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.
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Trek Domane Gravel
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.
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
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.
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 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.
- Price varies by product and region
OMATA One analog GPS computer
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
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
Giro has incorporated its Techlace strap technology into a shoe fit for the dirt.
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.
In addition to the Grinduro-inspired color shown here, the Techlace is also available in black as well as lime green.
Stay tuned for a review on these proudly purple kicks.
- $30 / £260 / AU$396
MRP Ribbon Coil
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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