Hooray, Friday is here again! For the road bike inclined, this week we've had a look at the best festive gifts for roadies, Mongoose's excellent, bargain-priced Guide Expert gravel bike, and Pirelli's no-nonsense PZero Velo road tire.
Being that it's Friday, 11spd is here loaded with a bunch of fresh product to peruse. Read on for the latest bikes and kit to have arrived at BikeRadar HQ this week.
Pearl Izumi Short Sleeve Button Up
It took a while, arguably much longer than it should have, but mountain bikers are finally coming around to the fact one doesn't have to look like a low-budget superhero or grown-up wearing pyjamas while on a bike.
Not looking like a complete tool at the bar or strolling into the office is another strong selling point for casual-looking performance cycling wear such as Pearl Izumi's Short Sleeve Button Up.
The material is a techy woven polyester/cotton blend, there's a longer rear for proper on-bike coverage, and Pearl made sure to sprinkle subtle reflective detailing throughout.
- £65 / $85 / AU$112
Tetra Bike Tune-Up Spray
Unlike the human body, the more you use a bike, the more maintenance and upkeep is required. Then, of course, there's the saying 'you gotta look sharp, to feel sharp', which is pretty easy to apply to bikes, since a clean and quiet bike is a fast, happy bike.
Promising to keep your bike looking and riding on point is Tetra Bike's Tune-Up Spray. It claims to be a cleaner and a light lubricant, making it the stuff to spray willy nilly all over, except of course on brake pads, rotors and rim braking tracks.
- £7.60 / $9.99 / AU$13
Yakima FullBack 2 rack
In an ideal world, bike racks for cars wouldn't exist, but then again neither would tire punctures. Reality being what it is, car racks are needed to move bikes to places where you actually want to ride.
The FullBack is a trunk-mounted, two-bike hauler from Yakima. It attaches to the vehicle via four straps and secures bikes with ratcheting straps that hold onto the top tube and seat tube of a bike.
The rack also includes a cable lock, a bottle opener, and the arms fold down when not in use.
- £159 / $209 / AU$275
Polygon Square One EX9
After getting a brief look at the enduro-smashing Polygon earlier this year, we now have one in for a proper thrashing.
The big news with this rig is the Naild rear suspension system. It's a new design with some lofty promises revolving around the usual efficient pedaling yet bump busting orbit.
With carbon 27.5in e13 wheels and 180mm travel from a Fox 36 fork and Float X2 shock, the Square One has its sights directly on the more rowdy end of enduro riding and racing. Massive 2.5in Magic Mary tires declare its allegiance to gravity as well.
SRAM handles the stop and go with Guide Ultimate discs and an XX1 Eagle drivetrain. A KS Lev makes the seat go down and RaceFace steers the ship with a Turbine R stem clamping a carbon Next R bar.
- $8,499 / international pricing TBD
- Available from bike shops and Polygon's store
Alpinestars Paragon bib shorts
If you're a fan of any motorsport, then Alpinestars needs no introduction. If you're more "what kind of star, now?", to put it very briefly, the Italian clothing firm has been outfitting the world's fastest auto and motorcycle racers since 1963. It also makes MTB gear.
The Paragon bib shorts are much more than a bunch of stretchy fabric with a pad sewn in. These bibs incorporate removable hip and back protection. The spine protector is level 1 CE certified, the hip padding is less robust as it's a flexible foam insert.
Their uniqueness doesn't stop there. A hydration bladder can be slipped in and there's a loop to route the hose on the bib shoulder strap. Three additional pockets can be found on the back and, despite likely only being worn under baggy shorts, reflective accents are included throughout.
- £209 / $249.95 / AU$TBD
Castelli Linea Pelle Combo Pack
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight and warm weather are quickly retreating. But that doesn't mean staying off the bike — at least that's the hope.
Castelli's Linea Pelle line of chamois creme, embrocation and foul weather creme are designed to make riding in harsh, wet conditions a little less sucky.
