Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit Wrenches on the go Tech Features: While the repair stand has been a main part of the Feedback catalog since 2008, the tool catalog is fairly new. The Feedback Sports tools are all purpose-built and come in convenient cases to make them optimized for easy mobility and to work with their stands. The kit consists of 19 tools, with many of them having multiple purposes. For example, the small #0 Phillips-head screwdriver has a crankarm cap tool on the other end. Out of the 19 tools, there are 31 total tool functions. In the shop: The whole tool kit is well-built, and the thermoplastic polyurethane-coated nylon case is durable. There is almost every tool you would need to maintain a bicycle. Of course, there are plenty of specialty tools not included, but overall, we haven’t had a single case where we needed more unless we were doing a from-bare-frame build. A few key tools that have been getting the most use would be the combination bottom bracket wrench (fits lock rings on disc brakes)/cassette lock-ring wrench and chain pliers. We also use the three fixed three-way tools, and the steel-core tire levers with brake-pad spreader are useful. The chain breaker is not ideal, but with some determination it can get the job done. The case mates perfectly with any of their repair stands with the included support and straps that allow it to hang from the top of the stand. Field test results: The Team Edition tool kit sells for $250 and has more tools than the average cyclist would need for basic maintenance (the $110 Ride Prep kit would fit that bill), but it is one of the most convenient and slim tool kits on the market. It condenses a large selection of tools into a purpose-built package that doesn’t take up excess room while leaving room to add onto the kit. Each tool has a dedicated position keeping things organized. It fills the void for those who want to be able to perform basic repairs as well as a few more advanced ones too. Hits All the basic tools with a few that you didn’t know you would need Room to grow without adding bulk A few tools that aren’t perfect but get the job done Misses Mechanical skills not included Star Rating www.feedbacksports.com THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google. Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Subscribe Here For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com The post Product Review: Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
Knowing how to repair a puncture is an essential skill that every cyclist needs to master. It can be daunting for the inexperienced, but only takes a few minutes once you know what you’re doing. In the following guide and videos below, we’ll talk you though how to repair a punctured inner tube on either a road or mountain bike in a simple, step-by-step walkthrough guide. Celebrate this year’s Bike Week by getting out on your bike from 8–16 June. Cycling UK wants to get even more people riding this year and you’ll find plenty of advice on BikeRadar if you’re new to cycling or need help deciding which bike to buy or how to fix a puncture! Share your rides with the hashtags #BikeWeekUK #7DaysofCycling. We talk you through how to repair a puncture on a mountain bike The process for fixing a puncture on a road bike can be slightly different How to inflate a bicycle tyre 1. How to find the puncture Using the valve as your starting point, closely inspect the tread of the tyre to ﬁnd the cause of the puncture. Also pay attention to the sidewalls (the non-treaded portion on the side of the tyre) to make sure there are no tears or holes. Remove any glass, grit or other debris that you spot. Even if you ﬁnd one possible cause, continue checking the tyre until you get back to the valve because there may be more. 2. How to remove an inner tube Let the air out of the inner tube and push the valve up into the tyre, unscrewing and retaining the valve lockring if ﬁtted. Use a second lever, roughly 5cm away from the first, to begin to pop the bead off the rim BikeRadar On the side of the wheel opposite the valve, slip a tyre lever under the tyre’s bead and a further tyre lever, about roughly 5cm away. Run the lever around the tyre to free one side BikeRadar Pull the nearer tyre lever towards you, lifting the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim. Continue until one bead of the tyre is completely free of the rim then pull the tube out. Remove the tyre completely from the rim — with most tyres this can be done by hand unless exceptionally tight. 3. How to find the puncture on an inner tube Inflate the punctured tube and rotate it around close to your face to find the hole BikeRadar Inﬂate the tube and listen for air escaping. If you’re struggling to find the hole by listening alone, try passing your lips over the top of the tube. If the hole still can’t be found, re-inﬂate the tube and pass it through a bowl of water until you spot escaping bubbles. Be sure to dry the tube before proceeding to the next step. The Puncture Finder will… find your puncture 4. How to prepare an inner tube for patching Select an appropriately sized patch — if in doubt, err on the side of caution and use a bigger rather than smaller patch. Sand down the area around the hole to aid adhesion BikeRadar Roughen the surface of the tube around the hole with sandpaper (usually included with any good puncture repair kit). Ensure that any moulding marks on the tube are completely flattened down as these can cause issues when gluing. Thoroughly brush off any rubber ‘shavings’. If you’re using glueless patches, you can apply them directly after cleaning the area around the hole BikeRadar If you’re using pre-glued patches — such as Park’s GP-2 patch kit — you can now patch the hole. Thoroughly press down on the patch to ensure it’s fully in contact with the tube. If you’re using a ‘traditional’ glue-on patch kit, start by applying a generous drop of glue — or rubber cement by its proper name — to the tube and spread this across an area slightly larger than the patch you intend to use. Allow to dry. Apply a second, thinner layer similarly. Once again, allow to dry — when the glue is dry it will change from shiny to matt. Once the glue has dried to a matt finish, apply the patch Amanda Thomas The key to ensuring a good repair is patience, so don’t rush this step. 5. How to patch an inner tube Firmly press the patch into place after removing the backing foil — cleanliness is also key to a good repair, so leave this to the very last moment. Make sure the whole of the patch is in contact with the tube Amanda Thomas If there’s a thin cellophane backing on the patch, it can be left on. It’s good practice to dust any stray glue with chalk, talcum powder or fine road dust to prevent it from sticking to the tyre casing. 6. Check the casing of the tyre and rim tape Thoroughly check the casing of the tyre for any other debris that may cause another puncture Amanda Thomas Before refitting the tube, thoroughly double-triple-check the inside of the tyre casing — there’s nothing more frustrating than going to the effort of patching a tube only to puncture it again with a stray thorn you may have missed. Make sure your rim tape is secure and covering all spoke holes BikeRadar It’s also good practice to check the rim tape. If a hard plastic rim strip — often found on cheaper bikes — is torn, it leaves a sharp edge that can easily slice a tube. Likewise, if your rim tape has slipped, it can leave eyelets or spoke holes exposed, which can also puncture a tube. If you have persistent problems with your rim tape puncturing your tube, try swapping it out for a roll of good ol’ Velox cloth tape or similar. This stuff lasts forever, costs very little and can be reused if you’re so inclined. 7. How to refit the tyre After repairing the tube and thoroughly checking the tyre, reﬁt one bead to the rim. Slightly inﬂate the tube and reﬁt it to the wheel, putting the valve through its hole first. Push the tyre bead back onto the rim with your thumbs, taking care not to pinch the tube BikeRadar Starting at the opposite side of the rim to the valve, use your thumbs to lift the tyre’s bead over the rim. Work your way around the rim until there’s just one small section of tyre left. Push the valve up into the tyre and then, using your thumbs, ease the remaining section of the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim. If the tyre is particularly tight, avoid the temptation to use a tyre lever to push the last section of the tyre onto the rim — you’ll almost certainly pinch your inner tube doing so. If you’re struggling to pop the tyre onto the wheel, try putting the tyre on the ground, holding it in place with your feet and rolling the the bead back towards you — heavy gloves really help here. This takes a little practice, but should work with even the most stubborn tyres. 