FGF 524 – The Conversation Starting Edition

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Who has run out of conversation? With a narrower window of experience than usual, after 11 months or so you could be forgiven for not having much to say. Without daily and varied interactions, perhaps not even a daily trip out of the house, you might be struggling to find anything to say that your cohabitees don’t already know about. Or, something that’s safe ground that you won’t end up arguing about. It’s as good a reason to get out for a solo ride as any – you can come back and report on the colour of the leaves, the mystery glowing eyes you saw in the dark, or the five minutes spent watching the sun go down.

In case you’re trapped at home, or such reports of the outside world are likely to result in a ‘so when is it my turn to go out and play, humph?’ response, this week’s Fresh Goods Friday contains some potential sources of brain stimulation. Instead of tunes, we’ve got podcasts and TV recommendations from beyond the world of bikes that might just get the brain cells and conversation going. Just for a change. But don’t worry, there’s bike stuff too.

Stif Squatch Pro Build

  • Price: £2,499
  • From: Stif

Apparently named after a mythical hairy beast, we can’t help thinking that a Stif Squatch sounds more like an uncomfortable wild poo. Anyway. With 29in wheels, a 78° seat tube and 64° head angle and a steel frame, this new Stif Squatch is designed for a 130mm, short offset fork, and our David will be testing it. He previously tested – and then bought – a Stif Morf, so is well placed to check out the claims that the Squatch is not just a 29er version of the Morf.

YT Izzo Pro Race

Andi says: Have you tried buying a bike over the past few months? Not easy is it? Well if you’re in the market for a short travel trail bike that can hack the downhills as well as the ups might I recommend the YT Izzo Pro Race? It’s the only model that YT currently has in stock, but that’s OK because it’s an amazing bike with a killer spec. I picked up the Izzo after testing one earlier in the year, my bike is a size large (I tested the Medium) and it’s just as easy on the ups and fast on the downs as I remember. Out of the box the Pro Race is fitted with a pair of DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon wheels, a Fox 34 factory fork, Float DPS Factory rear shock, Fox Transfer post and SRAM X01 shifting. I’ve swapped a few parts out on mine switching the front Maxxis Forecaster tyre to a Magic Mary and the RaceFace bar and stem combo to a Syncros Hixon. I also replaced the SRAM Twistloc rear shock lockout remote to a Bontrager DropLoc remote.

Singletrack Lockdown Christmas Survival Bundle

lockdown xmas bundle deal

In our limited offer Lockdown2 bundle you get everything you need to survive this Christmas in fine style. In one cool hit you get to avoid the colossal ball ache that is Christmas shopping, make your friends and family instantly cool, and also help support us at Singletrack.

You get:

  • Organic Lockdown T-shirt.  Keep that for yourself –  far too nice to give away. And hell, you have earnt it. Normally £24.99
  • Lockdown 426er Mug. A lovely and generous 426ml mug, everyone loves tea, so that is one present sorted. Normally £13.99
  • 1000 Piece Lockdown Jigsaw. A thousand pieces of utter frustration* to distract you from what could be the crappiest Xmas ever. Normally £24.99
  • Lockdown Cover Artwork Organic Tea Towel. Make washing up on Christmas day the highlight of your Christmas with this stunning organic piece of art. Watch the children fight over who will dry up! Normally £12.99
  • Total price normally £76.96

And the best bit is… we have knocked the price down to only £59.99. This means that you can look at the tea towel or mug as being effectively free. You have just have made your gran (or whoever you give the tea towel to) super happy and very cool for approximately feck all. *Some people really like jigsaw puzzles.

Did you spot the baby robins in the lockdown illustration? Maybe you can tell the difference between different sorts of birds you see on your ride, maybe you can’t. Either way, you don’t need to know anything about birds to appreciate this short documentary.