Castelli claims that the Chamois dry lube lets skin breathe and keeps friction to a minimum. The product contains antibacterial and antimicrobial tea tree oil to keep the not-ever-extinct Megasoreass from rearing its ugly head.
On cold days, the Warming embro creme is supposed to warm up the go-go sticks before a ride and can also help out with sore muscles. Castelli says 80 percent of the ingredients are natural, but still recommends washing your hands after applying.
Castelli designed the Foul Weather creme to protect skin from the cold, wind and water. It can be applied on top of the embro creme. With 57 percent natural ingredients and no petroleum involved, it's claimed to be non-detrimental to performance fabrics.
Each tube is 100ml and lets you squeeze out the right amount without dipping fingers repeatedly into a open jar.
- Individually: £15 / $19.99 / AU$26
- Combo pack: £40 / $59.99 / AU$79
Specialized Terra Pro and Tracer Pro tyres
Cyclocross season is in full swing and we’ve just taken delivery of two new tubeless-ready tyres from Specialized.
We’ve already spent some time on Specialized’s Terra Pro tyres and have found them to be a super grippy and quick clearing option for muddy courses.
The Tracer is a less aggressive tyre, with a lightning-bolt inspired raised file-ish tread that we reckon will be a great choice for dry and fast races.
It’s worth noting that the Tracer name has been in Specialized’s lineup for some time now, but the new tyre bears no resemblance to the old blocky tread.
Both tyres use Specialized’s own super tacky Gripton compound and are tubeless ready. The Terra Pro tyres weigh in at 384g in a 33mm width with the Tracer’s coming in at 362g in the same width.
- £40 / $55 / AU$60
POC Cannondale Drapac <2c socks
POC has worked in collaboration with <2c, an organisation that is dedicated to “providing consumers simple daily choices to fight climate change” by highlighting into brands and products that support “verifiable carbon reduction”.
The super light “performance socks” are worn by Cannondale-Drapac and are “reinforced in strategic areas” and have a “flat seam toe for extra comfort”. Being socks designed for a pro team, they’re only available in a gleaming shade of white.
With the cycling industry beginning to wake up to its environmental impact, it wouldn’t surprise us if more brands get on board with this movement.
- Pricing TBC
Bikelangelo stem caps
If you’re the sort of person who likes to express themselves via the canvas of far-out socks or ironic jerseys, these stem caps from Bikelangelo (which is an incredible name for a brand) may be right up your street.
There’s an option to suit every taste in Bikelangelo’s extensive range, but we’re particularly fond of the doughnut, spicy, and wine glass caps that were sent to us.
The caps use a nifty two-part tool-less system that means you can swap them around to your hearts content. Perhaps if the stem caps become more popular we could end up trading them like pogs way back in the day?
- Price TBC
Paul Components Gino mount
The Gino has been in the Paul Components lineup for just about forever and is the sort of thing you don’t realise was missing in your life until you have it.
This little alloy nubbin threads onto any boss on your bike or pannier rack and allows you to attach a light practically anywhere.
This is particularly useful if you want to keep a headlight nice and low to illuminate the road ahead without blinding others, or if you just want to simply declutter your handlebars.
In typical Paul Components style, even this most simple of parts is beautifully made, with crisp machined edges and flawless anodising.
- £20 / $29 / AU$ N/A
Blackburn Barrier City panniers
Blackburn is among the best known names in bike luggage, with founder Jim Blackburn bringing one of the first widely available pannier racks to market back in the 1970s.
Blackburn has been expanding its luggage lineup recently and the Barrier City panniers are part of that new range.
The seam-welded roll top panniers have a capacity of 20 litres and use fixing hardware that looks virtually identical to the nearly universal Rixen-Kaul kit seen on Ortlieb panniers.
The matt finish of the panniers is also rather nice and certainly feels as though it will be very hard wearing. Reflective highlights should also help improve night-time visibility.
- £74.99 / $55.95 / AU$N/A