11spd: this week's best new bikes and gear

New bikes galore, fancy saddles, long dropper posts and more

We're already over half way through January, which is prime time for new year’s resolutions to start unravelling. So, to get you inspired, we’ve been sniffing out the latest tech news at the Tour Down Under, rounding up our top-rated cyclocross bikes, sharing our tips on losing weight through cycling and seeing how Joe and Reuben got on in their festive 500 attempt. 

As if that weren't enough, we've selected 11 of the shiniest, newest and most interesting bikes and riding kit to land in the BikeRadar office; because half the fun of being a cyclist is nerding out about what’s new, what’s different about it, and of course, how much it weighs, so we hope this gets you fired up.

As well as some innovative saddles, toasty gloves and a long-travel dropper seatpost, this week we’ve got a no less than five complete bikes to show you. These include a fancy-pants Italian aero bike, two mountain bikes, a gravel bike and (shock horror) an e-road bike. If that last one hasn’t put you in a disdainful grump, read on to find out what’s new at BikeRadar this week.

Latest cycling kit and bikes at BikeRadar

Fox Transfer 175 Seatpost

Now with 175mm of travel
Now with 175mm of travel

Fox’s Transfer has long been one of our favorite dropper posts thanks to its smooth action, relative reliability and easy cable replacement. But riders looking for a really long-travel dropper have had to look elsewhere until now.

The latest 175mm version offers 25mm more travel than its longest-legged predecessor, allowing Fox to compete with the RockShox Reverb and others in the long-travel category.

Our 31.6mm sample weighs 675g for the post alone (no cable or remote) so it’s not the lightest option. It has a stack height (from the bottom of the collar to the rails) of 230mm. That’s taller than some of its rivals, so you’ll need long legs or a short seat tube to fit one in.

The Fox Transfer dropper is compatible with Race Face's 1x lever
The Fox Transfer dropper is compatible with Race Face's 1x lever

The Transfer is compatible with Race Face Turbine 1x or universal levers (sold seperately). The Factory version we have here is a particularly pricey option once you factor in the cost of the post and the remote, but the Performance post is slightly cheaper and functionally identical — it just doesn’t get the fancy Kashima coated upper tube.

It's cable actuated
It's cable actuated

  • Factory post only: ₤369 / €429 / $344
  • Performance post only: ₤319 / €369 / $294
  • Remote only (1x or 2x/3x): ₤69 / €69 / $65

Wilier Triestina Cento10 Pro disc

The Cento10 Pro is the Italian firm's latest iteration of its aero bike
The Cento10 Pro is the Italian firm's latest iteration of its aero bike

The Cento10 Pro is the Italian firm’s latest iteration of its aero bike, and is said to build on the Cento10 Air, which we reviewed recently. Like its predecessor, it’s available with rim and disc brake builds, with the headline figure being a stiffness increase of (wait for it) six percent! This leads Wilier to claim the Cento10 Pro has “never seen stiffness and reactivity”.

Will it live up to the hype? Our esteemed tester Warren Rossiter will be finding out soon as he puts it to the test as part of our superbikes shootout. For now, we can only tell you that it weighs 7.74kg in XL.

  • £8,000 / €9,200 / $10,472

Canyon Spectral AL 5.0

The new Spectral has just been launched and first impressions are good
The new Spectral has just been launched and first impressions are good

Say what you like about direct sales bike brands, they offer incredible value for money. Few bikes show this more clearly than Canyon’s cheapest unisex Spectral (there is also a women’s Spectral for £1,699).

For well under two grand you get an alloy frame, Fox 36 Rhythm fork, SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, an Iridium dropper seatpost, wide Sun Ringle Duroc wheels and quality Maxxis tyres. It’s another great example in support of a rather contentious point I made in December that bikes are actually getting better for those on a budget.

The 2019 model has the same basic chassis to its predecessor but gets 10mm more travel at each end thanks to a longer-stroke shock and fork. It now has 160mm of travel up front and 150mm in the rear.

We liked the old bike, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new version handles. Will it ride as well as it looks on paper? We’ll be finding out soon.

  • £1,899 / €2,099 / $ N/A
From new groupsets to shoes and helmets, we bring you the hottest new tech spotted at the 2019 Tour Down Under

Repente Aleena 4.0 saddle

It's certainly light at 133g
It's certainly light at 133g

This is (kind of) many saddles in one. As well as being ridiculously light thanks to its carbon rails and hull (it weighs just 133g on our scales), this seat’s party piece is what Repente call its Repente Locking System.

Basically, this means the saddle cover can be quickly swapped to suit different riding conditions. Changing covers is a simple and tool-free job, and is certainly easier than the fiddly task of swapping saddles.

The saddle cover is interchangeable for different riding conditions
The saddle cover is interchangeable for different riding conditions

You can see our first impressions of using the system here. Whether you really need to swap saddle covers between rides is up to you.

  • €328
  • Spare covers are sold seperately for €139

MT ZOOM Boost thru-axle hub adapters

MT ZOOM hub adapters make non-Boost wheels fit Boost bikes without re-dishing the wheel
MT ZOOM hub adapters make non-Boost wheels fit Boost bikes without re-dishing the wheel

These adapters let you use a non-boost wheelset in a boost frame or fork.

