Friday Five-a-side: This week's best new bike gear

Gear from Polar, Merida, Abbey Bike Tools, Catlike, Birzman and more

With yet another working week drawing to a close (luckily a short one in many parts of the world), it’s time for Friday Five-a-side. Here’s a choice selection of gear that's rolled onto the plush carpets of BikeRadar’s Sydney-based Australian offices. 

New road bike gear

Café du Cycliste clothing

Café du cycliste clothing - detailed first-look coming soon: café du cycliste clothing - detailed first-look coming soon
Café du cycliste clothing - detailed first-look coming soon: café du cycliste clothing - detailed first-look coming soon

We’re in the process of putting together a proper first-look piece on this young French clothing brand. In the meantime, however, we’ll tease you with the Women’s Violette merino jersey.

Using naturally breathable, wicking and stink-resistant merino-infused fabric, this jersey has a comfortable feel and generous stretch. Little details include reinforced rear pockets (which hold heaps of stuff) to prevent sagging, a full-length zipper, silicone gripper at the waist and plenty of reflective panels.

€125.00 / £105 / US$TBC / AU$TBC

www.cafeducycliste.com

Abbey Bike Tools pedal wrench

Abbey bike tools pedal wrench - purpose built for the neutral service mechanic, bike fitter, demo fleeter or general tool nerd: abbey bike tools pedal wrench - purpose built for the neutral service mechanic, bike fitter, demo fleeter or general tool nerd
Abbey bike tools pedal wrench - purpose built for the neutral service mechanic, bike fitter, demo fleeter or general tool nerd: abbey bike tools pedal wrench - purpose built for the neutral service mechanic, bike fitter, demo fleeter or general tool nerd

Ever reached for a tool to undo your pedals – and it turns out to be the wrong one? With pedals commonly needing either a 6mm or 8mm hex key, or a thin 15mm open end wrench to remove or install them, a second trip to the tool box isn't unusual.

Built for the professional, the Abbey Bike Tools pedal wrench combines all three commonly needed tools into one glorious item. Featuring a stained American white oak wood handle and hardened steel bits, it’s comfortable in the hand and built to last. The 12in length isn’t quite as long as a workshop pedal wrench, but it’s certainly the longest hex wrench going.

A further neat touch is the swivelling hex bits, which let you break the pedal free and then quickly spin it loose without interference.

£TBC / US$130 / AU$TBC

www.abbeybiketools.com

Catlike Mixino helmet

Catlike miximo helmet - just like a golfball for your head : catlike miximo helmet - just like a golfball for your head
Catlike miximo helmet - just like a golfball for your head : catlike miximo helmet - just like a golfball for your head

With 39 vents, the Catlike Mixino is almost more vent than helmet. Deep channels use what Catlike calls Duraflow to move the maximum amount of air through the helmet. The venting pattern is not just designed for optimum airflow though, with Catlike also claiming that the honeycomb-like structure helps to better disperse energy from an impact.

The outer shell of the helmet is reinforced with graphene, a super strong and lightweight composite material derived from graphite. Keeping the EPS foam together beneath the shell is an internal Aramid Roll cage.

Since we last reviewed this helmet, manufacturing has returned to Spain, with the central channel also being reinforced and the padding improved. Our Australian standards large sample weighs 275g. 

£170 / US$300 / AU$329

www.catlike.es / www.apollobikes.com (Australian distributor)

Birzman Shimano bottom bracket adaptor tool

Birzman shimano bottom bracket adaptor tool - cause shimano wanted to be difficult: birzman shimano bottom bracket adaptor tool - cause shimano wanted to be difficult
Birzman shimano bottom bracket adaptor tool - cause shimano wanted to be difficult: birzman shimano bottom bracket adaptor tool - cause shimano wanted to be difficult

External bottom brackets in threaded frames have previously been such an easy item to service, with the majority of brands sticking to a single tool standard.

Shimano recently threw a spanner (or two) in the works with its smaller Dura-Ace standard (BB9000) and, for unknown reasons, yet another standard with Ultegra 6800 (BBR60). This little machined steel tool from Birzman simply slots inside your current bottom bracket wrench (or socket) and fits both of Shimano’s new sizes. Genius.

£12 / US$20 / AU$TBC

www.birzman.com

Wheel Life: Cycling Recollections of the 1950s and 1960s

Wheel life: cycling recollections of the 1950s and 1960s. written by ben schofield : wheel life: cycling recollections of the 1950s and 1960s. written by ben schofield
Wheel life: cycling recollections of the 1950s and 1960s. written by ben schofield : wheel life: cycling recollections of the 1950s and 1960s. written by ben schofield

Wheel Life recounts life on the bike in Australia during an earlier era, interviewing the protagonists of the Melbourne cycling scene from the 50s and 60s. Their collective palmarès incorporate Olympic gold, Tour de France appearances, Herald Sun Tour wins and national track championships to name but a few achievements.

