There’s still one month left of 2018, but we think it’s a pretty safe bet that nothing will show up before the end of the year that will outshine the new Specialized Shiv in the outright weirdness stakes.
The oh-so-very-non-UCI-compliant tri-specific bike features more unique tech than we could ever pack in here, but the giant aerofoil that doubles up as a hydration tank, the dual-crown-like fork, the foldable cockpit and wildly dropped rear end are all pretty good places to start.
While we’re unlikely to see such tech ported to the road in its current form, it’s still exciting to see what wild ideas — with all restrictions dropped — Lord Zinn and his aero-gremlins can conjure up. Reader and viewer comments about the bike have also been equally entertaining.
How could we talk about the weirdest tech of 2018 without mentioning the Canyon Hoverbar — the crazy double-decker handlebar that defines Canyon’s Grail gravel bike.
Unlike every other drop bar in existence — where the stem attaches to a clamping area in the middle of the tops of the bar — the Hoverbar places the tops of the bar above a stem that connects to an additional bar that in turn connects the apex of the hooks… phew.
If that sounds confusing, that’s because it really is, and we recommend you closely examine photos of the handlebars to actually understand what’s going on.
The bar was developed in a bid to improve front end comfort and control without the added complication and weight of suspension. By the accounts of a number of BikeRadar testers that have used the bars, it does work to a point.
Regardless of performance, the Hoverbar and the Grail are, without doubt, two of the most talked about products this year, so if you manage a brand and are watching this, develop something as radical as this and you’re almost guaranteed attention.
Changing tyres is a hassle, right? Do you ever wish there was a way you could swap your treads on the fly without fiddling with tubes or sealant?
We haven’t either, but that hasn’t stopped Norwegian brand Retyre from developing a zip-on tyre system that allows you to do just that.
The modular system pairs a semi-slick tyre — that is fitted with a sturdy zipper next to the bead — that acts as a ‘core’ with a number of different treads that you can add to suit various conditions.
So far, the available treads include everything from general treaded off-road options to ice-spiked winter tyres. Better still, these are available in a number of colour options, so you can match your treads to your beloved bike!
We can’t decide whether the concept is just odd or oddly compelling, but we have a set en route for testing, so we’ll sure to let you know how we get on.
Finding kit that fits well can be a nightmare — one brand’s medium is likely to be wildly different to another’s, making for an incredibly frustrating buying experience.
With this in mind, Ekoi shook up the world of bib shorts this year with the release of its one-size-fits-all Morpho bib shorts.
Made from a super-elastic, tubular-woven material, the shorts are said to be good for anyone sized between 4ft 6in and 6ft 4in tall, or between 7½ stone to 15 stone.
Four different BikeRadar testers squeezed into the shorts — not at the same time — and the Morphos conformed to the unique profile of each beautiful body with remarkable ease.
The shorts feature an external chamois pad, which is, to be generous, divisive. For some riders, no amount of claimed performance benefits will change the fact that it looks as though you have your shorts on inside out, but we applaud Ekoi all the same.
Jack has been riding and fettling bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported in the cycling media. Jack has been a Senior Staff Writer at BikeRadar for three years now and is currently testing an All-City Mr Pink as his long term test bike.