ETC Rear Lights

  • Price: £40 (Rana), £15.99 (R65), £16 (Mira)
  • From: Moore Large
ETC lights

Three rear light options for a variety of budgets: the 180 lumen Rana has an auto brake sensor (it gets brighter as you slow down), remaining battery display and 8 settings with waterproofing to IPX6, the R65 (65 lumens – duh) has 5 functions, and is waterproof to IP44. The Mira is water resistant, and has a 20 lumen output – which might be all you want if you have mates following you down the trail. (FYI: IP44 = Can resist water splashes from any direction & is protected from solid particles bigger than 1mm. IPX4 = Is resistant to water splashes from any direction. IPX5 = Can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray.)

ETC Watchman

This is a rear light with built in camera, although separate buttons control the light and camera functions. It comes with an 8gb micro SD card, and footage is recorded on a loop. Advertised run time is 5 hours, and should be waterproof to IPX4.

ETC FR340 Lightset

This is a commuter style light set with 300 lumen front light and 40 lumen rear that are waterproof to IPX5 (front) and IPX6 (rear). The rear light has an auto or manual function. If you select ‘auto’, once you’ve screwed the metal fitting with rubber O-ring into the mount, you shouldn’t need to open it up again until you’re home in the warm and dry – it’ll just turn off when it sense you’ve stopped moving at a cafe stop. There’s also a braking function and auto light sensing.

ETC Front Lights

The 500 lumen Sirrah light might go well on a helmet – it has an optional rear light too, and comes with a velcro-free (whoop for those with hair!) helmet mount. If you’ve got it mounted to your bars (and interestingly the strap says ‘Magicshine’ on it), you can have the front light only on – and it has some side panels to help with visibility from the side. It’s waterproof to IPX5 and has 4 modes with a claimed run time of 1.5-8.5 hours. The 1000 lumen Kochab is the most waterproof in the range, up to IPX6, and has a claimed 1.5 hour runtime on the maximum setting.

The Tonic 6% CBD Oil

Tastes grim.

Amanda: I managed to concuss myself a few weeks ago. I only knocked myself out for a few seconds, and I jumped straight back on the bike without thinking much of it. Then I jumped into some very long days staring at a computer screen. A few days after the head injury I began to notice the weirdness. Unable to get sentences out, forgetting things, forgetting a lot of things actually… my eyes wouldn’t focus and my head hurt so much, constantly. And possibly the worst of all, I was really sad for no good reason.

I’d actually managed to come back to work without telling the Singletrack Team about my head injury, and when they found out I was given a screen ban and a new helmet. Hannah’s wise owl of a boyfriend sent me this link, and a friend talked to me about the fatality rate of secondary concussion. From that point, I have taken my injury seriously, and the CBD oil (whether it be a placebo or not) has helped. No headache, no sadness, and oddly my heart palpitations have reduced in a matter of days… which might suggest they’ve been anxiety-related all along, as CBD oil can be used to treat that too.

Another option to help you chill out and your mind be less tangled could be a spot of therapy. If you’ve not listened to Esther Perel before, then there’s a world of further listening out there worth checking out. In this podcast, she asks some questions and makes some suggestions that might just help in a claustrophobic covid induced living situation – or with some of those people that, actually, we haven’t missed too much.

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

MIPS, matte bits and shiny bits, an easily visible colour and subtle branding make this Trailblazer helmet a very stylish and safe piece of protection for your bonce. The outer shell is made using 4 different panels which are placed to deal with different types of impacts. Each one of the 4 pieces is uniquely tuned to its specific destination in order to deal with the most common types of impacts in that certain area of the helmet. The visor is both adjustable and replaceable, and there’s plenty of ventilation. Available in six colour ways, in sizes from 53cm-61cm.

North Uist Sloe & Bramble Gin

uist gin bottle bramble

Charlie says… Of all the new booze I have discovered in lockdown, this is by far the most hedgerow’y. Johnny and Kate make it in the Outer Hebrides using locally foraged berries. It is then aged in bourbon casks to create what they describe as a “complex rich fruity flavour”. A less cultured consumer might describe it as “Turbo Ribena”. At 25% I find it excellent on its own, or with a quality tonic if you want the afternoon to not conclude too soon. You can read about how I bravely discovered this fine drink for you here. What’s more Singletrack members get a free mini bottle when they buy a big bottle. Pop over to the members area for details.