8. Make final checks ‘Massage’ the tyre into the well of the rim, ensuring the tube isn’t being pinched by the bead of the tyre Amanda Thomas Check that the tube isn’t trapped between the rim and the tyre bead by working your way around the tyre, pushing the bead into the well of the rim. If the tube is trapped, try ‘massaging’ the tyre to encourage it to seat properly. Pumping it up a small amount may also help to seat the tube properly. Inflate the tyre, ensuring that it is seated evenly around the wheel BikeRadar Inﬂate the tyre to a point where it feels soft but has maintained its shape then check that the molding mark around the tyre follows the rim evenly all the way around. If not, deﬂate a little and ease any high spots down and pull low spots up until the bead is ﬁtted evenly. Inﬂate to the recommended pressure and check once again that the tyre’s bead is still seated evenly and that the tyre isn’t lifting off the rim at any point, then adjust your pressures to suit. Trail Tech: Mountain bike tyre pressure — all you need to know Fixing a puncture: useful tips When taking the tube out of the tyre, note which way the tube was around in the wheel. This will help identify the position of the hole in the tube once the position of the object in the tyre causing the puncture has been found Once you’ve located the hole in your puncture, mark it with a piece of chalk (usually included with a repair kit) so you can pinpoint it accurately later If you don’t have any sandpaper, you can try gently to roughen the tube by rubbing it against a stone or the road surface How to identify a puncture ‘Regular’ puncture Regular or ‘point’ flats are caused by debris piercing the tread of the tyre BikeRadar A ‘regular’ puncture is usually caused by debris — glass, thorns, wire, nails etc. — entering the tread of the tyre and piercing the inner tube. There’s little you can do to avoid these types of puncture beyond opting for puncture resistant tyres — while effective, these are best saved for town or commuting bikes as they tend to weigh a lot more than regular tyres and really dampen the ride quality of a bike. Those unfortunate enough to get punctures regularly may have noted that they tend to get more flats during wet weather. This is because surface water essentially acts as a lubricant, allowing anything sharp to enter the tyre more easily. Wet weather allows debris that would otherwise stay on the ground to stick to your tyre more easily too, with the rotation of the wheel slowly driving it into your tyre. Snakebite punctures Pinch flats are most often caused by running too low a pressure in your tyres BikeRadar Two small holes in a tube placed fairly close together indicate a pinch — or snakebite by its other name — puncture. This is caused by the tube getting trapped between the tyre and the rim when riding over a hard-edged object. Tyres that are not inflated enough are the most frequent cause of this. If you consistently get pinch flats, particularly on a mountain bike, it may be time to convert to tubeless. If you have a pinch flat, be sure to check that the tyre’s sidewall isn’t cut as well. How to set up tubeless tyres — video Why gravel roads made me a believer in road tubeless 6 of the best: tubeless pumps and inflators 4 tips for understanding tubeless tyre set up Rim tape or spoke puncture A hole on the inner side of the tube indicates that the puncture was caused by something around the well of the rim, usually a rough edge on a spoke hole or torn rim tape if it is made of a hard material. Check around the inside of the rim to ensure that the rim tape properly covers the spoke holes and that all spoke holes are free of swarf — if you find any sharp edges, these can usually be filed down. A less common cause of a puncture is a rough edge around the valve hole. A puncture here will occur at the base of the valve and will not be repairable. What puncture repair kit should I buy? The puncture-fixing brigade is divided into two distinct camps — those that insist on using an old-school, glue-on patch kit and those that prefer pre-glued patches. In our experience, glue-on patches are more reliable in the long run, but pre-glued patches are far, far more convenient. What you prefer to use will largely be down to personal preference and likely dictated by your temperament — is stopping for five minutes to fix a tube properly and enjoying the view an opportunity to be relished or an unwanted distraction? Park’s GP-2 patches are our favourite option BikeRadar For those that want pre glued patches, Park’s GP-2 patches are our favorite. It’s hard to find fault with Nutrak’s super-simple repair kit BikeRadar For an old-school style patch kit, it’s hard to beat the exceptionally cheap Nutrak P3 kit. Yes, it’s possible for a patch kit to be sexy Velo Vitality For those after a more Gucci patch kit — yes, such a thing exists — you can bring a bit of French charm to your saddle bag in the form of this handsome patch kit from Rustines. Whichever patch kit you buy, if it comes with one of those nasty little multi-tools that feel as though they’re made from cheese rather than metal, please put it into your nearest recycling point. Trust us when we say that they’ll do more harm than good to your bike. It’s also a good idea to pack a pair of gloves with any repair kit. Braking surfaces, particularly rim brake tracks, will make an absolute mess of your hands and nobody wants to inadvertently grab a stray patch of dog poop with bare hands. What are the best tyre levers? Pedro’s tyre levers came out on top in our grouptest BikeRadar Believe it or not, not all tyre levers are made equal. 6 of the best tyre levers Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you, whittling down a selection of the most options out there, with Pedro’s levers coming out on top. What is the best pump? You should never leave home without a mini pump! BikeRadar While a mini pump is a great option if you’re out on the road, do yourself a favor and get a decent track style pump for use at home — these take far less effort to use than a mini pump and will allow you to get your tyres up to much higher pressures. How to choose a bicycle pump Save yourself some serious hassle and invest in a decent track pump for use at home Jack Luke / Immediate Media We’re working on a long overdue update to our best pumps guides, so check back soon! Some riders prefer to use CO2 canisters over pumps BikeRadar If you prefer to take a CO2 inflator with you, check out our top six recommend options here; 6 of the best: CO2 inflators Weekly check-up for tyres Check your tyres for cuts in the tread, swelling in the sidewall or serious wear. Tyres with severe cuts, swelling or casing visible through the tread must be replaced. Remove any grit or glass embedded in the tread with a fine pick. Regularly check your tyre pressures with a proper gauge. Tyres inﬂated to the correct pressure will have fewer punctures and a longer life.
Ahh, Friday. For most, this is the beginning of a weekend ahead due to be spent making merry in sunny gardens with close chums. However, we know that for you — a true cycling fan — that the weekend will be filled with hours spent dutifully toiling up the nastiest climbs in the name of… well, whyever we do that. For the truest of true cycling fans — and you are, of course, among this number — this weekly ritual cannot begin until you’ve sat down for 11spd, the weekly roundup of the freshest cycling kit to land at BikeRadar HQ and a life force for tech-hungry swag lords like yourself. From thrillingly light forks to boring ol’ axle spacers, we’ve got it all in this week’s edition! Best gravel bikes 2019: top-rated picks Garmin Edge 830 GPS computer review Garmin Edge 530 The Garmin Edge 530 sees upgraded mapping capabilities and advance training metrics Matthew Allen / Immediate Media We’re in the midst of testing a huge number of GPS computers in preparation for a grouptest due to be published later this year (keep your peepers peeled!). Best cycle computer for 2019 Among this number is the Edge 530, an all-new unit from Garmin released in April of this year. Garmin’s new Edge 530 and 830 offer better battery and improved maps The 530 features much of the same tech that is packed into the 830 but loses the touchscreen of the pricier unit. £259 / $299 Nikwax BaseFresh baselayer wash Baselayer wash. Whatever next? Jack Luke / Immediate Media Nikwax makes a speciality wash for just about every type of garment imaginable — we’ve previously featured sandal wash on 11spd and this week we get equally as niche, with this baselayer wash. Said to “revitalise the wicking properties of baselayers”, the wash is good for both synthetic and natural fibres. I will be refreshing this decidedly creepy looking — but oh-so high-performing — Brynje baselayer with this very soon. £3.49, international pricing TBC POC Ventral Air Spin helmet Be safe, be seen! Tom Wragg / Helium Media Speaking of my tastes in kit, I’ve had to replace my very-much-loved POC Octal X after a fairly spectacular crash at a recent race. Best road bike helmets 2019 | 27 top-rated cycle helmets Deciding to stick with POC, finding that its helmets fit my dome particularly well, I have also decided to stick with a lairy colour, opting for a delightful radioactive citrusy-orangey version of the Ventral Air Spin. First spotted at the Tour Down Under, I’m looking forward to spending more time and being easily seen on the road with this lid. £220 / $250 / €250 Orbea Gain e-road bike This is definitely a scene from Oli’s commute and definitely not from a photoshoot in mid Wales Robert Smith We first road the Orbea Gain at its launch approximately one zillion years ago and have finally got a sample bike in for review. Orbea Gain D10 e-bike first ride review Due to be Oli’s long-term test bike for the coming summer, the subtly electrified Gain will be whisking BikeRadar’s resident gummy worm enthusiast from his rural manse into central Bristol, hopefully without breaking a sweat. £5,720 / $6,799 / €6,300 Wheels Manufacturing axle spacer kit Axle spacers. Boring? Yes. Useful? Yes. Jack Luke / Immediate Media D’you know what’s a really boring thing to have to buy? Axle spacers. But you know what’s really useful to have on hand if you run a bike shop? A big box of axle spacers. At $90, this assortment of 125 spacers of various spacers ain’t cheap. But if you’re a shop mechanic at your wits’ end trying to make some heinous old tandem drum brake work with a new hub and it’s weirdly-sized end caps (I speak from experience here), you’ll be delighted to have spent the cash. $90, international pricing TBC B’Twin 900 road cycling socks It’s remarkably hard to find plain cycling socks that don’t cost crazy money Jack Luke / Immediate Media While we here at BikeRadar love a jazzy chaussette as much