Sorry to disappoint, but it looks like it’ll be a few days before you return to work again. While you wait, you may as well get on your bike and try to enjoy yourself.
To help settle you into your weekend, we’ve got 11 new products from around the globe to check out. And yes, we're aware of the irony in having three bikes, none of them have 11-speed drivetrains, in a feature called 11spd. Please forgive us.
New road cycling gear
Specialized Allez E5 Sport
The Specialized Allez name is somewhat of an icon at the entry level. Sitting on a lowly ladder rung among the expansive selection of Allez models for 2016, the E5 Sport is likely to be a popular choice for riders looking to get started in the sport of road cycling.
The frame features strikingly shaped E5 Premium tubing, with the welds smoothed off at key places. Shimano Sora nine-speed shifters and derailleurs handle the shifting duties across the wide-range 11-32t cassette, with 50/34t compact chainrings up front.
Ultra-wide range nine-speed Shimano Sora gearing looks ready to conquer some serious hills
The Specialized Body Geometry Toupe Sport is a proven saddle that many owners of other bike brands would potentially swap to, while the Espoir Sport 25c rubber they're wrapped in appears to have a decent level of puncture resistance.
Our Aussie team have just begun testing this, along with five comparable rides to find who’s offering the best budget road bike at the mo.
$970 / £TBC / AU$1,399
Shimano WR-84 women’s road shoes
From afar, the shoe looks just like Shimano’s new RP9 shoe, including its ‘Surround’ upper design featuring a reversed buckle design that helps to use the shoe’s upper for greater foot support.
Designed for any three-bolt cleat system (Shimano SPD-SL, Look, Time, etc), the carbon sole is built with pedaling efficiency and low weight in mind. Our sample pair weighs 480g (size 38).
Where the WR-84 is different to comparable men’s shoes is in its fit. With this, the last features a narrower heel cup, narrower volume, lower volume toe box and added support at the arch.
$200 / £TBC / AU$259
Nike Show X1 and Skylon Ace XV cycling eyewear
Despite the global presence of the apparel fashion/sports brand, Nike isn’t the first name that comes to mind for cycling eyewear. That said, the brand now offers a range of options suited to cycling, including the Show X1 (left) and Skylon Ace XV (right) shown here.
The ‘Max Optics’ lenses in Nike’s eyewear are said to be completely UV protected, distortion free and impact resistant. Additionally, the lenses feature a hydrophobic coating for a scratch-resistant surface that repels water, dust, sweat and other stuff you don’t want in your vision.
With a large shield lens, the Show X1 is claimed to offer wide peripheral vision, adjustable and rubber-wrapped temple arms, ventilated rubber nose-bridge and interchangeable lenses.
The Skylon Ace XV features separate interchangeable lenses. Compared with previous models, the new version features a vented nosepiece, a deeper and wider lens shape and a reduction in weight. Our sample weighs 25g.
- Show X1: $196 / £N/A / AU$TBC
- Skylon Ace XV: $116 / £N/A / AU$TBC
SpinCycle Season 3 Featherlight kit
We didn’t have the LifeStyle kit from SpinCycle for long before the young Australian brand asked us to review an even newer kit instead. Appropriately named, the FeatherLight kit is a thin and body-hugging kit for performance-chasing cyclists.
The jersey is made of a lightweight MITI Spa fabric that offers a soft feel to the skin and with plenty of breathability. Our sample is the ‘half sleeve’ version, which reaches past the biceps (a growing trend) – and there’s a full sleeve version too. The YKK full-length zipper adds further quality to this garment. Out back, there are generous rear pockets and a large reflective tag.
Matched in navy blue style, the bibs feature a MITI Spa compression fabric that offers 50+ UPF factor sun protection for use in the heat of summer. A chamois sourced from Elastic Interface appears to be generous in its padding without being too thick to move with you. The bib straps themselves are a Lycra-like material, with a wide and flat fit. Lastly, the 8cm compression gripper at the leg feels to be without any silicone or similar grippers that can wear.
- Half sleeve kit: $220 / £150 / AU$310
- Full sleeve kit: $240 / £160 / AU$330
VeloToze toe covers
Following on from the success of the American brand’s latex shoe covers, VeloToze now offers an easier-fitting toe cover. Covering the largest vents at your toes, these aren’t too different in construction from the full shoe covers, with the latex offering full wind and water protection in a variety of colour options.
Where we’ve found the shoe covers to be a real fiddle to get on, the toe covers are quite simple and won’t have you missing the start of a group ride. Our review on these and the full-length shoe covers isn’t far away.
$13 / £TBC / AU$TBC
New mountain bike gear
IceToolz Ocarina torque wrench
Released at Interbike, this consumer-grade torque wrench is a modern take on a classic beam-style torque tool. With this, the tool is fully enclosed and the beam’s 3-10nm indicator is visible by peering through the gap at the front.
