Happy Friday, friends. We hope your weekend ahead is filled with great riding. To prep your mind for the days ahead, here's a look at some fresh gear.
New road bike gear
Pearl Izumi PRO Leader III shoes
Pearl Izumi's PRO Leader III shoes have a very low (5mm) stack height, thanks to the elimination of the traditional lasting board. A super-thin (0.9mm) upper wraps around the foot and connects with the carbon sole, on top of which sits only the insoles, which can be adjusted for arch and metatarsal support with inserts.
Double Boas add a little bulk on top but keep the sides svelte. The tongue is padded so the Boas and reels don't dig into the top of the foot.
If the red / lime punch is a bit loud for you, the Leader IIIs also come in black and white.
$320 / £TBC / AU$TBC
Alé Klimatik thermal bib shorts
Alé's Klimatik bib shorts combine thermal fabric with some water deflection. Alé's chamois is a straightforward affair, which we appreciate; there are no huge transitions or heat-molded edges. However, despite the body fabric resisting water initially, the cuffs saturate pretty easily.
$135 / £NA / AU$NA
HiFi Hit Single 50mm carbon clincher wheels
HiFi is a relatively new wheel company out of Portland, Oregon. The Hit Single carbon clinchers are 50mm tall and measure a sturdy 27.5mm in external width and 17mm internally between the beads. The 11spd hubs use Japanese stainless steel ball bearings. 18 front and 24 stainless spokes build up into the 1,630g wheelset.
$1,899 / £NA / AU$NA
Mavic Ksyrium Pro road shoes
Mavic has three Kysrium shoes aimed at endurance riders with a little more flex and perhaps comfort than an all-out race shoe. The Pro is the second in three tiers of Ksyrium shoes, and we weighed our sample 45 size at 296g .
Mavic uses its own version of the Boa, the Ergo dial. Inside, an Ortholite insole provides custom cushioning.
What matches the purplish red of the Ksyrium Pro shoe? Why, the Ksyrium helmet, of course.
$199 / £NA / AU$NA
Bar Fly E-box Spacer
Bar Fly's E-box Spacer removes the rubberband-around-the-stem look from Di2 and EPS. If you already have a 5mm spacer underneath your stem, then this replaces that tidily.
We have taken to mounting Di2 boxes to Bar Fly Garmin mounts with zip ties, but the E-box Spacer is probably a cleaner solution.
$39 / £NA / AU$NA
Pactimo Alpine thermal cap
Pactimo's Alpine Thermal Cap is lined with fleece for warmth. The full coverage around the ears is good for cold days, but the scooped cut doesn't bunch at the neck.
The thin material fits easily under a helmet, and the ear flaps can be rolled up to regulate temperature on the fly.
$30 / £20 / AU$NA
New mountain bike gear
Park Tool oversize bike storage hooks
Park Tools’ hanging hooks have been widely imitated, but rarely matched. With a non-scratch coating, they’re designed to hold onto the rim, letting the bike hang from a rafter or vertically against a wall.
With an inside width of 75mm, the Oversize hook fits perfectly with deep carbon rims and our regular 2.3in 650b and 29er rubber.
For those with fat or plus sized mountain bikes, the Extra-Large hook is a monster and will let you hang that chubby roller up to dry. Inside to inside, it measures at 125mm wide, that’s roughly 250% wider than most bicycle hanging hooks.
To give you another idea of size, the threads on these are 11.54mm in diameter. The hooks are available in either a wood-type thread (blue – pictured) or machine bolt (black). We’ve placed the wood hooks into concrete, with the addition of plastic wall plugs.
Oversize 471 wood hook (pictured two on left): $7.50 / £5 / AU$TBC
Extra-large 471XX wood hook (pictured right): $13 / £8 / AU$TBC
Dakine Drafter 12l hydration pack
Despite its old school styling, this bag is bursting at the seams with clever thinking.The 12l bag comes with a Hydrapak 3L/100oz Shape-Loc reservoir that features a full-width opening at the top. A neat feature is the magnetic hose clip, which should allow the high-flow bite valve to find its way back to the sternum strap.
The Drafter also features ventilated shoulder and hip straps, as well as an ‘air mesh’ back panel that moves the rear of the pack away from your back. Like other packs we've previously tested the air mesh panel uses a frame, which helps to distribute some of the load through the waist strap for happy shoulders and added stability.
For a medium size pack, there is a surprising amount of storage available in the two large pockets, with additional internal mesh organizers, a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket, straps for toting body armor and a helmet carry flap which can accommodate both XC style and full face helmets.
All up the 12l pack including an empty reservoir weights 1,171g.
$125 / £60 / AU$180
FiveTen Freerider Contact women's shoes
Addressing the dearth of women's-specific flat pedal shoes, Five Ten has released another of its popular shoes in a female fit. The Freerider Contact Women's shoes have all the features you'd expect from FiveTen's unisex version including super-tacky Mi6 sole, but with a smaller internal volume, narrower heel cup and redesigned internal cushioning.
Take a look at our review of the men's Freerider Contact shoes to find out how we got on with them.
$150 / £100 / AU$250
Endura Strike Gloves
For the wintry half of the planet, particularly the parts with incessant wind, rain and mud (United Kingdom, I'm looking at you) a decent pair of warm, waterproof gloves is something of a must. Scottish company Endura perhaps unsurprisingly has just such a product, in the form of the Strike Glove. Available in a men's and women's version, it combines a waterproof membrane, windproof fabric and a fleecy inner plus neoprene cuff with a view to keeping your digits fully operational in the cold and the wet.
$49 / £29 / AU$N/A
Radon Slide 140 9.0
If you thought Canyon was the only German brand banging out top-spec bikes for relative peanuts, you’d be wrong. We'd forgive you though, because you might not have heard of Radon.
The Slide 140 9.0 has, you'll be surprised to learn, 140mm of travel at each end, controlled by a Fox 34 fork and DPS shock. 2x drivetrains might not be that common anymore, but XT’s system assures spinny legs whatever the gradient.
€3599 / £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC