11spd: This week's best new bike gear

Tubeless tyres, trick suspension and some colourful ponies!

Oh, hello Friday! You've been a long while coming. Nevermind, we forgive you. Just bless us with perfect riding conditions this weekend, a tail wind, cracking trails, good coffee, great company and strong legs.

If you've had a tough week, why not ease yourself into the weekend with a little whimsy and nostalgia. Ahh, those golden early years of cycling — mountain bikes with cantilever brakes, road bikes with shifters on the down tube, garish 80s colours and sun-kissed steel.  Peruse to your heart's content our gallery of retro mountain bikes from the Malvern's festival.

Or if you prefer going from the ridiculous to the sublime, then check out this bike made of springs, or how about a pedal-powered trimaran for seaside excursions?

And once you're done reminiscing, bring yourself back to the present with a selection of the newest bikes, clothes and kit to hit the BikeRadar office this week. Steel may be real, but we're forever grateful for hydraulic disc brakes.

Time Speciale Dark Grey enduro mountain bike pedals

Smart new pedals from Time
Smart new pedals from Time

Time describes these pedals as ‘the ultimate balance between aesthetics and performance’, and combine a 6106-T6 aluminium platform with Time’s patent-pending ATAC engagement system. The platform also takes eight pins, at each corner of the pedal, for added grip. New for these pedals is the ability to adjust the spring tension to suit your own preferences.

Time claims a weight of 202g per pedal, though we measured them in a smidge over at 204g.

These new versions feature adjustable spring tension
These new versions feature adjustable spring tension

This pedal is available in other colours, and should you wish for something brighter to adorn your bike, you can also choose from vibrant blue or striking red.

Cube Axial WS C:62 SL Disc Ultegra Disc women's road bike

This Cube is one very smart bike
This Cube is one very smart bike

The Ultegra-equipped (though with 105 cassette) Cube Axial is a carbon-framed, race-ready road bike designed for female riders.

Replete with aero profiling on frame tubes, flat-mounted disk brakes, Mavic Cosmic Elite wheelset and carbon finishing kit, it’s a well-put-together package for the price and comes in four sizes: 47cm, 50cm, 53cm and 56cm.

PONY Stars Collection cycling kit

PONY holds a range of star-emblazoned jerseys and bib-shorts
PONY holds a range of star-emblazoned jerseys and bib-shorts

PONY's new star-emblazoned range of jerseys and bib-shorts comes in four versions with two men’s outfits and two women’s outfits on offer. There's a brighter version and a darker version of each, named ‘Star Light’ and ‘Star Dark’ – see what they did there?

While $299 might seem like a lot, that covers the jersey as well as the coordinating bib shorts.

All are cut with a race fit, designed to sit close to the skin and support the muscles.

Shimano Ultegra RD+ RX800 derailleur

The Shimano Ultegra RX mech is a highly anticipated bit of kit
The Shimano Ultegra RX mech is a highly anticipated bit of kit

Feel the call of the wild? Does tarmac no longer tickle your fancy? Longing for a bit of rough?

We’ve got a piece of equipment you’re going to love.

Well, maybe. It’s the new Shimano Ultegra RX derailleur, designed for those with a penchant for gravel and adventure. It features a mechanism that stops the chain bouncing around when you ride over uneven surfaces, which will already be familiar to many mountain bikers.

Does it work? Well, as it happens two members of the BikeRadar US team gave it a thorough test at the 2018 edition of the Dirty Kanza.

Interestingly Shimano claim a weight of 248g, but we had a significantly lower weight of 223g.

Ere Research Genus tubeless road tyre

Tubeless road tyres are fast becoming the norm and it's great to see another option on the shelves
Tubeless road tyres are fast becoming the norm and it's great to see another option on the shelves

This company took us by surprise a couple of months back when it debuted with an entire range of road and gravel tyres.

The Genus is Ere Research’s dedicated road-racing tyre, and is available in 24, 26 and 28mm sizes with tubeless or clincher options. We bagged a pair of the 26mm tubeless variant and were happy to see them arrive with a 48mm tubeless valve, a small bottle of tubeless sealant and a valve extender already in the box.

A bottle of Stan's sealant, tubeless valve and valve extender is included with each tyre
A bottle of Stan's sealant, tubeless valve and valve extender is included with each tyre

The smooth central tread is formed from 65a durometer rubber that’s mated to a 120tpi casing with a folding aramid bead. We measured our test tyres in at 262g each, that’s 7g over their claimed weight, but remains competitive amongst competitor tyres from the likes of Schwalbe and Pirelli and are significantly lighter than more robust tubeless tyres such as Hutchinson’s Fusion 5.

SQlab ONE12 bib shorts

SQlab's ONE12 bibs
SQlab's ONE12 bibs

Some chamois pads can end up feeling a bit like a nappy, and that’s exactly what the special pad in SQlab’s ONE12 bibs is designed to prevent.

