Utterly Pointless Preamble
I found several soggy Shreddies in my sock this morning. IN MY SOCK. Oh, cruel vicissitudes of fate! What hell hast thou wrought, that I allow my delicate tootsies to enter into a dalliance with the inviting towelling envelopement of my favourite pair of winter socks, only to be CRUELLY DENIED the comfort which I was so anticipating, and with which I should by rights be RICHLY REWARDED.
Imagine, if you will, the unexpected sensation of cold, wet Shreddie, lovingly insinuating its way between your toes. Imagine the soft whimper of disappointment which passed my lips. And the look of blank-eyed innocence on the face of one of the smaller members of my retinue.
Who is eating Shreddies.
You find me here, dear reader, seated, sobbing softly in front of the keyboard, resplendent in my second-favourite pair of socks. It can’t end well. I’m going to have to look at photos of bike stuff instead. Will you join me?
Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
From: TrekWe have a no-holds-barred racebike feature coming up in an – erm – upcoming issue. And here’s the first one! The Trek Procalibre 9.8 SL is a lovely piece of carbon gofast. This is the 17.5in; the sizes below this come with a 27.5in wheel, and this one and the larger models come in 29in wheels. We like the blue rather a lot.
This is possibly the most interesting thing in the ProCaliber; it’s the IsoSpeed decoupler. It essentially separates the seat-tube and the toptube/seat stays junction to increase flex and make things more comfy – but at the same time still fasty fasty pedalling sort of thing. The seat tube gets narrower at the bottom close to the BB, and you can actually get it to flex by leaning on the saddle – it’s quite impressive. We’re looking forward to finding out if it actually makes things comfy, as well as lightning fast…
That’s a long stem to go with the 69.5 HA and 73 SA. This is a very nose-down take-no-prisoners sort of bike after all…
1×11 on this particular model. Shaves a bit of weight off, dunnit?Although there’s room to put a front mech if you really want to. Internal routing for Shimano’s newer front mechs, too.And XT brakes for awesome stoppings.
And yes, this one runs a SID, which is apparently a smidge lighter than the top-whack inverted RockShox RS1, fact fans.
Niner Air 9 Carbon
From: Jungle Products
The Niner Air 9 carbon is a lovely looking thing indeed. 29er wheels held in close proximity by lots of carbon, some aluminium and some teensy bits of steel, I’d wager.
Flowing carbonium lines. Racy geometry, and this one has (apparently) a 3-Star XT build…So it comes with a 2×11 drivetrain (with internal cable routing)……and an XT rear mech and brakes.There’s lots of height adjustment on that stem…Fox 32 front springers
and an elegant, understated, yet quintessentially chrome head badge.
Vee Tire Co. Crown Gem and Bulldozer
Price: £68.99 each
Vee Tire Co. are from across the pond. No, not Rochdale, AMERICA. We can tell this because they spell the word tyres wrong. But we won’t hold this against them. Fresh into the UK, the Crown Gem and Bulldozer are their 27.5in chubby models. Both tyres come in an all-bells-and-whistles tubeless ready flavour, with a 120tpi casing and cut-resistant ‘Synthesis’ sidewalls.
The Crown Gem is one of the most aggressive looking semi-fat tyres we’ve seen. The 3in tyre features tall side knobs and quite a square profile. Possibly a perfect UK-slop option for the front? We shall see…
The 2.8in (a 3in version is available) Bulldozer has a shallower tread and a slightly more rounded profile for faster rolling – or as fast rolling as a big old hunk of rubber can be, anyway.
Both tyres are going straight on to our test Kinesis Phase for some monster-truckin’ fun. We’ve previously found chubbies to be entertainingly/alarmingly* drifty – do these perform similarly? Tom is about to scare himself in the snow, finding out just for you, you LUCKY PEOPLE.
*delete according to riding style and/or caffeine levels
Stan’s NoTubes Race Sealant
Price: £30. Rim tape – £7; Valves – £14
New in, Stan’s Race sealant has the power to block larger tears, and it has twice the sealant crystals compared to the normal stuff, a wide temperature range tolerance and is generally awesome, it seems. Has to be poured straight into the tyre though – if you try to pour it through the valve it’ll be instantly clogged though. So probably best not to try drinking it through a straw*
Sealskinz Socks and Gloves
Price: Socks £39 (MTB mid with Hydrostop – CHECK THIS), Dragon Eye Trail Glove £38
Waterproof socks in a summer styleee (because, as we all know, it can, very occasionally, rain in summer. And as we all know, if you go out in waterproof jacket and socks, it’ll be lovely all day, and precisely the opposite happens if you appear clad in a t-shirt and sandals (or something). And sealskinz are now making trail gloves too – not waterproof, just a bunch of really nice looking features. Protection, neoprene, and an ‘extended thumb crotch’. Oooer.