as the next cyclist, there’s no denying that there’s little as classy as a crisp pair of white cycling socks. However, finding an unbranded all-white sock that doesn’t cost a lot is a remarkably difficult task. Enter the catchily named B’Twin 900 road cycling socks. Available for just £7.99 a pair and in white, black or fluro green, these mid-height socks should satisfy even the fussiest sock connoisseur. £7.99, international pricing TBC Buy B’Twin’s 900 road cycling socks direct from Decathlon 2020 Rockshox SID Ultimate RockShox’ new special-edition colour schemes make them the most bougie forks of them all Jack Luke / Immediate Media Rockshox has done something exceptionally clever in offering its top-end forks in a range of delightful hues that differ from its regular forks — the rich royal blue of its SID Ultimate fork screams primo, and much like Kashima coatings did for Fox, if you’re using one, the whole world will know you’re a monied prince/princess of the cycling world. RockShox reveals 2020 forks and shocks RockShox 2020 first ride review One-piece of moulded carbon loveliness RockShox SID Ultimate fork in royal blue The beautiful one-piece moulded carbon crown is an engineering marvel and, inside, the fork features Rockshox’ updated Charger 2.1 damper. The whole package comes in at frankly ridiculous 1,500g on the dot with an uncut steerer. £775–840 / €865–945 / $779–$849, AU$TBC Panini Tour de France 2019 sticker book It only seems right to buy this sticker book with collected change Jack Luke / Immediate Media With the arrival of this year’s Tour de France 2019 sticker book from Panini — the first it’s ever produced to commemorate the world’s biggest sporting event — the BikeRadar team will be sweeping the back of its collective couches to find the loose change required to fill its pages. Tour de France 2019 bikes, gear and tech Online availability is patchy, but it only seems right to buy it from your local convenient French corner shop anyway. Pricing and availability TBC Hedkayse One foldable cycling helmet This folding helmet is said to squidge down to 50% of its normal size Jack Luke / Immediate Media The Hedkayse One is a flexible cycling helmet that is said to be good for protecting you from multiple impacts, something the brand claims no other folding helmet is capable of. Best road bike helmets 2019 | 27 top-rated cycle helmets The helmet is made from Hedkayse’s own Enkayse material, a squidgy yet very firm memory-foam-like material that returns to its original position when compressed with a thumb. The helmet folds down to a claimed 50 percent smaller than when worn and features a funky ratchet on the strap that is not unlike that found on some cycling shoes. £150 Buy the One direct from Hedkayse SRAM AXS Eagle X01 groupset We will never grow tired of fondling these lovely wireless bits We’ve already dedicated many pixels of screen space to SRAM’s flagship AXS road and mountain bike groupsets, but that doesn’t mean we can’t ogle at it once more now that we have an X01 groupset in for test. Wireless shifting for the masses — SRAM Force eTap AXS is here Reverb AXS seatpost review SRAM X01 Eagle AXS wireless drivetrain first ride review This groupset is due to be tested in the coming months but, in the meantime, you can read all there is to know about the new groupset in our original first ride review. £1,900 / $1,900 / €2,000 100% Armega googles We don’t know what’s more striking, Tom’s sultry pout or these goggles? Jack Luke / Immediate Media Well, ain’t these goggles from 100% something! The design of the goggles verges into full Stormtrooper territory, with oversized lens and nose guard, which is quite unlike anything we’ve seen recently. The goggles are primarily designed for motocross riders, but we suspect they’ll also find favour among downhill riders. The Armega has clearly been deemed important enough to warrant a seriously comprehensive dedicated mini-site. If such things interest you, this is definitely worth looking through. £99 / $108 / AU$170 / €105 Buy now from Dirtbikebitz
Father’s Day is just around the corner, so you better make a move if you want to get a gift in time for Sunday 16 June. Read on to find something special for your cycling-mad dad. The best Father’s Day presents for cyclists Cycling Dad Father’s Day card A rather thoughtful card Constance and Clay You’ll definitely need to write your dad a loving and heartfelt message, and what better way to do that than with a cycling themed card. This one particularly took our fancy, but have a browse through what’s available on Not On The High Street for a range of thoughtful and personal options. Buy a fitting card from Not On The Highstreet Bike Wine Holder Carry wine wherever you go Temple Cycles Cycling, coffee and alcohol seem to go hand in hand. Post ride beer or wine is great, but how do you get to it if you end up somewhere remote? Buy this suave wine bottle holder for all your alcohol carrying needs from Temple Cycles Aeropress (+ coffee subscription) It’s essential to get your coffee fix Aeropress Of course, coffee is essential in cycling. Buy an Aeropress so your dad can start each day with a quality brew Why not buy him a coffee subscription at the same time? DeFeet Aireator Socks Socks are a part of the cycling uniform Socks are usually one of those gifts for when people have run out of ideas. In the case of cycling though it’s more than important that your sock game is strong. This was the loudest design we could find, coupled with the proven performance of DeFeet socks. A handy multi-tool Father’s Day might also be an opportunity to splurge on some things dad might not otherwise treat himself to. Good multi-tools are hard to come by, and by far one of our favourites is the Topeak Ratchet Rocket, which couples removable bits with a wrench to actually provide decent leverage. Silca makes the most premium of premium pumps and tools Silca A similar tool is available from premium brand Silca, for the ultimate in luxury. It even comes with a torque wrench, perfect for today’s high performance bikes. Buy the very clever Topeak Ratchet multi-tool or… …splash out on an extra luxurious tool option from Silca Lezyne Pressure Drive mini-pump Pump in style Lezyne Couple that with a posh mini pump from Lezyne and your dad should have everything he needs for any emergencies out on the road. Feedback Sport Alpine Scale We doubt there’s a cyclist out there who hasn’t at one point or another worried about the weight of their bike or components. The Feedback Sport Alpine Scale is what we’ve been using for a while as the ‘scale of truth’ at BikeRadar, and has proven to be reliable and accurate. Weighing things is essential, even if you’re not a weight-weenie Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media Alternatively, if you want to send your dad a not so subtle message that he might need to get out on his bike a bit more then why not gift him some smart scales to assess his fitness levels. Muc-Off Bike Care Essentials Kit Get things looking clean and shiny! Muc-Off Your dad may well need some encouragement to clean the dust and muck off his bike. FWE Compact Folding Workstand A foldable workstand is convenient and very useful Evans Cycles A workstand makes repairing your bike an easy task with good access to your drivetrain, wheels and underside of your bike. The FWE Compact Folding Workstand is not only reasonably priced but also packs down and stores away easily, so it won’t be in the way. Donate a Buffalo Bike through World Bicycle Relief Donate to a worthy cause World Bicycle Relief For the cyclist that has it all, why not consider a donation to World Bicycle Relief on their behalf. This goes to a very worthy cause, improving the mobility of people in developing countries and helping them gain access to healthcare, education and economic opportunities. A subscription to dad’s favourite magazine Issue 339 is out now! Cycling Plus Your father should always have something worth reading on the coffee table so why not hook him up with a subscription to one of our excellent magazines? If dad is a roadie then sort him with a subscription to Cycling Plus Dad likes mountain bikes? Then it’ll have to be a subscription to MBUK
Fitting cycling around your job and family life can be a problem many cyclists face — there always seems to be something getting in the way of quality two-wheeled time. So here are five tips for the time-poor cyclist on how to maximise riding time around responsibilities. Beginner’s guide to indoor training: all you need to get started Which indoor training solution is best for you? Celebrate this year’s Bike Week by getting out on your bike from 8–16 June. Cycling UK wants to get even more people riding this year and you’ll find plenty of advice on BikeRadar if you’re new to cycling or need help deciding which bike to buy or how to fix a puncture! Share your rides with the hashtags #BikeWeekUK #7DaysofCycling. 1. Extend your commute Why not extend your commute to fit in some extra training time? Matthew Lloyd If you’re already commuting by bike — if you’re not, get started! — why not think about extending your route to fit a bit of training into your working week? What’s the best bike for commuting? Even adding an extra 20 minutes that you can attack with a full-gas effort will make a massive difference over the course of a few weeks. Check out this article for more tips on how to make the most of your commute. 