This week we’ve mainly been nursing hangovers from the BikeRadar Christmas party, as I’m sure many of you have been too. Go easy on those lemonades and remember to drink responsibility, kids!
Alongside the various beverages we’ve sampled over the past few days, Seb has asked whether bikes are getting more expensive or just better, Benedict has been showing off a far too sensible winter commuter (in my opinion at least) and we’re all raising our eyebrows as Sky announced it's ending sponsorship of Team Sky at the end of next season.
- The ultimate Christmas gift guide for cyclists
- The best tacky Christmas jerseys
- The best Christmas gifts for gravel and adventure cyclists
In this week’s 11spd there is a jersey that costs more than a balance bike, a book and a tyre that costs the same amount of money, as well as shiny new products from Rotor that we don’t yet know the price of! Scroll down for the latest and greatest to land on our desks this week.
- The best Christmas gifts for the cyclist who has everything
- The best Christmas gifts for road cyclists
- The best Christmas stocking stuffers for cyclists
This week's best new kit and bikes
Rotor ALDHU and VEGAST cranksets with Direct Mount Q Rings
Paying homage to Rotor’s victories at the world’s biggest races, the ADLHU and VEGAST cranks are abbreviations of the Alpe d’Huez (ALDHU) and Velata, Galibier and Stelvio (VEGAST) climbs.
Both of the updated cranks work in conjunction with a patent pending axle from Rotor which accommodates 1x or 2x Direct Mount Q Rings. The rings can be swapped out using a 10mm hex key and could be perfect for 'cross racers who want to change their chainrings throughout the season without the need for any additional tools.
Assuming your chain is long enough to accommodate the larger Q Rings, the ease of swapping over chain rings could even be done between warm up and a race start.
Rotor ALDHU and VEGAST cranks, axle and selected direct mount Q Rings weights and pricing
- Rotor ALDHU crank arms 172.5mm: 350g, £225 / $300
- Rotor ALDHU/VEGAST 147mm axle: 96g, £45 / $60
- Rotor 1x Direct Mount Q Ring 40t: 98g, £124-£139 / $130-$150
- Rotor VEGAST crank arms 172.5mm: 376g, £112 / $150
- Rotor 2x Direct Mount Q Ring 52/36t: 194g, £179 / $239
Put into perspective, Rotor 2x Direct Mount Q Ring (52/36t) with axle and 172.5mm VEGAST cranks weigh just 30g more than a similarly sized Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 crankset.
Cube Cubie 120 Walk balance bike
Coming in at the start of the kids' range from Cube is the Cubie 120 Walk, a simple aluminium balance bike that's full of features to make your child’s first ride as fun (and safe) as it can be.
There's a steering lock to prevent overzealous turning, proper pneumatic tyres for comfort and grip and a carry handle on the back of the saddle for when they get too tired. You'll also be pleased to know that it only weighs 4kg.
There are no brakes on the Cubie 120 Walk, but Cube reckons that at this age children don't have the finger strength or coordination to use them, so it’s better to just put your feet down!
The Walk is available in two colours, this Factory racing spec blue and a white/pink Cubie 120 Walk Girl option.
Two saddle/seatpost options are included and the bike is also available with pedals, making the transition from balance bike to pedal bike much easier.
- £149 / €129
MAAP Encore Pro Base jersey
Designed in Australia and made in Italy, MAAP’s Encore Pro Base jersey is an aggressively cut top with pro-level features including long sleeves, a very low collar, SPF 50+ sun protection and improved aero properties, says MAAP.
Also available in an all black design, I think this navy and green option looks great. The honeycomb structure on the sleeves — and also on the rear cargo pockets — has a soft feel, but will also improve airflow to keep you dry and cool.
Bold, white lettering runs across the front of the jersey and right shoulder blade on the rear. A reflective logo also appears on the left sleeve.
MAAP also offers fortnightly interest-free payments for some of its products.
- £130 / €155 / $180 / AUS$215
Stages Gen 3 Campagnolo H11 left-sided power meter
Campagnolo produces a disc-brake-specific crankset to keep a consistent Q-Factor when the frame geometry changes due to the accommodation of disc brakes.
The crankset works in conjunction with Campagnolo Chorus, Record and Super Record drivetrains and Stages also now offers a left-sided power meter option for the crankset.
Available in 170mm, 172.5mm or 175mm crank arm lengths, Stages says there is +/-1.5% accuracy in all temperature conditions, active temperature control and wireless firmware updating.
The power meter only adds an extra 15g to the stock crank arm, according to Stages, and is ready for installation out of the box.
