Friday has come around yet again and it’s time to start planning those weekend miles. But before you do, we’ve got eleven tasty new products to show off that just landed into the hands of our Australian test crew.
From Suunto’s latest multi-sport adventure smart watch, to some New Zealand-made chain lube using sweep wool wax, and to one of the simplest bike storage devices you’ll ever see – read on.
New road bike gear
IsoWhey Sports nutritional products
A new player to the sports nutrition game, IsoWhey Sports offer a range of high-end nutrition products categorised into the three groups of ‘Pre’, ‘During’ and ‘Post’ exercise. They’re a brand that is co-title sponsoring one of Australia’s strongest cycling teams (formerly Avanti Racing).
In addition to a few energy gels, we received samples of the ‘Pre-Workout Fuel’, ‘Ultimate Endurance’ and ‘Electrolyte Formula’ powders and passed them onto a friend of BikeRadar – Matt Hoon, Phd and Exercise Science Lecturer at the Australian Catholic University.
Having checked out the products, Matt says both the Ultimate Endurance and Electrolyte products offer energy replacement through carbohydrate and rehydration and overlap with each other in some regards. “The Ultimate Endurance is more energy focused (40g of carb per serve, less electrolytes) while the Electrolyte is the opposite with more electrolytes and less carbs (21g per serve),” said Hoon.
“The Pre-Workout Fuel is designed for different reasons to those listed above, as it contains minimal carbohydrate and electrolyte content," says Hoon. "What it does provide however, is a blend of different supplements which all have various physiological effects.
"For example, it contains caffeine as a stimulant (known to improve tolerance to exercise, and promote fat metabolism); beetroot powder (a rich source of nitrate which improves exercise efficiency); and L-carnitine, creatine & beta-alanine (lactic buffers) to name a few.” However, he warns (not so briefly) that the jury is out on the actual benefits of such pre-workout supplements.
IsoWhey Sports’ products are currently only available in Australia and New Zealand.
- Pre-Workout Fuel: AU$60
- Ultimate Endurance: AU$42
- Electrolyte Formula: AU$28.50
Giro coloured shoelaces
Colours! This one should excite the laced shoe wearers; we know it did for the cycle shoe tying fans within our team.
Available colours include white, puke green (their words!), black, coral pink, glowing red (orange), blue jewel, and highlight yellow.
Beyond adding a little personality to your shoes, our experience shows these flatter-shape Giro laces are rather brilliant in providing the right amount of stretch, ideal strength and locking in place ‘just right’. In fact, we recently upgraded a pair of Bontrager Classique laced shoes to Giro laces and loved the outcome.
$TBC / £TBC / AU$15 per pair
Arenberg is a new Sydney-based clothing brand bringing quality garments and an understated style. One of the many ‘Instagram brands’ to hit the market, the design team at Arenberg is split between Sydney, Australia and Stockholm in Sweden, with the garments manufactured in Italy.
The Tech Jersey TJ1 sees stretch and soft dimpled front and side panels, with a lightweight mesh on the back and three compact rear pockets.
It's a chamois we commonly see
The Bib Short BS1 shorts, like many of these smaller brands, are made with high quality fabrics but feature a generic chamois. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the pad Arenberg has picked is a good one which we’ve seen in a number of premium shorts. By our count, the multi-panel shorts see five distinct fabrics in total, including the softest mesh bib straps we’ve ever laid our hands on, and equally soft 35mm leg bands.
With a complete range including a vest and a jacket, Arenberg has also teased that there’s a “technology project that will integrate with our kit system.” We’re not sure what they're up to but we’re definitely intrigued.
While Arenberg’s pricing is only available in AUD, they ship internationally.
- Tech Jersey TJ1: Approx $120 / Approx £84 / AU$160
- Bib Short BS1: Approx $179 / Approx £126 / AU$240
Swiftwick Aspire Seven socks
We believe Swiftwick’s Aspire to be the best ‘plain’ design cycling sock going. Yep, it’s a big call but these USA-made foot covers offer sensible compression, no stitching in sensitive spots and impressive sweat wicking.
Much of the difference comes down to Swiftwick’s use of Olefin, a Nobel prize-winning fibre that is super strong, resists moisture and won’t degrade from sweat.
Swiftwick recently expanded its Aspire Seven (7in long cuff) range to include fusion blue and high-vis yellow. Although the team is split on whether the 4in or 7in cuff length is better, the choice is now there.
$18 / £TBC / AU$35
Cycle Snap bike storage
Mounting to a wall, the American-made Cycle Snap is the most minimalist bike storage hook we’ve ever seen. Looking more like a kitchen accessory than a bike holder, this plastic piece is designed to securely grip onto a bike tyre.
Cycle Snap is designed to hold a bike in either a vertical or horizontal position, with the later keeping the bike upright while on the ground with both wheels.
We received a couple of ‘road bike edition’ Cycle Snaps designed to hold bikes with 23-28mm tyre widths. There’s also a Mountain/BMX/Cruiser version to fit tyres from 1.75 to 2.25in width and a Hybrid version for 32-38mm width rubber.
