The rain finally arrived in Maribor and it caused quite an upset among the Elite riders with some of the biggest names missing the action tomorrow.( Photos: 60 )
Our pick of the best biker gear to land this week We’re lucky to have our hands on this carbon carbon carbon carbon carbon Chameleon… … although the SRAM Guide R brakes and Fox Performance fork are a little disappointing on such a pricey hardtail Daytime running lights are powered by the two huge batteries and the rear rack can accommodate panniers and passengers with extra handlebars Need a bike to transport your other bike? No problem Vaude’s AM Downieville shoes look like a promising MTB option for the money The Michelin Power Gravel could prove a versatile all-road option thanks to its file tread and tough tubeless casing Gluten-free nut fans have another snacking option in KIND bars Bontrager makes a rare entry into the plus-tyre market with a 2.8in version of its fast-rolling XR3 Hexlox’s universal axles fit any fork, while the key (left) installs the hexagonal Hexlox nuts into the Allen bolt head to secure it against theft Benchmark Five Ten Impact shoes now available to match your Troy Lee kit Dryrobe can make you look like a pound-shop Yoda, but warm you will be… Clean up your sweaty indoor-training equipment with this antibacterial spray It’s Friday, which means it’s officially time for our weekly show-and-tell of the most interesting bikes and kit to arrive in the BikeRadar office. Also, this week has been our first whole week with our new website. We hope you’re enjoying the new style. Can Jack finally drop Joe? — BikeRadar Diaries Episode 12 This miniature folding soft-tail road bike is a delicious forbidden fruit Best bike boxes and bike bags This weekend is a big one in the mountain bike calendar as it’s finally time for the first downhill World Cup of the season in Slovenia. Intriguingly for us tech geeks, Cannondale chose this week to tease us with their new downhill bike, which uses two shocks (sort of). On the road side, we announced the winner of the best all-road bike in our Bike of the Year awards, the Canyon Grail AL 7.0. Meanwhile, Jack confessed his love of a discounted, Japanese-market-only, rear-suspension, folding road bike. Let it never be said that BikeRadar doesn’t have diverse opinions. Santa Cruz Chameleon SE+ Carbon We’re lucky to have our hands on this carbon carbon carbon carbon carbon Chameleon… Immediate Media As the name suggests, the Chameleon is designed to be as versatile as possible. It’s Santa Cruz’s cross-country/trail/bike-packing/bike-park hardtail. Adjustable dropouts accommodate 29in or 27.5-plus wheels or even single-speed drivetrains. 29er versions come with a 120mm fork while 27.5-plus builds, like we have here, come with a 130mm fork. The geometry is relatively roomy in the reach (458mm in this size Large) but the 67.3o head angle and short 415-430mm chainstay length should keep the handling agile and lively. The alloy version has been around for some time now, but the carbon Chameleon has just arrived in the capable hands of our tester, Tom Marvin, who will be riding it hard this year. Stay tuned to find out how it rides and what he gets up to with it. For now, it’s safe to say Santa Cruz aren’t going to be bothering the likes of YT or Canyon on the value front. This SE+ build comes with carbon wheels, Hope Pro 4 hubs and supple Maxxis 2.8in tyres, but it’s perhaps a little disappointing to see mid-level brakes, fork and drivetrain when you’re paying this much for a hardtail. £5699 / €5999 / $7499 Buy from Stif Riese & Müller Multicharger Vario Could this ruggedly utilitarian e-cargo bike replace your car? Immediate Media Fed up of schlepping your heavy weekly shopping around on your regular bike, but refuse to use the car? So was our tech ed Tom, so he’s got hold of this electric cargo bike from Riese & Müller. This top-line version comes with all the bells and whistles — from an extra 500Wh battery on the downtube to complement the one inside it (£839), huge volume custom pannier bags (£149), to mini handlebars and foot pegs (£140). The Vario model has an Enviolo continuous variable transmission hub driven by a Gates belt drive, a Bosch CX Performance motor, Magura MT4 brakes and a SR Suntour XCR32 fork and Thudbuster seatpost to boost comfort. Cheaper versions are available, with a Shimano Nexus hub from £3,539. Not content with just his shopping, Tom’s also been carting bikes, bits of cars and furniture around, just because he can! Look out for more e-cargo features, featuring this bike, very soon. From £4,289 / €4,699 Find out more from Riese & Muller Bontrager XR3 Team Issue 2.8in MTB tyre Bontrager makes a rare entry into the plus-tyre market with a 2.8in version of its fast-rolling XR3 Immediate Media Despite having obvious comfort and traction benefits, plus-tyres are on the decline. Yet Bontrager is backing the 2.6in tyre, and still offers 2.8in tyres such as these. The XR3 is designed to be a fast-rolling trail tyre, which can be used for cross-country racing. Although