Well, what a week that was! The racing world is going full pelt whether you like your tyres skinny or fat with back-to-back MTB world cups, Enduro World Series events, the Giro Rosa and the Tour de France. 2018 bikes are appearing left, right and centre. The UK is melting in temperatures that the US and Australia find mildly warm. And it's Friday... and you know what that means!
- Look at next year's road bikes, right now
- Is a drop-bar e-bike the ultimate commuter?
- Liv Langma Advanced SL 0 review
Yes, another chance to ogle the box-fresh bicycle-related goodies that Mr Postman has delivered to our office – and the haul is pretty impressive.
I mean, there are a few other things you may want to look at too. Santa Cruz has released an updated Hightower LT mountain bike; that's pretty cool. There's also the new Pivot Firebrand XT which our team were pretty impressed with.
On the road side of things, that fairly big racing event over in France is stealing the limelight somewhat, but fair enough there's some interesting stuff going on there, like dropper seat posts and new carbon helmets. We all got excited about two bikes in particular – a stealthy silver number and another with hyper light green paint – but it looks like we aren't going to see either of those for the rest of the Tour. Sad face.
Still, at least we've got nice things you can actually own to look at. So grab a cuppa, sit back and have a peruse.
Schwalbe Addix Magic Mary tyres
When your focus is grip, grip and more grip, then these are the ladies you are looking for. The Magic Mary tyres from Schwalbe with their intermediate tread are a popular choice, and now have the brand's spanking new Addix compound. It's magic stuff (of course), according to Schwalbe, designed to give you more grip, improved rolling resistance and increased durability. Those are some pretty big claims – so we'd better put them to the test soon, right?
We do like the addition of the coloured stripe which is officially there to denote which version of the tyre you're riding – in this case the ultra-soft DH version – but unofficially lets everyone know you've got those bling new tyres without having to peer at the sidewall. Not that that's a consideration, oh no.
Price: £59 / $98 / AU$TBC
Peaty's Tubeless Sealant
The look of this new sealant from the downhill racing legend that is Steve Peat is... distinctive. Visually, it's a bit like small blue sprinkles mixed with yoghurt, but there's more to it than meets the eye, according to the product website.
Those teeny blue balls are 'nano-platelets', designed to act a bit like the platelets in your blood – when there's a hole, they'll coagulate to block it up, and hey presto – no more puncture! The mixture is designed not to dry up in the tyre, and is allegedly non-toxic, non-hazardous, and entirely biodegradable, including those little blue speckles.
The sealant comes in two sizes; the large workshop bottle we have our mitts on, and a smaller 120ml trail pouch for topping up here and there as needed.
Price: TBC – just about to be released!
Gevenalle GX shifter
Getting your sweet touring or adventure setup together? These nifty little shifters from Gevenalle are designed for just that.
They're a drop bar shifter compatible with Shimano Dyna-Sys MTB derailleurs, and you can choose the set up you need, including single, double or triple chainring setup, long- or short-pull and 10- or 11-speed. Oh, and the colour too – red or black.
Northwave Extreme WMN road shoes
We've got some serious bikes to test over July and August, so it seems fitting that some serious road shoes have landed in the office to wear while we're doing it.
These sleek kicks from Northwave feature a 100% carbon sole with a unidirectional alignment of the carbon fibres for supreme stiffness and power transfer, and that's just one of the race-ready features on display. The upper is made from a fine microfibre material that's designed, Northwave says, to map to your foot shape, and is closed via two SWL2 dials for an even pressure spread across the top of the foot.
And one little but cool feature is the heel section, also with unidirectional fibres that are designed to stop that annoying heel/sock movement.
Machines For Freedom women's SPF road kit
If you're of the fair-skinned, red-haired, freckled persuasion, you'll know that all this talk of razor-sharp tan lines is a world away from your cycling experience. Instead, you're just focussed on not burning to a crisp while out riding. You've probably also got shares in a suncream company, with all the factor 50 you slather on yourself before heading out.
So rejoice! For California-based women's cycling brand Machines For Freedom (loving that company name!) has created a range of summer-weight sleeves and long-sleeved jerseys, and best of all they all provide SPF50 coverage! You'll still need to do your legs, hands, face and back of the neck, but that's a good old reduction in surface area.
They kit looks light and summery, with the jersey in two colourways – 'bush palm' which is a combination of peach and orange shades, and 'midnight palm' in deep blues. The sleeves come in 'pacific', 'aloe' and black, and in two sizes; XS/S and M/L.