The SQ-Pad inside measures only 4mm at its thickest and is very firm to the touch, in places it has just a couple of millimetres of depth.

The pad measures just 4mm at its thickest
The pad measures just 4mm at its thickest

Elsewhere the bibs feature the usual elastic cuffs, flatlock stitching and strategically placed breathable mesh material.

We’re looking forward to seeing if that suspiciously thin pad can live up to the claims.

Brooks Harrier helmet

The Brooks Harrier helmet is a 300g performance road lid
The Brooks Harrier helmet is a 300g performance road lid

A lot of people still don’t realise that Brooks make helmets, and that’s kind of a shame because the Harrier has really impressed us in the few months we’ve been testing it.

Sometimes it's nice to see a helmet without dramatic aero shaping and loud decals
Sometimes it's nice to see a helmet without dramatic aero shaping and loud decals

Its clean retro styling is a nice change from some of the shapes we’ve become accustomed to. Don’t go thinking this isn’t a technical piece of kit either, there’s plenty of ventilation, comfortable straps and an effective retention system. At 299g its weight is reasonable too.

The detailing is of a standard that's consistent with other Brooks products
The detailing is of a standard that's consistent with other Brooks products

Wondering how a saddle manufacturer gained all this technical know-how? A little sticker inside the helmet shows the Harrier is actually made by Italian brand Kask.

USE Ultimate 35 Vyce stem 

USE's Ultimate 35 Vyce stem uses a single expanding wedge to secure the handlebar and steerer
USE's Ultimate 35 Vyce stem uses a single expanding wedge to secure the handlebar and steerer

The Ultimate 35 Vyce does things a little differently from most stems by using a single wedge to clamp both the handlebar and steerer. Its design differs a little from the 31.8mm clamp version of this stem, which uses just one bolt. 

It's available in 40mm and 50mm lengths, our sample is the former. At 108g it’s considerably lighter than most competitors.

It'll be interesting to see just how stiff this design proves to be
It'll be interesting to see just how stiff this design proves to be

It’s no surprise that this plays nicely with USE’s 35mm Boom carbon handlebar, which is a 203g part that's 800mm in width with 30mm of rise, a 7.5 degree backsweep and 5 degrees of upsweep.

£90

Buy the USE Ultimate 35 Vyce Stem from Wiggle 

Pearl Izumi P.R.O Leader V4 shoes

Pearl Izumi's Race Road 4 shoes are undoubtedly a premium option
Pearl Izumi's Race Road 4 shoes are undoubtedly a premium option

This is Pearl Izumi’s stiffest, lightest and most breathable shoe to date. Two BOA dials allow for +/-1mm of adjustability to the composite uppers, which are joined to the carbon soles via a unibody construction. This makes for an extra-low stack height of just 5mm.

One BOA would clearly not suffice
One BOA would clearly not suffice

Electroplating gives the soles of these shoes a unique finish that’s reminiscent of the ChromaFlair flip paint that was popular on modified cars in the late 90s.

In Oli’s clown-like size 48s these weigh 682g for the pair.

It's almost a shame that these colourful soles won't be on show very often
It's almost a shame that these colourful soles won't be on show very often

Manitou Mattoc Pro fork

Manitou's vibrant Mattoc Pro fork has a whole host of improvements for 2018
Manitou's vibrant Mattoc Pro fork has a whole host of improvements for 2018

The Mattoc Pro is an air-sprung fork from Manitou that undercuts a lot of options in its segment. There's no missing this fork with Manitou's longstanding and distinctive reverse arch design and matte-red finish.

Manitou's Mattoc Pro comes with enough adjustments to please the most obsessive of fettlers
Manitou's Mattoc Pro comes with enough adjustments to please the most obsessive of fettlers

It's a 160mm travel fork that's internally adjustable down to either 150mm or 140mm. Inside there's Manitou's Dorado air spring and a new Multi Control Compression damper unit that provides external low and high-speed compression adjustment, as well as a dial to alter the fork's hydraulic bottom out. This Boost 27.5in model even comes with its own bolt-on mudguard.

 Our test sample came in at 1,832g.

Douchebags Savage bike case

The Savage bike bag from Douchebags is a very clever bit of kit
The Savage bike bag from Douchebags is a very clever bit of kit

With an internal roll cage the Savage from Douchebags aims to combine the best features of soft- and hard-shell bike cases. It's said to work with any bike but will require an adaptor to work with road bikes.

At 11.8kg / 26lbs it's hardly light and there's no denying that the price makes this a serious investment, but that's not stopped the company from selling out of all of its pre-ordered Savage cases.

MBUK's Ed is testing one out and it'll be in the typically uncareful hands of baggage handlers next week — we'll keep you posted on how he gets along with it.

A closer look at the protective roll cage inside the Savage bike bag
A closer look at the protective roll cage inside the Savage bike bag

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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