Friday is here again! To celebrate the imminent weekend fun, we've rounded up the latest gear and goodies that have made their way into BikeRadar's eager hands.
Before we dive in, here's a little recap of the week where we wondered if dorky looks are worth a heads-up display, we debated if tan sidewall tires are hot or not, and detailed how to watch this year's little race in Italy, the Giro d'Italia.
We also highlighted reviews of Trek's impressive Domane SL6 Disc Women's, which snagged a coveted 5-star rating and the title of women's road bike of the year. On the mountain bike side, we checked out Giant's enduro-smasher Reign 2 and Specialized's least expensive Enduro. But now, onto the shiny new that is 11spd!
Abbey Bike Tools 4-way multi-tool
Throughout our years of wrenching, both professionally and on our own bikes, the tool we kept closest and used the most was Park's iconic 4, 5, 6mm three-way Allen wrench.
Oregon-based Abbey Bike Tools has taken this humble, yet indispensable tool up a notch. The 4-way multi-tool has, you guessed it, four tools.
It's offered in five combinations with a mix of 2 – 6mm hex ends, 10 – 30 Torx bits and Phillips and flat screwdriver heads. A fully custom option is available for those truly picky mechanics out there.
Like all of Abbey's high-quality tools, the 4-way is a precise instrument with stainless-steel bits, a US-drawn aluminum body and American manufacturing.
- £30 / $40 / AU$53
Sweet Protection Hunter shorts
Baggy shorts for riding mountain bikes have come a long way and Sweet Protection's Hunter shorts are a fine example.
Hunter shorts are built from an awfully fancy-sounding DuPont Sorona Biopolymer material that features a two-way stretch and is claimed to be stain-resistant.
This design makes pedal-mashing easy. Yet these shorts also mesh well with knee pads limiting the dreaded gaper's gap of pasty thigh. And for soggy rides, they're treated with a durable water-repellent.
Zippable thigh vents and laser-cut perforations let refreshing air in and stale air out, the side and cargo pockets are low-key and Sweet Protection was kind enough to include both an adjustable waist and two buttons at the closure.
Sweet Protection offers four sizes as well as women's versions.
- £99.99 / $129.95 / AU$172
Revant S1L sunglasses
Sunglasses often have a lot asked of them. The best ones shield and protect your eyes, while enhancing your vision, and hopefully making you look cool.
Revant started by offering premium replacement lenses for multiple eyewear brands. And with that success, it's launching three complete frames of its own including the S1L.
Low weight is the name of the game for the S1Ls. Claimed weight is 25 grams, but Revant states all the performance is still included.
To help them stay put, the temple sleeves and nose pads are built from MaxGrip. And to resist fogging, the nose bridge is higher for more ventilation.
The S1Ls are available in three colours.
- $155 (UK£ and AU$ tbc)
Handske Astek2 gloves
When you are wearing good gloves, it's easy to forget you have them on. On the other hand (no pun intended), bad gloves are annoying and can even be painful.
Handske gloves have an extra-lean fit that is designed to enhance bar feel and minimize the aggravating palm bunching.
Extra features include touch-screen compatibility, a full-length terrycloth thumb, and a full sticky silicon-printed palm for grip.
The artwork on the back of the gloves comes from Dutch graphic designer and graffiti artist Micha de Bie, but if you have some ideas of your own, Handske is open to checking out your coolest creations.
- £25 / $34 / AU$45
Picky Bars bars
As cycling has evolved so has the food we eat while riding. I'm going to go out on a very sturdy limb here and say no one misses the cardboard-like, weirdo-ingredient space-food of old…
Founded by three endurance athletes, a professional runner, a triathlete and a marathoner, Picky Bars come in a variety of nine flavors that actually sound appetizing, such as All-in-Almond, Blueberry Boomdizzle, and Ah, Fudge Nuts.
Each bar is free of gluten, soy, dairy and GMOs and packs 200 calories in a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio.
Picky Bars subscribe to the 'real food' mantra that means each bar contains a mixture of nuts, seeds, fruits and nothing artificial.