I have added the power meter to my long-term test bike and will include it in my full review in the coming months.
- £729 / $799.99
MasterLock Cuff Lock 8290DPS
Aside from the comedy aesthetic of looking like handcuffs, the MasterLock Cuff Lock features two 76mm circular cuffs, which should get around most wheels, frame tubes and attach to standard bike parking hoops.
55cm of pivoting chain links add a degree of flexibility when locking up a bike, as well as allowing them to pack down into a rucksack or panniers easily.
The lock comes with four keys and weighs 1,490g.
KOO Orion sunglasses
Made in Italy, KOO Orion is designed for use for both road and trail riding, uses Zeiss lenses for anti-scratch and anti-reflective properties and has sliders on the top section of the frame to improve ventilation and reduce the risk of the lenses fogging up.
The arms are also easily adjustable, allowing for a great fit for a variety of head sizes.
The Zeiss lenses are interchangeable and KOO offers 14 different colourways on its website.
- £159.99 / $199 / €169
Isaac Tensor 29er mountain bike
The budget Tensor from Isaac — who’s name was inspired by Sir Issac Newton’s scientific clout — is a race-ready XC whippet that has aggressive geometry featuring a 72-degree head angle, 439mm chainstay and a 442mm reach (size large) and good looks, all for a surprisingly low cost.
This particular model features 29-inch wheels, Shimano’s impressive and sturdy SLX 1x groupset that’s paired with a RockShox Recon Silver RL fork and a set of DT Swiss M1900 wheels. You can get your little mitts on this particular model for €1,599.
Lumina OLED 1200 Boost light
The Lumina OLED 1200 Boost is a 1200 lumens light, which has four different light levels alongside four daylight flashing modes. Runtime varies on light level and is a claimed 1–18 hours.
A display screen offers accurate remaining run times, as well as clearly displaying the mode in use. The light is sold with an adjustable handlebar mount.
A Lithium Ion battery is charged via a USB cable on the underside of the light, which is protected from water via a rubber bung. The light (without mount) weighs 133g.
- £140 / $149.99
The Road Book 2018 Cycling Almanac
Aside from watts, grams and aerodynamics, cycling is a complex sport often intertwined with history, geography, politics, weather, geology and of course controversy in all of these aspects. The Road Book 2018 is a great metaphor for the complexity of the sport and covers nearly all of its aspects in a single edition.
Imagine having all the professional road race results from 2018, stage by stage, brief reports, weather details, who was in the breakaway and who was holding each jersey. Yes, all of this is on the internet somewhere, but it’s rarely all collated into a single document that spans an entire season in chronological order.
The Road Book 2018 is edited by Ned Boulting with Cillian Kelly, and has contributions from the legendary Philippa York, professional riders Marianne Vos and Chad Haga, directeur sportif Tom Southam, journalists Matt Rendell and Peter Cossins, plus many more.
Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas also contribute to a prologue in the book.
The Road Book 2018 is an annual bible for the ultimate cycling fan, cycling journalist, professional racer or DS to be able to call upon each of the incredible races that come thick and fast throughout the season — inevitably leading us to forget about some of the most epic race days as the season flies past in the blink of an eye.
What can be the most exciting moments in the sport can quickly and sadly be forgotten. Cycling seasons, teams and racers all come and go but the concise recollection of the 2018 season will keep the races alive for years to come.
Maxxis High Road Competition tyres
The High Road is Maxxis’ new flagship road clincher. The tyre features the brand’s all-new HYPR compound, which claims to reduce rolling resistance and increase wet-weather grip.
The 120-TPI casing doesn’t sound particularly impressive at first glance, but some creative maths often goes into thread counts, so this is probably a reflection of the actual TPI of most high-end road tyres.
Our 25mm sample weighs in at 208g, which is 2-whole-grams lighter than the claimed weight.
Those with a long memory may recall that we reported way back in March 2017 that Maxxis was developing a tubeless tyre of the same name. We have been assured that a tubeless version is also on its way.
- Availability TBC
The English Cyclist Prints (various)
The English Cyclist offers an array of posters, mugs and T-shirts celebrating cycling using unique graphics and race profiles alongside iconic jersey designs.
The different designs include History of the Tour Jersey Winners, which is every single winner’s jersey since the race began, stage profiles from various Grand Tours and graphics focusing on what country different race winners come from.
Posters are printed on 260gsm photo paper and available in A3 or A2 sizes. The company also offers the option of customisation on their posters for an extra £5.
The posters could be that final Christmas present for a close cycling friend or family member (or a Christmas treat for yourself…).
- From £25