2. Ride with your family Get the whole family involved! Bakfiets.nl Of course, you could avoid the issue in the first place and get your family out on the bike with you. We love a go-fast-pew-pew ride as much as the next person, but the pleasure of pootling along at a few-Km/h with your brood in tow is undeniable. Why not integrate cycling more wholly into your day-to-day life? Try ditching the car for short journeys or the school run and reap the health benefits this will afford. And just think how smug you can be about it! How can we get more people out of cars and on bikes? The bike that almost made Tom sell his van 3. Indoor training Training tools and interactive games such as The Sufferfest and Zwift have made indoor training much more bearable Simon Lees / Cycling Plus If you really can’t justify getting out on the bike, why not consider making up your own pain cave and start training indoors? Interactive games such as Zwift have made what was once a tortuously boring experience a lot more bearable, allowing you to race against competitors from all around the world. Zwift: your complete guide All you need is a bike and a turbo, rollers or a smart trainer to get started. Which indoor training solution is best for you? The best smart trainers Check out our comprehensive guide to indoor training here. 4. Tandem A tandem is an amazing way to get your loved ones out on the bike Jack Luke / Immediate Media As BikeRadar’s sole tandem evangelist it should come as no surprise that I would recommend a tandem as one of the best ways to enjoy cycling with your loved ones. Riding a tandem is dumb and you should try it A tandem is the ultimate equaliser, completely balancing out any disparity in fitness between pilot and stoker. So long as you don’t mind looking like a bit of an idiot and can get over the frustration of the first few attempts to set off, I guarantee you’ll have a blast on one. And before anyone dares comment, no, the stoker can’t just sit on the back with their feet up. 5. Lunch time rides The pump track is a great place to work on your bike skills and have fun Why not head out for an hour of power on the bike instead of munching your lunch at your desk? Try to find a quiet section of road or cycle path and hammer out an effort that will leave you feeling refreshed for the afternoon. A BikeRadar favourite is to head out to the pump track near our office for a few laps. While this won’t improve your cardio fitness, it’s a great workout for the upper body and a right laugh.
It’s rare that a technical editor at BikeRadar actually buys a bike because there’s always something ‘new’ to try out. But the Riese & Müller Multicharger Vario has changed Tom’s mind. With a large carrying capacity and 1,000Wh of battery capacity, this electric cargo bike made a big impact on Tom. It takes a pretty committed cyclist to ditch their vehicle for general day-to-day duties in a hilly city such as Bristol. Tom would be the first to admit that he’s a little lazy when it comes to weekly shops, carting test bikes around and trips to his lock-up where he’s restoring a dilapidated classic car. Merida’s e-ONE-SIXTY is lower and slacker, but not longer 14 tips for safer city cycling Slightly top-heavy, but a pair of car wheels were no bother for the Riese & Müller! Tom Marvin The Multicharger changed all that though. No longer has he been jumping in his van to cross the town, carry shopping or spare parts for his car — even lugging a couple of car wheels 4 miles across town at one point!. The Riese & Müller Multicharger Vario with driveside pannier removed Tom’s now convinced that e-cargo bikes are the future of urban transportation. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!
Whether it’s to boost your fitness, health or bank balance, or as an environmental choice, taking up bicycle riding could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Not convinced? Here are 30 reasons to ride a bike, spread across improving your health, happiness and relationships. The health benefits of regular cycling Which type of bike should I buy? The best cheap road bikes What’s the best bike for commuting? Celebrate this year’s Bike Week by getting out on your bike from 8–16 June. Cycling UK wants to get even more people on their bikes this year, and any ride counts. You’ll find plenty of advice on BikeRadar if you’re new to cycling or need help deciding which bike to buy or how to fix a puncture! You can share your rides too with the hashtags #BikeWeekUK #7DaysofCycling. 1. You’ll get there faster Commute by bike in the UK’s major cities and you’ll get there in half the time of cars, research by Citroen shows. In fact, if you drive for an hour in Cardiff’s rush hour, you’ll spend over 30 minutes going absolutely nowhere and average just 7mph, compared to averaging around 12-15mph while cycling. And even in bike-friendly or less congested cities outside of the UK, you’ll still generally get around the city centres faster on a bike. 2. You’ll sleep more deeply An early morning ride might tire you out in the short term, but it’ll help you catch some quality shut-eye when you get back to your pillow. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20–30 minutes every other day. The result? The time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour. Riding will help you sleep more deeply Daly and Newton / Getty “Exercising outside exposes you to daylight,” explains Professor Jim Horne from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre. “This helps get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep.” 3. You’ll look younger Scientists at Stanford University have found that cycling regularly can protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of ageing. Harley Street dermatologist Dr Christopher Rowland Payne explains: “Increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while ﬂushing harmful toxins out. Exercise also creates an ideal environment within the body to optimise collagen production, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speed up the healing process.” Don’t forget to slap on the factor 30 before you head out, though. 4. Boost your bowels According to experts from Bristol University, the beneﬁts of cycling extend deep into your core. “Physical activity helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass,” explains Harley Street gastroenterologist Dr Ana Raimundo. In addition, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. “As well as preventing you from feeling bloated, this helps protect you against bowel cancer,” Dr Raimundo says. 5. Increase your brain power Need your grey matter to sparkle? Then get pedalling. Researchers from the University of Illinois found that a ﬁve percent improvement in cardio-respiratory ﬁtness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30. “It boosts blood ﬂow and oxygen to the brain, which ﬁres and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s,” says the study’s author, Professor Arthur Kramer. 6. Beat illness Is cycling good for you? Yes! Forget apples, riding’s the way to keep the doctor at bay. “Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to ﬁght off infection,” says Cath Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital in London. Cycling regularly is a surefire way to keep illness at bay Franck Fife In fact, according to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, ﬁve days a week take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes. 7. Live longer King’s College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’ even after discounting other inﬂuences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking. “Those who exercise regularly are at significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity,” says Dr Lynn Cherkas, who conducted the research. “The body becomes much more efficient at defending itself and regenerating new cells.” 8. Save the planet Twenty bicycles can be parked in the same space as one car. It takes around ﬁve percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike, and a bike produces zero pollution. Bikes are efﬁcient, too — you travel around three times as fast as walking for the same amount of energy and, taking into account the ‘fuel’ you put in your ‘engine’, you do the equivalent of 2,924 miles to the gallon. You have your weight ratio to thank: you’re about six times heavier than your bike, but a car is 20 times heavier than you. 9. Cycling improves your sex life Being more physically active improves your vascular health, which has the knock-on effect of boosting your sex drive, according to health experts in the US. One study from Cornell University also concluded that male athletes have the sexual prowess of men two to ﬁve years younger, with physically ﬁt females delaying the menopause by a similar amount of time. Meanwhile, research carried out at Harvard University found that men aged over 50 who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise. It’s official: cycling is good for your sex life 10. It’s good breeding A ‘bun in the oven’ could beneﬁt from your riding as much as you. According to research from Michigan University in the US, mums-to-be who regularly exercise during pregnancy have an easier, less complicated labour, recover faster and enjoy better overall mood throughout the nine months. Your pride and joy also has a 50 percent lower chance of becoming obese and enjoys better in-utero neurodevelopment. Cycling while pregnant will help both mother and baby Immediate Media “There’s no doubt that moderate exercise such as cycling during pregnancy helps condition the mother and protect the foetus,” says Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Cycling while pregnant: tips and advice 11. Heal your heart Studies from Purdue University in the US have shown that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent. And according to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves ﬁtter. Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who take no exercise, it says. 12. Your boss will love you No, we don’t mean your Lycra-clad buttocks will entice your superiors into a passionate ofﬁce romance, but they’ll appreciate what cycling does for your usefulness to the company. A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress. The study also reported that workers who exercised felt their interpersonal performance was better, they took fewer breaks and found it easier to ﬁnish work on time. Sadly, the study didn’t ﬁnd a direct link between cycling and getting a promotion. 13. Cycle away from the big C There’s plenty of evidence that any exercise is useful in warding off cancer, but some studies have shown that cycling is speciﬁcally good for keeping your cells in working order. One long-term study carried out by Finnish researchers found that men who exercised at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who didn’t. And one of the moderate forms of exercise they cited? Cycling to work. Other studies have found that women who cycle frequently reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 percent. 14. Lose weight by riding your bike Loads of people who want to shift some heft think that heading out for a jog is the best way to start slimming down. But while running does burn a ton of fat, it’s not kind to you if you’re a little larger than you’d like to be. Think about it — two to three times your body weight goes crashing through your body when your foot strikes the ground. If you weigh 16 stone, that’s a lot of force! Instead, start out on a bike — most of your weight is taken by the saddle, so your skeleton doesn’t take a battering. Running can wait… How to lose weight cycling 15. You’ll make more money If you’re cycling to lose weight then you could be in line for a cash windfall… Well, sort of. Researcher Jay Zagorsky, from Ohio State University, analysed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth — which saw 7,300 people regularly interviewed between 1985 and 2000 — to see how their obesity and wealth changed over that period. Zagorsky concluded that a one unit increase in body mass index (BMI) score corresponded to an £800 or eight percent reduction in wealth. So, shed a few BMI points on the bike and start earning. 16. Avoid pollution You’d think a city cyclist would suck up much more pollution than the drivers and passengers in the vehicles chucking out the noxious gases. Not so, according to a study carried out by Imperial College London. Researchers found that passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhaled substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists breathe in fewer fumes on the street than drivers Daniel Banham On average, taxi passengers were exposed to more than 100,000 ultraﬁne particles — which can settle in the lungs and damage cells — per cubic centimetre. Bus passengers sucked up just under 100,000 and people in cars inhaled about 40,000. Cyclists, meanwhile, were exposed to just 8,000 ultraﬁne particles per cubic centimetre. It’s thought that cyclists breathe in fewer fumes because we ride at the edge of the road and, unlike drivers, aren’t directly in the line of exhaust smoke. 17. Bike riding means guilt-free snacks Upping your salt intake is seldom your doctor’s advice, but in the few days leading up to a big ride or sportive, that’s exactly what you should do. This gives you the perfect excuse to munch on crisps and other salty foods you might normally avoid. The sodium in them helps protect your body against hyponatraemia, a condition caused by drinking too much water without enough sodium that can lead to disorientation, illness and worse. 18. Enjoy healthy family time Cycling is an activity the whole family can do together. The smallest tyke can clamber into a bike seat or tow-along buggy, and because it’s kind on your joints, there’s nothing to stop grandparents joining in too. Cycling is something the whole family can do together Philip McAllister Moreover, your riding habit could be sowing the seeds for the next Bradley Wiggins. Studies have found that, unsurprisingly, kids are inﬂuenced by their parents’ exercise choices. Put simply, if your kids see you riding regularly, they think it’s normal and will want to follow your example. Don’t be surprised, though, if they become embarrassed by your tendency to mismatch fluorescent Lycra when they become teenagers. 19. Get better at any sport Whether you want to keep in prime shape or just improve your weekly tennis game, a stint in the saddle is the way to begin. A recent medical study from Norway carried the title Aerobic Endurance Training Improves Soccer Performance, which makes it pretty clear that the knock-on beneﬁts to other sports and activities are immense. 20. Make creative breakthroughs Writers, musicians, artists, top executives and all kinds of other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions — including Jeremy Paxman, Sir Alan Sugar and Spandau Ballet. A study found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the ﬂow of oxygen to your grey matter when it matters most, sparking your neurons and giving you breathing space away from the muddle and pressures of ‘real life’. 21. You’re helping others Many cyclists turn their health, ﬁtness and determination into fundraising efforts for the less fortunate. The London to Brighton bike ride has raised over £40 million for the British Heart Foundation since the two became involved in 1980, with countless other rides contributing to the coffers of worthy causes. 22. You can get fit without trying too hard Regular, everyday cycling has huge beneﬁts that can justify you binning your wallet-crippling gym membership. According to the National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation in the US, regular cyclists enjoy a ﬁtness level equal to that of a person who’s 10 years younger. 23. Boost your bellows No prizes for guessing that the lungs work considerably harder than usual when you ride. An adult cycling generally uses 10 times the oxygen they’d need to sit in front of the TV for the same period. Even better, regular cycling will help strengthen your cardiovascular system over time, enabling your heart and lungs to work more efﬁciently and getting more oxygen where it’s needed, quicker. This means you can do more exercise for less effort. How good does that sound? 24. Burn more fat Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate — the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat — is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. “Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop,” says sports physiologist Mark Simpson of Loughborough University. Riding regularly will help you burn off the fat Jon Sparks / Immediate Media And as you get ﬁtter, the beneﬁts are more profound. One recent study showed that cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned three-and-a-half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace. How to lose belly fat by cycling 25. You’re developing a positive addiction Replace a harmful dependency — such as cigarettes, alcohol or eating too much chocolate — with a positive one, says William Glasser, author of Positive Addiction. The result? You’re a happier, healthier person getting the kind of ﬁx that boosts the good things in life. 26. Get (a legal) high Once a thing of myth, the infamous ‘runner’s high’ has been proven beyond doubt by German scientists. Yet despite the name, this high is applicable to all endurance athletes. University of Bonn neurologists visualised endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour cardio session using a technique called positive emission tomography (PET). Comparing the pre- and post-run scans, they found evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain — areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress. “There’s a direct link between feelings of wellbeing and exercise, and for the ﬁrst time this study proves the physiological mechanism behind that,” explains study co-ordinator Professor Henning Boecker. 27. Make friends and stay healthy The social side of riding could be doing you as much good as the actual exercise and health benefits. University of California researchers found socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which buffers the ‘ﬁght or ﬂight’ response. Another nine-year study from Harvard Medical School found those with the most friends cut the risk of an early death by more than 60 percent, reducing blood pressure and strengthening their immune system. The results were so significant that the researchers concluded not having close friends or conﬁdants is as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight. Add in the ﬁtness element of cycling too and you’re onto a winner. 28. It’ll make you happy Even if you’re miserable when you saddle up, cranking through the miles will lift your spirits. “Any mild-to-moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and make you happy,” explains Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. Cycling makes you happy — science says so! Jonathon Nackstrand That’s probably why four times more GPs prescribe exercise therapy as their most common treatment for depression compared to three years ago. “Just three 30-minute sessions a week can be enough to give people the lift they need,” says McCulloch. Why cycling makes you happy 29. Feeling tired? Go for a ride Sounds counter-intuitive but if you feel too tired for a ride, the best thing you can do is go for ride. Physical activity for even a few minutes is a surprisingly effective wake-up call. A review of 12 studies on the link between exercise and fatigue carried out between 1945 and 2005 found that exercise directly lowers fatigue levels. 30. Spend quality time with your partner It doesn’t matter if your paces aren’t perfectly matched, just slow down and enjoy each other’s company. Many couples make one or two riding ‘dates’ every week. And it makes sense: exercise helps release feel-good hormones, so after a ride you’ll have a warm feeling towards each other even if he leaves the toilet seat up and her hair is blocking the plughole again.
