Is it Friday already? Now how did we get here so quickly? Perhaps time compressed, just like the tiny sliver of elastomer that cushions the rear of one of our favourite bikes of the week, BMC's Teamelite TE01 XC racer. In any case, we're just about done with all the stuff announced between Eurobike and Interbike, and the flow of top-notch cycling kit continues unabated. Below, we have 10 hot new products that have landed on the desks of our Sydney, Australia offices, and one mouthwatering bike from our Bristol HQ. Enjoy...
New mountain bike gear
Trek Top Fuel 9
The Top Fuel is reborn for 2016, replacing Trek’s (previously Gary Fisher’s) long-standing Superfly FS series. Designed for World Cup level cross-country racing, the Top Fuel offers 100mm of efficient suspension travel built around 29erwheels (27.5in for the two smallest frame sizes).
Where it’s possible to buy the exact carbon framed Top Fuel the Trek World Racing team use, we’ve got our hands on the far more affordable Top Fuel 9. Using the identical ‘Full Floater’ and ‘Evo Link’ suspension design with the adjustable geometry Mino link, cost savings are achieved in the alloy frame.
Given the price, a highlight is the RockShox XX Full Sprint handlebar lockout
Despite a price that’s less than half that of the Top Fuel 9.9 SL, The Top Fuel 9 retains a parts specification that’s ready to race. With this, a RockShox SID XX fork and Monarch XX rear shock are linked together with a XX Full Sprint hydraulic remote lockout at the handlebar. Perhaps carrying a little more weight, the SRAM X1 11-speed groupset offers proven performance, as do the Shimano Deore XT brakes.
£3,000 / $4,000 / AU$4,099
Crankbrothers Candy 7 pedals
Something we saw while at Interbike, the Candy 7 is an entirely new pedal model that offers all the function of the premium-priced Candy 11 pedals, but with heavier, stronger and far cheaper hardened steel axles and stainless-steel wings.
For 2016, Crankbrothers has completely revamped its entire range of pedals, with the biggest differences found inside. Carrying a five-year warranty, the new pedals feature a glide bushing from Igus, a sealed bearing from Enduro and revised sealing.
Found on the Candy 7 (and 11) is the new Traction Pad technology which allows slide-in plastic pads for customizing shoe contact surface. This means shoes with problematic treads should be of little issue, while those who prefer a snug fit between the shoe and pedal will be able to get what they want.
Other features include beveled edges on the alloy pedal body to slide off rock strikes, and an alloy bashguard protecting the endcap.
Available in a black, red or pink, our pre-production Candy 7s weigh 320g for the pair.
£TBC / $165 / AU$TBC
Wolf Tooth bottle opener with rotor truing slot
If you have disc brakes, you’ve likely experienced a little rotor rub. If the rub is inconsistent and only happening at one point in your wheel’s rotation, then it’s likely warped in the rotor that’s easily fixed.
While it's not exactly a technical tool, this 31g piece of CNC-machined 7075 T6 alloy offers a rotor truing slot on one end, and a quality bottle opener at the other. Wolf Tooth is hardly the first to create such a combination (Abbey Bike Tools Stu stick is the first we know of), but it has done a good job.
Featuring a little hole for hanging, it’s available in a choice of seven anodized colours.
£TBC / $20 / AU$TBC
ESI Fit CR grips
Released at Interbike, the Fit CR is a thinner version of the recently released Fit XC grip. The Fit grips are ergonomically shaped versions of the original silicone grip – they’re designed to reduce hand pressure, increase bike control and improve riding comfort.
The CR is best described as being the thickness love child of the brand’s Chunky and Racer’s Edge grips. Compare this to the thicker XC, which is closer to a Extra Chunky and Chunky mix. With less material, the CR weighs 55g for a pair, about 10g less than the XC.
Priced a little higher than straight-shaped ESI grips, the US-made Fit CR grips are available in black, aqua, green, orange (pictured) and red.
£TBC / $33 / AU$50
Finish Line Mechanic Grip gloves
Re-usable, machine washable and chemical resistance, we picked up a pair of these mechanics gloves at Interbike. With a breathable mesh backing, the palm features a thin chemical resistant polyurethane palm.
We’ve already used these and found them to be grippier than bare hands, comfortable, breathable and most importantly, thin enough for suitable feel. Assuming you don’t dip your whole hand in chemicals, your skin and future self will thank you too.
There are extremely similar gloves available from more generic sources, however, the price on these is more than fair. The Mechanic Grip gloves are available in two sizes – small/medium and large/X-large.
£TBC / $5 / AU$TBC
Abbey Bike Tools Suspension Top Cap Sockets
Suspension fork top caps are commonly made of soft alloy and don’t offer a whole lot of tool purchase – so often end up marred or, worse, stripped when worked on. With this, experienced mechanics commonly grind the bevel off expensive automotive sockets to get a flush and secure fit.