also available in 29 x 2.4in, a 2.8in version of such a speed-focused tyre may seem strange to some, but we’ve found bigger tyres can roll faster in some cases. These tyres weigh 846g each. £60 / €70 / $95 Buy now from Trek Muc-Off antibacterial equipment cleaner Clean up your sweaty indoor-training equipment with this antibacterial spray Immediate Media If you train indoors you’ll probably be familiar with the sweat-stained indoor trainer or turbo-training bike. This cleaner is designed to sterilise any indoor equipment, killing 99.99% of bacteria without damaging any surface finishes. Simply spray on and wipe off. It smells sweet and apple-y too. Whether it works significantly quicker than non-cycling-specific gym cleaners is yet to be determined… £9.99 / €12.99 Buy now from Evans Cycles Hexlox Universal thru axles Hexlox’s universal axles fit any fork, while the key (left) installs the hexagonal Hexlox nuts into the Allen bolt head to secure it against theft Immediate Media The Hexlox is an anti-theft device that fits inside any Allen-key bolt. It requires a special key to loosen or tighten the bolt, thereby stopping thieves from stealing bits of your bike. To secure the most removable parts, Hexlox offers compatible products, including quick-release skewers and thru axles to keep your wheels safe. This kit fits any 12mm (road) fork axle, but other kits are available for 15mm (mountain bike) forks, along with 12mm rear axles to fit all thru-axle frames. The axle self-adjusts to fit your fork’s width and has two thread pitches to suit different fork threads. Once installed with a Hexlox nut, it can only be removed with a Hexlox key (sold separately). £52 / €59.99 Find out more from Hexlox Easton EC90 SL Cranks Easton’s cranks use Race Face chainring technology to easily swap between 2x and single-ring systems Immediate Media These lightweight road/gravel/cyclocross cranks use CINCH technology shared with Easton’s sister company, Race Face. This means direct-mount single chainrings or 2x spiders can be easily swapped onto the crank arm. They have a standard road Q-factor of 149mm and are also available with (or can be upgraded with) Easton’s Cinch 30mm power meter spindle. The Canadian-made hollow carbon arms are available in 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths. Our 172.5mm set weigh 345g for the bare arms and spindle, or 588g including a 2x spider with 52/36T rings. £400 / €449 / $400 Buy from Singletrack bikes Michelin Power Gravel 40 tyres The Michelin Power Gravel could prove a versatile all-road option thanks to its file tread and tough tubeless casing Immediate Media Michelin pioneered tubeless mountain bike tyres but have been slow to bring tubeless tech to the road. While not a true road-specific tyre, the Power gravel is designed for gravel roads and is tubeless ready. It also boasts a protective casing throughout the tyre’s carcass, so it should be safe to run low pressures without too much risk of puncturing, especially in this chunky 40mm size. It’s available in 33mm, 35mm and 40mm widths. We’ve got the latter, which weighs in at 477g. £43 / €36.99 / $65 Buy from Tweeks cycles Dryrobe Advance Short Sleeve Dryrobe can make you look like a pound-shop Yoda, but warm you will be… Immediate Media Ever been too cold or embarrassed to get changed out of your muddy/sweaty riding kit in a busy car park? Dryrobe aims to fix this problem. It’s essentially a big, baggy gown with waterproof exterior, a warm fleecy liner and a full-length zip. It’s loose enough for you to change out of your riding kit and into something more comfortable without sacrificing modesty or warmth, leaving you to drive home in comfort. It’s even said to wick moisture away from your skin while you’re getting changed, so you’ll be nice and dry too. £110 / $150 Buy from Amazon KIND bars Gluten-free nut fans have another snacking option in KIND bars Immediate Media KIND produces a wide range of gluten-free snacks, which could be just the thing for when you’re out cycling. Many of these pocket-sized bars contain more than 50 percent nuts, making them relatively high in protein. They also contain dried fruit, rice flour and sugar, often in the form of honey or maple syrup. KIND claims the bars contain 40 percent less sugar than similar snack bars. These bars contain between 11g and 23g of sugar per 100g. From £1.99 a bar See KIND snacks for more info Vaude AM Downieville Mid Shoes Vaude’s AM Downieville shoes look like a promising MTB option for the money Immediate Media Vaude is probably not the first brand that springs to mind when thinking of MTB clipless shoes, but these look like a competitive option. A reinforced heel and toe cup offers protection against trail debris while the raised inside ankle support should offer some protection from the crank in a crash. The foot is secured with laces, which tuck under a Velcro flap, giving these shoes a striking resemblance to Shimano’s ME 7. A simple Velcro strap secures the foot higher up. The nylon sole feels reasonably stiff and the outsole has deep