Has anyone else noticed just how dark it’s gotten over the past week? I don’t know about you, but in the last few days I’ve been caught out twice on a late afternoon ride where the skies have darkened a helluva lot quicker than I was expecting. Yes, I know we’re nearly into daylight cravings, and conditions do deteriorate rather rapidly around these parts at this time of the year, but I think my optimistic side is still stuck in Autumn-appreciation mode, clinging to the thoughts of 7:30pm sunsets, clear evening skies and just-tacky singletrack. And that’s made the sting of running out of light towards the end of an after work bike ride just that little bit sharper.
To add to that, I nearly hit a rabbit on Wednesday night as it sprinted across the trail, somehow managing to dodge my front wheel while I was staring wide-eyed down the trail, trying to absorb as many photons through my pupils as possible. It’s not the first close encounter with a furry-eared kind either, which leads me to the logical conclusion that there are far too many rabbits in Calderdale;
Anyhow, enough of that rabbit talk and wall-building (err?), lets get onto more bicycle-related discussions. Like, what turned up on the Fresh Goods Friday pallet this week. This is a discussion that we’re inviting you into as we make our way through all of the freshest goods for episode three hundred and sixty seven – enjoy!
Pilot Cycles Locum Pinion 650+
- Price: €7734 as built
- From: Pilot Cycles
Travelling all the way from Pilot Cycles in the Netherlands, this Locum Pinion is getting set to tackle a wet and buddy British winter. And by all expectations, it should be up to the task with its Pinion C-line gearbox and Gates belt drive. We first learnt about Pilot Cycles last year, a brand that specialises in building clean-looking frames out of titanium. They have an array of standard models and geometry to choose from, though they also offer custom geometry for those who want something a little extra special.
This is the first test bike we’ve had fitted with Pinion’s new C-Line gearbox. It’s a 12-speed gearbox that offers a huge 600% gear range (compare that with SRAM Eagle’s 500% gear range). Compared to the P-Line gearboxes, the C-Line uses a lightweight magnesium body that is claimed to drop weight by 33%. As with all Pinion gearboxes, it’s manufactured in Germany and comes with a 5-year warranty. Plus, you only need to replace the transmission oil once a year or once every 10,000km – whichever comes first.
Available with or without the Pinion gearbox, a standard Locum titanium frameset will start at €1999, and for an extra €250, you can get custom geometry. Ours has been upgraded with a very trick set of Tune carbon plus wheels, a Fox Factory Series 27.5+ fork, and Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. Look out for a detailed first look feature on this intriguing machine soon.
DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline 30 Wheels
- Price: £1824.99
- From: Madison
These hoops arrived a little too late for last week’s Fresh Goods Friday, though we did manage to squeeze them into their own bonafide first look article here. If you haven’t already seen the first look piece, this is the newest carbon wheelset to come from DT Swiss, and with chunky carbon rims that feature a 30mm inner width, it’s also the burliest carbon wheel that the Swiss brand has ever developed. Complete with 240 hubs, a 36pt Star Ratchet mechanism and straight-pull spokes, this high-end wheelset comes in the box along with centrelock adapters, both Shimano and SRAM XD freehub bodies, wheel bags and a nipple driver tool.
Xplova X5 Evo
- Price: £379.99
- From: Xplova
If you like gadgets, you’re going to love this one. Essentially the Xplova X5 Evo is a high definition camera and GPS computer all rolled into the one device that mounts to your handlebars. Like other GPS computers, the X5 Evo will give your basics such as speed, distance, and ride time, and it’s also able to pair via Bluetooth or WiFi with other devices to give you additional metrics like power output and cadence. Plus, it’ll overlay all of that information onto a GPS file so you can see where you’re riding, and where you’ve ridden from, and what climbs hurt the most. The camera records at 720 at 30fps, and uses a 120° wide-angle lens, but here’s the clever bit – it can be setup to automatically start recording if you hit a particular metric – such as a speed, cadence, power or altitude. So if you only want to capture footage on the descents without having to remember to turn the camera off and on all the time, you can set it up to do exactly that – clever!
Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap Enduro Core 27.5×2.35in Tyre
- Price: £59.99
- From: Upgrade Bikes
This is a tyre that we’ve been keen to get our hands on for a little while now. It’s the Flow Snap from Vee Tire Co. and it’s one of the most aggressive options from the brand. Designed as a “universal gravity tire created for a variety of different conditions from mud, to dry or loose terrain“, the Flow Snap comes in two different casing options; Gravity and Enduro Core. The Gravity model is basically a 2-ply downhill tyre, whereas the one we’ve got is a folding tyre built for trail, all mountain and endooooro.
The tubeless ready casing is made with a 72tpi construction, and the rubber is Vee’s softest compound called Tackee, which puts a gooey 48a durometer all over the tread. Claimed weight is 950g per tyre and they currently come in a 2.35in size for both 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes. However, Vee also showed off a 2.6in size at Eurobike this year that is likely to join the Flow Snap range in the near future.