Saving this stress, Abbey Bike Tools now makes a set of five 3/8in drive sockets designed specifically for cleanly removing most common sized fork top caps. Beyond the perfectly flush fit, the sockets are made of high-grade aluminium and are kept to just 25mm in height to reduce the risk of camming off.
At $150, the set including 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32mm sizes is clearly aimed at professional or regular suspension servicer.
£TBC / $150 / AU$TBC
New road bike gear
Lazer LifeBEAM 2.0 DIY kit
Announced at Eurobike, Lazer and LifeBEAM teamed up to create a DIY helmet upgrade for their Z1, Magma, Blade and other lids. First developed to monitor the vital signs of pilots and astronauts, the Belgian helmet maker is the first company to implement LifeBEAM into cycling helmets.
By replacing the rear mud cap and brow pad with the LifeBEAM 2.0 setup, the little optical sensor sits against your forehead and measures heart rate, while a matchbox-sized ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled junction box sits at the back of the helmet wirelessly transmitting information to a paired device.
The LifeBEAM 2.0 installed on a Lazer Z1
The whole unit adds 44g to a Lazer Z1 helmet, but eliminates the need for a chest strap. It runs off a USB rechargeable lithium polymer battery and has a claimed life of 15 hours.
We’ll be putting the new LifeBEAM 2.0 DIY through it’s paces attached to a top end Z1.
£TBC / $TBC / AU$180 (LifeBeam DIY kit only)
Cuore custom Silver jersey and bibs
A little while back we received a few samples of clothing from custom-clothing specialist Cuore – something we took a look at. With the exception of the Two-In-One skinsuit, this clothing went back untested, with the simple idea that the best way to review a custom item is to have one made for you.
This custom BikeRadar kit is using Cuore’s ‘Silver’ level, with Gold being what IAM-Cycling and Team USA race in, and two cheaper levels also available.
The lightweight summer ‘Race’ jersey offers a barely-there weight and all the features one would expect of a premium product. While more generous fits are available, its name comes from the cut that best suits an athletic build. Our samples feature a side access zippered security pocket that’s lined for a little sweat protection.
The lightweight and mesh-strapped bibs feature an upgraded and generously padded MS2 chamois, the same item that’s found in the Swiss brand’s premium Gold shorts. Another upgrade is the printed silicone Ribbon Tape leg gripper that stretches with the material, rather than falling apart like many other grippers we’ve used.
First impressions on the sublimation side are extremely positive, and the turnaround is exceptional.
- Silver jersey: £TBC / $163 / AU$200 (reduces based on quantity, price given is based on a one-item custom order)
- Silver bibs: £TBC / $184 / AU$217 (reduces based on quantity, price given is based on a one-item custom order)
Topeak ComboTorq wrench and bit set
Released late last year, this simple beam-style torque wrench is built for the casual home mechanic and is one of the cheapest multi-torque wrenches going. This type of torque wrench is well proven for repeatable accuracy, simply relying on the metal shaft’s flex for a visual torque reading.
Measuring torques between 3-12nm in 1nm increments, the ComboTorq should handle the most common of bolt tightening tasks. It includes a T25 and 3-6mm hex bits stored within its plastic handle.
£15 / $25 / AU$30
Nite Ize GripLit
One best suited to the urban commuter, GripLit is another product we picked up at Interbike. Sold as a pair, these lights simply stretch over the ends of your bars and provide safety lighting at your bike’s widest component.
Featuring a rubber sleeve, the lights will slip over handlebars between 26 and 32mm in diameter. Simply press the ends to turn on and toggle between the flash and glow modes.
Claimed to be water resistant, the lights are said to last 25 hours on flash mode, with easily replaceable 2016 coin cell batteries within. Our samples provide a red light, but we saw a ‘Disc-O’ colour-changing option too.
At 32g for the pair, the plastic and rubber construction is a sign of the low price… as is the fact they’re not overly bright by current LED standards.
£TBC / $20 / AU$TBC
Pinarello Dogma K8-S frameset
If you don’t follow road racing then there’s a chance you won’t know about this bike, and even if you do keep up with the peloton a lot of people never realised it would ever make production. It is of course the K8-S from Pinarello, a suspension-equipped road bike developed for Team Sky in conjunction with Jaguar-Land Rover.
The K8-S sandwiches an elastomer between its seatstays and seat tube and by doing so delivers 10mm of vertical travel at its rear wheel. In order to providing that movement without the use of a pivot, the chainstays of the K8-S had to be radically altered from that of the regular Dogma, and so are unique to this model.
The front triangle didn’t escape modification either; with a head tube angle slackened off by half a degree, and a fork that is raked out by a further 4mm when compared with a Dogma F8 – both of these tweaks are to increase stability at speed.
Of course, this is far from being the first suspension road bike but it is officially the first bike of its kind to gain UCI homologation. It’s kind of a big deal, and so we’ll be following up on this one with a first look article very soon.
£4,675 / $6,250 / AU$TBC