Does February make you shiver with every paper you deliver? Of course not! Nobody reads newspapers any more, they just scroll through Twitter on the toilet instead of doing actual work. (PSA: sterilise your smartphones, folks.)
This winter has been hard on cyclists (in the UK at least), but the first signs of spring are in the air. Roadies are eyeing their razors nervously, wondering when to do the deed, and mountain bikers are kicking back and saying "gnarly" a lot, because that's what they always do regardless of circumstances. It's Friday, it's almost the end of the month, so let's celebrate the coming season with a selection of the latest fancy flotsam and frippery to land at BikeRadar UK.
New mountain bike gear
Hiplok DX wearable bike lock
Hiplok carved its own niche when it introduced a range of wearable bike locks a few years back and this, the DX lock, is a secure alternative to the range of belt style locks from the firm.
Essentially, the DX is a D-lock with an integrated plastic clip that’s designed to make it wearable. The lock simply slides over a belt loop or bag strap for supposedly easy transportation. A gold rating from security test house Sold Secure shows the double locking guts of this lock are up to some serious abuse and it’s great to see three keys included in the box.
£70 / US$85 / AU$TBC
Full Windsor The Breaker multi-tool
You may well remember the previous multi-tool effort from London-based design firm Full Windsor. Called the Nutter, the tool made production after enjoying a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. We at BikeRadar went on to review the Nutter, and scored it 3/5 stars in the process.
This is the latest effort from Full Windsor, and it follows another successful Kickstarter campaign. This tool is known as the Breaker, and despite being similar to the Nutter there are a few rather useful updates.
As you’d expect from the name, the Breaker includes a chain breaker. It also features various Allen keys and other useful tool bits that can be mounted and extended from two different slots – meaning big or small leverage can be chosen depending on the task at hand. There’s also a tyre lever and even a bottle opener. Just like the Nutter, this tool tucks away neatly into a smart leather pouch when you aren’t using it.
Upper Downs Neo jacket
Another Kickstarter success here, this time a premium waterproof from UK firm Upper Downs. The Neo gets its name from the Polartec’s NeoShell material used in its construction, a fabric touted for its exceptional breathability and already used by high-end brands such as Sugoi.
Technical highlights include articulated sleeves, a detachable hood and what the company calls a tailored yet versatile cut. It’s certainly costs a packet but it also looks the part and promises big things. As ever, we’ve got plenty of wind and rain to give it a thorough testing so stay tuned for a full review.
£269 / approx US$380 / approx AU$526
It’s safe to say that with this light attached you’ll be able to go balls out on your commute like never before. We are talking about the Bike Balls light, an idea conceived in Canada, matured via Kickstarter and now available for you to attach to your very own bike.
This swinging silicone scrotum houses a single red LED that dissipates light as it jiggles freely beneath a saddle rail. If you don’t fancy your balls rattling around quite as much then the pack also includes a couple of zip ties for a more secure fit.
Squeeze tightly and you’ll cycle through three illumination modes. Oh, and you’ll have to avoid dunking them, as according to the manufacturer, they’re water resistant rather than waterproof – so that means no teabagging either.
£19.99 / US$17 / AU$NA
Stan’s NoTubes Race sealant
If any tyre sealant is going to get you excited then it’d probably be this one. Almost fifteen years in the making, the race sealant is what the folk at Stan’s developed for professionals; its formula uses twice the amount of sealing crystals over regular Stan’s sealant and its crystals are larger too. This should all add up to the ability to better and faster seal punctures including ones that are larger than the regular formula could cope with.
The flipside of all this increased sealing power does come at a cost, “it will clog the hell out of injectors,” NoTubes states. The larger and more numerous crystals will also clog tubes and tubulars so, as NoTubes only recommends, it’ll have to be poured directly into tyres.
$39 / £30 / AU$NA
New road gear
Planet X Pro carbon bike
Please do correct us if we’re wrong, but we reckon it's possible Planet X’s Pro Carbon has been in production for longer than any other carbon bike (without major changes that is, something like the Madone doesn't count), although at least one Boardman model is of a similar vintage. While it’s never claimed to be the lightest or most technologically advanced frameset on the market, the Pro Carbon has long been one of the cheapest ways to get your butt on some carbon, with prices hovering around the £1000 / $1400 mark, give or take a couple of hundred according to spec.
In this new era of ultra high quality alloy it’s debatable whether cheaper carbon is so worthy of your attention, but whatever your thoughts we think you’ll agree that this new orange version of the Pro looks fantastic, and our photography doesn’t even do the sheer loudness of the paint job justice. As pictured, with full Shimano Ultegra and sexy black-ano Vision Team 35 wheels, the bike weighs 8kg in a medium. Planet X also now offers a lairy green version, as well as pink, white, and two (!) shades of black.
£1199.99 / $1649.99
Pickle Juice shots
You know that feeling right before a big event, where your appetite’s deserted you and it’s taking all your will power to keep your breakfast down? At that moment, how would you feel about a shot of pickle juice? We’re not sure either, but The Pickle Juice Company of Mesquite, Texas claims (with a study to back it up) that necking one of these 2.5oz/75ml bottles 15 minutes before exercise will prevent cramps, and that doing so during your workout can put a stop to ones that have already started.
It’s entirely possible that pickle juice is the solution to all your cycling woes, but we imagine that most riders are going to take some convincing on the flavour front. In the meantime, please enjoy this video of Rob Spedding, editor of our sister magazine Cycling Plus, reviewing his first ever shot.
- Singles: $1.99 / £1.40
- 12 pack: $19.99 / £14
DT Swiss tubeless tape
This is not strictly a road product, but with everyone and their mum releasing tubeless versions of their road wheels and new tyres popping up all the time, it’s certainly relevant. DT Swiss’ new tubeless tape is now fitted to all its wheels by default, and it’s available separately for conversions too. Brand manager Chris Brattle of UK importer Madison tells us that only a single layer of tape is required for a clean rim, and that it’s strong enough to resist puncturing in the event that a spoke snaps. One roll will do for up to five rims, and the tape is available in widths to match all of DT Swiss’ range.
£19.99 / $27 / AU$39
Chris Hoy's Flying Fergus series
Remember that Chris Hoy chap? (Sorry, Sir Chris Hoy MBE.) You know the one: big thighs, gold medals, endearing Scottish manners… Well, with a little (or possibly a lot of) help from children's author Joanna Nadin, he's published the first two books of a series aimed at ages five to eight, titled The Best Birthday Bike and The Great Cycle Challenge. Aiming to inspire the cyclists of the future, the Flying Fergus series details the exploits of its eponymous hero, who takes up cycling on his Dad's rusty old bike, only to discover that it's rather more capable than it first appears. We covered the series' launch already, but as of this week, you can actually buy the books from the bookstore of your choice.
£4.99 each / $7 / AU$10
VeloPac RidePac wallet
Are you looking for a convenient way to carry your essentials on your rides? The neat little water-resistant RidePac, which is available in a range of themed designs, might be just the thing. This handy little purse/wallet is designed to hold – and protect – your smartphone, keys, change, credit cards, and any other bits and pieces you might need. It measures about 100x185x25mm so it will fit in most jersey pockets, and the softly padded phone compartment will take devices up to around the size of an iPhone 6. (We tried a Motorola Moto G with a 5in screen, and that fits fine too.) An inner zip pocket keeps your change and keys secure, ensuring that they're kept separate from your phone.
£30 / $42 / AU$58
Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell
As anyone who's ever ridden in Scotland knows, a breathable waterproof jacket can become your best friend when the weather draws in. Step forward Endura, which has been busy updating its premium road clothing range. The FS260-SL Shell is the centrepiece, designed to be more durable than a race cape but still easily packable into a jersey pocket.
It's made from a three-layer Exoshell40 fabric, which promises to be completely waterproof, windproof and highly breathable (up to 40,000g/m2/24hrs). It comes with some neat features, including an easy opening vertical zip to give access to jersey pockets underneath, an external gel/wrapper pocket, and a hidden loop under the collar for quick and easy packing.
It's got an athletic cut for minimum flapping, and features reflective twin stripes on the sleeves for added visibility when it's blowing a hoolie. It comes in black or high-vis green – we prefer the latter.