Where would you be without 11spd on a Friday? We know where we'd be — in the pub. But as it is, here we are collating some of the most interesting bits and pieces that have graced the office this week. And we're not complaining, because there are plenty of things to get excited about this week. The beer can wait ’til later!
Once you've read 11spd, why not peruse some of the other top stories on BikeRadar this week? We've reviewed an innovative, if ultimately disappointing, bike from Marin, gobbled down a load of tasty pancake recipes, faced our fears on a MTB, and learned about the things we didn't know we needed, but actually do.
Guy Martin’s Proper Cleaner
The famous motorcycle racer (and massive MTB fan) Guy Martin has a Proper Cleaner and it's one of those ‘why didn’t we think of those first’ type products.
While a lot of people aren’t bothered about bike-specific cleaners, many are, and so the market is saturated. However, as Guy says, why ship so much water around? The vast majority of a bike cleaner is water, which is heavy to ship, yet comes out of the tap for free (most of the time).
For £6.50 you get what looks like a pretty decent bottle (the squirter appears on first looks to be superior to most) and two small cigar-shape dissolvable capsules – enough for 1.5 litres of cleaner.
Fill the bottle, pop the capsule in, wait 20 seconds, shake and you’re good to go.
Cheaper, lighter shipping, less waste, and hopefully decent cleaning. With Bike of the Year testing going on, we’ll be testing its cleaning capabilities to the max.
- £6.50 (£5 refills)
Vecnum moveLOC 2 200mm dropper
Vecnum isn't the biggest name in the dropper market, but we reckon their dropper is the longest currently available aftermarket – 140mm, 170mm and a massive 200mm options are around. Vecnum says this means it has a dropper to fit any rider out there.
The design is smart too – easily liftable dust seals for basic servicing, a fairly adjustable head, anti-rotation guides, and a failsafe locking button at the actuator, should your cable fail. While it's not infinitely adjustable, the pre-set drops are at 40mm, 100mm and the full 200mm.
Yes, it’s back to the old-school of external routing, which many won’t like, but at least the cable enters the post at the collar, rather than the head, meaning you won’t have a load of cable flapping around when you drop the saddle.
Our long-legged tester Seb will be getting to grips with the post.
- €369 (shipping worldwide)
Renthal Push-On Ultra Tacky grip and Grip Glue
Apparently not everyone likes a lock-on grip (who knew?), but people did like the really, really tacky lock-on that Renthal made. So they’ve made a non-lock-on version of said grip.
It is super, super tacky too – it’ll leave your hands feeling all sticky after using it, whether you ride in the wet or dry. Once it loses its tackiness, apparently all you need to do is run it under water and let it dry.
Without a locking collar though, there’s an increase risk of the grip slipping, so they’ve also developed a grip glue to go with their push-on grips (less tacky versions are available for a few quid/dollars less, and there’s a harder wearing Kevlar model for the same cash).
This does mean once they’re on, you’re going to need a blade to cut them off again, but, if you want grippy grips without the lock-on collar, that might be what you gotta do.
- Grips: £11.95 / $15.95 / AU$30
- Glue: £7 / $8.95 / AU$17
Veloforte endurance nutrition
If you subscribe to the ‘it’s natural and therefore must be better’ maxim, then you’ll love Veloforte’s energy bars as there’s literally nothing you won’t have heard of in them.
Nuts, fruits, honey, unrefined sugar and various spices all combine to make mildly chewy, energy-packed bites and bars.
£6.99 may sound like a lot for a pack of three bars but at not far off 300 calories each they pack in more energy than some, so a little should go a long way. We passed the Bites Bag around the office during the post-lunch slump and their flavour split opinion, somewhat like Marmite.
Veloforte is keen to point out that its Classico and Di Bosco flavours have received Great Taste awards, with them earning 2 stars ("outstanding") and 1 star ("simply delicious") respectively.
- £6.99 per pack
Bell Super DH MIPS
The Super DH MIPS is the latest product in Bell’s convertible full-face line-up, and the first with full DH safety rating (ASTM 1952, fact fans).
In full-face mode there’s an airy opening for your face, interchangeable cheek pads for adjustable fit and plenty of ventilation.
Unclip the chin guard and you have a deep and protective open-face helmet. The usual Bell features are there too – X-Static padding, sweat and goggle guides, a breakaway camera/light mount and a magnetic chin-strap clip.
The most interesting part is the MIPS Spherical liner – instead of a plastic sheet inside the helmet moving around in a crash, there’s a suspended EPS foam liner that moves. This presumably adds extra impact protection and reduces the risk of cuts to your head from the previous plastic liner.
