It’s Friday, and officially autumn – which means it’s time for BikeRadar's US staff to get stuck into some
pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread of the best weekend riding of the year. Get out there and enjoy the cool mornings and crisp air before winter truly arrives - but not before taking a gander of some of the freshest new gear to land at our Colorado office.
New mountain bike gear
Bontrager OMW winter shoes
The winter cycling shoe wars are heating up! Okay, pardon the pun but Bontrager is the latest company to jump into the cold-weather cycling footwear ring with the new Old Man Winter (OMW). Bontrager uses a two-piece design for the OMW shoes with an inner fleece-lined Thinsulate bootie and a high-top waterproof outer shell – not unlike how many snowboard boots are built, in fact.
Compared with Bontrager’s standard cycling shoes, the OMW’s winter-specific inForm Tundra footbed leaves more room in the toebox to allow for better blood circulation in your toes. Outside are two Velcro straps to help lock your heels in place plus a full ‘Tachyon’ rubber outsole for grip on ice and snow.
Other neat details include a ‘sharkskin’ texture on the heel of the inner bootie to keep it from slipping, anchor points on the front for gaiters, waterproof zippers, and an Outdry upper cuff to keep snow from seeping down into your socks.
Actual weight is a very reasonable 1,205g (pair, size 43).
$300 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$N/A
Lindarets GoatLink 11s
The growing availability of range-expanding cogs (such as from Wolf Tooth Components, e*thirteen, OneUp, and others) is making single-chainring drivetrains more accessible to riders of average fitness – but the huge sprockets are also stretching the limits of what rear derailleurs can handle. Following on the footsteps of its original GoatLink, Lindarets has now released the new GoatLink 11s, a replacement bit for Shimano rear derailleurs that improves shifting on 11-speed drivetrains running extra-large cassettes.
According to Lindarets, the GoatLink 11s brings the shifting performance of Shimano rear derailleurs back to stock when paired with SRAM’s wider-range 10-42t cassettes – and even better, also allows riders to use even bigger 44- or 45-tooth sprockets without any major functional losses. Lindarets says that chain wrap is improved across the board, too.
We’ve already been using this for several weeks in combination with Wolf Tooth Components’ 44-tooth GCX cog with great results. As promised, shifting performance feels just as good as a standard Shimano setup but now with a massive 440 percent total range.
$28 / £20 / €25 / AU$38
Silca HX-ONE hex wrench set
In a surprise move, Silca has now expanded outside of bicycle pumps into the world of hand tools with the new HX-One hex wrench set. Not surprisingly at all, though, Silca owner Josh Poertner is applying the same obsessive approach to the tools that he’s used on the company’s awesome floor and frame pumps.
Each wrench is made of extra-hard S-2 tool steel and subjected to an unusually exhaustive nine-step heat treatment process to increase its toughness – which, in layman’s terms, means better shape retention over time and better resistance to shattering under load. According to Silca, each wrench is formed with far better dimensional tolerances than usual, too, for a more precise fit with bolt heads.
The wrenches are then coated with a textured polymer to make them easier to hold (and find), and the kit also includes a custom-made 17-4 stainless steel magnetic adapter that’ll work with any standard 1/4in bit. Ten common ones are included, too.
Perhaps the most visually striking component of the whole set, however, is the wooden case it comes in. It’s CNC-machined from beech and features a magnetic latch, a soft elastomeric cradle for the wrenches, and even a metal Silca badge on the outside.
Obsessive? You betcha. Expensive? Of course. But do you want one? Probably.
$125 / £110 / €TBC / AU$215
Bopworx universal-fit bike protection
Tired of using cobbled-together bits to protect your bike while in transit or in storage? New UK company Bopworx has a comprehensive range of purpose-built bits designed to keep your ride looking new, including molded rubber bumpers, tube wraps, fork dropout guards, and more. There’s even a fork stand that serves double duty for storage or light-duty repair work.
All of the pieces seem well made so far – and definitely more elegant than foam pipe insulation and duct tape.
- $20 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC (Bopworx Bike Bumper)
- $40 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC (Bopworx Double Bike Bumper)
- $55 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC (Bopworx Fork Guard)
- $25 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC (Bopworx Derailleur Guard)
- $35 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC (Bopworx Bop Wrap, twin pack)
EVOC FR Porter 18l pack
Packs with built-in back protection now move into the urban market with EVOC’s new FR Porter, which combines the subtle and elegant styling of a city bag with a CE-certified ‘Liteshield’ insert designed to guard against spinal injuries in a crash. Interestingly enough, the protector’s construction even mimics a human spine with segmented EPS foam cores separated by impact-absorbing polyurethane foam, and EVOC claims it’s still effective even in extreme temperatures.