Rotor QZ1 mtb chainring
Oval thick thin chainring which distinguishes itself by affording you the ability to fine tune your ovalisation for maximal power tweakage.
Pearl Izumi XAlp Launch II
A YELLOW and black shoe, stiffened with a carbon fibre shank, but with a it if flex so it’s still OK for the occasional attack of the walkies…
Primal Pantry Paleo Bars
Price: £27 for 18 bars
From: Primal Pantry
Energy bars to satisfy the latest Paleo food fad – so raw, without grains, but hey, they should be pretty tasty.
TMR Designs Imprint grips
Heat ’em up, put the mesh on them and grip! Grips moulded to your individual paws for maximal comfitude.
Colombian Bocadillo Lucho Dillitos
Price: £16.99 for 12
From Lucho Dillitos
Oh yeah, now here’s the good stuff. Wrapped in genuine Colombian leaf, for grade A biodegradability. No, there’s not even the merest hint of anything illicit; these little pups are guava paste. Great idea though; we’re looking forward to seeing what they taste like…
Vaude Green Shape Bike Shoes
Price: Mid €180, Low €140
Shoes for flatties, with Vibram soles – there are cunning toe and heel grips, but a smooooooooth mid section for maximal adhesion to your pedals. Available in low…
Or sort of a mid-top. Well, they’re not hi-tops, so we guess mid-tops are a thing.
Manitou Mattoc Pro 2016 White
160mm travel 27.5in wheeled fork of MAXIMAL MATTOCness. Smooth. And, at 1900 and a few grams, surprisingly lacking in heft.
Fox Clothing Small Camber Hydro D30 Race Bag
Room for your butties? Check. Water? Check. Back protection? Check. Also available in larger sizes for a bit more cash, or ones without the back protector for a little bit less, if you’re feeling rash.
Chipps’ personalized road-helmet lexan cover
Price: not the foggiest
Chipps doesn’t have the corresponding helmet, but here’s a bright thingy he brought back from iceBike*
Pun-tastically named insulated jacket from Howies which keeps Sad Hannah warm, but packs down into a little thing you can stick just in a pocket…
…like this. Win!
The Hatchbag Company boot liner
- Standard Liner – £99.95
- Rear Split – £24.99
- Extension – £29.99
- Bumper Flap – £12.65
- Rear Seat Flap – £16.23
- Tailgate Cover – £29.99
- Rubber Mat – £66
From: The Hatchbag company
Not the nicest photo but we haven’t got room to unravel it all – it’s a boot liner so you can sling your bike in the back and not worry about your delicate, lavishly tooled cream beaver-leather boot! Win! By the way, you don’t need all of the kit above apparently, but the’ve sent it in a belt-and-braces sort of way so we can give it a good going over and let you know what’s what.
Howies Team LS Cycle Jersey
TRIUMPHANT HANNAH is teh winner of something (we’re not sure what – some macarroons?) in this Howies cycling top with the stripes an’ that.
Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie wheelset
Aluminium rims, wide – er – widths and tubeless ready, for an upcoming grouptest. Booom!
Spank Oozy Trail 345 Wheelset
34.5mm external width (cunning name, eh?) which translates into something like a 31mm internal width for the same wheel test as the Specializeds above. And hugely, lavishly blue, which is ace.
661 Evo AM Helmet
Head protective noggin gear from 661. Yes, we know James needs a shave…
DVO Diamond 29er fork
Closed cartridge bladder system, low and high speed compression adjust, 35mm stanchions and this one has 140mm of travel. Richard has squirreled it away, and won’t let anyone look at it – he glves them a nasty bite if they try. It’s easy to see from a distance, though, especially if it’s somewhere red. It really is a quite astonishing colour. Not for the shy and retiring types – for whom you can also get it in black.
And that’s your lot for this week – quite a lot really! And as a little dessert/coffee sort of thing, this has been doing the rounds this week, and for good reason; it’s ace: