But now it's Friday, so that throws us head first into the newest, shiniest gear and clothing to land on our desks at BikeRadar. Here's the pick of our favourites…
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD shoes
Recent times have been quite exceptional for bikes and gear. One of the biggest steps forward has been the ongoing advance in footwear. For way too long, cleat-compatible mountain-bike shoes were obvious afterthoughts, mainly consisting of road shoes with some mediocre lugs glued or screwed on.
Those days are thankfully over with shoes such as Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Launch SPDs available. They look like normal shoes but are stealthily loaded with a three-quarter length shank in the soles for pedaling stiffness, Vibram Megagrip outsoles for easy walking and hike-a-bikes, and bonded, seamless uppers for a snug, smooth fit.
- £126.95 / $160 / AU$N/A
- Buy now from Pearl Izumi
Giro HRC+ Merino Wool socks
You may or may not subscribe to the saying that 'socks make the man,' but for cycling having good socks goes a long way towards having happy feet.
Giro HRC+ Merino Wool socks combine core-spun merino with the antimicrobial fiber Meryl Skinlife, along with nylon reinforcements at the toe and heel. There's a bit of compression particularly around the arch and a 7-inch cuff for some warmth (and to avoid looking like a kook).
Giro offers the made-in-Italy HRC+ socks in four sizes and four colors.
- £15.96 / $25 / AU$35
- Buy now from Backcountry
Magura HC3 disc brake levers
Magura disc brakes have long divided opinion – you either love ’em or hate ’em. The common complaint for most riders revolves around the levers.
Magura took notice, worked with a pretty decent rider named Danny MacAskill, and now offers its HC3 levers with reach, angle, and leverage ratio adjustments.
According to Magura, there's also greater finger room for those with massive mitts, or for riders who like to run their levers close to the bar.
The lever blades have a deep hook for one-finger control and are also a bit shorter.
The HC3 lever upgrade is compatible Magura's MT6 / MT7 / MT8 / MT Trail Carbon disc brakes.
- Price(sold individually): £59 / $70 / AU$TBD / €67.90
- Buy now from Magura
Compel Colorado Flag Trail jersey
Compel is a relatively new MTB clothing company from Colorado, with the goal of making products for regular folk who like to feel comfortable while riding bikes.
Along with all the other fun stuff Colorado has to offer, the state flag is a simple, yet iconic design that's incorporated into literally everything — hats, mugs, bumper stickers, and bike gear.
Compel's Colorado Flag Trail jersey is crafted from polyester, long appreciated for its low weight and quick-drying properties. Six sizes are available and, if you need to show off more Centennial State pride, Compel also offers Colorado Flag spandex shorts.
- £N/A / $50 / AU$N/A
- Buy now from Compel
B’Twin 900 Aerofit road shoes
We know that Decathlon brand B’Twin has a knack for making very good things at a very reasonable price, so we’ve got high hopes for these road-bike kicks.
They’re nicely shaped with a proper carbon-fibre sole and a retention system that makes use of BOA-style dials as well as straps. Our size 42 sample pair tipped BikeRadar’s scales of truth at 554g.
These certainly do a good job of imitating shoes at a much higher price, hopefully they’ll not ride like a budget shoe either. Stay tuned for a full review — or, if you can’t wait that long, they’re part of a group test in the latest Cycling Plus magazine.
- £79.99 / US$ and AU$ N/A
- Buy the B’Twin 900 carbon road bike shoes from Decathlon
Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR
It’s amazing how bikes such as Mondraker’s Foxy now look so normal when, just a few years back, their long wheelbases gave them a very distinct shape.
Compared to the other bikes in the Foxy range, this Carbon XR model has an altogether burlier sense of dress, with a RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock, where you’d normally find an air can and a longer, 160mm Pike RCT3 front fork.
SRAM GX Eagle means there are twelve cogs at the back, while DT’s M1700 wheelset provides an ample 30mm seat for the tubeless-ready Maxxis High Roller II tyres. Mondraker claims this build totals 13.6kg / 30lbs.