Stored within its handle, the tool includes 3, 4, 5 and 6mm fittings with Torx-25 bits. Its 'Ocarina' name comes from its shape, which bears resemblance to an ancient wind music instrument.
$TBC / £TBC / AU$TBC
Reid Ares fat bike
Unless you live in Australia, it’s unlikely you'll have heard of Reid Cycles – but that’s likely to change, with the brand growing its global distribution network at a rapid rate. Sold consumer-direct in Australia, Reid is synonymous with exceptional value, offering recreational bikes at outrageously cheap prices.
As of October, Reid now offers a range of value-orientated fat bikes, with the Ares providing a good example. Although the low price might suggest otherwise, the Ares is designed for off-road and adventure use.
Hydro brakes and Shimano Deore shifting would make most assume the price tag is a typo
Marking out its fat bike credentials, the alloy hydroformed frame and fork fit Kenda Juggernaut 26x4in tyres with spare room for packed snow. The 80mm wide rims are drilled for weight savings, while the Shimano Deore 2x10 drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are extremely unexpected for the money.
Of course, something has to give at this price, and that’s reflected in the 15.33kg weight of our 17in-sized sample.
While right now there’s just a 17in frame option, come January 2016, Reid will offer its fat bikes in a range of four frame sizes. That’s a key difference compared with other low budget fat bikes we’ve seen lately. It's worth noting that the brand is sold through distributors outside of Australia, and while still high in value in other regions, it doesn't deliver quite the same market-spanking prices that the Aussies enjoy.
$1060 / £TBC / AU$799
Nukeproof Pulse Team DH bike 2016
If this 2016 downhill weapon looks familiar, it’s because Sam Hill and the rest of the Chain Reaction Cycles/Paypal/Nukeproof team (it’s a snappy name) have been racing it throughout the 2015season. It’s the first version of the Pulse to be built around 650b wheels from the outset, and it also boasts a more relaxed head angle (62 degrees), fixed chainstay length (440mm), and much longer reach figures.
The 2016 Medium is similar to a 2015 Large, and so on, up to the generously roomy XL size, which sports a tall-person-friendly 465mm reach figure. It’s also been lightened; our Medium sample weighed in at 36lb (16.3kg). This team build comes complete with the familiar SRAM suspension, gearing and braking equipment; Mavic wheels, Nukeproof finishing kit and Schwalbe tyres (they’re the proper Vertstar ones too) that the pro team uses. There are also the Sam Hill signature grips and extra-grippy saddle to remind you of the bike’s racing pedigree. Not that this bike is identical to Sam’s, of course, but it’s pretty close. Good luck matching his race-pace, though!
£5000 (international pricing N/A)
Adidas Terrex Trail Cross shoes
Designed for hiking and biking, the Trail Cross combines a fairly supple sole and lightweight upper with a tacky rubber outsole for maximum grip on the pedals. This flexibility promises off-bike comfort and traction whether undertaking a treacherous hike-a-bike section or just a casual stroll to the shops. It may provide improved feel on the pedals too, as we have found overly-stiff flat pedal shoes suffer from unpredictable traction, even if they aren’t as sturdy and efficient on the bike as a specialised riding shoe. The combination of versatility, grip and pedal feel could make them a good choice for beginners. Look out for a review very soon.
£95 / €130 / $140.00 / AU$TBC
New commuter gear
Levi’s Commuter 511 slim fit jeans
Cycling jeans? Back in 2011 the iconic denim brand made a surprise move by creating a collection of commuter-inspired clothing. Proving it was much more than a toe dip in the water, the brand continues to progress it’s Commuter range with new options, while further refining its staple items such as the slim-fit Commuter 511 jeans.
Compared with a standard pair of slim-fit 511 jeans, this cycle-friendly version features a double layered seat and back pockets; a dirt- and water-repellent coating; D-lock holder; reflective details at the legs and a higher back rise to prevent the dreaded plumber’s crack while riding. Many of these features remain hidden to the casual onlooker, and so to them you’re just wearing a casual pair of jeans.
For those with ‘track thighs’, then the brand’s Commuter 522 taper fit is probably the better option over the slimline 511s. Expect a detailed look at key items from the new range soon, with reviews to follow thereafter.
$88 / £85 / AU$160
Cell Ultimo 2.0
The Ultimo, named after an urban suburb of Sydney, is the latest addition to the Australian consumer-direct brand’s growing range. Just as the name implies, this Cell bike is built for the commuter and urban rider. With the fit and strength of a 29er mountain bike, the build is built to be lighter and faster.
The stealthy black and grey paint hides a triple-butted alloy frame and forged alloy fork. Rack and fender mounts are given both front and rear for all-weather use.
Cell commonly pushes the boundaries of what’s expected for the money, and the Ultimo continues this trend. With this, an urban-specific 2x10 SRAM Via Centro drivetrain provides a generous range of gears, while some basic Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes keep everything in check when that bus decides to pull out without warning. Finally, the Ultimo rolls on puncture-protected 700 x 38c tyres.
$N/A / £N/A / AU$899