This is nothing particularly new, but unlike some non-boost to boost adapters, there’s no need to re-dish your wheel after installing these spacers because the wheel is held symmetrically in the frame or fork between two identical axle spacers.

Instead, the rotor is spaced outboard from the hub to fit the boost brake position.

Other adapter kits place the entire hub (not just the rotor) off-centre, and the wheel is re-dished so the rim is central. The advantage of this approach is that the wheel becomes slightly stiffer because the reduced dish makes the spoke tension more even between left and right. Still, the ease of installation of MT Zoom's adapters will be more appealing to many. 

  • £11.79 (6-bolt)
  • £19.49 (Centrelock)
Peter Sagan raced the Down Under Classic criterium aboard a custom-painted Specialized Allez Sprint Disc frameset

Cipollini MCM Allroad

The Cipollini MCM Allroad is the Italian brand's first gravel bike
The Cipollini MCM Allroad is the Italian brand's first gravel bike

This beauty is Cipollini’s first gravel bike. WIth clearance for up to 40mm tyres, endurance-focussed geometry and a frameset which is designed to deaden vibration, complete with kevlar inserts in the fork, it’s definitely a departure from the road version of the MCM.

You even get a single-chainring drivetrain with a chain guide to keep the chain on track through rough terrain.

This neat mini chain guide should help keep the chain on track when the tarmac becomes 'gnarmac'
This neat mini chain guide should help keep the chain on track when the tarmac becomes 'gnarmac'

According to Cipollini, it’s designed to be fast on tarmac roads too. We’ve yet to verify that, but we can tell you that ours weighs 9kg in a size large.

  • £/$/AU$TBC

GT Sensor AL Sport

This Sensor is GT's budget trail bike, costing £1,600
This Sensor is GT's budget trail bike, costing £1,600

GT’s re-designed Sensor is a new chapter for the brand. It's ditched its outdated i-Drive system in favour of a more conventional horst-link rear suspension arrangement, as well as bounding forwards on the geometry front.

The Sensor is a 130mm travel 29er trail bike, yet it sports a super slack 65.5-degree head angle, so it’s built for tackling technical terrain.

It’s here to do battle with three other £1,500-ish full-sussers. Stay tuned to see how it stacks up.

£1,600 / $1,800

Specialized Eliminator tyre

It's designed to be an intermediate tyre
It's designed to be an intermediate tyre

The Eliminator is designed to be an intermediate tyre with lots of grip, combined with a rounded profile. This should make it more predictable on hardpack turns than a squarer tyre, such as Specialized's Butcher.

The tyre has a round profile
The tyre has a round profile

It’s available in Specialized’s trail-friendly GRID casing, as well as its burlier, vowel-flouting BLCK-DMND carcass. There are two sizes to choose from: 2.3in and 2.6in.

We’ve got the 2.6in BLCK DMND version in 27.5in diameter, which weighs a reassuring 1,174g.  

  • £53 / €62 / $70

Rapha Souplesse Gloves

The nylon gloves should help to keep your hands warm
The nylon gloves should help to keep your hands warm

These women’s gloves are designed to keep your hands warm on chilly road rides without being bulky to wear. They have a dual-layer construction made from Polyester and Nylon mix.

Handily, the fingertips are touchscreen compatible. 

  • £70 / €85 / $100

Bianchi Impulso E-Road

The Bianchi has a claimed range of 200km at 30 percent assistance
The Bianchi has a claimed range of 200km at 30 percent assistance

With over 130 years of history making 'traditional' bikes, few brands can claim such heritage as Bianchi. Recently it's entered the e-bike market too.

The E-Road is a long-range electrically-assisted road bike, designed for sport as well as utility. Thanks to a large 500Wh battery, it has a claimed range of up to 200km with 30 percent assistance, or 70km with 350 percent assistance. We imagine you’d struggle to see those figures in the real world though.

That big battery means it’s not light, weighing 15.8kg on our scales.

  • £4,400 / €5,036 / $5,780

Tioga Undercover Stratum Carbon saddle

Tioga's Undercover Stratum Carbon saddle looks pretty normal from above...
Tioga's Undercover Stratum Carbon saddle looks pretty normal from above...

Tioga’s original Spyder saddles made quite an impact a few years ago, with their radical spider web base providing masses of flexibility. The radical design could be considered too radical for some, so now it has the new Undercover model.

Under the generously padded top (complete with pressure relief channel) is the same web design. Tioga claims the Stratum’s upper acts like a leaf-spring to provide comfort and damping duties, and our first impression is that the flexibility of the saddle is impressive.

... but underneath, the webbed hull — which suspends the rider's weight — is visible
... but underneath, the webbed hull — which suspends the rider's weight — is visible

This range topping carbon-railed model tips our scales at 146g, so it’s pretty damn light. We’ll report back on whether the Stratum lives up to its comfort and damping claims.

  • £169.99 / $195
Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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