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

New bikes, new bags, new bars, new bibs

Another Friday rolls around and suddely it's nearly the end of February – where did the month go? Road racing season is well underway and it's not long until the some major mountain bike racing action gets started too. Yeah, we're excited, as this also means a chance to spy new products.

In the meantime, there's plenty of new kit to get your teeth into, and we mean that quite literally with one of the items below.

Ultix Outdoors Jupiter EX bike bag

When it's not in use, the bag packs down to an impressively compact size
When it's not in use, the bag packs down to an impressively compact size

How to protect your precious bike while travelling is one of the questions of most concern to the jetsetting cyclist out there, and there are many options available.

One new addition to the bike bag offering is Ultix Outdoors’s Jupiter EX, which boasts a whole load of features including a hard base, different protection levels, expandable fit and an anti-theft tracking feature.

The bag opens up completely, giving easy access to your bike for building up or packing away
The bag opens up completely, giving easy access to your bike for building up or packing away

The Jupiter EX opens up completely along all upper edges so you can get at the bike easily for reassembly at your arrival point. Bikes bolt to the base using axle-bolts, with a range provided to suit different axle sizes and designs.

The bag has a selection of smaller bags and protectors to cover key parts of the bike and prevent frame rub and damage, and it also comes with a TSA (Transport Security Administration, part of the US Department for Homeland Security) compliant lock and built-in digital scales… phew!

Inside, you'll find the various elements of padding, support and protection you'll need for your bike
Inside, you'll find the various elements of padding, support and protection you'll need for your bike

With all the bits included you can build the bike bag up with different levels of protection. Level 1 is the ‘Standard Protection’ level, consisting of the basic case with hard base and padded sidewalls, which weighs 8.5kg.

Level 2, or ‘Case-level Protection’, sees reinforcing rods added to the sidewalls, which boosts the weight up to a claimed 9.5kg. On paper, this is a comparable level of protection to that offered by one of the main contenders in this market, the Evoc bike bag, which has a reinforced rather than rigid base, plus reinforcing struts, and is lighter, weighing just short of 9kg.

Finally, Level 3 is the ‘Ultimate Protection’ option, which adds self-inflating air pads to provide reinforcement and protection.

Details abound, such as this digital scale built in to one of the straps
Details abound, such as this digital scale built in to one of the straps

Ultix claims that the bag can take road bikes, mountain bikes and triathlon bikes thanks to its expandable design, allowing it to open out to 140cmx85cmx30cm. On the flipside, it also folds down for storage to a relatively compact 115cmx35cmx30cm.

It’s only available for pre-order right now, but will start shipping from April 2019.

  • £698 / $TBC / AU$TBC

OTE Apple and Cinnamon Vegan Anytime Flapjack

Yum. And not just for on-bike nutriton, which is fine by us!
Yum. And not just for on-bike nutriton, which is fine by us!

Wrap your gnashers around one of these tasty, oaty goodies for some mid-ride fueling.

Not strictly speaking a ‘nutrition’ product, and more of a good old-fashioned flapjack, this fruity, spicy treat is nut-free, gluten-free and vegan. Made in the UK, you can buy them as a single bar or in boxes of 16.

  • Single bar: £1.30 / $TBC / AU$TBC
  • Box of 16: £18.72 / $TBC / AU$TBC

Chrome Industries Modal Spectre duffle bag

A stylish way of carrying your stuff around courtesy of Chrome Industries
A stylish way of carrying your stuff around courtesy of Chrome Industries

Cart your stuff ‘round the city in style with this tough but cool-looking duffle bag from Boulder-based brand Chrome Industries.

Constructed from a twill outer and a tarpaulin bottom, it consists of a large central compartment with smaller expandable compartments at each end, one of which is lined so it can take wet kit. In total that’s 48 litres of storage space.

Compression straps help keep everything neat, and there’s a handle and a shoulder strap too.

  • £TBC / $160 — International shipping available from $65
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Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore handlebars

Spank 800 Vibrocore handlebars. Hard to photograph, comfortable to ride
Spank 800 Vibrocore handlebars. Hard to photograph, comfortable to ride

These special edition bars from Spank boast the usual features found on its Spike 800 Vibrocore handlebars.

Developed for downhill racers, these alloy bars have a foam core (Vibrocore) to increase damping for less arm pump. They come in a length of 800mm but can be chopped down to 740mm.

  • $99 / £TBC / AU$TBC

Lapierre Spicy Team Ultimate 2019

You'll likely be seeing more of this Lapierre as it's heading off to be tested in the near future
You'll likely be seeing more of this Lapierre as it's heading off to be tested in the near future

The Spicy has had a revamp for 2019 with the expert input of none other than 10 times downhill world-champion Nicolas Vouilloz. It’s now got longer travel, and myriad set-up options thanks to a flip-chip main pivot, various wheelsizes and corresponding fork stroke length options, as well as adjustable headset cups.

Choose between 27.5 wheels with 170mm of travel or 29er wheels with 160mm of travel.

This top-of-the-range carbon machine comes with a coil shock, RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Charger 2 forks and SRAM XO1 Eagle groupset with Guide RSC brakes.

  • £5,299 / €6,000 / $TBC / AU$TBC

Sony Xperia Ear Duo XEA20

Voice recognition works via four microphones which isolate your voice from surrounding noise
Voice recognition works via four microphones which isolate your voice from surrounding noise

If you like to have a little music to ride to but you don’t want to block out those essential traffic noises, then Sony might just have the answer… for a price.

The Xperia Ear Duo is a wireless set of headphones that sits tightly in your ear. Its open design means that you can still hear external noises and the volume will auto-adjust to take into account external noise too.

