Another week has come and gone and most of us are unfortunately none the wiser; just plain older and as insufferably grumpy as you were the week before. As that internet meme goes, you can’t buy happiness but you can buy a bike (and bike stuff!) and that’s close enough.
Toss frugality out the window and take a look at some of the hot new gear to land on BikeRadar’s doorstep recently – because after all, you can always get a friend to spot you for that post-ride burrito if you conveniently ‘just happen’ to forget your wallet at home.
New mountain bike gear
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie
Specialized’s top-end S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6fattie blew us away with its incredibly fun personality and awesome overall capabilities but needless to say, its sky-high price tag doesn’t suit everyone’s budget. Following up on that, we’ve brought in for a long-term test that bike’s somewhat more economical cousin, the Stumpjumper FSR Expert 6fattie.
The Expert version uses the exact same 135mm-travel frame and rear shock as the S-Works model and a very similar 150mm-travel Fox fork so suspension performance should be virtually identical between the two. The Expert uses identical 27.5x3.0in tyres, too, just wrapped around alloy Roval rims instead of the S-Works’ carbon ones. Similarly, the flagship’s SRAM XX1 drivetrain and Shimano XTR Trail brakes get swapped out for a SRAM X1/XO1 and Shimano Deore XT setup to bring the price down.
Actual weight for a medium sample is a surprisingly svelte 12.92kg (28.48lb) with a full suite of SWAT accessories (steerer mounted chain tool, frame mounted multi-tool, and bottle cage). Aside from a little extra weight, there shouldn’t be any major changes in on-trail performance relative to the S-Works version – and if that assumption holds true, this bike should be an absolute banger.
$6500 / £4800 / €6000 / AU$8500
Trek Farley 9.8
Trek’s Farley line of fat bikes grew a whole new premium range recently with the introduction of all-new carbon models. While these easily could have just been done up as lighter-weight versions of the extant alloy models, Trek has taken the surprisingly bold move of instead building them around larger-diameter 27.5x3.8in wheels and tyres instead of the 26in ones more commonly found on fat bikes.
The thinking here is that the 3.8in tyres will make the upper-end Farleys more versatile in non-wintertime conditions while still leaving room for ultra-fat 26x5in rubber when needed – basically giving you two bikes in one (although you’ll have to provide the second set of wheels and tyres on your own).
Our high-end Farley 9.8 test model features a rigid carbon fork, Bontrager carbon wheels, a SRAM X1/XO1 transmission with Race Face’s feathery Next SL crankset, and SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc brakes. As usual, the Bontrager label fills out the rest of the spec sheet.
There’s unfortunately no dropper post included as standard equipment but the upside is an astonishingly low weight for a production fat bike: just 10.82kg (23.84lb, without pedals) for a medium size on our scales.
$4800 / £3500 / €4700
Northwave CX Tech winter shoes
For those in-between days when it’s not quite cold enough for full-blown winter shoes but too cold for airy summer ones, there’s Northwave’s new CX Tech. Aimed specifically at the cyclocross crowd (but plenty appropriate for all-around MTB use), the CX Techs feature a wraparound neoprene cuff, a non-ventilated upper, and sealed cleat holes to help keep your feet a little warmer and drier than usual while still keeping things reasonably light.
Additional features include a carbon fibre and carbon-reinforced nylon sole, an aggressive co-moulded TPU tread, an adjustable-length ratcheting main strap, and a fluorescent yellow finish to help keep you visible in low-light conditions.
Actual weight for a pair of size 43.5 shoes is 795g.
$190 / £TBC / €180 / AU$TBC
Bontrager XR1 Team Issue tyres
Bontrager has redesigned its XR1 Team Issue tyre this year, retaining its aim as a premier fast-rolling and lightweight cross-country option optimised for dry conditions but with better grip. The previous version’s rectangular knobs have been replaced with new hollowed-out pentagonal and hexagonal blocks that should present more biting edges to the ground.
The shoulder tread has been beefed up, too, with bigger and more heavily bolstered knobs for improved cornering stability. A new ‘Inner Strength’ casing reinforcement guards against sidewall cuts, too.
Actual weight for a tubeless-ready 29x2.2in sample is just 640g.
$75 / £40 / €50 / AU$80
Giro Accessory Mount
The aptly named Accessory Mount is just that – a way to attach cameras, lights, and other accessories to helmets, frames, handlebars, and, well, just about anything else. The stretchy o-rings can be secured to eight separate anchor points on the round base as needed, and as long as your accessory uses a standard GoPro-style mount, you should be good to go.
Actual weight is just 34g.
$20 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC
New road bike gear
Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad wheels and Yksion Elite Allroad tyres
Mavic is finally busting out of its old-school shell with a host of modern features all rolled into one versatile new wheelset, the Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad. Internal rim width is now a healthy 19mm – a substantial 4mm jump over older Ksyriums – which Mavic says is ideal for tyres measuring 28-42mm across. Despite the extra girth, rim weight is impressively still held in check at 420g (claimed) thanks to Mavic’s latest – and prettiest – machining processes. In a first for Mavic road wheels, the rims are also tubeless compatible straight out of the box.
The Centerlock rotor-compatible hubs receive a major update as well with a new freehub mechanism that engages at much speedier nine-degree intervals (nearly twice as quick as before) while also boasting improved seals that Mavic says will hold up better to all-weather use. Both the front and rear hubs are convertible between quick-release and thru-axle frame standards, too, and Mavic’s longstanding Zicral bladed aluminium spokes connect all the pieces together.
Actual weight for our thru-axle, Shimano/SRAM-compatible test set is 1,677g (780g front; 897g rear).
Mavic pairs those wheels with its new 28mm-wide Yksion Elite Guard tyres or the 30mm-wide Yksion Elite Allroad tyres we’ve chosen here, which feature a reinforced 120tpi nylon casing, tubeless-ready construction, and a lightly textured tread designed for use on both paved and dirt or gravel roads. Actual weight is 331g apiece.
$1250 / £750 / €1000 / AU$TBC (Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad wheelset with Yksion Elite Allroad tyres)
Specialized S-Works 6 shoes
S-Works road shoes have long been a staff favourite but this latest incarnation may elevate that status even further. The new version is lighter than ever at just 220g per size 43 shoe – even less than claimed! – while also incorporating high-tech Dyneema non-stretch fabrics that are thermowelded on top of the soft synthetic upper materials for a supple yet highly supportive and snug fit.
Further boosting that fantastic hold is an unusually aggressively tapered external heel cup and generous internal padding, which is a bit hard to get on to your foot but simply won’t let go once afterward. Meanwhile, the toe box is refreshingly roomy so your little piggies have plenty of space to comfortably wander no matter how tightly you wind up the dual Boa S2-Snap cable reels.
Down below is what Specialized says is its lightest and most rigid carbon sole to date – and yes, it still incorporates the company’s usual Body Geometry built-in arch and forefoot wedge features. Titanium cleat inserts shave yet a few more precious grams, and they can be flipped if you want a more rearward cleat position.
$400 / £280 / €TBC / AU$549
Vittoria Revolution tyres
Part of Vittoria’s new graphene-infused tyre range for 2016, the Revolution is aimed at urban riders who want a long lasting and grippy option that still lasts a long time. Vittoria says the addition of graphene – a specific molecular form of carbon – helps stabilise the rubber compound and prevents it from degrading prematurely but without affecting its traction characteristics.
Vittoria says the finely textured pattern helps with the rolling resistance equation, too, with the tiny knob sections supposedly allowing the casing to flex more easily as you glide across the tarmac.
The Revolution is offered in 700x28, 32, 35, and 38c sizes for street use, and in a bigger 2.0in width for “mixed terrain” in 26, 27.5, and 29in diameters. Actual weight for our 700x28c samples is 586g each.
$52 / £TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC
Pearl Izumi PRO AmFib Super Glove
For the nastiest of days, Pearl created a new take on the old lobster-glove design to hit that sweet spot of warmth and dexterity.
Primaloft Gold provides the insulation, Outdry bonds the waterproof, breathable membrane to the glove’s exterior, and separate index and middle fingers keep the brakes and shifters operational.
Additional touches include a drawcord to keep the elements out, a cinch strap to secure the fit, Clarino synthetic leather palms for good bar feel and that all-important soft nose wipe on the thumb.
$120 / £N/A / €TBC / AU$TBC
We’ve written about the Spurcycle bell before but to be perfectly honest, we just think it’s so cool that it’s worth mentioning again – particularly since it isn’t often specifically mentioned that it’s one of the only options out there that works really well on oversized 31.8mm-diameter road handlebars.
Unlike typical bells, the US-made Spurcycle is unabashedly high-end with premium brass and stainless steel construction, a distinctive design that wouldn’t look out of place on expensive road racing machines, and a notably deeper and richer tone. Actual weight is 42g.
Bells aren’t just for the benefit of others; they benefit you, too, and if you’re going to go high-zoot on the rest of your bike, you might as well go all the way.
- $49 / £32 / €46 / AU$69 (Spurcycle bell, raw finish)
- $59 / £39 / €55 / AU$83 (Spurcycle bell, black DLC finish)
SKS RaceBlade Long mudguards
SKS has redesigned its clever RaceBlade Long quick-release road mudguards for 2016, retaining the original’s generous coverage and no-eyelets-necessary design but with new attachment hardware positions that should hold up better in foul weather.
They’re relatively narrow and ideally aimed at tyres measuring 25mm or narrower but you’ve got a traditional road racing bike with centre-mounted brake calipers, quick-release wheels, and limited clearances and still like to occasionally go play in the rain, these are one of the best options around.
$60 / £45 / €45 / AU$80