It’s the end of yet another week – and that means it's time for the latest edition of our Friday Five-a-side. As usual, we're rounding up of the most interesting bits and pieces of road cycling and mountain biking gear that have recently landed on the BikeRadar doorstep.
Best road bike gear
Proviz Reflect360 jacket
Proviz’s Reflect360 jacket is billed as the world’s first jacket to feature a 100 percent reflective outer shell. The Reflect360 gives a lightsaber-like glow of which Tron would be jealous. The water-resistant jacket also features front and rear vents, a fleece-lined collar, inside chest and rear pockets and is machine washable. If you want maximum conspicuousness this winter, it could be the one for you.
£79.99 / US$120.62 / AU$137.26
NiteRider Lumina 750 light
Of course, it’s no use being seen without being able to see the road ahead as well and that’s where the new NiteRider Lumina 750 comes in. Despite weighing just 172g, this bar or helmet-mounted light throws out a strong 750-lumen, car-drivers-be-wary beam to light up the lanes when the sun’s off duty. Four power modes range from one hour 30 minutes on high (750 lumens) to three hours at 350 lumens, five hours 30 minutes at 200 lumens and a whopping 18 hours on the 40 lumens mode. The unit can also be set to flash too. New for the Lumina 750 is NiteRider’s IntelliCharge, which gives juice in just three hours with a charger over 500mA and six hours for one below 500mA. With a ton of power and no external battery, it could be a winner for commuting and moderate-length rides in the gloom.
£99.99 / $139.99 / AU$TBC
Siva Atom charger
We previewed this commuter-friendly tech charger a couple of months ago, but now we’ve got our hands on one for testing. The unit is easily installed on the non-driveside rear hub, after which each rotation of the wheel feeds energy into a 1,650mAh battery pack that’s enough to charge your iPhone or other USB device at the same speed as plugging it into the mains. It’s a simple idea that found success on Kickstarter and we’ll be testing it out over the coming weeks.
£99.99 / US£129 / AU$TBC
X-Bionic Effektor Power bib tights
If you look at your bib tights and think ‘they’re just not technical enough’ then X-Bionic’s Effektor Power bib tights just might be the solution. The list of claims and features is impressive but our favourite has to be the bonkers Partial Kompression, which X-Bionic says is designed to compress muscles in such as way as to put peripheral nerve cells in a constant state of readiness in order to optimise the exchange of neural impulses between muscles and brain.
We can’t say we’ve ever lamented the time between thought and muscle reaction, but if you value the most marginal of marginal gains – or placebos – this could be for you. Fortunately, the other features are more practical. The tights are breathable while maintaining insulation – the green ISO-pad areas are designed to retain more body heat – and the unique silky chamois forms the seat of the bibs themselves rather than being sewn onto the inside of the shorts like most bibs. X-Bionic says this means fit and elasticity of the male-specific pad isn’t compromised. They are pricey, but we know X-Bionic is top quality stuff… if you don’t mind the Swiss brand’s slightly out-there looks.
£189.99 / US$ TBC / AU$347.99 / €269
Wahoo RPM cadence sensor
When slaving away on the turbo, as seconds stretch into minutes and minutes seem like hours, you need all the help you can get in way of distractions. The Wahoo RPM is a simple accelerometer that secures to your bike’s crank arm (with permanent sticky or cable tied in a supplied silicone pocket) and sends cadence data to a head-unit or mobile device via ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 – all at a weight of just 7g.
Focusing on figures is a great way to help time slip away on the turbo and also allows easier use of online training programmes such as Trainer Road. Of course, the unit can be used outside too, adding cadence to the speed figures of a GPS head unit. There are no magnets to set up and Wahoo says the battery should be good for two years of riding. You can even secure it to your shoes if you want data across multiple bikes without having to swap to each bike’s crank arm.
£39.99 / US£49.99 / AU$TBC
Best mountain bike gear
Bell Super 2R helmet
The designers at Bell have integrated a removable chinguard into the hugely successful Super helmet, to create the Super R2. The end result is a stylish two-in-one helmet design that can, with some practice, be transformed from a open face helmet to a full facer on the go.
£149.99 / US$TBA / AU$TBA
Contour Roam 3 camera
Contour has a back seat on the wearable camera scene for a while, bit now its back with the Roam 3. It retains the sleek design of its previous iterations, but boasts a host of new features, including laser levelling, a 270-degree rotating lens, and adaptable mounting option that also work with DSLRs. It’s shock-proof and waterproof to 30in too.
£189.99 / US$199.99 / AU$TBA
100% Airmatic gloves
100% started off making off-road goggles, and now it produces eyewear, apparel and much more. These Airmatic gloves join the lineup for 2015 and look to be a hot ticket for mountain biking. They offer knuckle protection, an adjustable Velcro cuff and a dual layer palm, all combined with a superb look and feel.
£19.99 / US$N/A / AU$N/A
B-Labs Oval ring
The advantages to an elliptical chainring have been known for some time now, but previous designs have fallen short of the mark – namely, because of decreased shifting quality within a 2x or 3x transmission design. Thankfully, that has been brushed away thanks to the arrival of 1x systems.
The elliptical nature of the B-Labs ring means more chain is pulled through the drivetrain during the more powerful down-stroke section of your pedal stroke. At the weakest point, with the cranks vertical, the gear is effectively shortened, helping you push the cranks over the top. This leads to a smoother power delivery and increases in pedalling efficiency.
Outdoor Tech Orca Wireless buds
Churning out the miles on your own can be lonely and, while listening to music can help to keep you motivated, it’s annoying when headphones get tangled or get in the way. Outdoor Tech, realising the advantages of WiFi enabled phones packed with music, has developed the Orcas – USB-rechargeable wireless ear buds. They even have a built-in microphone to let you take phonecalls on the go.
£79.99 / US$99.95 / AU$TBA