Gravel and all-road are terms used for this rapidly growing segment of the road bike market. These bikes have generous tyre clearance and geometry that is more stable and forgiving than traditional road bikes. Gravel bikes were born out of the American Midwest, where racing on gravel roads took hold a decade ago and has steadily gained popularity. In the early days, riders tackled these endurance events on cyclocross bikes with the largest tyres that would fit between the stays. Today, there are numerous purpose-built machines that gravel-curious riders can choose from. Best gravel tyres of 2018 Get started with gravel grinding Key elements of a gravel bike Four key features can usually be used to distinguish a gravel bike from a traditional road bike. Wider tyres High volume tyres are par for the course on gravel rigs Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media First and foremost, gravel bikes have wider tyres. Since these bicycles are designed to traverse miles of unpaved roads, their tyres are substantially larger. Likewise, mud clearance is also a concern in these conditions. Tyre widths range anywhere from 30mm to 48mm. In addition to 700c wheels, it is also common to see smaller diameter 650b wheels used with higher volume tyres. Most gravel tyres feature a fast-rolling centre tread with knurling or side knobs to improve cornering ability on mixed surfaces. Tubeless tyres are also commonly found on gravel bikes, because the latex sealant provides a degree of insurance against punctures. In addition to wider tyres, gravel bikes have geometry that favours stability and comfort. Geometry Given the terrain gravel bikes are expected to cover, frame geometry often rests somewhere between road and cross-country mountain bikes Felix Tranker The wheelbase of a gravel bike is longer than most road bikes thanks to longer chainstays and slacker head-tube angles. Head tubes are generally taller as well, placing the rider in a more relaxed, upright position. Bottom brackets are often lower, which gives the rider the sensation of riding in, rather than on the bicycle. The end result of these geometry differences is a more comfortable, confidence-inspiring and forgiving ride than one would find in a typical road bike. Gearing Wide range 1x drivetrains are common for gravel grinding Josh Patterson / Immediate Media Gearing is another area where these bikes diverge from the pack. Given the terrain, many gravel bikes feature compact or smaller gearing and wide-range cassettes. Cranksets with 50/34 or 48/32t are common. Likewise, many gravel bikes come with 1x gearing with wide-range cassettes. Suspension A growing number of gravel bikes feature suspension systems, such as this Lauf Grit suspension fork Arnold Bjornsson In addition to wide tyres, relaxed geometry and low gearing, many gravel bikes have active or passive suspension systems built into them. Much like bikes in the endurance road category, these features could take the form of slender chainstays, a bowed top tube, or a skinny seatpost, all of which are designed to flex in order to absorb road chatter. Some gravel bikes take things one step further by using short-travel suspension forks such as the Lefty Oliver or aesthetically odd but very effective Lauf Grit fork. How much do I have to spend on a gravel bike? Well, that depends on what you define as a gravel bike. A used cyclocross bike, for example, could work perfectly well as a gravel bike and cost you a fraction of the cost of even the most basic ‘true’ gravel machine. If you’re looking at a purpose-built gravel / all-road bike, expect to pay around £800 / $1,200 for an alloy frame with entry-level components. A mid-range build from a major brand will likely cost in excess of £2,000 / $2,800 but should feature a carbon frame and hydraulic disc brakes. As is normally the case in the cycling world, it’s possible to spend a small (or not so small) fortune on a custom-built bike should you wish. The best gravel and adventure bikes in 2019 Canyon Grail Al 7.0 4.5 out of 5 star rating The Canyon Grail AL 7.0 is very well equipped for the money David Caudery / Immediate Media £1,349 / $1,899 / AU$2,199 Head to Canyon’s website to buy factory direct Tyre clearance: 700c x 40mm Winner of the best all-around bike in our 2019 Bike of the Year awards the alloy version of the Grail ditches the ‘hover bar‘ for a standard set, and is combined with an 80mm stem for a lively ride. The alloy frame also loses the bump in the top tube, features heavily hydroformed tubing and oversized 1 1/4in steering and a full carbon fork. With a 2×50/34t crankset mated with an 11-34t cassette, the Grail gives you a 1:1 climbing gear, and hydraulic disc brakes for when things get a bit too rowdy. The Schwalbe G-Ones performed well, but durability is likely to come into play. We were most surprised by the Grail AL’s performance, especially considering the price. Canyon Grail AL 7.0 review Genesis Datum 20 4.5 out of 5 star rating Genesis’s Datum 20 has excellent ride quality and versatility Immediate Media £2,399.99 / AU$4,675 Find your local Genesis dealer to buy the Datum 20 Tyre clearance: 700 x 45mm While the Datum isn’t a featherweight at 9.29kg, the bike more than made up for the mediocre performance on the scale with its ride quality. Our tester loved the spring up to speed when you put a bit of pressure on the pedals and the dynamic ride feel. It’s slightly longer and lower than most gravel bikes, but the stretch front end, flared bars and 72-degree head angle make for a safe and stable feel so you can confidently push when things get greasy or gravelly. At the back, a 27.3mm seatpost and leaf-spring stays work together to eat road vibrations. In a throwback to the origins of the gravel and all-road bike, the Datum 20 is not without its quirks with a 15mm front thru-bolt in the fork and a quick release skewer at the back. Genesis Datum 20 review Lauf True Grit 4.5 out of 5 star rating The True Grit is Lauf’s first bike Tom Marvin / Immediate Media $4,990 Find your local Lauf dealer to buy the True Grit Tyre clearance: 700 x 40mm The True Grit is pegged as a gravel racer, designed to chug through miles of tarmac-free road at warp speed. With a low front end, the position is aggressive and there are no rack or fender mounts to speak of, but there are four bottle bosses. The rear end is designed around 142mm hub spacing, and the bottom bracket is threaded. Most notably, the bike comes with the Grit fork allowing for 30mm of taut front travel, which takes the corner off square edges, while the frame and 40mm tyres take care of the vibrations. Despite its aggressive riding position, the handling is calm and the 7.8kg weight means there’s not too much heft to lug uphill or manhandle through techy obstacles. Lauf True Grit Race Edition review Marin Gestalt X11 4.5 out of 5 star rating Marin’s mountain-bike heritage shines through the Gestalt Robert Smith / Immediate Media £1,799 / $2,100 Find your local Marin dealer to buy the Gestalt X11 Tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm Marin has a long history in mountain biking, and have adapted some of the lessons learned with the current crop of ever longer and slacker trail weapons into the Gestalt X11 gravel bike. With a slack front end and a steep seat angle, the bike puts you in an aggressive peddling position, yet maintains predictable surprise free handling on and off the road. The combination of an angled top tube and hydraulic dropper post allows Gestalt to get into some pretty unruly terrain. Remembering that this is still a drop bar road bike, it’s got a full carbon fork, alloy frame, a range rack mounts and will take up to a 42mm x 700c or 47mm x 650b wheel and tyre. The only real complaint we can muster is about the saddle. Marin Gestalt X11 review Merida Silex 700 4.5 out of 5 star rating Merida’s Silex 700 can take 700x42mm or 650bx50mm tyres David Caudery/Immediate Media £2,100 Find your local Merida dealer to buy the Silex 700 Tyre clearance: 700 x 42mm or 650b x 50mm Initially, the Merida Silex left our testers a