Friday the 13th is a day that's traditionally been viewed in Western culture as bringing bad luck. While cyclists aren't viewed in general as the most superstitious of people — bar perhaps having a lucky pair of socks for racing or a small pre-ride ritual — sometimes it's best to err on the side of caution. Especially now Snowmageddon is here in the UK (US readers, no laughing at the back there).
- Tour Down Under 2017
- How to turbo charge your fitness
- 10 crazy traffic laws you didn't realise you were breaking as a cyclist
Creepier still, the former child star of The Omen films is about to be jailed for punching a cyclist — so we reckon you're safer just staying in and reading about this week's crop of the latest bike goodies. Enjoy.
New road gear
Cadence winter gloves and overshoes
Coming hot out of California to bring succour to everyone shivering through winter, Cadence has its sights set squarely on the European market, and they’re off to a bright start with these winter gloves and overshoes — literally. This is weapons-grade brightness, y’all.
Looking at the Sherman Shoe Covers, our first question was 'where’s the cleat hole?' It turns out you cut your own based on individual cleat needs, and they promise no fraying… interesting. They’re made from a four-way mix of Cordura (56%), Lycra (32%), elastic (7%) and nylon (5%), and promise to keep your feet warm through winter.
We’ve also got the Digits Gloves, again in hi-viz yellow, which are designed to keep hands warm while allowing full finger movement. The thumb and fingers have integrated touchscreen panels (if you must swipe and tap mid-ride) and the palm features a silicone printed pattern to provide extra grip. They’re made from a mix of CoolMax (40%), Cordura (40%) and Lycra (20%).
- Shoe covers: £26 / $30 / AU$N/A
- Gloves: £29 / $35 / AU$N/A
Velo Orange Pass Hunter frameset
In his ongoing mission to cut out his niche as the most beardy-weirdy cyclist in the team, Jack Luke — our very own token Scot — has procured this handsome Pass Hunter Disc frameset as his long-term test bike from US brand Velo Orange.
Although the delicious Jaffa orange paint scheme is undoubtedly eye catching, don’t let it fool you — the Pass Hunter is not just a pretty face. This skinny tubed frameset is optimised for long days in the saddle and will accommodate tyres up to 38mm in size (or 35mm with mudguards) for optimum cush’ on broken surfaces.
The fork also features a mid-trail geometry, which improves the front-end handling of the bike once loaded with a porteur bag full of sandwiches, camera equipment and ironic fleeces. Jack’s been eagerly awaiting this delivery from UK distributor Fresh Tripe so expect more thoughts from him soon on how it rides.
- £560 / $620 / AU$N/A
Fabian Cancellara, an illustrated celebration
New from Bloomsbury Publishing, this illustrated celebration of the Swiss rider’s career features 25 key moments, chosen and described by the man himself. From his earliest days as a competitive rider, winning the Junior World Time Trial Championship in the Netherlands as a callow 17-year-old, through defining moments like the 2010 Flanders hat-trick of Classics and winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio in his last major race.
Written by Guy Van Den Langenbergh with an introduction by Italian sports journalist Marco Pastonesi, this 176-page hardback book is described as “the official goodbye” to his fans. There are plenty of full-page, colour photographs to match the dense prose, of which a sample taken at random runs: “Cancellara could have been born as a tractor or a locomotive, a zebra or a waterfall, a double-bassist or an oak, as iron or as granite. But nature made him into a whirlwind.” There’s plenty more where that came from.
- £36 / U$TBC / AU$TBC
Praxis Alba M30 48/32 road cranks
Calling all gravel riders, tourers and adventurers, are you in need of lower gearing, but refuse to fit a triple chainring? Take a look at this 48/32t beauty from Praxis, with solid forged alloy arms. We’re seeing more of this kind of thing become available and we heartily approve. It tips the scales at around 775g and this particular sample comes ready for threaded bottom brackets.
It comes supplied with the new Praxis “Buzz” rings, which are designed to be compatible with both 5-arm cranks and 4-arm with hidden 5th fittings, like SRAM Exogram. You can fit more conventional chainring combos like 50/34t or 52/36t, but Praxis tells us this 48/32t configuration will probably be the sweet spot for gravel riders.
- £149 / $175 / AU$TBC
Santini Vega Acquazero clothing
Just as the first dusting of snow arrives in BikeRadar UK’s home city of Bristol, we unwrapped this winter-ready clothing from Italian maestros Santini. The same company that makes clothing for Cadence (above), in fact. The new Vega Acquazero range is designed for very unpleasant conditions, featuring a combination of Blizzard thermofleece and a water-resistant Acquazero treatment.
The bib tights promise comfort and breathability too, thanks to a GIT chamois pad with gel inserts. There’s also a mesh insert on the rear of the braces and seamless elastic on the front of them, again to improve comfort. Our samples came in black with hi-viz yellow accents, though they’re also available in black with red or white accents.
The long sleeve Vega Acquazero jersey is again made from Blizzard thermofleece with water-resistant Acquazero treatment, and comes in matching black with yellow accents. Sizing is slim but not super-tight and the jersey is rated to be worn on its own in temperatures down to +8 degrees Celsius, though we reckon it can go much lower if you wear a base layer underneath.
- Bib tights: £129 / €159 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Jersey: £114 / €129 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Cycling Travel Journal
If bicycle-based adventure is on your wishlist for 2017, then you'll want something beautiful in which to chart your exploits. This charming Cycling Travel Journal was created by Claire Mason and was inspired by an 18-month journey from London to Japan. It's illustrated throughout with sketches drawn by artist Ania Butler, based on Mason's trip, and has a wealth of handy cycle touring tips, easy to make recipes and motivational quotes.
We really like the layout, which includes space for notes and sketches if you're feeling creative, or map drawing, plus room to jot down the names of the people you meet as you go. It's also got a couple of envelopes incorporated into the journal so you can keep those little mementos of your adventure.
"It is designed and organised to help you quickly and creatively capture your own adventures allowing you to tell your own story." Mason tells BikeRadar, and "the journal has been sustainably and ethically produced."
The whole thing is printed on 100% recycled paper and held together with a recycled rubber band. It positively makes us want to go out and ride so we can fill it with wonderful memories.
- Available for £20, and can be shipped internationally.
Brooks Compendium of Cycling Culture
The iconic leather Brooks saddle is a quintessentially classic British cycling product and to say that the company has been around a while is something of an understatement. Founded in 1866, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary last year and released a beautiful hardback tome as part of its celebrations.
The Brooks Compendium of Cycling Culture is a fascinating read, containing a selection of views on the cultural influence of the bicycle from the likes of David Millar, Joe MacLaren, Bella Bathurst, Taz Darling, Simon Mottram and more, plus our very own bike tester extraordinaire Guy Kesteven. Just perfect for getting you though those dark, wet and cold winter evenings or for brightening up the life of your favourite cyclist.
- £29.95 / US$TBC / AU$TBC
New MTB gear
Mountain biking is one of those activities that comes with a whole lot of associated gubbins: helmet, shoes, impact protection, spare socks, special rucksack, tools, spares, and that's just for starters. Transporting said gubbins from place to place can be a bit of a pain and while (in the UK at least) the ubiquitous blue Ikea bag is popular, it's nice to have something a little more neat, robust, organised, presentable and portable when you're schlepping your kit around from A to B.
The Thule Chasm is one solution to the problem. The 70L version pictured has plenty of room for a helmet, shoes, hydration pack, clothes, spare clothes and more. The wide opening makes throwing kit inside easy, it has internal mesh pockets to keep smaller items organised and a padded bottom, plus a waterproof tarpaulin outer.
We like the fact it comes with rucksack style straps too; switch them in in place of the duffel bag straps and hey presto you've got a decent rucksack for longer journeys! The easy to access external stuff pocket is also handy for stowing your wallet or travel documents when you're on the go.
The Chasm is available in four sizes: 40L, 70L, 90L and 130L, and in a range of colours including black, blue, the wonderfully named 'Roarange', and 'Bluegrass', pictured above.
- £90 / $134.95 / AU$TBC
Bontrager Rythym Mountain Shoes
Aimed at the enduro racer or the fan of technical, aggressive singletrack, the shiny new Rhythm mountain bike shoe from Bontrager combines a carbon reinforced sole with what it calls its 'Tachyon' rubber outsole with an aggressive tread pattern to provide maximum grip and stiffness. A BOA dial combined with one velcro strap aims to give a secure fit and the shoes also feature the brilliantly named 'gnar guard' outer coating, which is designed to fend off impact from trail debris.
Weight: 902g for the pair
- £139.99 / $179.99 / AU$259
Giro Terraduro Mid
For fans of the classic Terraduro mountain bike shoe, who want something with more protection against the elements, comes the Terraduro Mid. A higher cut at the ankle provides additional support and protection, while the lace-up fastening system now has a shroud to ward off water ingress. There's even a water sealed cleat opening to help ensure your feet stay as dry as possible.
The Vibram sole with chunky tread helps keep traction when walking, pushing, and hiking with the bike, and a reinforced toe box and raised ankle protection guards against impact.
Weight: 1,070g for the pair
- £159.99 / $190 / AU$299.95
Zerode Taniwha gearbox mountain bike
Fed up of skipping gears? New Zealand bike brand Zerode has plans to make that a thing of the past. The Zerode Taniwha (stand by for a first look in the very near future) features a 12-speed pinion gear box, allowing for — it says — "effortless and immediate" gear changes. It also promises low maintenance needs and a quieter ride.
There are of course many more features, but we don't want to spoil the surprise too much. For reference, when we popped this full build on the scales it came in at 15.24kg (sans pedals).
We'll be giving you the full lowdown on the build that's currently residing in The Shed shortly, but for now let us whet your appetite by mentioning the carbon frame, 65-degree head angle and 160mm of travel.