With 2017 just a hop away, this final 11spd of the year features interesting, weird and the slightly sketchy tech the BikeRadar offices around the world have seen come and go. So before you go drink and eat yourself into a glorious festive coma, have a gander at this selection of bangers.
New mountain bike gear
Shimano S-Phyre XC9
Shimano’s all new S-Phyre XC9 shoes are designed for world cup cross-country racing. Weighing in at 366g per shoe in size 45 they’ve definitely got featherweight credentials, which combined with Shimano’s new BOA dials, should make for a winning combination. But let's face it, all anyone really cares about is the colour. The metallic blue will ensure you stand out from the crowd at your next race or when secretly devouring cakes at the trail centre cafe.
GoPro HERO 5 Session
GoPro obviously needs no introduction and even though it has hit a bit of a rough patch lately with the Karma drone recall, its latest line up HERO 5 cameras are top of the pile.
We've finally got our hands on the HERO 5 Session and it certainly packs a punch in its tiny 73g package. 4k (at 30fps), video stabilization and voice control are now a core part of the HERO 5 family.
Stay tuned for a full review coming soon.
- £250 / $300 / AU$460
Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex
With more and more tubeless set ups rolling through our door, we’ve been going through quite a lot of sealant lately. Lucky for us we’ve just received a bottle of Effetto Mariposa's Caffelatex.
This coffee-coloured latex-based sealant turns to foam when the wheel begins spinning, which is said to allow it to better coat the entirety of the internal cavity and seal sidewall punctures more efficiently.
The liquid is infused with silicate particles, which are two microns in diameter, and Mariposa says helps the sealant block punctures more efficiently but also won't clog your valves. It’s also ammonia and harsh chemical free.
- 1000ml: $29.95 / £19.99 / $39.95
Specialized Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tyre Setter
Tubeless inflation used to be frustrating at the best of times, but with more companies bringing out tubeless inflators it's certainly getting easier.
Specialized's snappily named Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tyre Setter works in a similar way to an Airshot in so far that it's a chamber only system as opposed to a chamber and pump like Bontrager's Flash Charger TLR, which means it's probably more suited to the workshop than keeping in the back of your car for those days out on the trail.
It's not just high volume tyre specific, the Air Tool Blast is compatible with road, mountain and plus tyres.
- $55 / £40 / AUS$80
Bontrager Rhythm Mountain Shoes
Bontrager's latest iteration of the Rhythm Mountain Shoe is firmly in the middle of performance, comfort and protection with it's seven out of 14 stiffness rating, allowing riders to have a relatively stiff pedaling platform with the protection enduro and tougher trail riders may want.
The GnarGuard outer is a slightly odd rubbery texture to the touch, but is designed to ensure longevity by protecting the shoe from tears and scuffs that naturally occur out on the trail.
- £140 / $180 / AUS$260
New road gear
CHPT.III K61 Rain Jacket
From the second collection by CHPT.III, the David Millar and Castelli collaboration, comes the K61 rain jacket. It’s named after the post code in Hong Kong where Millar used to live and where the monsoon season brought rain unlike any he’d ever seen. This, he says, is a jacket for just such conditions, when it’s pouring down as you leave the house.
It’s made from a superlight, highly breathable and completely waterproof fabric by eVent. It’s soft to the touch on both sides and has some stretch, too, so it’s much quieter and more comfortable than normal rain jackets. But then it should be at this price.
Other features include a cut inspired by fine tailoring, with turn-up reflective cuffs, square shoulders and dart lines on the front. It comes in Fire Red only.
Sidi Shot Road
First seen at the 2016 Tour de France, Sidi’s new Shot shoe was worn by Chris Froome on the way to a third overall title. This size 44 weighed in at 304g per shoe on the BikeRadar scales, so they’re lighter than Sidi’s previous models. But the biggest change is the positioning of Sidi’s dial closures from the side of the shoe to the tongue. This should help eliminate hot spots and protect the dials from any crash damage. As you’d expect from Sidi, they come in a variety of bright colours and don’t come cheap.
- £359 / €389 / $N/A
Mack Workshop — The Sack
Mack Workshop specialises in quality bags and bike accessories for carrying your stuff when out and about. Each bag is fully customisable and made by hand, meaning you can have a huge variety of different sizes, colours and features. The quality looks top notch and coming in at £100 for a fully custom, handmade bag, we think it offers pretty good value too.
Rapha Shadow Kit
Summer is off to a pretty wet start at our Australian HQ and the Rapha Pro Team Shadow kit could not have come at a better time.
Rather than a laminated fabric like Castelli’s Gabba jersey, the Pro Team Show Jersey and Bibs are made from double DWR treated stretch weave fabric. The thread receives a treatment before it’s woven into the fabric, which is then steam treated to shrink the fabric and create an ultra tight weave.
Rapha says this allows it to breath better than the standard 2.5 and three layer laminates and causes water to bead off the fabric. That said, just like every waterproof garment, after so many washes it will likely need to be retreated as DWR treatments and the like wash out.
The race fit kit sees taped seams on the shoulders and arms to keep the elements at bay and the pockets have drain holes to keep prevent water from pooling and extra long sleeves.
The kit isn’t cheap though, coming it at £220 / $320 / AU$375 for the jersey and £260 / $385 / $450 for the bibs.
Fulcrum Speed 40
Fulcrum pitches its new Speed 40 clincher as offering "race winning performance without the need of a team car."
The new carbon clinchers feature a striking 3k carbon finish as well as what Fulcrum is calling a specially designed HTG (High-Temperature Glass-transition) in an effort to prevent delaminations from braking. Fulcrum has also employed is 3Diamant braking surface, which is said to extend the life of the rims and dissipate heat well.
At 40mm deep the rims see a 24.2mm external / 17mm internal width and tip our scales at 1,420g for the set (without tubes, tires, skewers or cassette). The rims are handbuilt and see an undrilled rim bed. Fulcrum uses its MoMag tech technology, which sees the spoke nipples inserted into the rim through the valve hole and guided where they need to be with a magnet — thus eliminating the need to drill holes in the rim bed.
The wheels also see a carbon hub and USB ceramic bearings with a cup and cone adjustment system, and come with internal cam skewers and Fulcrum brake pads. For those looking for something a more stealthy, the Speed 40s also come with Fulcrum's ‘Dark’ decals.
- £1,650 / €1,922 / $2,230 / AU$2,600
While Attaquer is best known for its loud and lairy kits, it makes pretty rad socks too.
The footbed is perforated on top and features a silver infused yarn to keep foot funk at bay. They’re also plenty tall measuring 18cm / 7in and are available in tons of colours and designs.
- £15 / $19 / AU$25