11spd: this week's best new bike gear

Shiny goods from Castelli, Le Col, Mongoose, Reynolds, Specialized and more

We don't know about you, but we've just about recovered from Eurobike, the huge European bike trade show that showcases plenty of shiny new goods for the 2018 season. It's also not short on the weird and wonderful either.

So, what did we spot? Apart from a whole load of sparkly shoes, there were plenty of bikes and tech including a new 29er downhill bike from Orange, the return of coil forks and a turbo trainer that simulates climbing.

Whether you're watching racing on the TV, catching up on one of your favourite cycling films or doing some filming yourself with a GoPro (or action camera of your choice) this weekend we hope it's a good 'un.

So while you wait for the last few hours of the working week to tick by why not enjoy our latest batch of fresh cycling goods.

MET Trenta helmet

The new MET Trenta helmet
The new MET Trenta helmet

"The most advanced helmet we’ve ever made," says MET, and we reckon we believe it. The Trenta was made to celebrate 30 years of MET as a helmet brand, and its 19 vents and svelte shape mean the Trenta is somewhere between a traditional ventilated helmet and an aero road helmet.

This 3K carbon version shown here is the more expensive of two lids and has allowed MET to use 20 percent less EPS foam, which means a 215g claimed size for a medium.

The top-of-the-range 3K version features carbon ribs
The top-of-the-range 3K version features carbon ribs

If you’re having a déjà vu moment looking at the picture above then the chances are you’ve already seen these on the heads of riders from either Team Dimension Data or UAE Emirates.

  • 300€ / £265

Castelli women's winter kit

Winter kit from Castelli to keep you riding through the colder months of the Northern Hemisphere
Winter kit from Castelli to keep you riding through the colder months of the Northern Hemisphere

No sooner had September started in the UK than the sky clouded over and the heavens opened. I guess that means it's autumn! The other indication of the inexorable onset of the winter months is the arrival of winter products, such as the new winter kit from Castelli.

The Sorpasso 2W bib tights are designed for cool and cold rides with a thermoflex Lycra that features a fleecy lining, although Castelli claims that due to the breathability of the fabric they're also suitable for warmer rides than you might imagine. 

For the upper half of the body, the Perfetto long sleeve jersey might sound new but it's the new name for what was the long sleeved Gabba jacket, albeit with a number of improvements.

Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric provides wind protection and it's got a water repellent finish with a handy storm flap at the year to keep your lower back covered and protected from spray from your rear wheels, because no-one likes a soggy chamois. 

Both sit in the Rosso Corsa line, the high-end of the Castelli range, designed for high performance road riding.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac 

The new Specialized S-Works Tarmac is a thing of stealthy beauty
The new Specialized S-Works Tarmac is a thing of stealthy beauty

The Tarmac is a popular beast and it's had a major overhaul for 2018, as we reported back in June this year. It's now lighter, more aerodynamic and designed to be more versatile than its previous incarnation with a new unisex frame design that takes into account body dimension data from men and women. 

Its also now in our grubby mitts awaiting testing, and boy does it look bad-ass in that black finish (new weight saving paint finish, natch). 

Bikes don't always match the car park – but when they do
Bikes don't always match the car park – but when they do

It's still got that FACT 12r carbon frame and carbon Roval CLX 50 wheels with ceramic bearings, Shimano DuraAce Di2 groupset and all the S-Works carbon finishing kit you could wish for. 

T°Red  DonChisciotte disc brake guards

Protect yourself from those pesky disc brake rotors
Protect yourself from those pesky disc brake rotors

Let’s not start a debate on whether or not these are necessary, because that’s a fire that still burns brightly over here, but following a year or so of development these disc brake guards from Italian brand T°Red have finally made it into production.

Designed specifically for road bikes, the DonChisciotte guard is made from compressed carbon fibre, and mounts at the hub end cap of the front/rear axle with a design that covers the majority of the disc and shouldn’t add any time to wheel changes.

The design stays in place thanks to a clever heat-shrinkable nickel titanium alloy ring, which once it reaches around 100 degrees (time for a hot air gun) will secure the component to a clamping force of 7,000Nm!

140mm and 160mm versions will be made with a choice of CNC cut-outs, providing ventilation to the disc rotor. The design should be happy on a majority of 12×100 front or 12×142mm rear axles, and can be rotated before it’s secured, so its position can be tailored to the application for a flush fit.

Each guard comes in at a claimed 19g (140mm) including the hardware necessary to mount them.  

Oh, and a little birdy has told us that the UCI has requested a set!

  • €200

Le Col HC bib shorts in Nero/Battleship

The Le Col Nero/Battleship bib shorts are designed for comfort
The Le Col Nero/Battleship bib shorts are designed for comfort

Designed for ultimate comfort, the Le Col HC bib shorts use quality Italian Lycra paired with a top-of-the-range Dolomiti gel chamois pad with a special stitch shape designed to reduce rubbing and irritation. 

The bibs also feature lazer-cut shoulder straps with the upper section of the shorts constructed from a more breathable mesh Lycra. 

Plus the funky graphic side panels in black, grey and white add just a touch of pizazz to your cycling wardrobe; you can even get a coordinating top if you want to complete the look. 

  • £180

WTB Pure Team Ti saddle

The rear section is raised for a bit of support when really cranking while seated
The rear section is raised for a bit of support when really cranking while seated

A comfy saddle is important, like really important. There's a good reason WTB saddles are found everywhere and all over OEM spec lists; their shape agrees with a lot of riders' butts. 

