspension stem and more

This week, the BikeRadar staff examined if there’s an upside to crashing and realised that singlespeeds aren’t always as simple as they seem

Our Colorado-based team has a unique mix of product to showcase this week, from indecipherable Belgian food products and the purplest shoes, to gravel and gravel-lite bikes, plus there's a bicycle that's trying its best to be a motorcycle.

Check it all out and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Trek Domane Gravel

The Trek Domane Gravel is a normal Domane, but with Schwalbe G-One 35mm tires
The Trek Domane Gravel is a normal Domane, but with Schwalbe G-One 35mm tires

Trek’s Domane is an excellent all-round road bike for paved, dirt and cobbled roads.

But gravel is the hot new category and it appears that the Wisconsin company has taken a punt on rebranding an existing bike to jump on the bandwagon.

The Domane Gravel is exactly like a normal Domane, but with Schwalbe G-One 35mm tires.

Gravel is a funny thing — it means different things to different people. For me (Delaney), ‘good’ gravel roads are smooth-running dirt ribbons that take you away from traffic but don’t require full-suspension bikes or monster-truck tires to navigate. For others, like my Kanza-battled-tested colleague Josh Patterson, gravel means full-on tire-chopping flint gravel.

This Domane SLR features adjustable rear isospeed. But shouldn't there be a little gravel rock icon instead of cobbles?
This Domane SLR features adjustable rear isospeed. But shouldn't there be a little gravel rock icon instead of cobbles?

For the type of dry, dirt-road riding I often do, the Domane Gravel seems pretty close to perfect. But for others, it's still too much a road bike — read: limited on tire clearance and storage capacity — to be a true gravel machine.

Look for a review soon as we put the Domane Gravel through its paces.

  • $7,869 as shown, but varies by build

Litespeed Cherohala SE

The new Litespeed Cherohala SE mixes endurance geometry with gravel-friendly clearance
The new Litespeed Cherohala SE mixes endurance geometry with gravel-friendly clearance

Like Trek and others, Litespeed has a bike model called ‘Gravel’, but the Cherohala SE is a little different.

This titanium frame is designed with endurance road bike geometry but tire clearance and compliance to handle gravel riding.

The bike is shown here with 32mm slicks, but can handle up to 40mm gravel tires with tread.

Titanium makes for a forgiving ride off the tarmac
Titanium makes for a forgiving ride off the tarmac

After one three-road ride, we can attest that the forgiving nature of titanium carries over just fine to rutted dirt roads. Even the wide-diameter, zero-setback seatpost has a pleasant give.

  • $2,800 for frame or $6,300 as built with Shimano Ultegra Di2

WCUP ride food

WCUP is a Belgian brand of on-bike nutrition coming to the US for 2018
WCUP is a Belgian brand of on-bike nutrition coming to the US for 2018

WCUP is a Belgian sports nutrition brand, which is coming to the US for 2018.

WCUP has been making food for athletes for 25 years and is now under new ownership. The whole range of bars, gels, protein shakes and sports drinks is pH neutral for easier absorption.

This one makes us a little nervous
This one makes us a little nervous

  • Price varies by product and region

OMATA One analog GPS computer

The Omata GPS unit is an analog cycling computer that is still in development
The Omata GPS unit is an analog cycling computer that is still in development

If the flood of data on your Garmin seems overwhelming, then perhaps an analog interface is in order. At least that's the thinking behind the Kickstarter OMATA One GPS computer.

This $550 computer is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth, and works with a three-axis accelerometer, barometric pressure sensor and a temperature sensor, but displays that information with rotary dials.

Claimed battery life is more than 17 hours.

There is a companion app that can upload rides to Strava and deliver a basic summary on your ride.

  • $550 pre-order / £407 / AU$727

Universal Gore Windstopper partial socks

GoreTex's new Universal Gore Windstopper Partial Socks block the wind on the front, with more breathability in the back
GoreTex's new Universal Gore Windstopper Partial Socks block the wind on the front, with more breathability in the back

We’re not sure how ‘universal’ these socks are, but they do indeed stop the wind.

The ‘partial’ part refers to the split construction of Windstopper on the top and front of the sock — the parts that face the wind — and a stretchy, more breathable part on the bottom and back.

The socks are thin and work well, blocking the wind without feeling clammy. After a three-hour ride we can vouch they work well in cool (but not very cold, near freezing) temps.

  • $39 / £34.99 / AU N/A

 Giro Code Techlace

Techlace has made its way to Giro's mountain bike shoes
Techlace has made its way to Giro's mountain bike shoes

Giro has incorporated its Techlace strap technology into a shoe fit for the dirt.

Giro claims the Techlace system offers the comfort of laces with the easy adjustment of Velcro straps
Giro claims the Techlace system offers the comfort of laces with the easy adjustment of Velcro straps

Like the road-going Factor Techlace released last summer, the new Code Techlace uses lacing mated to a pair of Velcro straps at the forefoot, along with a single Boa dial to adjust fit. The Code gains stiffness from Easton’s second-tier EC70 carbon-fiber sole wrapped in grippy Vibram Rubber.

The Code Techlace uses Easton's EC70 carbon sole
The Code Techlace uses Easton's EC70 carbon sole

 In addition to the Grinduro-inspired color shown here, the Techlace is also available in black as well as lime green.

