11spd: This week's best new bike gear

New bikes and kit from Specialized, MAAP, Nukeproof, Nuun and more

Winter might've hit Europe with force in the last week or two but down in the southern hemisphere there's blissful sunshine (we hope) so here's a collection of winter kit, summer kit and some things in between that has been delivered to BikeRadar this week.

Specialized Merino Base Layer

A decent long sleeve base layer is crucial for those long winter rides, so Specialized has released this uber plush Merino wool number.

These fancy baselayers don't come cheap
These fancy baselayers don't come cheap

Apparently this wool is Australian Merino wool, meaning it’s super soft and excellent at regulating body temperature. Obviously it’s not the cheapest base layer out there, but that Merino sure feels great against the skin, and hopefully it's warm and toasty as well. 

Ribbed fabric on the arms
Ribbed fabric on the arms

  • £55 / €74  /$80

Super soft Merino wool from the big S
Super soft Merino wool from the big S

Nunn lime hydration tablets

Want to stay optimally hydrated? Like limes? Then perhaps Nunn’s lime flavoured electrolyte tablets will be just the ticket for your bike based hydration needs.

Hydration tablets with a caffeine kick
Hydration tablets with a caffeine kick

These little tablets drop in your bottle and give it a much needed electrolyte kick for those days when hydration is key. This particular flavour also comes with a 40mg caffeine kick, and while this will give you a welcome boost, we wouldn’t recommend having too many on a hot day.

  • £6.99 / €NA / $NA

Rapid Racer Products Road Rear Guard 

If you have a fancy race bike that you can’t fit mudguards to you’ll be well aware of what we like to call ‘wet arse syndrome’, especially during the winter. While it won’t keep you totally dry and certainly won’t prevent you from spraying anyone behind, the Rear Guards Mudguard is a cheap and easy way to keep off the worst of the winter spray.

Lightweight, easy to fit and great value, what's not to like?
Lightweight, easy to fit and great value, what's not to like?

They’re easy to fit, light and cheap, what’s not to like?

  • £9.49 / €NA / $NA

Fizik X1 Infinito MTB shoes

The new Infinito X1 represents Fizik’s top spec XC and trail shoe. It comes in a subdued black colourway and has all the bells and whistles you’d expect with a carbon sole, BOA retention system and plush internal liner.

Spendy shoes from Fizik
Spendy shoes from Fizik

Fizik’s site claims a 42.5 weighs just 294g, however our 45 weighed closer to 400g, so we’re not quite sure where the extra 100g has come from.

Being Fizik, they obviously don’t come cheap at over £300, but rest assured our resident XC shoe geek Joe Norledge will be giving them a thorough thrashing to see if they’re worth the eye-watering price. 

  • £324.99 / €NA / $NA

Nukeproof Pulse Comp

The Pulse Comp is the entry level bike in the Nukeproof downhill range with the Factory and RS sitting above the Comp. Aside from the own-brand wheels, the spec on the Pulse Comp wouldn’t be out of place on a bike seen at a World Cup event. That’s an impressive thing given the very reasonable price tag.

The SRAM Guide RE brakes impressed our Guy Kesteven, racking in a solid 4.5 stars. They were praised for delivering tons of power while being ultra-reliable, though you don’t have the option of the Swing Link lever version.

Nukeproof Pulse Comp
Nukeproof Pulse Comp

Continuing the 4.5 out 5 star spec, the SRAM GX DH 1x7 drivetrain delivered a smooth, maintenance free ride during our testing. 

Overall this year Nukeproof seems to have thrown out a bunch of very competitively priced, well equipped bikes that should impress the budget conscious mountain biker looking to update their ride for 2018.

The Pulse Comp is heading to the boys over at MBUK for a larger downhill bike group test, so expect full reviews in the future.

  • £3,000 / $2,900 / AU$3,600 / €2,850

Veloeye

Many riders out there will have experienced the dread of going to get your bike only for it to have been nicked. Then starts the internet search on the off-chance you’ll find your bike and then somehow be able to retrieve it.

With these very simple QR code stickers from Veloeye, you or other users can verify whether a bike has been tagged as stolen or is safely sitting pretty waiting for its owner to return. Green means everything is fine, red means it’s been reported as missing.

Veloeye tracking stickers
Veloeye tracking stickers

Veloeye keeps an encrypted database of every user registered bike which is linked to the unique QR codes.If you’re worried about data privacy, which is a fair shout, Veloeye states that it will never transmit location data about bikes other than directly to the owner of a reported stolen bike. That owner gets the location and time of scanning.

  • £10 per sticker pack with the app being free to use.

Bell Sixer MIPS

The Bell Sixer is the updated version to its popular Super trail lid, a helmet that we highly rated a few years ago. However as times changed and tech developed, the Super began to look a bit dated, so Bell has reimagined that helmet in the Sixer.

Bell Sixer is the updated Super
Bell Sixer is the updated Super

There are a bunch of new features, MIPS being an obvious one, more ventilation, an integrated GoPro standard camera/light mount, a rubberised strip along the back to stop goggle strap slip and a four-position visor for goggle storage.