The Pure model is billed as a trail or distance seat. It measures 148mm wide × 273mm long and features WTB's standard drop nose and whale-tail rear section.

The nose has a softer zone for those times when you're climbing on the rivet. The medium width of 148mm should cradle most cyclists' sit bones as well. 

Specialized Utility Polo shirt

Specialized makes a lot more than bikes, including this wool blend Utility Polo
Specialized makes a lot more than bikes, including this wool blend Utility Polo

For a lot of people the beauty of bikes is not only their amazing performance but their undeniable utility and practicality. For those rides that have a destination in mind more than the journey itself, the Specialized Utility Polo shirt makes a whole bunch of sense.

It's crafted from 84 percent polyester, 11 percent Merino wool and 5 percent spandex. Plus, the big S claims the Drirelease and FreshGuard tech naturally manages moisture and odor build-up. Both good things if you happen to be riding to the office or downtown to meet friends.

A nod to cycling is on board with a reflective detail on the back of the collar and a zippered pocket on the side hem. 

Mongoose Guide Expert bike

Mongoose's Guide Expert is ready for bikepacking and adventure road riding
Mongoose's Guide Expert is ready for bikepacking and adventure road riding

There's this new type of road bike riding I'm going to let you in on. Shhhhhh, are you ready? People in the know call it 'bikepacking' or 'gravel riding', some trendy folks even call it 'groading'. 

Seriously though, road bikes with slightly wider tires, disc brakes, bags and braze-ons have become quite popular for good reason; they blow the limitations of a standard road bike off the map. Plus, instead of weighing your food, drinking copious amounts of homebrew beer and alcohol is not only okay, but practically expected. 

The included bag forgoes hook and loop fasteners on the top tube for much cleaner braze-on attachments
The included bag forgoes hook and loop fasteners on the top tube for much cleaner braze-on attachments

Mongoose's Guide line of bikes opens those doors without the eye-searing price tag. The Guide Expert in for test comes ready for adventure with an aluminum frame, carbon fork and Shimano 105 handing out the gear ratios.

And guess what? Since 29in and 700c share the same effective rim diameter the Guide bikes roll on 29×1.75in Kenda tires. 

  • $1,799, UK and Australian pricing TBD

Reynolds Enduro 27.5in wheels

Graphic options are available and I'm pleased with low-key black on black
Graphic options are available and I'm pleased with low-key black on black

Enduro this, enduro that, mountain biking's (once thought) silly discipline for washed-up downhillers has really come into its own with some amazing gear. Enduro components have to be stupidly tough yet gram conscious where appropriate. 

Enter Reynolds' Enduro 27.5in wheels. Reynolds touts the build quality of its asymmetric carbon rims to allow for more spoke tension. The claimed result is a stronger, more precise, better riding wheel. Sure, that's what they all say.

What really sparked my interest was when Reynold's-sponsored rider Eric Porter said: "These wheels are amazing. I cased a 40-foot double and didn't even knock the wheel out of true." While that in itself is quite the testament, the fact that Porter is a component-wrecking 91kg adds a lot to the creditability. 

The carbon rims are a hookless design and span 28mm internally. The build looks on point with the hub internals comprised of Industry 9's fast-engaging, much-too-noisy guts and much to my delight a Centerlock disc attachment with adaptors included for using six-bolt rotors.

Centerlock for the win all day, everyday
Centerlock for the win all day, everyday

Plus, the whole set up is a very mature black on black, a refreshing show of restraint from the typical shouty, expensive carbon rim world. 

In step with modern enduro needs, where climbing is still on the docket, the weight of these hoops comes in at a respectable 790g / 920g front and rear.

  • £1,914 / $2,500 / AU$3,127

Alpinestars Vector gloves

The Vector gloves have smooth, single-layer Clarino palms
The Vector gloves have smooth, single-layer Clarino palms

Poor, old gloves. Few pieces of gear lead such a nuanced and difficult life. The fit has to be just so to even be considered yet they're commonly the first line of defense when things go pear shaped. Not only that, inevitably one goes on holiday while the other stays dutifully in the gear bag. 

Alpinestars is famous in the world where internal combustion provides the thrills and spills, but it has a complete range of gear for the human-powered side of wheeled sports too. 

The Vector gloves look impressive with their single layer Clarino palms, smartphone-friendly fingertips and stretch insert in palm and thumb areas. I'm a bit less thrilled with the Velcro closing on the cuff.

Also, those with fingers like a rack of bananas take note, Alpinestars offers sizes from Small through to 3X-Large. 

  • £28 / $34.95 / AU$40

BiKase CoolKase cooler

BiKase's soft-sided CoolKase cooler lets you strap some beverages to your bike's rear rack
BiKase's soft-sided CoolKase cooler lets you strap some beverages to your bike's rear rack

Ever wanted a way to transport some drinks or picnic supplies on your bike but didn't want to lug around a heavy, hard-sided cooler or load up a backpack? The BiKase CoolKase is the answer. 

Despite its soft-sided nature, it's claimed to be puncture proof and the 12mm XLPE closed cell foam insulation is said to stay as cool or cooler than a traditional cooler. But more importantly, with the three included, removable straps it can be secured to bike racks. 

There's a shade over 13 liters (800 cubic inches) of room in the brightly colored interior
There's a shade over 13 liters (800 cubic inches) of room in the brightly colored interior

The CoolKase measures 28×22.8×20.3cm on the inside, which BiKase says is room enough for 12 16oz water bottles plus 2.27kg of ice. 

  • $129, UK and Australian pricing TBD
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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