bit flummoxed with its oddly high riding positing, however the bike’s nimble character and willingness to accelerate over obstacles prevailed. Weighing in at 9.59kg, there is a bit of extra weight to drag up the climbs, but the 2x 50/34t chainrings and 11-34t rear cluster allow for a 1:1 granny gear combo to help you spin your way up. With the ability to take 700x42mm or 650bx50mm tyres, our test bike came with 35mm semi-slick rubber which performed considerably better than expected, even at reasonably high pressure. Better still were the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes offering oodles of power and modulation. Merida Silex 700 review Trek Checkpoint SL6 4.5 out of 5 star rating What’s immediately apparent is how smooth the Checkpoint SL6 feels Robert Smith £3,400 / $2,899 / AU$4,699 Find your local Trek Dealer to buy the Checkpoint SL6 Tyre clearance: 700c x 40mm Sitting at the top of Trek’s range of gravel bikes, the Checkpoint SL6 carries the brand’s IsoSpeed Decoupler on the seat tube to make rough and tumble gravel roads feel almost velvety smooth, with the fork being no slouch in this department either. At the back, the Checkpoint also gets a dropped driveside chainstay to leave extra room for tyres and mud and is said to accept up to 40mm rubber. The Checkpoint SL 6 comes with a 50/34t crankset and 11-34t cassette, giving a 1:1 climbing gear for when the gravel gets really steep. We found the Checkpoint leaned towards faster rolling terrain and wasn’t as confident in techy mud and rocks. Even still, the bike finds a good balance between high-speed gravel cruising and low-speed rock crawling. Trek’s Checkpoint SL6 review Cannondale Topstone Apex 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Apex 1 model looks to offer workhorse sensibilities and good value David Caudery / Immediate Media £1,799 / $2,100 Find your local Cannondale dealer to buy the Cannondale Topstone Tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm While Cannondale led the race to gravel with the Slate, for some, the Lefty fork on a drop bar bike is a tad too radical. And the brand’s latest entry to the gravel market should satisfy those who are looking for something a bit more traditional and are on a budget. The Alloy frame is well presented with clean finishing and plenty of bottle, rack and fender mounts throughout. The geometry offers a tall, relaxed position, though with a 50mm dropper you can get your butt all the way back to the tyre on steep descents. Unfortunately, when things go back up, the Topstone isn’t exactly a mountain goat thanks a bit of junk in the trunk, tipping our scales at 10.26kg. The bike handles pretty similarly to the SuperX CX bike, but with a longer wheelbase and lower BB, it’s a confident descender. Cannondale Topstone Apex review Kinesis Tripster AT 4.0 out of 5 star rating Kinesis’ new Tripster AT in Arran Blue with the SRAM Rival 1x groupset Kinesis Bikes / Upgrade Bikes £1,800 / $1,990 Head to the Kinesis website to by a Tripster AT factory direct Tyre clearance: 700 x 45mm or 650b x 52mm Using design ideas from the late Mike Hall, the Tripster AT began its life as the ATR titanium all-rounder and has now evolved into a more budget-friendly aluminium version. With thru-axles front and rear the bike will take 650b x 52mm or 700 x 45mm rubber, and has room for three bottles with room for a frame bag. With an on-trend gravel geometry and tipping our scales at 9.6kg it’s not the lightest bike, but on paper it’s a very competitive gravel bike. In practice, the handling is rock solid but the frame has a firm ride quality, even with the 40mm Schwalbe G-One tyres at relatively low pressure. The drivetrain is geared towards adventuring with a 40t chainring at the front at an 11-42t at the back, and the simplicity of the 1x drivetrain did not go unnoticed. However, the tight bend in the flared drop bars is a bit tight for riders with big mitts. Kinesis Tripster AT review Lauf Anywhere 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Lauf Anywhere is a versatile gravel bike with a conventional fork Matthew Allen / Immediate Media $3,340 Find your local Lauf dealer to buy the Anywhere Tyre clearance: 700c x 45mm When you think of Lauf, the first thing that comes to mind is its crazy looking leaf spring fork, which allows for 30mm of front travel. However, the brand’s Anywhere gravel grinder doesn’t get one, instead it comes with what the Lauf calls a JAF or ‘Just a Fork.’ The frame features its Long-4-Speed geometry which entails a short head-tube, lengthy top-tube and short chainstays paired with a short stem and a slack (for a road bike) head angle. The idea is that it’s stable at speed but lets you get tucked up in an aero position when the need arises. Lauf has also opted for a threaded bottom bracket shell, full-length internal cable guides and mounts galore, but the bike has no provisions for mudguards/fenders. As the name implies, the Anywhere rides well on both tarmac and F-Roads as they’re known in Iceland (gravel roads) as well as smooth singletrack, but is somewhat limited by the 40mm slick tyres that come stock. Lauf Anywhere review Norco Search XR 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Norco Search XR is an incredibly versatile gravel machine Russell Eich / Immediate Media £1,599–£3,999 / $1,999–$4,199 Find your local Norco Dealer to buy the Search XR Tyre clearance: 700c x 45mm or 650b x2.1in A few companies have gravel race bikes that aren’t too dissimilar from road bikes — stiff and fast. And some of the smaller core gravel brands have gone off the deep-end with bikepacking weirdness. But if somewhere in between sounds right to you, let us introduce the Goldilocks of gravel, the Norco Search XR. The Search can handle the big tyres if you want that, and mounts can be added at discreet points if you want to add fenders or load on racks. And yes, you can load up bottle cages on the fork as well as the frame if you’re into that too. The Norco is an excellent all-around gravel bike that is a joy to ride, damping the rough chatter a bit without feeling like a plodding mule. Norco sells this in steel and carbon versions, with not only size-specific frame design but size-specific wheel choices, so shorter riders can get the same geometry as larger riders without toe overlap. Norco Search XR Ultegra review Specialized Diverge 4.0 out of 5 star rating Specialized’s Diverge Comp Robert Smith / Immediate Media £799—£8,500 / $1,100—$9,000 Find your local Specialized dealer to buy the Diverge Tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm or 650b x 47mm Specialized introduced the FutureShock on its Roubaix endurance road bike, and while some of the BikeRadar crew loved it, others found it a little weird for a road bike. But a little suspension for the gravel? Now we’re talking. The Future Shock is still undamped, but it has a stiffer spring on the Diverge, which boasts a low bottom bracket and slack front-end for stability in the rough stuff, and tyre clearance for 42mm 700c tyres or 47mm in 650b. Specialized Diverge Comp review Racing 200 miles of gravel on the new Specialized Diverge Specialized Sequoia Elite 4.0 out of 5 star rating Specialized’s Sequoia Elite puts ride quality and practicality ahead of ultimate performance David Caudery/Immediate Media £2,000 / $2,000 / AU$2,500 Find your local Specialized dealer to buy the Sequoia Tyre clearance: 700 x 40mm When you think of a gravel bike from Specialized, the first thing that comes to mind is the Future Shock-equipped Diverge. While it may not grab headlines the way its suspended cousin does, Specialized’s Sequoia is no slouch on a dirt road. With a Chromoly frame and burly carbon fork, the Sequoia is more at home as a touring bike than a gravel racer. It’s a bike that wants to keep rolling, especially loaded down with luggage, but with an 11.85kg mass it’s not exactly nimble when negotiating potholes and ruts. With the frame eating up quite a bit of the budget, the build kit is eclectic with a mix of Shimano 105 and non-series parts, FSA 2x cranks and Sunrace