As another weekend of riding looms tantalisingly close, and the smell of chain lube is almost tangible in the air, it's time to get your gear fix with 2015's 26th edition of Friday Five-a-side.
Yes, we're half way through the year and hitting the stride of the cycling season in the northern hemisphere (if you're reading this from Oz, we at BikeRadar UK would still take your winter over our summer) so it's very much the time for some fresh gear to tempt your wallets.
New mountain bike gear
Praxis 11-40t cassette
For those who are seeking a bigger block out back, but don’t want the compatibility issues and excessive costs associated with going for a 1x specific drivetrain, there’s this wide range ten speed cassette from Praxis. The 40t crawler cog and its neighbouring ring are both formed from alloy with the remaining cogs being made from steel. The choice to run with a 40 tooth and not a 42-tooth cog was a deliberate one, and should mean you won’t require any extreme B-tension adjustment or additional hardware to scale the block.
The new Praxis cassette isn't exactly cheap but it is quite light at 320g, exactly as claimed. Most importantly, whereas Shimano has decided to limit its wide-range cassettes only to the 11-speed crowd, this offers a dedicated wide-range cassette for 10-speed users without any of the compromises that come with aftermarket range extending cog kits.
For a closer look at this cassette check out our first look article.
£100 / US$130 / AU$180
Fizik M3 UOMO Shoes
Nearly everyone who saw these M3 UOMOs from Fizik asked whether or not these were road shoes which, given the inherently more slick nature of road slippers, we’d say is a pretty big compliment.
These stealthy mid-range kicks are handmade in Italy and feature a carbon sole complete with a removable skid guard. The rest of the shoe is constructed from a mixture of anti-scratch leather and nylon mesh. Closure is handled by an alloy ratchet system and two cloth straps. We’d totally understand why you’d want to keep these clean but it’s our job to get them dirty – look out for a full review soon.
£215 / US$275 / AU$TBC
Corsair Toro frame
Corsair bikes are once again available in the UK, and among a line-up of hard-hitting single pivot full-sussers is this tough hardtail. Aimed at everyone from the fourcross racer through to the dirt jump crowd, the alloy Toro is designed around a 100mm fork while adjustable 12mm dropouts mean it’s happy with one gear or a derailleur setup.
Oversized tubing meets chunky CNCed sections in a structure that’s every bit as lairy as its kermit green paintjob. For those who are switched off by the latter, it’s also available in a more subtle blue shade.
Our test bike has been fully kitted out with a slammed Rockshox Pike fork, Atomlab hoops and SRAM’s X01 DH seven-speed downhill specific gearing – an unusual choice that actually makes a lot of sense for this application.
£549 / US$599 / AU$N/A
TomTom Bandit action camera
Satellite Navigation pioneer TomTom has placed itself firmly into the action camera world with this new GPS enabled device. The Bandit isn’t just any other action camera; it has a wealth of nifty features that set it apart from the competition.
Footage can be recorded at up to 60fps at 1080p or 4k at 15fps with slow motion and timelapse modes also available. One stroke of brilliance is the fact that the Bandit requires no wires for charging or uploading footage; instead the cylindrical device features a USB 3.0 connector that serves both to access its Micro SD memory (expandable up to 128GB) as well as to charge its integrated battery. The Bandit features an integrated screen and is waterproof out of the box – but you’ll need a lens accessory to take the camera down to its full 50m depth rating.
TomTom understands that many of the clips recorded on Bandits will end up on social media and as a result has attempted to make the whole editing and uploading process a far more streamlined experience than that of the competition. Carry a compatible smartphone on you and, once loaded with the correct app, the camera can be prompted via a quick shaking action of a connected mobile phone to display video highlights from your ride – these can then be shared directly to social networks.
The cleverness doesn’t end there – sensors onboard the Bandit mean the device intelligently labels clips when it detects certain forces, meaning it should know when you’ve sent it big off of that double or stacked it hard on the landing!
Stay tuned for a full review soon
£299 / US$430 / AU$TBC
Crankbrothers Mallet 3 limited edition pedals
The Mallet downhill pedals you know and may well love are back in a slightly different guise thanks to a new limited edition range from Crankbrothers. Mechanically identical to the regular versions, the camo/orange option shown above holds a £10 penalty (international pricing is TBC) over regular Mallet 3 pedals – we guess that's the price of fashion nowadays. Ultra-stealthy special edition black versions are also available.
£110 / US$tbc / AU$TBC
New road bike gear
This week’s road selection features no less than five jerseys (sort of) along with Froome’s Tour weapon – the Pinarello Dogma F8 – and some quick-fix bike storage clips. Complaints about the model's smug face to the usual address.
Pinarello Dogma F8
Launched last year, the Dogma F8 is Pinarello’s entry into the aero road category. This pro-level model features the Italian brand’s trademark smooth lines, each tube flowing gracefully into the next. The fork has been straightened compared with the older, wibbly-bladed Dogmas. Naturally, it’s nothing less than full Dura-Ace Di2 and Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels here. Like some Italian sports cars, we’re not quite sure where it’d feature on the cool wall. On the one hand, it's a beautiful sculpture of carbon, and, on the other, it's a bit over the top. Stay tuned for a full review of this, and other Tour bikes, on BikeRadar this summer.
£9,800 / US$5,750 (frameset) / AU$7,000 (frameset)
Hoy Vulpine Valldemossa Race Jersey
Next up, it’s a battle of British jerseys. In the bluey-grey (Orion Blue) corner is Hoy Vulpine’s effort, part of a collection created with superlative track cycling star Sir Chris Hoy. Our first impression is one of quality, but we’re also convinced the fit has been cut for the Scottish powerhouse himself – the broad shoulders and ample bicep space won’t suit those of stringier builds in this size medium. Understated style with simple graphics, red accents and three rear pockets make it a traditional jersey that wouldn’t be out of place for some pub hopping – unless you go for the bright blue and red version. There’s also a full women’s range available.
£70 / International pricing using conversion, free worldwide shipping for orders over £45
Rapha Wiggins Replica jersey
On the other end of the spectrum is Rapha’s Team Wiggins jersey. If the plan is to eke an aero edge by compressing the team’s riders into nothingness, then this will help achieve that. Actually, the smooth fabric is rather comfy and though it’s tight, it’s not uncomfortably so – just keep your wits about you when reading the size chart if you're on the larger side, eh? Styling is, as ever, beautiful. The royal blue and red design is finished with mod detailing and the Olympic champ / Tour winner / Hour Record holder’s name in gold. Well, with a palmarès like that, you can hardly blame the colour choice. Don't forget the matching cap too, to complete the 'full-kit wanker' look (something we at BikeRadar have all been guilty of from time to time).
£75 / US$115 / AU$125
Velopac Mini Jerseys
"More jerseys!" we hear you possibly shout. So here they are. These miniature versions of the Tour’s yellow, green and polka-dot jerseys come with small suckers and are designed to allow your shows of TdF allegiance through any glass portal be it car, lounge window or Team Sky motorhome. They’re made of stretchy Lycra, have different designs front and back and are perfect for those who want to show they love the Tour, but would rather not take a ribbing from mates for wearing a leader’s jersey on a club ride.
£7 each (US$, AU$ TBC)
Clug bike mounts
Drill into the wall, rawlplug in, screw in the Clug and you’re done. This plastic mount allows you to vertically store your bike with roadie, hybrid and MTB versions all available for the same price and in a selection of colours. The front wheel of your bike slots into the Clug while the back wheel rests against the floor. Simple as that. We like the product’s tag line too: “Like a hug for your bike”.
£16 / US$25 / Australia converted from US$ inc. shipping