BikeRadar's resident pale patrol are pretty darned excited about putting these to the test.
Price: arm covers $45, jersey $168. Machines For Freedom ships internationally.
Polaris bike rug
You know that thing where you stack your bike next to a few others in the back of a van to head off for an adventure, then open the back up to find they've all rubbed against one another and now there's a scratch on your pride and joy?
Well, that. And that is exactly what Polaris wants to eliminate with its Bike Rug. It's a simple wee bit of kit: a padded poly fabric matt, with hook and loop fastening straps to keep it in place when wrapped around your bike. It looks simple, we hear it's effective, so we thought we'd try it out.
It also seems a reasonable price for something that's potentially very handy, and certainly cheaper than a fresh paint job for your bike.
Pedal Plate pedal converters
The Pedal Plate turns any Look Keo or Shimano SPD-SL pedal (different models available for each) into a small-platform flat pedal. Like so many products nowadays, it’s emerged off the back of a successful Kickstarter pledge.
The Pedal Plate is pitched at riders who consider themselves restricted by the footwear choice their clipless pedal road bike calls for. We know precisely none of these people, but still can see the appeal for a few. Bike shops, for example, who need to quickly adapt bikes for test rides with riders who may not have arrived in cycling footwear.
Clipping them into place is easy and they’ll add just 39g to your existing clipless pedals. Removing the Pedal Plates isn’t too difficult either, thanks to a drilling that’ll accept an Allen key to lever them off.
Although textured, the hard plastic material is hardly grippy, so we'd give these a wide berth on rainy days.
More info: pedal-plate.cc
Specialized Pizza Pannier Rack and Bag
Not that kind of pizza bag – though actually come to think of it you could stack a fair number on the rack with some bungee cords.
No, this is the Specialized Pizza Rack, a lightweight aluminium cargo rack with a large flat carrying platform that can take up to 15kg in weight. You can pop regular pannier bags on the side, but if you want to go all out, Specialized has also released the Pizza Bag to fit with it. This is a padded bag with a weather-proof urethane coated outer, measuring 33x24x13cm.
So why is it called the Pizza Rack? Because it folds down to the size of a pizza box... and Specialized even packages it one.
Price: Rack – £45 / $90 / Not available in Australia Pizza bag – £80 / $100 / Not available in Australia
OneUp Components EDC Tool System
We like this trend towards pleasingly compact tool systems – when the weather is hot, riding without a pack is bliss and if you can stow everything on or about your bike, then bonus!
OneUp has developed this nifty device, which holds a compact multitool, tyre lever, chain breaker and spoke keys plus storage for a CO2 canister and quick links in a narrow tube that slots inside your steerer tube. There are even patents pending on some of the features. We're looking forward to putting it into action.
Marin Wolf Ridge 9
Marin’s Wolf Ridge is a 160mm 29er that features the much-debated R3act suspension system from Naild. Its unusual form is the result of a swingarm that’s connected to the front triangle via two large links and slides on a large stanchion forward of the bottom bracket.
The overall aim of this suspension system is to not only have a bike that tracks better than its competition but one that climbs better than its suspension numbers might suggest, too.
If you’re getting déjà vu then it’s likely because this is the same system that Polygon has used on its longer travel, 650B wheeled Square One bike.Spec highlights of this particular model include a RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork and Monarch R Debonair shock, SRAM’s XO1 Eagle drivetrain and Guide RS brakes. The Wolf Ridge 9 spins on a NoTubes Flow wheelset with a WTB Vigilante/Breakout tyre combo.
Keep your eyes on BikeRadar for a first ride review in the very near future.
Price: £6,350 / $6,799
More info: marinbikes.com
FSA K-Force WE groupset
Earlier this year, BikeRadar’s Ben Delaney got a chance to ride FSA’s wireless K-Force groupset in its prototype form (and you can read more about his experience here). Back then, Ben quickly learned that there were a few issues to iron out before K-Force WE would stack up with electronic groups from competitors.
Now though, with one of the first production versions of this groupset in our hands, we’ll soon find out if things have improved.
K-Force WE is FSA’s first drivetrain attempt and it’s a bold one for sure, with derailleurs that communicate via ANT to its shifters – which themselves are available in two size options. Claimed weight of the group stands at 2,090g.
We’ll be back to you soon with a first ride report.
More info: we-fsa.com