tread for off-bike grip. This pair weighs 998g in a size EU 44. £130 / €147 Buy from Wiggle Five Ten Impact Pro X Troy Lee Design shoe Benchmark Five Ten Impact shoes now available to match your Troy Lee kit Immediate Media Five Ten has been the brand to beat when it comes to grippy flat pedal shoes for years. They’ve collaborated with another MTB clothing legend, Troy Lee Designs, to come up with this snazzy shoe. It’s based on the long-praised Impact Pro shoe but with a new lighter upper and a new polyurethane midsole, which is claimed to be more durable and cushioning, while being 30 percent thinner. The super-sticky Stealth rubber tread is now 25 percent deeper and uses alternating small and large tread circles to better grip the pedals. The Troy Lee graphics just look cool and match the riding kit. £140 / $160 Buy from Stif
ARC8 uses the direct-mount standard for its rim brakes The hidden seat-clamp is well executed The fork was designed to get the maximum allowable tyre clearance There’s plenty of space in there even with a 28c tyre The ARC8 ICS stem is a neat alternative to a complex one-piece bar and full-cable integration The underside of the ICS stem is designed to take cables centrally, or if you use a bar with a rear centre exit, keep the cable fully internal through the headset The wheels on the test bike are prototypes of something else that ARC8’s Jonas is working on DT Swiss’s dependable 340 hubs are at the centre of these prototype wheels The rims brake track almost looks like a camo pattern The ‘top cone’ on the Escapee is available in three heights The finish on the Escapee is impressive Neat cable exit port on the Escapee’s minimal rear dropout The seat tube is D-shaped and cut out to keep the back-end very tight with 402mm chainstays ARC8 worked extensively on the carbon lay-up to provide stiffness or compliance where needed The stem eschews a traditional clamp for this ovalised double-clamp system, though it works with standard round 31.8mm bars This is ARC8’s take on a 160mm enduro chassis, we think it’s got potential! This prototype carbon stem looks the business ARC8 tells us the stem uses a carbon process rarely used in bike manufacturing ARC8 designed the new enduro and hardtail to have minimal head-tube heights The hardtail uses the same stem design as the road bikes ARC8 won’t use anything but BSA bottom brackets on its chassis This carbon enduro chassis looks nicely put together The ARC8 hardtail looks like a minimal lightweight rig Like the rest of the range, it’s a good old BSA bottom bracket This mock-up shows how the ICS routing works in conjunction with the head-set splitting the cables either side of the bearings New brand ARC8 is the brainchild of mechanical engineer Jonas Mueller, who has teamed up with long-time friend Serafin Pazdera. So far, so good. But the way Mueller arrived at his two-model starting line-up is a little different from the norm. SRAM announces new Level Ultimate and TLM stoppers Zwift’s Watopia goes west with Fuego Flats update Mueller’s CV is strong, being part of fellow Swiss brand BMC for six and a half years and the man behind the Alpen Challenge, Trail Fox, Speed Fox, 4 Stroke, BMC GF01 and part of the team behind the TM01. After that he worked at Santa Cruz on the long-travel 29er Hightower. So, when he got in touch about the new ARC8 venture we wanted to find out more. Finding the resources Initially, Jonas and Serafin didn’t have the resources to start a new brand, or the resources required to enable the three-plus years of development behind the new Escapee road bike, not forgetting the 120–140mm travel Essential they are launching with. In order to proceed, Jonas consulted with some key manufacturers in Taiwan (where he’s lived for the past four years) to create mountain and road frames using his expertise and engineering knowledge. Jonas tells us: “I designed frames in conjunction with a particular carbon factory, we wanted to take the idea of an ‘open’ frame [a frame design any company can buy and brand, often seen on direct-to-market, or shop-branded machines] and elevate it to a higher level than the average.” Jonas also developed a new stem design and collaborated on a headset that gives the advantages of one-piece aero integration and full internal routing, but without the complexity seen on some proprietary systems. FSA also introduced a similar, but more complex, off-the-peg solution. The design routes the cables under and through the stem and into channels running either side of the headset. Jonas says his solution allows for more freedom in cable lengths, no binding and less aggressive cable angles that can affect shift performance. Surprisingly, his integrated design also features on ARC8’s upcoming hard-tail mountain bike. On the 120/140mm bike, it’s a variation on this design (the short stem doesn’t work so well with this sort of routing) and combines a special headset with a new sharp-looking carbon stem that’s both stronger and lighter than anything previously seen. Integration and standards When it comes