If you're reading this, give yourself a pat on the back, because you've nearly made it through another work week.
Take a break from and get the weekend started off right with a nice visual dose of bike gear. Here are 10 pieces of the best and most interesting gear that showed up at the BikeRadar offices this week.
New mountain bike gear
Answer Stein Grips
The folks at Answer didn’t go back to the drawing board to design their latest grip, they went to the pub. The aptly-named Stein grip features a relief pattern very similar to that of a beer stein. It features a slim, 29mm diameter and dual rubber compound for comfort.
The Stein is part of Answer’s new line of longer, 143mm grips that take advantage of the fact many riders are gravitating toward 1x drivetrains, which allows for roomier grips.
US$30 / £20 / AU$40 / €27
Five Ten Kestrel shoes
Add the Kestrel to the growing list of mountain bike shoes designed for everyday riding.
This trail-inspired clipless shoe has a sleek, low profile silhouette and uses a single Boa dial to fine-tune fit.
The Kestrel has a reinforced toebox to protect the wearer’s toes from rock strikes and uses a carbon-infused shank to provide ample stiffness.
Rider’s familiar with the brand’s platform shoes will immediately recognise the circular tread pattern. Five Ten uses its soft and tacky Mi6 rubber compound on the forefoot and heel to maximise traction while walking. The stiffer and more durable C4 rubber is used under the midfoot and around the recessed SPD cleat interface to increase durability.
US$180 / £140 / AU$TBC / €165
Vittoria Goma tyres
Last year, Vittoria consolidated its mountain bike tyre brand, Geax, into its own line. The Goma is the company’s all-mountain tread, with well-spaced, sturdy knobs designed to perform well under a wide range of trail conditions.
Vittoria offers the Goma in several different configurations – ours is the tubeless compatible version with company’s TNT construction, which mates a tubeless-ready design with reinforced sidewalls for extra protection again flats and tears.
We’re testing the beefy 29x2.4in version, which tips the scale at 1,160g per tyre.
US$60 / £45 / AU$TBC / €51
Pearl Izumi X Project 1.0 shoes
Pearl Izumi’s top-end mountain bike shoe, the Project X 1.0, has been updated for 2015 with two Boa closures and a seamless upper. The centralised location of the Boa dials on the shoe’s tongue should make them less susceptible to damage.
The X Project 1.0 uses a carbon sole designed to be stiff underfoot while pedaling with enough give in the mid-sole when the trail calls for hike-a-biking.
US$320 / £TBC / AU$TBC /€390
Fox Racing Shox cardboard box
We’re in the process of testing some new squishy bits from the suspension experts at Fox Racing Shox.
What exactly is in the box, you ask?
We’re not at liberty to say just yet. But stay tuned for first ride reviews of two new products in the coming weeks.
New road bike gear
Focus Cayo Evo 4.0 Disc
With SRAM Hydro R hydraulic brakes on the Rival group, this 56cm carbon test-bike weighs 8.24kg (18.17lb).
One cool feature on the new Focus disc bikes is the RAT system, which combines the stability of a thru axle with the convenience of a quick-release. A simple quarter-turn locks the skewer into place.
US$3,000 / £1,999 / AU$3,399
Skratch Hydration Mix
Skratch has a number of flavors, but the caffeinated Matcha + Lemons and the drink-it-hot Apples + Cinnamon styles are new to us. Like the other Skratch Hydration Mixes, these are made with real fruit and nothing artificial. One bag is good for about 20 bottles.
The Rescue Hydration Mix is similar to Pedialyte, as it is formulated for dehydrated children — or even hungover adults.
US$20 for Hydration, US$15 for Rescue
Assos falkenzahn vest
Made with six different types of materials, this Assos vest fits snugly without being constrictive. It is a low-bulk, high-warmth piece that we've worn a few times just with a thick baselayer.
The inner fleece does a good job of wicking and insulating.
US$279 / £179 / AU$273
Lazer Aero Shell helmet
The Aero Shell is a simple snap-on protective layer that works wonders in bad weather. We tested the Helium version with ERO Sports at the Los Angeles velodrome, and while we didn't really find any major aero benefit compared to the helmet alone, it can't hurt to close off the front vents in pursuit of speed.
It's of more interest to us for daily use than marginal speed gains, and we have definitely enjoyed using this Z1 version over the winter. Besides keeping out rain and snow, it just keeps your head much warmer than a vented helmet. And, since it's transparent, your head doesn't stick out like a bowling ball. Although you can't really take it off during a ride, it is fairly easy to pop it off and on.
US$15 / £TBC / €15
Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch
The Vivoactive is Garmin's first smartwatch. Decidedly more fitness tracker than dedicated cycling device, the Vivoactive has apps for cycling, running, swimming and, somewhat unexpectedly, golfing.
The Vivoactive can be paired with a heart-rate strap (not included), a speed sensor or even with a Garmin VIRB Elite video camera. The cycling app, using the built-in GPS, measures distance and speed, as well as time and an approximation of calories burned.
A built-in accelerometer acts as a back-up for GPS when using the running app to track distance and speed, and to measure strokes in the pool.
US$249 / £199 / AU$ TBC