Rubberised padding keeps your goggle straps from slipping
Rubberised padding keeps your goggle straps from slipping

A small strip of foam at the front of the helmet allows for sweat to collect before dropping in front of your goggles and not on your goggles. This Sweat Guide system can be found on Bell's Zephyr road helmet so you'd expect to see this tech trickle into other designs.

  • £150 / $150 / AU$NA / €NA

MAAP Motion Pro Base Jersey and Team 2.0 Bibshorts

Made in Italy and designed in Australia, MAAP has built a reputation for both eye-catching designs and excellent quality in recent years.

The Motion Pro Base jersey is one of six new jersey designs from the Melbourne based firm. Featuring an aggressive ‘pro fit’, the jersey is high wicking and also offers SPF 50+ sun protection.

MAAP Motion Pro Base jersey
MAAP Motion Pro Base jersey

Rather than screen printing colour onto the jersey, as is the practice with many technical cycling jerseys, MAAP has opted to pre-dye the material and claim the colour won’t fade with use and washes.

Longer sleeves and a lower collar follow recent high-end jersey trends, while the contrasting lettering and detailing on the front, rear and sleeves create a subtle and smart look.

MAAP’s second-generation team bibshorts are also designed with a race focus. The four-way stretch fabric and deep bonded cuffs offer a secure and comfortable fit, alongside the shorts’ performance focused compression properties.

MAAP Motion Pro Base bibshorts
MAAP Motion Pro Base bibshorts

The shorts also see an updated chamois from their predecessor, with ‘dual density padding’ focused on pressure areas, perforations for improved airflow and a soft-touch microfibre lining.

The cut seems aggressive on both pieces, even for Italian sizing but we look forward to giving the kit a run out as soon as the weather permits.

  • Jersey: €155 / £138
  • Bibshorts: €195 / £173

Giant Contend 1

Giant's Contend 1 occupies the brand's entry-level offering
Giant's Contend 1 occupies the brand's entry-level offering

Occupying the entry-level portion of Giant’s range is the Contend, pitched as a performance all rounder the geometry is quite similar to the brand’s Defy Endurance bikes, the only difference being slightly shorter chainstays and in turn a shorter wheelbase.

Our Contend 1 tester sees Giant’s ALUXX-grade butted aluminium frame, a hybrid composite fork, Tektro rim brakes and Shimano's Sora 9-speed drivetrain turning the gears

Giant provides the majority of the components, including 25c rubber
Giant provides the majority of the components, including 25c rubber

The components are Giant’s own and our size medium tester tipped the scales at 9.31kg / 20.53lbs.

  • £749 / $860 / AU$1,099

Northwave Flash 2 Carbon

Northwave's Flash 2 Carbon shoes have similar SWL2 cable routing to the top end Extreme RR
Northwave's Flash 2 Carbon shoes have similar SWL2 cable routing to the top end Extreme RR

They’re Italian, they have a carbon reinforced sole, and they have a dial closure, Northwave’s new Flash 2 Carbon road shoes are some pretty schmick looking slippers.

Rated 12 on Northwave's stiffness scale, the Flash 2 Carbon shoes feature what Northwave calls it’s Flash Carbon sole — the majority of the plate is nylon but there is a full carbon insert in the pedal area. The sole also features built-in TPU arch support which the brand says allows the shoe to 'perfectly shape on the bow of the arch'.

For the Speedplayers out there the Flash 2 Cabons are compatible with the NW Speedplay adapter, and the heel is lined with one-way silver thread to prevent heel slip.

The majority of the sole is nylon, but the cleat area is carbon
The majority of the sole is nylon, but the cleat area is carbon

These kicks also see Northwave’s BioMap Aero Overlap upper and an SLW2 dial.

The upper is fully perforated for max airflow and these kicks tipped our scales at 541g for the pair.

  • £179.99/ $199.99 / AU$269.95

Solo Road Kit

The new Omni Echelon jersey and Comp bibs from SoLo
The new Omni Echelon jersey and Comp bibs from SoLo

Our Kiwi friends from across the Tasman Straight, SoLo, have sent over their top-end road kit, the Omni Echelon Jersey and Comp Bibs.

To our eyes the jersey looks fantastic and is made from four lightweight mesh fabrics.

There are silicone grippers at the bottom of the sleeves and the hem of the jersey, and all three of the rear pockets get reflective accents.

Plenty of technical fabrics in play
Plenty of technical fabrics in play

There is also a small zippered pocket, which is also reflective but isn’t quite big enough for a modern smartphone.

The fit is slightly relaxed and the jersey is complete with finishing touches such as a full-length placket, flatlock seams and small folds of fabric at the top and bottom to prevent zipper rash.

The Comp bibs are simple black with a La Fonte gender specific HD Ergonomic Pro chamois. They’ve got wide silicone infused leg bands, reflective logos and soft and stretchy mesh braces.

Wide leg grippers to keep everything in place
Wide leg grippers to keep everything in place

  • Omni Echelon Jersey: £TBC / $TBC / AU$89.99
  • Comp Bibs: £TBC / $TBC / AU$99.99

Videographer
  • Discipline: mountain/road
  • Preferred Terrain: steep hills/mountains
  • Current Bikes: Bmc team elite, engineered bikes custom.
  • Dream Bike: pretty much have it with my engineered
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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