to integration and standards Jonas says he’d prefer his solutions on things like integration to make compatibility better across the bike world. It’s apparent Jonas is often frustrated by standards changing all the time: “If it’s accepted that a frame’s production life is three or four years, I don’t think it’s right it can become obsolete just through changing standards for no real benefit.” Across the board on ARC8’s bikes Jonas has stuck to the dependable BSA standard (something his ex-paymasters at Santa Cruz have also stuck to). Alongside the two launch bikes Jonas showed us his prototype carbon hardtail, a true monocoque frame (it is moulded completely in one-piece, a rare thing indeed) and a new 160mm-travel enduro 29er chassis. ARC8 Escapee first impressions With production frames finalised Jonas was able to get a 60cm Escapee frameset built in time for my arrival in Taiwan, so I’ve been able to get a few miles in on the bike. At first glance the Escapee looks quite traditional — there are no dropped stays, the triangles are fairly conventional (it’s not a super compact design), but it’s only when you look at the tube shapes and the junctions between them that you see a lot of complexity in the design. Jonas explains, “I wanted to ‘tune’ the bike aerodynamically using truncated air foil shapes and shaping the junctions and profiles, but I didn’t want to compromise mechanical performance such as weight or stiffness at the expense of aero. “We’ve hit a mark where the aero advantages haven’t compromised the mechanical potential by more than 5% overall.” In non-engineering speak that means the frameset is smooth and slippery but still tips the scales at 780g for the frame and 350g for the fork. When Jonas joins me on a ride, you can see our bikes look similar, but his is less evolved, with some repairs and modifications to carbon sections where he’s been on the development path, even things like a cracked headset top cone — it’s not a final product just a 3D-printed mock-up. A versatile bike Jonas was looking to make a versatile road bike, with geometry somewhere between a full-on race bike and an endurance bike. The geometry on the 60cm I’m riding (which is closer to the traditional 58cm I usually ride) has a pretty aggressive 580mm stack and a reasonable reach of 405mm. The low stack is due to the integration of the headset into the frame, and the frame is designed to work in conjunction with the top cone of the headset, which is available in three different heights — the lowest adds 8mm, the tallest 47mm, which along with aero-shaped spacers means masses of front-end adjustment. My rim-braked model uses the direct-mount standard. Jonas says he’s been pretty flexible with the positioning to max out the tyre clearances. He thinks it’s important that a modern road bike has clearance for more comfortable bigger volume tyres, so the Escapee will accept all 30c tyres and many 32s. On the road the Escapee is a well-judged design, smooth yet stiff and with nimble handling too. My test bike weighs 6.7kg, which is impressive seeing as the build is a slight mish-mash (it’s a production chassis, but not a production bike). The build features Jonas’ stem design with an alloy bar up front, a 185g ARC8 carbon seatpost (in a standard round 27.2) topped with a mid-range cro-mo railed San Marco Mode saddle. Onza’s 28c Lavin tyres wrap around a development set of carbon wheels, which Jonas is also involved with. Jonas says the rims are around 400g in this 40+mm deep guise and are built onto DT Swiss 350 hubs with J-bend spokes, and he puts the all-up weight around 1,550g a pair. The groupset is a last-generation Campagnolo Super-Record set-up with a 50/34 chainset and an 11-28 cassette. So, you could certainly build a lighter machine fairly easily. The Escapee has a great pick up, flows in the corners with a smooth stable feel, yet feels nimble thanks to the super-short 402mm chainstays and that ‘tucked in’ rear-wheel design. This chassis offers a smart piece of design, which combines road smoothing compliance with rock-solid stiffness when sprinting. Before deciding on an overall score I want to get my hands on a full production bike, on home soil and thankfully one should be shipping our way by the time you read this. The frameset kit is priced at 1,820CHF, but early birds get a 300CHF discount, and you can find more info’ on the Escapee and Essential at ARC8 ARC8 Escapee specifications Weight: 6.7kg (60cm) Frame: ARC8 carbon Fork: ARC8 carbon Wheels: ARC8 prototype Tyres: Onza Lavin 28c Stem: ARC8 ICH Bar: Alloy Seatpost: ARC8 SP carbon 15mm setback Saddle: Selle San Marco Mode cromo Gears: Campagnolo Super Record 11spd Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record direct mount rim brake