In this self-published work, Schofield lets his 14 interviewees tell their stories. With the inclusion of numerous black and white photographs alongside newspaper clippings and race programme covers, Wheel Life resembles a personal scrapbook that brings together the period's personalities and defining moments.

£N/A / US$N/A / AU$30

Email the author directly at benjschofield68@gmail.com

New mountain bike gear

Polar V650 with heart rate sensor

Polar v650 - a gps cycle computer from the finnish heart-rate experts: polar v650 - a gps cycle computer from the finnish heart-rate experts
Polar v650 - a gps cycle computer from the finnish heart-rate experts: polar v650 - a gps cycle computer from the finnish heart-rate experts

It’s been a while since Polar last released a bike-specific computer that was competitive with the likes of Garmin – but the V650 may be the ticket.

This solid unit features a large 2.8in colour touchscreen, route guided mapping, Bluetooth Smart (4.0) connectivity and a neat automatic LED backlight.

With more and more brands offering power meters with Bluetooth compatibility, the lack of ANT+ connectivity may not be as big of a deal as it once was. Look out for a review of this new GPS computer soon.

£210 / US$319 / AU$449

www.polar.com

Merida Big Seven XT-Edition

We've got something special planned for the 2015 merida big seven xt-edition:
We've got something special planned for the 2015 merida big seven xt-edition:

This mid-priced alloy ride is based on what the Multivan-Merida team race on. The frame is a lightweight triple butted model with greatly hydroformed tubes. The frame also features a rear thru-axle, tapered head tube and near-smooth welds.

The Big Seven XT Edition features a mix of 2x10 Shimano XT and Deore componentry, and a RockShox Recon fork with remote lockout. We’re not simply planning to review this bike as normal – we’ve got special plans for testing it out.

£N/A / US$N/A / AU$1,949

www.meridabikes.com 

Birzman Zacoo Macht shock pump

Birzman zacoo macht shock pump (cream egg for sizing, not testing purposes): birzman zacoo macht shock pump (cream egg for sizing, not testing purposes)
Birzman zacoo macht shock pump (cream egg for sizing, not testing purposes): birzman zacoo macht shock pump (cream egg for sizing, not testing purposes)

The Zacoo Macht is the smaller sibling to Birzman's Zacoo Salut and shares similar features. At just 84g, it’s designed to fit easily inside a car glove box, hydration pack or jersey pocket. (Creme Egg is for sizing purposes only, not testing.)

There’s a maximum pressure of 300psi visible on a 1in gauge that hides a pressure bleed button on the back. A shortened hose features Birzman’s Air-Lock valve and the rest of the pump is made of shiny aluminium. 

£35 / US$50 / AU$TBC

www.birzman.com

Abbey Bike Tools Stu stick

Abbey bike tools stu stick - straighten your discs and open your drink: abbey bike tools stu stick - straighten your discs and open your drink
Abbey bike tools stu stick - straighten your discs and open your drink: abbey bike tools stu stick - straighten your discs and open your drink

Sometimes the simple things are best. Stu Thorne, the founder of CyclocrossWorld, wanted a disc rotor straightener that'd be lighter than popular steel models. The result is this simple alloy straightener with a bottle opener on the other end. At a third of the weight of a standard rotor straightener, it’s something that can easily be carried on longer rides or in the toolbox of discerning mechanics – or drinkers.

£TBC / US$22 / AU$TBC

www.abbeybiketools.com

Race Face DIY women’s gloves

RaceFace diy women’s gloves: raceface diy women’s gloves
RaceFace diy women’s gloves: raceface diy women’s gloves

While the ladies' fit comes in on the small side and the choice is limited to black or black, these lightweight mountain biking gloves from Race Face are still nicely thought out.           

Padding at the palm is marginal, something that's been done for greater bar feel. An ultra-light stretchable mesh backing meets the velcro cuff with a pull to help you get the glove on. A touchscreen compatible middle finger and soft microfibre surface on the back of the thumb complete the feature list.

£35 / US$40 / AU$45

www.raceface.com / www.pushys.com.au (Australian seller)

David Rome

Former Editor, Australia
Dave was the editor of BikeRadar Australia until early 2016.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road and cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Fast and flowing singletrack with the occasional air is the dream. Also happy chasing tarmac bends.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 27.5, SwiftCarbon Detritovore, Salsa Chilli Con Crosso
  • Dream Bike: Custom Independent Fabrications titanium, SRAM Etap and Enve wheels/cockpit
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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