11spd: This week's best new bike gear

Featuring a fancy scandium rack, a fanny pack and a unicorn bell!

The darling buds of May have sprung forth, and the cycling world has also sprung forth into a new season of racing, riding and generally going around on bikes.

This time of year is always encouraging. For the southern hemisphere, it promises welcome relief from the heat of summer, and for the north, the hope that there might actually be a summer at some point in 2018.

This week, as well as the usual carbon-rich pickings, there are one or two slightly more whimsical offerings. So, if this tickles your fancy, why not relax with a cup of the hot beverage of your choice for a few minutes.

Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 wheelset

The Shimano Dura-Ace wheelset... a rather nice pair of rollers
The Shimano Dura-Ace wheelset... a rather nice pair of rollers

Shimano promises 'pro-tour confidence and performance' with its Dura-Ace wheelset, or to give it it's full name, the Dura-Ace WH R9170 C40 TL F12 wheelset... but we're just going to refer to it as 'the wheelset' for today.

What you can't quite make out in the photos is that the black-to-carbon grading on the rims is also on the hubs
What you can't quite make out in the photos is that the black-to-carbon grading on the rims is also on the hubs

The set features full carbon rims with a 12mm thru-axle and takes centre-lock disc brakes. It's also tubeless-ready and can take between a 23mm and a chunky 32mm tyre.

  • Pricing is currently TBC

Electra custom bell

Trust us, your handlebar needs this
Trust us, your handlebar needs this

Life is too short for boring bells, so here’s one that’s peppered with colourful hearts, a sassy unicorn and metallic sparkles.

This glistening accessory not only looks the part, but will alert other riders of your presence with a single swipe of the thumb.

  • £8.99 / $11.99

Pedal Plate Adapter

The Pedal Plate is available for Shimano SPD-SL and Look pedals
The Pedal Plate is available for Shimano SPD-SL and Look pedals

Clipless road pedals sure work great, but they’re not always ideal for inexperienced riders or more casual rides.

Enter the 42g Pedal Player adapters, which convert SPD-SL or Look pedals into a small pair of flats.

Version two of the Pedal Plate is said to be grippier and more durable
Version two of the Pedal Plate is said to be grippier and more durable

These definitely aren’t for everyone, but could be ideal for when you want to leave your cycling shoes at home, or if someone has to borrow your bike at short notice.

The Pedal Plates have been revised since the mk1 versions we saw last summer, with claimed improvements to grip and a lifetime guarantee. They’re also made from 100 percent recycled material.

  • €17,95

Dakine Hot Laps 5L lumbar pack

Dakine's Hot Laps 5L lumbar bag
Dakine's Hot Laps 5L lumbar bag

The days of heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable packs could well be behind us thanks to an increase in nifty lumbar packs such as this one.

This is the largest of the four-bag Hot Laps range from Dakine, making it ideal for those who are switching from a larger bag.

There's a decent 2L Hydrapak bladder already inside
There's a decent 2L Hydrapak bladder already inside

Inside there’s a 2-litre Hydrapak reservoir included, as well as enough room to carry all of your trail essentials in a particularly organised fashion.

The front straps will happily secure knee pads or an outer layer but cinch up discretely when not in use. Similarly, the side straps mean the bag still sits close when you’re carrying less gear or fluid.

Space for all of your trail essentials, plus a little more
Space for all of your trail essentials, plus a little more

Clever touches like the magnetic hose buckle, fleece-lined protective phone pocket and light strap really set this apart from similar packs.

The little magnetic mouthpiece should ensure your hydration tube won't flap about
The little magnetic mouthpiece should ensure your hydration tube won't flap about

  • £55 / $70

Chrome DIMA 2.0 shoes

These black and white slip-ons look like a good alternative to the regular Vans waffle sole
These black and white slip-ons look like a good alternative to the regular Vans waffle sole

Have you ever seen cycling shoes that look quite this casual? No, we hadn’t either. 

The DIMA 2s from Chrome Industries aren’t particularly stiff at the sole, and they definitely won’t mould to your feet if you pop them in the oven, but they do a good job of pretending to not be a shoe for pedal pushers. In fact, aside from the tiny reflective tab at the back, there’s no giving away their cycling origins.

Our homegrown fashionista Jack Luke will soon be taking these puppies for a walk on the streets of BS1, so don’t be surprised if stock becomes scarce.

  • $75

Blackburn Outpost Rear Pannier Rack

Easton Scandium tubing for Blackburn's fancy outpost rack
Easton Scandium tubing for Blackburn's fancy outpost rack

Created using Easton scandium tubing, the 653g Outpost is one of the lightest racks of its kind.