Bontrager Adorn MTB Women’s Shoes
- Price: £99.99
- From: Trek Bikes
Sitting at the more affordable end of the Bontrager shoe line is the new Adorn (womens) and Evoke (mens). Equipped with a reinforced upper that’s secured by a simple, but light and durable three-Velcro strap system, the Adorn we’ve got on test is finished in a classy matt black finish. Want to burn some retinas? It’s also available in Vice Pink too. SPD compatible and ridged with a grippy rubber sole.
Time ATAC DH4 Pedals
- Price: £79.99
- From: Extra UK
“For serious gravity aficionados only”, says the tagline for the Time ATAC DH4 pedals. Too bad then, as they’ll just have to put up with us in the meantime. Using Time’s classic dual-spring ATAC mechanism, the DH4 pedals are built with a burlier axle and alloy body to help them survive against being beaten against rocks and from hitting hard hucks to flat. These are destined for an SPD platform pedal group test, so keep your eyes peeled for that one if you like chunky pedals to clip into.
Electra Heartchya Socks
- Price: £8.99
- From: Trek
Got a significant other? One that has feet? And rides a bike? These could very well be the perfect gift idea for them, given that they are socks that are designed to go on feet for the cycling. Multi-coloured love hearts look nice and jazzy.
Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Gloves
- Price: £34
- From: Showers Pass
Speaking of jazzy, jazz-hands! Jazz-hands wrapped in Showers Pass new knitted winter gloves, which aside from being warm and exceptionally bright for road visibility, are also waterproof without looking like two shopping bags. The inside layer is made with an anti-bacterial Coolmax fabric, while the Artex waterproof membrane sits between that and the outside knitted layer. Available in three sizes as well as both orange and black colours.
New Kettle For The Studio
- Price: An undisclosed sum of money
- From: The Kettle Farm
Bontrager OMW Softshell Pants
- Price: £119
- From: Trek
Rob is so very casually modelling some new winter pants against our recently-replaced carpark ticket machine. The pants are from Bontrager, and they come under the Old Man Winter (OMW) label, which means they’re built to survive very cold and snowy. They’re built with Profila Softshell fabric, which offers protection from the elements and insulation for warmth. They’re cut to fit closely, so the legs don’t flap about and get caught in your drivetrain.
There’s a zillion different pockets in the OMW pants, and they also feature zippered vents if you get a little hot ‘n’ steamy mid-ride. Also neat is the use of removable internal gaiters, which are designed to keep snow from rudely working its way up the leg cuffs if you’re trudging through deep snow. Available from X-Small through to X-Large.
Bontrager Vella Stormshell Women’s Jacket
- Price: £99.99
- From: Trek
Bontrager have sent us a few other winter goodies, including this women’s specific Vella Stormshell jacket. It’s made with Profila Stormshell fabric, which uses a waterproof/breathable membrane that offers proper wet-weather protection. The fabric is slightly stretchy for added comfort and features mesh neck collar lining.
Being a cycling-specific jacket, it’s got a tailored fit with a dropped tail at the back, and slightly longer sleeves with a zippered gusset on the end of each wrist cuff to allow for fine tuning the fit so you don’t end up with cold gusts of wind blasting up your arms.
Camelbak KUDU Protector 20 Backpack
- Price: £189.99
- From: ZyroFisher
This one is very fresh off the boat. It’s the 2018 KUDU backpack from Camelbak, and it has been completely redesigned over the previous model. Like the previous KUDU, this one features a CE-certified back protector. It’s got a brand new kidney belt-style waist strap that makes it very secure, and it also has a modular design that allows you to remove the body of the pack, leaving just the harness and back protector in place. I had a good look at the KUDU at PressCamp this year, so check out the article for all the details.
Dakine Drafter 14L Backpack
- Price: £95
- From: Dakine
Also designed for carrying things and protecting one’s back, the Drafter pack from Dakine can be had in 10L, 14L and 18L versions. It comes standard with a 3L Hydrapak lumbar reservoir that’s designed to sit lower down in the pack so the weight is better centred over your hips, while thick waist straps help to stabilise loads.
Inside is an obsessive’s fantasy. Zippered mesh pockets help with organising the spares, tools, cash and repair kits that you’d want to take on an all-day ride. In between the pack and the harness with a sleeve that can take a CE-certified back protector that Dakine offers as a separate item for those who like the idea of carrying a little extra protection.
Dakine DK Impact Spine Protector
- Price: £25
- From: Dakine
Designed to fit the Dakine Drafter pack, the DK Impact Spine Protector is made from a flexible material that feels a little bit like a firm memory foam. Due to its rectangular bladder-like shape, it’ll also fit into other hydration backpacks, most likely in the same sleeve that the bladder sits in. It’s shaped to flex and move with you on the bike, though it’s got all the necessary cushioning to keep your back protected in the event of a hard crash. And if you carry sharp pointy things in your backpack such as a shock pump and multi-tools, that bit of extra protection between your spine and those pointy things will be a very worthwhile addition.
Alright team, we’ve just crossed the finish line for another week on this wretched earth. We trust it’s been a swell one for you, though we hope you’ve got an even better weekend planned that involves hitting some sweet singletrack and smashing some delicious food and bevies. Or it’s too wet, cold and miserable, maybe just the latter two. Either way, enjoy yourself!