Even if you never have to use the protector (knock on wood…), the pack itself is pretty noteworthy. There are dedicated foam sleeves for laptops and tablet computers (each of which are suspended off of the bottom so you don’t have to be overly careful when setting the pack down), plenty of smaller pockets for other personal items, a sturdy waist belt to keep everything stable, a helmet holder, and even a built-in rain cover should you find yourself caught out in inclement weather.
Total volume is a generous 18l and actual weight is our medium-sized sample is 1,440 (3.17lb).
$240 / £170 / €230 / AU$374
e*Thirteen tubeless valve stems
Ah, the lowly tubeless valve stem. Seriously, what’s there to improve about it? As it turns out, plenty – at least according to the folks at e*Thirteen. Their new tubeless valve stems feature a bigger-than-usual inner diameter (for better airflow and easier seating of tubeless rubber) and an oversized, overlapping threaded outer sleeve that’s less likely to snap than traditional stems.
In addition, e*Thirteen also includes a variety of spacers, washers, and O-rings for a better fit on a wide range of rim shapes.
E*Thirteen offers its valve stems in three anodized colors. Actual weight is 12g per pair.
$27 / £TBC / €27 / AU$TBC
New road bike gear
Easton EA90 SL Disc wheelset
Easton is continuing its push toward wider-profile wheels with the new EA90 SL Disc, which are built around the same M1 hubs the company has used for the last few years but with all-new alloy rims that measure a generous 19.5mm in between the bead hooks. As compared to more traditionally shaped rims, this spreads out the tire casing and creates a little more air volume for a smoother ride and better grip.
The hubs can be easily converted between thru-axle and quick-release axle fittings and the rims are fully tubeless-compatible, both of which also make the EA90 SL Disc a prime candidate for ’cross racing.
Actual weight for our set is 1,562g (689g front, 873g rear, thru-axle, pre-taped with valve stems).
$950 / £900 / €1180 / AU$TBC
Lazer high-vis AeroShell
Lazer’s clever AeroShell is hardly news but you may not have known that the Belgian helmet company also offers it in a high-vis version that’s perfect for increasing visibility as the sun dips lower on the horizon. As always, the paper-thin polycarbonate cover easily snaps on with no tools required – on to the flagship Z1 model in this case – blocking the majority of vents and providing extra protection from cold and rain.
For those that care about seconds and watts, Lazer says the AeroShell also improves aerodynamic performance while adding negligible weight – just 42g on our scales.
$15 / £15 / €15 / AU$30
Specialized Stix Sport front and rear lights
Specialized’s new Stix Sport LED lights pack some impressive outputs with the front pumping out up to 70 lumens (claimed) and the rear up to 14 lumens. Quoted run times are very good, too, with the front lasting 1 1/2 hours on the highest setting or 14 on the lowest one, and the rear running from just under three to over 18.
What’s most striking about the Stix Sport lights, however, is their ultra-tidy form factor. Each light is barely bigger than a 9V battery with a versatile silicone rubber strap mounting system and a slick quick-release design. Simply flip up a rubber flap to remove the light and plug it directly into a USB port with no additional cables required. Adapters are available for aero-profile tubes and Specialized also offers a wide range of mounts for other applications like saddles, headset spacers, helmets, arm/leg, and more.
Actual weight for each light is a feathery 29g.
$30 / £20 / €34 / AU$40 (Specialized Stix Sport light, front or rear)
Lezyne Strip Drive front and rear lights
So you say you’re not running daytime LED flashers when heading out for a road ride? You should at least consider it, given that drivers are as inattentive as ever and not exactly going out of their way to watch out for your safety.
Lezyne continues to build its LED light business, including these new Strip Drive high-powered LED blinkies. The rear one pumps out 25 lumens on the highest setting – enough to be seen even during daylight hours – and small cutouts provide side-to-side visibility. Claimed run time is up to three hours on the highest flashing setting or up to 14 hours at the lowest power (5 lumens).
Meanwhile, the matching front Strip Drive Pro cranks out 120 lumens with an impressive claimed run time of 9 1/2 hours on the highest-output daytime flashing mode.
Each light weighs 64g (including mounting strap) and is easily rechargeable via built-in USB plugs. Claimed recharge time is just 2 1/2 hours when using a 1A charger.
$68 / £55 / €TBC / AU$120 (Lezyne Strip Drive front and rear set)
Ritchey BarKeeper tire levers
Never find yourself stuck on the side of the road without a tire lever ever again if Ritchey has any say on the matter. The new BarKeeper cleverly integrates a lever right into an otherwise standard bar end plug and although it’s rather short (meaning there will be less leverage than with a more conventional lever), it’ll always be on your bike when you need it.
Actual weight is just 17g each and they’ll fit in either road or mountain bike handlebars.
$15 / £TBC / €16 / AU$TBC (each)