Low and high rails give you a choice of where to hang your panniers, while a light/reflector loop at the back aids integration. Despite its lack of heft, it’s good for hauling 25kg/55lbs of luggage.

The machined detail at the sides is very nice indeed
The machined detail at the sides is very nice indeed

Unfortunately our test rack did arrive with something rattling around inside its tubes, which is something that really should’ve been picked up by Blackburn’s quality control — thankfully this one is destined on the back of Jack Luke’s tandem, meaning its tormenting rattles will be placed out of earshot.

There's a handy light/reflector loop
There's a handy light/reflector loop

  • £110 / $125

Kask Utopia Team Sky edition

Kask's Utopia is almost as fabulous as Aoife's hair
Kask's Utopia is almost as fabulous as Aoife's hair

The Kask Utopia aero helmet debuted at this year's Tour Down Under. Dubbed Kask's fastest ever helmet, it's not quite available to buy yet but we are looking forward to trying out this early sample.

The Kask Utopia isn't available to buy yet
The Kask Utopia isn't available to buy yet

Our 256g size medium sample came in at 4g under its claimed weight, putting it ahead of the Specialized S-Works Evade II in terms of weight, but the Utopia still holds a weight penalty over MET's Trenta 3K and the POC Octal.

For more information on this helmet check out our earlier news article.

  • Price is TBA

Endura Triangulate limited edition kit

Endura's rather fetching Triangulate kit is limited edition, so if you like it then now is the time to buy
Endura's rather fetching Triangulate kit is limited edition, so if you like it then now is the time to buy

This funky triangulate kit is part of a special edition “break the pattern” range from Endura. If coloured triangles are your thing then nothing else is going to come close.

Colours aside, this kit features the same athletic cut and rapid wicking Italian fabrics that Endura uses for its Movistar and Cervélo Bigla WorldTour teams. A similar women’s version is also available.

Keo Blade Carbon André Greipel signature series pedals

Light, and rather bad-ass looking
Light, and rather bad-ass looking

If you like your pedals with an added dose of pro cyclist, then these Keo Blade Carbon pedals from Look, emblazoned with the ferocious logo of pro rider André Greipel, will certainly catch your eye and may well motivate your riding.

The pedal has been redesigned to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag, and Look claims its has the best power to weight ration of any pedal in its class.

Hear me roar!
Hear me roar!

The Keo Blade Carbon pedals come with two spindle options. The Titanium spindle version has a claimed weight of 95g per pedal, while the CroMo version we have here has a claimed weight of 110g per pedal, though on our scales they came up slightly heavier at 117g per pedal.

  • £167.99 / 149.95

Orange Stage 6 Factory mountain bike

Hello shiny new Orange Stage 6 Factory, aren't you a looker?
Hello shiny new Orange Stage 6 Factory, aren't you a looker?

Oh hello, shiny new Orange Stage 6 Factory.

The test team are getting ready to take this Hope-bedecked, enduro-ready 29er with 160/150mm of travel and single-pivot efficiency out for a thorough testing.

The Fox Float X2 Factory shock controls 150mm of rear travel
The Fox Float X2 Factory shock controls 150mm of rear travel

If you're not a fan of the black and orange version pictured here, fret not... there are a whopping 10 frame colour options.

  • £5,800

Easton EC90 Aero handlebars and EC90 SL stem

Carbon, beautiful carbon from Easton in the form of the EC90 aero bars and SL stem
Carbon, beautiful carbon from Easton in the form of the EC90 aero bars and SL stem

Smooth, silky carbon, engineered aerodynamic shape. For the fans of fast and light out there, say hello to the new EC90 Aero handlebars and EC90 SL stem from Easton.

The handlebars come in three widths: 40cm, 42cm and 44cm, with an 80mm reach and a 125mm drop. Easton says it has improved the wing top section for better comfort and flared bar-ends to give clearance for sprinting.

The wing-like construction has been optimised for extra aero properties
The wing-like construction has been optimised for extra aero properties

On the stem side of things, Easton claims that the EC90 SL stem, which combines carbon with titanium hardware, is strong enough to stand up to cyclocross and mountain bike racing as well as the rigours of multi-day stage races.

As the bars and stem are partly set, and are about to head out on a test, we weighed them together, which came in at 371g for the pair.

  • EC90 Aero handlebars: £259.99
  • EC90 SL Stem: £229.99
Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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