- Single: £2.25 / $2.75 / AU$3.25
State Bicycle Co Undefeated II
Inspired (led astray?) by Joe’s fixed-gear hill climb exploits, Jack has procured this alloy State Bicycle Co Undefeated II to use at time trials and hill climbs this year.
Designed primarily for fixed-gear crit racing — a similarly masochistic pursuit — the alloy bike is brutally stiff with an aggressive position that makes it ideal for a TT-conversion.
The stock drop bar cockpit has been swapped out for a more TT-friendly setup, but the bike is otherwise set up as it would come out of the box.
The deepish alloy wheels strike a good balance between weight and street-friendly hardiness, but that hasn’t stopped Jack dreaming about getting a set of ridiculous disc/tri-spoke wheels for the ultimate in #aerogainz.
Keep your peepers peeled for more on this bike and the rest of the BikeRadar teams time-trial exploits over the next few months.
- £899 / $945 / AU$ N/A
Chrome Industries Brannan Pant
The Brannan Pant is the latest addition to Chrome’s wide range of urban cycling wear.
The trousers are made of a fancy water-resistant four-way stretch fabric that feels good to the touch — other technical trousers sometimes have a kind of crepe-paper-like quality to them, whereas these feel a bit more like cotton.
The cut is also generous enough for maximum urban mobility without being overly baggy.
Reflective inseam detailing on the cuff improves visibility and nifty ventilation built into the crotch keep things pleasant.
The trousers may look understated, but it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into designing these and we’re looking forward to pulling rad fixie skids on that equally urbanite-approved State Undefeated while wearing them.
- $150, international shipping available
Challenge Paris Roubaix 28mm open tubular tyres
Clearances have become more generous on road bikes in recent years and we often hark on about claimed tyre clearances on new road bikes.
In a bid to put these claims to the test, I'm taking delivery of a whole bunch of wide road tyres, starting with these super-supple 27mm open tubulars from Challenge.
The tyres are well known to balloon out past their claimed width over time and after a few weeks of riding, our tyres have indeed grown a few millimetres over their claimed width.
The clincher version of the tyres is available with black or tan wall casings. The tubular version adds natty white sidewalls.
Jack has been running these on his Rose X-Lite test bike for a few weeks and early impressions are very positive.
- £58 / $82 / $110
Abus MonTrailer MIPS ACE enduro helmet
We were recently invited by Abus to the Riva Bike Festival on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy, where we had a chance to check out the German brand's new enduro helmet.
- Bike Ahead's surprisingly simple way to stop carbon creaks
- How RDR built a 8.5kg full suspension XC Bike
The helmet is available at three different price points and three colours, starting at £109 for the entry level model and rising to £149.99 for the top-end MIPS-equipped ACE version of the helmet.
We’ll have an in-depth first look and first ride review coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
- £149.99, international pricing TBC
Blackburn Countdown 1600
This retina-searing lumen-bazooka from Blackburn may be just the ticket for our readers in the Southern Hemisphere who are fast approaching winter and the short days that entails.
The housing and the bracket of the light feel solid, as do the nice weather-sealed buttons that control the two LEDs that put out a whopping 1,600 lumens. The simple LCD screen, which features a countdown timer that displays remaining run time, is clear and easy to read.
The beam pattern is best suited to off-road riding, but side-visibility is also good in a bid to improve visibility in traffic. As you would hope of a modern light, it is charged via a micro-USB port.
The run time in the full-blown Blitz mode is a claimed 1.3 hours, rising to 8 hours in the more reasonable, and still perfectly bright, low mode.
- £134.99 / $159.95 / AU$TBC
If you’re the sort of rider that likes to hang a Carradice-style bag off the back of your saddle, this is for you.
Haul loops haven’t been a feature on anything but the most traditional leather for years now, and while Cyclo Loops have been an acceptable solution, they aren’t the most solid.
This CNC machined plate is designed to clamp onto the back of your saddle rails and allows you to hang up to 20lbs from the back of your bike.
The Restuvus (so named for the ‘rest of us’ who don’t use traditional leather saddles) is available in a number different colours and international shipping is available.
Sure, it’s a fairly niche part for a niche part of the market, but for someone out there, we reckon this is going to be just the ticket.
- $70, international shipping available