- £5,399 / €5,999
- Buy the Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR from Tredz
SRM PC8 Computer and Spider power meter
While other manufacturers have caught up in recent years, SRM is still considered one of the gold standards in reliable power meters, especially among the pros, both on and off road.
Whether new kid on the block Shimano will upset SRM's dominance remains to be seen, but we've got our hands on this XX1 Eagle Boost spider and PC8 computer for some upcoming features.
SRM claims a scientifically tested accuracy of +/- 1%, so we're hoping this power meter will enable us to precisely measure the performance of certain products.
Its first outing will be under the legs of our resident XC racer and videographer Joe Norledge in February at the Club La Santa stage race in Lanzarote.
It's not cheap but SRM's reputation means it should stand up to anything we manage to throw at it, while providing reliable information for training and racing.
- Spider: £1,399 / $1,399 / AU$2,015
- PC8 computer: £544.72 / $749 / AU$999
- Buy the SRM PC8 Computer from Sigmasport
Giant Fathom 29er 1
Giant introduced its Fathom line last year, back then it said it wanted to build a range of bikes that were to blur the line between a classic hardtail and a more capable trail bike.
This is the most expensive of two builds with 29in wheels and features Suntour’s Axon LO-RC 100mm-travel fork, a 1x11 Shimano SLX drivetrain and an own-brand Giant wheelset shod with tubeless-ready Maxxis Ikon tyres.
The Fathom’s 780mm handlebar, flap-free 1x drivetrain and own-brand dropper post certainly hint at a bike that wants you to have a laugh on the descents. It looks the part too, with its dropped stays and signature Giant blue paint. Oh, and it’s 12.1kg (26.7lbs).
- £1,199 / $1,480 / AU$N/A
- Buy the Giant Fathom 1 29er from Giant
eecycleworks eeTop and eeNut
If you’re looking for unconventional places to save weight, then how about this preload assembly from eecycleworks.
Aggressive machining means the whole assembly totals just 9.6g, that’s somewhere around 30g lighter than a regular starnut, bolt and top cap.
It’s safe on carbon and alloy steerers and is also reusable but it sure isn’t cheap!
- £49.99 / $60 / AU$N/A
- Buy theeecycleworks eeTop and eeNut from ubyk
Transition Smuggler NX
With 140/120mm travel on tap front and rear, Transition's Smuggler 29er aims to be a do-it-all trail bike.
The rear-end action is courtesy of Transition's GiddyUp 2. The suspension and Speed Balanced Geometry is built to feel good at low speeds and increase confidence when things get fast and wild.
To make the most out of the new geometry, Transition specs a fork with a shorter offset, which pulls the front axle closer to the rider for more front-wheel traction, according to the Pacific Northwest brand. And paired with a 40mm stem, Transition claims more direct steering and enhanced front-end feedback.
This NX build on test has a RockShox Revelation RC Solo Air fork and Deluxe RT shock, WTB STP i29 rims, Maxxis Minion 2.3in tires, and as you likely guessed, a SRAM NX 11-speed transmission.
- £2,999.95 / $2,999 / AU$N/A
- Transition Smugglers can be purchased at bike shops as well as through its website.
Panaracer Gravel King SK 27.5 x 1.9in tires
Taking gravel bikes further away from the confines of paved roads and civilization creates equipment you can rely on and hopefully enjoy. This is where the 27.5in wheel and tire package makes sense.
The smaller wheel diameter allows a bigger, wider tire to fit into most gravel bike frames. Once plumped up, the actual tire diameter is similar to a 700c set-up, but the air volume is greatly increased for more traction and a softer ride.
Panaracer's Gravel King SK are leading the pack with a tight, low-tread center for speed, and slightly bigger knobs on the sides for cornering bite.
If a 27.5in (650b) wheelset isn't in your bike stash, don't fret, as Panaracer offers the Gravel King SKs in 700c varieties as well.
- £39.99 / $54 / AU$65
- Buy now from BikeTiresDirect