11spd: This week's best new bike gear

New gear from Giant, SRM, Giro, Magura and more

Over the past week, we've explored Shimano's new Dura-Ace power meter, checked out the details on some pro bikes, and explained how simple brake lever and stem placement should be. 

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

Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Launch SPD shoes blend street- and flat-pedal-shoe looks with an SPD-compatible sole
Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Launch SPD shoes blend street- and flat-pedal-shoe looks with an SPD-compatible sole

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. 

Giro HRC+ Merino Wool socks

Giro's HRC+ Merino Wool socks are just the ticket for off-season riding
Giro's HRC+ Merino Wool socks are just the ticket for off-season riding

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. 

Magura HC3 disc brake levers

Magura's HC3 disc brake levers have every adjustment a rider could want
Magura's HC3 disc brake levers have every adjustment a rider could want

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.

Compel Colorado Flag Trail jersey

Compel's Colorado Flag Trail jersey is a loose-fitting, polyester top
Compel's Colorado Flag Trail jersey is a loose-fitting, polyester top

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

B’Twin 900 Aerofit road shoes

B'Twin's handsome 700 road shoes
B'Twin's handsome 700 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.

Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR

Compared to a regular Foxy, the Foxy Carbon XR gets a little bit more suspension up front and a coil shock at the rear
Compared to a regular Foxy, the Foxy Carbon XR gets a little bit more suspension up front and a coil shock at the rear

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.

SRM PC8 Computer and Spider power meter

Here's the SRM PC8 computer
Here's the SRM PC8 computer

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.

Joe is looking forward to trying out the SRM at the Club La Santa stage race in Lanzarote
Joe is looking forward to trying out the SRM at the Club La Santa stage race in Lanzarote

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.

Giant Fathom 29er 1

A dropper post, 1x transmission and 780mm handlebars mean this is not a straight-up cross-country bike
A dropper post, 1x transmission and 780mm handlebars mean this is not a straight-up cross-country bike

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).

eecycleworks eeTop and eeNut

These parts from eecycleworks should save around 30g over a conventional preload assembly
These parts from eecycleworks should save around 30g over a conventional preload assembly

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!

Transition Smuggler NX

Transition's Smuggler is a 120mm travel 29er that's decidedly not XC
Transition's Smuggler is a 120mm travel 29er that's decidedly not XC

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. 

This sounds perfect for a mountain bike
This sounds perfect for a mountain bike

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 on some serious gravel roads? Panaracer's Gravel King SK tires should be on your list
Taking on some serious gravel roads? Panaracer's Gravel King SK tires should be on your list

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.

Why the next-gen adventure road bike is a mountain bike in disguise

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. 

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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