Grinduro tested, Grinduro approved
Grinduro tested, Grinduro approved

Stay tuned for a review on these proudly purple kicks.

  • $30 / £260 / AU$396

MRP Ribbon Coil

The new MRP Ribbon Coil
The new MRP Ribbon Coil

We’ve written at length about the coil-shock comeback that’s currently underway. MRP is keeping pace with a coil version of its 35mm Ribbon trail fork in 27.5 and 29er versions.

MRP's 'Outcast' design keeps crud from building up on the back of the arch
MRP's 'Outcast' design keeps crud from building up on the back of the arch

The 27.5in fork comes in 150, 160 and 170mm options. The claimed weight is 4.6lb/2.09kg.

The 29er model comes in 140, 150 and 160mm versions. The 160mm 29er fork shown here weighs in at 4.8lb/2.2kg with a full-length steerer and axle. 

The range of adjustments is clearly spelled out on the Ribbon's lower leg
The range of adjustments is clearly spelled out on the Ribbon's lower leg

There are pros and cons to coils. In some cases, they can have buttery-smooth suspension feel and offer impressive traction, but can also suffer from wallowing or blowing through the suspension travel as a result of their linear spring rate. To give riders the best of both air and coil forks worlds, MRP integrated the company’s Ramp Control System. This allows riders to make the Ribbon Coil more progressive as the fork reaches the end of its travel.

MRP's Ramp Control system could give the Ribbon Coil an edge on other coil forks
MRP's Ramp Control system could give the Ribbon Coil an edge on other coil forks

Suspension travel can be internally adjusted in 10mm increments within the range to suit your needs. Each Ribbon Coil ships with soft, medium and firm springs. Riders can purchase extra-soft and extra-firm springs separately. 

  • $989 / £899 / AU$1,395

Mighty music player

Looking for a replacement for an aging iPod Shuffle? The Mighty might be the solution, provided you're a Spotify user
Looking for a replacement for an aging iPod Shuffle? The Mighty might be the solution, provided you're a Spotify user

If you’re one of the many people who bemoaned Apple’s decision to end production of its tiny — and incredibly durable — iPod shuffle this summer, fear not.

Mighty doesn’t just fill this niche, it builds upon it with Bluetooth connectivity. The catch? If you’re not a Spotify Premium user, this isn’t the droid you’re looking for. 

It's about double the size of an iPod Shuffle, but the Mighty is packed with more functionality, too
It's about double the size of an iPod Shuffle, but the Mighty is packed with more functionality, too

Mighty is an offline Spotify player designed with the familiar iPod Shuffle button layout. It syncs playlists from your smartphone — storing up to 1,000 songs. When its connected to Wifi, it can even update your favorite playlists while you sleep .

  • $86 / £65 /AU$115

Redshift ShockStop suspension stem

Redshift's ShockStop stem hides its suspension well
Redshift's ShockStop stem hides its suspension well

If you needed more proof that there’s nothing new in cycling tech, the suspension stem is back. While much better looking than the Girvin flex stems of yore, the concept it the same — to provide a bit of elastomer-damped movement.

You can customize the firmness of the stem with different elastomers
You can customize the firmness of the stem with different elastomers

The ShockStop stem uses a combination of adjustable elastomers to offer a bit of flex that will take the edge off rough roads. The amount of 'travel' is dependent on the length, as well as the durometer of the elastomers, but ranges from 10 to 20mm.

The ShockStop stem is available in lengths from 90–120mm. Redshift also offers integrated mounts for the cycling computer of your choice. 

  • $139.99 / £105 / AU$185

Vintage Electric Scrambler

Vintage Electric's Scrambler is not your basic e-bike
Vintage Electric's Scrambler is not your basic e-bike

We first caught a glimpse of this moto-inspired machine at Interbike. As we wrote at the time, this throttle-assisted pedlec is more moto than e-bike.

The Scrambler gets its go from a 54-volt, 702 watt-hour lithium battery that powers the direct-drive rear hub motor.

The singlespeed drivetrain is a vestige of its pedal-powered past
The singlespeed drivetrain is a vestige of its pedal-powered past

It’s a relatively speedy beast, with a top speed of 36mph in ‘race’ mode, which is intended to be reserved for use on private roads. The US street-legal mode throttles things back to a max speed of 20mph and a range of 35 miles.

Just press play
Just press play

The Scrambler has integrated front and rear lights, regenerative braking in addition to the Shimano Alfine disc brakes, and a shortened version of MRP’s dual-crown Groove suspension fork.

Who’s this machine for? We’re not quite sure yet, but stay tuned.

  • $6,995 / £5,220 / AU$9,236

GU Stroopwafels

New and tasty Stroopwafels from GU
New and tasty Stroopwafels from GU

GU has a trio of new flavors in its line of Stroopwafels. Campfire S’mores, Gingerade and Hot Chocolate flavors of these Dutch-style sport waffles should add a bit of variety to your on-the-bike nutrition.

Waffle testing is hard work, but I can confirm that S’mores is a delicious addition to any bike ride…

  • Price (each): $1.49 / £1.10 / AU$1.98
  • Price (box of 16): $18.00 / £14.00 / AU$24.00
Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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