For those of us that spend a large part of the year in cold riding conditions you know what it is like to have have frozen digits when out on the bike. Winter riding can be a blast, maybe not like ripping Whistler Bike Park laps, but when all your favorite trails are covered in snow…it’s nice to get out to spin your legs and get your drift on. Frozen hands and feet suck and are definitely in the back of my mind when we come up with excuses no to work on your Dad bod and head out for a winter ride. We have been testing a few products long term and we wanted to share our thoughts with the masses. Bluetooth Heated Insoles by Digisole By- Jack When the box arrived from France I was super excited. I have used disposable heat packs inside my winter 5.10 riding shoes but they always made my feet fall asleep and were super uncomfortable. Contrasting, the Digitsole Warm series insoles fit perfectly into my shoes and charging them was easy with a micro usb and supplied split cord. The insoles rely on an Phone app and Bluetooth technology. You can download an app for your Iphone or Android, connect the insoles and charge out the door knowing you will have toasty feet. The app is simple and works to control the amount of energy the charged insoles deliver under your forefoot. There are no wires connected to batteries that you have to worry about and the batteries are integrated into the insole. You can control the temperature with your phone and it has a handy timer so you can maintain the temperature of your fee, avoiding overheating your toes like with disposable heat packs. The app also has a timer build to maintain battery life. The insoles battery life was great and I could head out for a couple of hours in sub zero temps with warm happy feet. You have to be careful to ensure that your phone battery has plenty of battery life left so that you can control your insoles during your ride. If your phone battery runs out, your insoles will turn off as well. You’ll also need to be careful not to freeze the battery. I usually leave my riding shoes in the garage but with the Digisole Insoles you’ll need to keep them inside to ensure you treat the battery the way Digisole wants you to. The insoles are not overly thick like you’d think a insole with a battery and built in GPS would be. Speaking of the GPS, Digisole markets the insoles for a variety of winter sports so tracking your steps is a luxury for many winter enthusiast. For cyclists where Garmins and Strava are common place the GPS is probably overkill and we’d love to see a more economically priced heated insole without the GPS option. Overall it was awesome to have warm feet and they were super useful. On a few rides my phone battery was basically dead as I headed out for a night ride and couldn’t turn the insoles on. I certainly missed them as I had to revert to disposable heat packs. Are they worth the 200 Euro? If you suffer from cold feet and ride a lot in the winter, early spring or late fall rides then yes. They are a luxury but they do work really well. Digisole did provide a set of insoles for this review but we received no monetary compensation. You can find out more information on the insoles here https://www.digitsole.com/connected-heated-insoles-warm-series/ -Jack Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Glove Review By Kevin I purchased my Outdoor Research (OR) Lucent Heated gloves early in the winter of 2018 to enjoy winter fatbiking. I struggle with Raynaud’s in a few fingers and couldn’t find a glove combo that was warm enough. Additionally, I’m not a fan of pogies (bar mitts) as they aren’t ideal at warming up your hands after you’ve been exposed changing a tire or dealing with a mechanical. The Lucent gloves fit a bit larger compared to my other gloves (XL vs. my XXL) and have a deeper thumb groove, which nicely accommodates gripping a handlebar. I find the gloves a bit thinner on the palm, which translates to better bar feel. OR states the heating wraps around all the fingers and I never noticed any cold spots while riding in up to -20C temperatures. I would alternate between the highest heat setting after having the gloves off, the medium heat setting when descending in cold temps, and the lowest heat setting when climbing. When temps warmed up I was able to use the gloves without heat. Battery life was always longer than my ride time, regardless of my heat setting selection. I do find the batteries are slow to charge, so I would recommend always charging well in advance of your ride. The split battery design meant I didn’t notice the batteries while wearing the gloves. The LED button was easy to use and hassle free. If you are looking for a cycling glove feel these probably aren’t the gloves for you. However, if you struggle with hand heat in the winter and don’t really have a cold cut off for riding these are a proper glove that’ll keep your hands warm and let you enjoy your ride. That you can take them skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc. without skipping a beat is an added bonus. You can find out more information about the Outdoor Research Lucent Glove here: https://amzn.to/2XiHYew The post Extending Ride Time in the Winter appeared first on The Bike Dads.
The next generation of SRAM's Guide brakes has arrived, with a claimed 7% increase in power, along with better heat management.( Photos: 5 )