cassette, but they all play nice with one another. Specialized Sequoia Elite review 3T Exploro Many gravel races are long and relatively flat, so aerodynamics can play a significant role Matthew Allen / Immediate Media £3,950–£5,800 / $2,999–$6,800 Buy the 3T Exploro from 3T Tyre clearance: 700c x 40mm or 650b x 2.1in The 3T Exploro is an aero gravel race bike. Sure, you can find plenty of stiffer, lighter endurance road bikes that might be faster on light-duty gravel, but the 3T Exploro is a legit gravel bike, with clearance for 40mm tyres in 700c or up to 2.1in in 650b. 3T claims the Exploro with 40mm knobbies and two water bottles is faster — aerodynamically — than a round-tube road bike with 28mm tyres and no bottles when tested at 20mph. So if it’s speed you’re after on the gravel, this could be the rig for you. 3T Exploro LTD review 5 things we learnt about gravel racing at the Jeroboam 300km Cannondale Slate Cannondale Slate was one of the first gravel bikes equipped with a suspension fork Courtesy £2,499.99 / $2,899–$3,499 Find your local Cannondale dealer to buy the Slate Tyre clearance: 650b x 42mm Credit where credit is due: Cannondale got out ahead of the gravel trend compared to the other big companies. Sure, small brands such as Salsa have been at it for years, but Cannondale’s 650b front suspension drop-bar bike pushed the gravel envelope early. With clearance for up to 42mm tyres and 30mm of suspension on the Lefty Oliver, the Slate gives you options. Ted King’s Cannondale Slate gravel racer Long-term test: Warren’s Cannondale Slate Ultegra GT Grade Carbon Pro The range topping Pro at £3,500 / $3,900 / €3,799 gets lighter WTB wheels and Shimano Ultegra Di2 GT £3,500 / $3,900 / €3,799 Find your local GT dealer to buy the Expert Carbon Tyre clearance: 700c x 42 mm GT’s Grade was one of the first adventure / all-road / gravel bikes, and at the time it was well ahead of the curve in terms of versatility, but after four years, it had become a bit of a dinosaur. Newly revamped, the Grade has matured into a fully fledged gravel grinder. The bike still has the signature ‘triple triangle’ at the back; however, now the seat tube is entirely free-floating, and the seat stays have lost some girth allowing for heaps of compliance. GT has also added a rear thru axle and employed a flip chip in the fork to allow the for the trail figure to be adjusted by 15mm for changeable handling characteristics. Tyre clearance has also been upped to 700c x 42 mm, and the brand has added mounts galore with the carbon versions capable of carrying five bottles and the alloy version eight. The position on the bike has been lowered and lengthened a touch, and the handling is confident even when the road or trail gets treacherous—the bike has become more cable overall than its predecessor. Even better, as the flagship model in the range comes with a sensible Ultegra Di2 2x build drivetrain and WTB wheels and tyres. GT Grade Carbon Pro first ride review Salsa Cutthroat The Cutthroat is designed for multi-day gravel races such as the grueling Tour Divide Salsa £2,399.99–£3,500 / $2,499–$4,299 Find your local Salsa dealer to buy the Cutthroat Tyre clearance: 700c x 2.4in Speaking of small companies that have been banging the gravel drum for years, Salsa has a whole range of gravel bikes. While the Warbird is the American company’s gravel racer, the Cutthroat is its burly bikepacking sibling. There is no mistaking this guy for an endurance road bike. Consider: 445m chainstays, four-bottle capacity on a small frame and five bottles on M–XL frames, rack ready, top tube bag mount ready, one or two chainring ready. With its slack geometry and enormous clearance for up to 2.4in tyres plus, the Cutthroat is essentially a rigid 29er with dropbars. If your idea of a great ride finishes on a completely different day than when it starts, check out the Cutthroat. You may also want to consider… Scott Addict Gravel 10 Focus Paralane AL 105 review Raleigh Mustang Elite review Open Cycle U.P. first ride review Rondo Ruut CF1 review Mason Bokeh Force review Orro Terra Gravel Road review Reid Cycles Granite review
We’re kicking off a new BikeRadar Podcast ‘Tech Talk’ series with a look at the potentially confusing topic of fork offset. What does it mean? How does it work? Will it make any difference whatsoever to your life? Fork offset dictates your bike’s trail figure, and this impacts on how stable, or calm, your bike feels on the trail. In recent years, bike manufacturers have woken up to the difference this can make to handling, but it’s not quite so simple, as we explore in this episode. Seb’s often out and about testing different set-ups Andy Lloyd Seb started experimenting with fork offset before anyone really bothered to care, so we reckon he’s the best person to guide us through this tricky topic. This is what we’re talking about: fork offset, trail, and steering axis Seb Stott The links you need Tony Foal – Experiments with steering geometry Interview: Chris Porter on his custom Nicolai (pre-Geometron, from 2014) Pushing the limits of fork offset – an experiement What’s the future of MTB geometry? The ultimate guide to bike geometry and handling Specialized Epic Evo first ride review Yeah, even Specialized’s Epic Evo can be sent…! Steve Behr BikeRadar Podcasts If this is the first BikeRadar Podcast you’ve come across, fear not! Links to our previous episodes are below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the BikeRadar Podcast via your regular podcast service to make sure you don’t miss any more. Episode 1 – Cycling Plus‘ Bike of the Year Special (Spotify/iTunes) Episode 2 – MBUK‘s Trail Bike of the Year Special (Spotify/iTunes) Episode 3 – The BikeRadar Podcast – How do £10k bikes even exist? (Spotify/iTunes) Any more for any more? If you’ve any questions on this topic, please leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you. If there are any other geeky areas you want us to talk about in future episodes, let us know too! Coming up we’ve got episodes about suspension dampers, suspension springs and other areas of bike geometry, but we’re always looking for more ideas.
Volvo and POC have combined forces to create a new crash test between cars and bicycle riders. The test, which is based on regulatory procedures for pedestrian protection, uses a testing rig to collide crash dummy heads wearing POC helmets with the bonnet (or hood) of a static Volvo car. All new Volvo cars can automatically brake for cyclists Ford develops new tech to stop cars reversing out on cyclists Volvo’s high-vis safety paint fails to live up to the hype The testing process is sophisticated in comparison to most regulatory helmet tests that tend to involve dropping helmets from different heights on varied surfaces. The research is part of a larger project that aims to deliver understanding on the types of long-term injuries sustained by cyclists and ultimately to develop protection principles for the benefits of road traffic safety. Its findings should mutually benefit both companies but should also help to improve the often rudimentary helmet tests that are the industry norm. Learnings from the collaboration could benefit us all Volvo currently leads the way when it comes to the protection of cyclists on public roads. That’s because each of its cars sold today include a sophisticated detection system as standard. The technology, which works for pedestrians and cyclists alike, uses information from a radar unit in the grille and a camera in front of the rear view mirror to constantly assess the road for potential collisions. Should the system detect a potential crash is imminent, the driver of the car is then presented with a red warning flash before the car will automatically provide full braking power. Volvo’s safety mission remains incredibly ambitious, with the company publicly stating in 2008 that “by 2020 nobody should be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car”. The two Swedish companies that are both known for their commitment to safety first announced their partnership back in 2014.