It’s the start of a new year but more importantly, the end of yet another week – and that means it's time for another installment of our Friday Five-a-side round up of the most interesting bits and pieces of road cycling and mountain biking gear that have recently landed on our doorstep. Take a closer look at what we'll be testing in the upcoming weeks and months.
New road cycling gear
BMC GF02 Disc
Is it an endurance road bike, a light-duty touring machine, a commuter or a cyclocross bike? According to BMC, the GF02 Disc is all of the above. While the triple-butted aluminium frame and all-carbon fork have sufficient clearance for proper knobby cyclocross tyres, BMC equips this bike with relatively smooth, 35mm-wide Continental tyres and wide-range gearing that's more suitable for general road use.
There are also predictable, all-weather Shimano mechanical disc brakes front and rear plus a head tube that's only modestly extended, relative to BMC's full-on road racing models. To add to its do-it-all nature, there are removable four-point rear rack mounts and an included accessory package with front and rear lights and a bell.
Chunky DT Swiss X-1900 29er mountain bike wheels and a huge 11-32T cassette push the actual weight of our 51cm test sample up to 9.11kg (20.08lb) without pedals, but we're still looking forward to doing some exploring with this thing. Cyclocross racers on a budget seeking a one-bike-fits-all machine for general road riding and jumping barriers on the weekend would be able to remove big hunks of weight just by swapping out the wheelset too.
US$3,999 / £2,500 / AU$4,599
Castelli Diluvio All-Road shoe covers
Castelli pegs its Diluvio All-Road shoe covers as 'virtually weatherproof' thanks to their 3mm thick neoprene rubber shell and waterproof zippers. Even so, the suggested temperature usage range is still quite modest at 3 to 15°C (37 to 59°F), making these more of a cool weather pair rather than shoes for truly frigid conditions.
Neoprene's inherent stretch should help these fit snugly over most shoes and there's a split cuff with a velcro closure to help make getting them on and off easier. The open bottom is designed to work with mountain bike shoes too.
US$64.95 / £40 / AU$39
Chris King Alloy Ride Disc wheelset
Chris King only recently announced its expansion into complete wheelsets, all built around the company's storied hubs. We've just received a set of the Alloy Ride Disc road wheels, which use gorgeous Chris King R45 Disc hubs, HED's ultra-wide Belgium Plus tubeless alloy rim and 28 Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes front and rear, laced three-cross with alloy nipples. As expected, build quality looks excellent with even tension all around and laser-straight trueness and roundness. Our set weighs 1,693g (788g front; 905g rear).
US$1,175 / £N/A / AU$N/A
Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon seatpost
Ergon claims to have created a suspension seatpost with a saddle angle-preserving parallelogram action in a lightweight carbon fibre package. The unusual design is essentially two leaf springs connected with a two-bolt saddle clamp up top and locking bolt down below, which works in conjunction with the seatpost collar to lock the angle in place, while still allowing some movement.
It's certainly a sleeker looking solution than some other similar options we've seen, plus it's quite light - 232g for our 27.2x330mm size. Ergon says the CF3 Pro Carbon is intended only for road use at the moment but we might just try it on a 29er hardtail too!
US$299 / £230 / AU$420
The Feed food/drink delivery service
The Feed, a new sports nutrition delivery service run in the US by the folks behind the Garmin-Sharp cycling team that ships bars, gels, drink mixes, chews, and recovery aids from 24 different brands right to your door. Customers can select items a la carte, choose a preconfigured box, custom create one of your own or subscribe to amonthly delivery.
US$varies / £N/A / AU$N/A
New mountain bike gear
45NRTH Fasterkatt shoes
45NRTH builds its Fasterkatt shoes with a more minimal approach than most winter cycling footwear. While the exterior is shielded with a waterproof membrane, high-cut ankle and a rubberized, zip-up shell, there's no additional insulation aside from the fleece lining and the heat-reflective wool-and-aluminium insoles. 45NRTH only recommends the Fasterkatts for temperatures as low as -4°C (25°F), although in fairness, that's about as low as many will dare to go anyway. This size 44 test pair weighs 1,175g.
US$225 / £199.99 / AU$N/A
G-Form says its 'Reactive Protection Technology' padding remains soft and pliable in regular use but stiffens up instantly upon impact to absorb more than 90 percent of the incoming energy. We'll hopefully not have to see for ourselves first-hand how well the stuff works in a really nasty wreck, but it's certainly intriguing stuff when just pedaling.
The material is remarkably light, and deep channels moulded into the padding lends far better flexibility than what we're used to in protective armoring. G-Form bonds all of the padding on to a thin and stretchy Lycra/Spandex base, so it all actually fits quite nicely.
- Shin pads: US$59.99 / £34.99 / AU$69.95
- Knee or elbow pads: US$59.99 / £44.99 / AU$69.95
- Crash shorts: US$109.99 / £79.99 / AU$119.95
- Protective compression shirt: US$119.99 / £89.99 / AU$134.95
SQ-Lab 611 Team ltd. Race saddle
German company SQ-Lab's approach to high-performance saddle design includes distinctly raised padding underneath the sit bones, a mostly level profile, a dropped forward section, and a flattened nose. It claims all of this delivers better support without impinging on your tender bits. The top-end 611 Team ltd. Race saddle comes in four different widths and is generously padded, yet the carbon fibre rails help keep the weight down to just 215g.
US$165 / £TBD / AU$N/A
Thule T2 Fat Tire kit
Fat bikes are fun but they're not the easiest things to transport. Thule has recently delivered a retrofit kit for its T2 hitch mount bike carrier that accommodates tyres up to 5in wide – 2in wider than the standard cradle. Thule also includes an extra-long ratcheting strap for the rear wheel to lock everything in place. The oversized fittings will still work for standard mountain and road bikes too.
US$39.95 / £N/A / AU$TBD
DZR Strasse shoes
Take a more classic approach to your urban commute with the DZR Strasse mid-top shoes. The uppers are built with a mix of leather and herringbone-pattern fabric for a casual look but down below is a recessed pocket for two-bolt cleats and a mildly stiffened shank for more efficient pedaling. We plan on donning these for regular errands about town and might even hit our local bike park in them for a few sessions too.
US$120 / £99.99 / AU$149