We’ve put one on the wall to quickly test it with some road bikes and early indications are that it works, but is also quite fussy on tyre and rim width. We’re not writing it off just yet, but our immediate opinion is that we’d prefer to secure our bikes with more than friction alone.
$20 / £TBC / AU$TBC each
CatEye Loop 2 front and rear lights
Compact, lightweight and simple – Cateye’s new Loop 2 lights do exactly what a low-cost safety light should.
Weighing 20 grams each, the Loop 2's use a simple rubber strap to stretch around either round or aero tubes and bag straps. The lights are claimed to be water resistant too.
While they’re certainly not bright enough to see with, they should be effective at making sure you're seen. There are rechargeable versions available, but our samples use two easily replaceable CR2032 batteries that are said to last about 50 hours on flash mode.
$TBC / £13 / AU$25 each
New mountain bike gear
Suunto Ambit3 Vertical smart watch
The latest addition to Suunto’s Ambit3 watch range is the Vertical. Slotting in just below the flagship Ambit3 Peak, the Vertical is a full featured rugged multisport watch.
In addition to the built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass, the Ambit3 Vertical is Bluetooth Smart enabled and can connect to a range sensors including Bluetooth power meters (Stages, Powertap, etc). The watch is also GPS enabled, with GLONASS to follow in a soon-to-be released firmware update.
Bluetooth Smart also means the watch can connect to your smartphone to display notifications and access the Suunto Movescount app. From the app you can review activities, add photos, download watch apps, customize watch settings, plan routes and workouts, as well as make a Suunto Movie, which maps your route through a topographic map, similar to the course previews you’ve seen during World Tour races.
The watch has a claimed 15hour battery life with five-second GPS accuracy updates, but can be dialed back to one minute accuracy readings to extend the battery life up to 100 hours. We'll be testing this new watch to see how it compares to the Garmin Fenix 3.
$469 / £327 / AU$680
Biomaxa Bicycle Biolubricant & Bio-grease
Made from lanolin (wax extracted from sheep wool), Biomaxa is unsurprisingly a product of New Zealand. Claimed to be the world’s first cycling-specific chain lube made of the stuff, Biomaxa is said to be both eco friendly and high performing.
This wax-based lube is said to be suited to use in multiple conditions and extremely durable. Biomaxa state the lube was tested independently by FrictionFacts, something which showed this New Zealand product to be one of the fastest production drip lubes available.
Unique and patent pending applicator cap
Further to the lube itself, it's sold in a clever 80ml bottle with an easy lubing ‘guide cap’ which sits over the chain. This cap hides a thinner nozzle beneath for precision use.
In addition to the lube, Biomaxa has multi-purpose cycling-specific grease that is free of petroleum products.
Biomaxa products are already available in Australia and New Zealand, and will be available in the UK from June 1st. Although with such speed, durability and eco claims, we suspect they'll arrive in the US before long.
- 80ml of chain lubricant: $N/A / £10.99 / AU$20
- 100 ml bicycle Bio Grease: $N/A / £17.99 / AU$29
Adidas Essentials Excalate eyewear
Sharing similar features to the casual-focused Adidas Widlcharge and Whipstart shades, the extremely new Excalate offers a few handy technical sport features with a laid-back look.
The light and flexible frame features grippy arms for a secure fit. Given casual sunglasses are prone to being sat on, the quick release hinges on the arms are a highlight.
There's some actual sporty tech in these
The adjustable nose pad is grippy too which means these sunglasses actually stay in place while cycling, something that can’t be said for most other plastic casual eyewear we’ve used.
The Excalate comes with a variety of lens options all of which are optical quality Class 1, the highest available, according to Adidas Eyewear. The pair shown here feature a grey tint for general use, with a trendy 'purple mirror' finish on the front.
We rate the relaxed looks with a sport personality. Unfortunately there’s not much information out there on these shades, so best hassle your local Adidas Eyewear dealer for more details.
$TBC / £TBC / AU$190
Effetto Mariposa CL tubeless strips
Made in Italy, these tubeless rim strips are said to be lighter and stronger than other, more commonly sourced butyl tubeless conversion strips. Such a conversion strip has become less widely used as tubeless compatible rims have emerged, but there are still many lower-level bikes being sold that could benefit from such an upgrade.
Weighing from 30g a piece, these polymer strips are sold as a pair with tubeless valves. Installation is designed to be even easier than tape, with the hardest part perhaps knowing which of the three available widths to choose.
The strips aren’t designed to handle immense pressure and so are suited to mountain bikes (and perhaps cyclocross) only. Additionally, you’ll want to be careful on the tyre sealant you use as these apparently don’t behave well with a few chemicals commonly found in some liquid options.
Sets from $35 / £25 / AU$TBC
Ryders Eyewear Seventh
Ryders Eyewear is a small, North Vancouver-based eyewear company with deep roots in mountain biking.
The Seventh’s half-frame and flat profile blend casual styling with cycling specific features. The lenses have a hydrophobic front layer, which allows the lenses to shed water and sweat droplets with ease. The back of the lens is treated with an anti-fog layer to keep water vapor from building up and obscuring your view.
We’ve got the photochromic version in for test with light grey lenses, suitable for low to medium light conditions.
$130 / £90 / AU$175