- £250 / $300 / AU$450
This handsome beast from Basso looks every inch the Euro racer. Weighing in at 7.2kg in a 58 with full mechanical Ultegra and Microtech deep section carbon clinchers, the Diamante combines slickly blended aero lines with burly tube profiles.
The geometry is long and low — a medium gets 393mm of reach and 529mm of stack — although Basso does offer an optional conical headset spacer to raise the front end slightly.
The curious shroud-like piece up front doesn’t move incidentally, it’s part of the frame, for reasons that aren’t totally obvious.
One detail we really appreciate is the Italian flag on top of the fork crown, which is only revealed when you turn the bars.
- £4,800 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Metier Beacon jacket
We’ve been dazzled by the gilet already, now meet Metier’s LED-festooned winter jacket.
The Beacon is a race-fit, water-resistant, wind-resistant jacket with built-in front and rear LED lights.
The white front-facing LEDs produce a claimed 160 lumens while the red rears pump out 22.
They’re powered by a neat little battery box that sits in a rear zipped pocket, and which purports to offer between 12 and 72 hour of battery life depending on which light mode (slow flash, fast flash or steady) you’ve selected.
- £250 / $348 / AU$442
IRC Aspite Pro Wet and Roadlite Tubeless tyres
IRC makes a bewildering array of rubbery options for the road and the latest to land on our desks are the Aspite Pro Wet and the Roadlite Tubeless.
The former is a file-tread wet weather clincher with a 180tpi casing and bead-to-bead puncture protection. Intriguingly, a raised ridge on the tyre smooths the rim-tyre junction for lower drag. Neat, eh?
Our 24mm set weighs in at 215g each, a little more than claimed but still pretty light if they live up to their durability claims. According to UK importer The Cycle Clinic, these measure up at about 25mm on a 19mm internal rim.
The Roadlite Tubeless is a 120tpi tyre for those who have ditched tubes. Weighing around 340g for a 25mm (they run bigger too apparently), these are butyl-lined for maximum air retention.
In a world where road tubeless hasn’t quite gone mainstream, more options are always welcome...
- Aspite Pro Wet 24mm: £45 / $TBC
- Roadlite Tubeless 23 or 25mm: £45 / $TBC
Quoc Pham Gran Tourer gravel shoes
Quoc Pham is best known for its classy retro-styled shoes and its latest venture is these touring-specific numbers, which claim to offer the perfect all-rounder solution for distance riding, gravel and hike-a-bikes.
Quoc has sent us a pre-production pair to ogle in advance of the official launch on Kickstarter on 1 March.
The Gran Tourers are SPD-only and feature an aggressive sole tread for off-the-bike shenanigans.
They’re designed to be completely waterproof up to the black seam border and the tongue is gusseted so muck and water can’t easily enter next to the laces.
The upper is made from a tough microfibre and its pattern apparently blends a Vietnamese tiger camouflage pattern with topographical maps of the UK. Fancy, eh?
There will ultimately be four colour options, and the unusual-looking lacing arrangement is designed to allow the wearer to vary the tightness along the length of the shoe for a better fit.
This pre-production pair weighs an average 389g per shoe, but of course that may be subject to change for the final design.
- Anticipated retail price: £220
Cane Creek Slamset
Cane Creek’s Slamset is a headset for riders who want to get as low as possible. We spotted the zero stack version of the Slamset at last year’s Eurobike, and now we’ve got our hands on the IS (integrated) version, which is simply a super low-profile upper bearing assembly, plus a lightweight top cap, bolt and star nut.
The IS Slamset gets you 5mm lower than a standard headset and the whole lot weighs just 39g. It includes Cane Creek’s latest extra-durable Hellbender bearing, partly to compensate for the more minimal sealing necessitated by the low stack design.
- £TBC / $49 (upper assembly only) / AU$TBC
Draper Expert T Handle hex keys
There’s no rule that says the tools you use to work on your bikes have to be bike-specific and mass-market equipment is often just as good, and a whole lot cheaper.
These T-handle (or 'P' if you prefer!) hex wrenches from Draper cover the major sizes from 2 to 10mm, with ball ends on the long side and nice, substantial plastic handles.
The bits themselves are made from the usual chrome vanadium steel, and they’ve got a hard black finish that’s designed to resist rusting.
Draper ships these with a folded steel wall-mounting stand, and the individual spanners have holes so they could always be hung from pegs separately in your workshop.
- £29.82 / $TBC