The touch sensitive controls work even with gloves
The touch sensitive controls work even with gloves

Thanks to the little touchpads on each unit, you can also answer phone calls, hear messages and more, which is handy if you’re out for a long ride.

  • £249 / $279.99 / AU$TBC

Bont Helix Reflex shoes

The reflective upper shines out impressively under lighting
The reflective upper shines out impressively under lighting

Shine in low-light conditions with these amazingly bright, reflective shoes from Bont.

The popular Helix shoe now comes with Bont's Reflex reflective technology, which it says is added to the upper material with no weight penalty. The shoes also feature an innovative Boa-dial controlled fit system that tightens all around the mid-section of the foot for added security when riding.

Unidirection carbon monocoque sole provides stiffness
Unidirection carbon monocoque sole provides stiffness

The sole is made from a unidirectional carbon monocoque for stiffness and power transfer with replaceable sole guards, while a memory foam padding plus EVA-thermo moldable inner sole provides comfort.

In the size euro 45/ US 10.5 pair we have in on test they weigh 576g / 1.27lbs on our scales.

  • £349 / $399 / AU$TBC
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Rapha women’s Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts

The new Souplesse bibs have a brand new chamois and a new clasp at the back for making comfort breaks easier
The new Souplesse bibs have a brand new chamois and a new clasp at the back for making comfort breaks easier

Rapha hasn’t just come out with a new cut for it’s latest bib short design, oh no. It’s gone and engineered a whole new chamois range based on three years of research, testing and feedback from a panel of riders from pros to enthusiasts.

Apparently there is no way of photographing a chamois that makes it look good. But really, it's more important how comfortable it is
Apparently there is no way of photographing a chamois that makes it look good. But really, it's more important how comfortable it is

The chamois on these race-focussed Souplesse shorts is thinner and firmer than one designed for long duration rides, but should provide a comfortable ride experience for the intended ride.

The strap at the back of the shorts has a magnetic clasp that's designed to make reattaching it simple and easy. This will be tested!
The strap at the back of the shorts has a magnetic clasp that's designed to make reattaching it simple and easy. This will be tested!

Another feature we’re excited to see here is a rear catch that allows the back of the shorts to be dropped without needing to take one's jersey off, and therefore making nature breaks much easier. It’s a similar idea to one that Specialized uses, and we can’t wait to see if it works in action.

  • £195 / €230  / $270 / AU$340

Birzman Packman bikepacking bags

Birzman's new bikepacking luggage range is designed to be tough and practical
Birzman's new bikepacking luggage range is designed to be tough and practical

If heading off into the wide blue yonder is your idea of cycling heaven and you’re looking for some luggage to lug your bikepacking essentials, the Birzman Travel bag range could be for you.

The full range consists of a handlebar pack, saddle pack and frame pack (pictured) plus top tube pack, bottle pack and a satellite frame pack. All bags are constructed from a water- and abrasion-resistant fabric in a fetching khaki green and lots of compression straps in contrasting orange.

There are some handy touches, such as the criss-cross bungee straps on the saddle pack, which make slinging a waterproof jacket or extra layer on top while you’re riding simple. The handlebar pack comes with a waterproof stuff sack to keep your sleeping bag, clothes and other kit dry if you end up riding in the wet.

  • Birzman Packman saddle pack: £64.99 / €74.90 / $TBC / AU$TBC
  • Birzman Packman Planet frame pack: £46.99 / €52.90 / $TBC / AU$TBC
  • Birzman Packman handlebar pack: £67.99 / €TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC

Rudy Project Spectrum helmet

The Rudy Project Spectral helmet is so new it's not even out yet
The Rudy Project Spectral helmet is so new it's not even out yet

This slick-looking helmet has just been worn to victory by Sonny Colbrelli of team Bahrain Merida at stage 4 of the Tour of Oman and was seen on the head of Vicenzo Nibali at the end of 2018.

The Spectrum is the new performance helmet from Rudy Project that’s designed to be super ventilated without compromising on safety or weight. It comprises a shell of three integrated in-mould EPS liners, wide front and back vents for airflow and a wraparound retention system which, Rudy says, gives micro-adjustable fit.

There’s even an additional set of ‘bug stop’ padding with netting to stop flying insects getting stuck to your head while you ride, which is a nice touch.

Available in three sizes (small, medium and large) and five colourways (titanium/stealth, white/black, yellow fluro/black, lead/turquoise/black and red/black), it weighs 302g / 666lbs on our scales in a size large.

Sadly it’s not on general release until the end of February, so you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer to find out how much it will cost and where you can get your hands on it. Sorry.

Vitus Zenium Carbon CRW

The Vitus Zenium Carbon CRW is the new carbon version of a popular model in the Vitus lineup
The Vitus Zenium Carbon CRW is the new carbon version of a popular model in the Vitus lineup

The Zenium has been a staple of the Vitus range, so now it’s time to say hello to the Zenium Carbon.

Designed for all-round performance, it features a compact carbon frame and fork, Shimano 105 groupset, Vitus 32mm Aluminium Aero Centre-Lock wheels, Vittoria Zaffiro 28c tyres and Vitus finishing kit, and all for a very reasonable £1,400 / €1,550 / $1,650 / AU$2,300.

This CRW women's build comes with shorter reach 105 shifters
This CRW women's build comes with shorter reach 105 shifters

CRW refers to the fact that this is a women’s specific build. While the spec remains equal, this version has shorter reach levers, narrower size-specific handlebars and shorter stem, and a women’s specific saddle compared to the CR.

If you’re interested in this model, have a read of our Zenium range overview and news story.

  • £1,400 / €1,550 / $1,650 / AU$2,300
Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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