Armed with a gin, are you ready to sit back, close your eyes and use your ears? You’ve doom scrolled your way through the US election news, but now go back in time and learn something vaguely useful (or at least interesting) from all the wild norm-shattering things we’ve seen in the last four years. Constitutional law might not sound interesting, but it is, honest. Give it a go.

Oakley Sutro S Glasses

These particular ones have the Prizm Trail Torch lens, which is a pleasant pink for a rose tinted view of life, or better clarity on the trail, but there are other lenses for various light and terrain conditions too. The Sutro S is a slightly smaller version of the original Sutro, though there’s still pretty generous coverage here. Hannah has them to test out with the Oakley helmet (which has a special ‘Landing Area’ for storing your glasses). These have a full frame around the lenses, with a thinner temple to accommodate helmets or hats. Which Hannah is glad about as it means she doesn’t need to give you a full frontal of her feral morning hair.

Talking of feral hair, how about a highly groomed cat? If you need a break from the real world entirely this ‘Cat Walk’ documentary is the real world. But, if you’ve watched Best In Show… well…

Swytch Universal Ebike Kit

This is a kit which promises to turn your bike into an ebike. There’s another kit for Bromptons, and then there’s this Universal kit, which comes in different wheel sizes. We’ve got the 29er version here, and as it’s compatible with both disc and rim brakes we’re going to see if we can fit it to a few different bikes. In theory, that should be relatively simple – once we’ve got a tube and tyre fitted to this wheel, we should be able to swap it, the battery bar mount and the pedal assist sensor between bikes without too many tools being needed. The 100mm dropout width is likely to be the limiting factor on our sheds full of BOOST and thru-axle technologies. While the RRP is £1200 if you want to buy it now, Swytch says that several times a year they do a ‘crowdshopping’ price with a 50% saving. That has a 10-12 week delivery time, but allows them to do a bulk order and offer the lower price.

The title of this podcast could just as easily be ‘how to make money and be nicer about it’, or ‘how to be a better leader’. There’s a lot of ground covered in the discussion, but if there’s really nothing in here to interest you, your skirting boards probably need cleaning.

Masterlock Biometric Padlock

Back in the day, we used to have a combination coil lock that we kept at the regular Thursday night ride pub. Everyone knew the combination, so it was easy to add your bike to the already-locked pile of bikes, or to lock your bike up for a sneaky Friday pint. However, we never really knew who knew the combination and we started worrying as much as if we’d not locked them up at all. This Masterlock Biometric padlock is designed to do a similar job, but with greater security. It’ll store up to ten different thumbprints, and there’s a master code pad for an override on a directional pad around the print sensor (like an old video game cheat – ‘Up, Up, Down, Left, Fire!) It can even be ‘jumped’ if the battery runs down. We’re going to put this straight to use and see just how wet and muddy you can be and have it still work…

Gravelhugger Mudguard

We’ve seen the front ‘gravel’ mudguard in from Mudhugger, and this is the corresponding rear one. It’s designed for gravel bikes (and road bikes where there’s room) and will take tyres up to 50mm wide. It’s ideal if your bike is too ‘pure’ to have mudguard mounts, or if you prefer doing stuff with zipties and helicopter tape instead of bolts and metal stays. The look is unapologetically bold, but it’s also designed to catch a lot of the ‘fling’ you get while riding off-road.

Specialized 2FO Roost Shoes

As launched just this week these new smart-casual shoes from Specialized use the new generation of SlipNot sole rubber for a grip that’s reputed to be as good as Five/Ten. We’ve got the SPD and the flat shoes in, so we’ll give them a go, now that grip has disappeared completely out there. Oh, and just for @Onzadog, there are shots of the footbed with a foot for scale. We aim to please.

Thanks to @eddiebaby for pointing this final distraction/conversation starter out. Music nerds among you may enjoy the analysis and excitement of discovering a new piece, those of you who are of an extreme British reserved disposition may find the enthusiasm a little hard to get past.

OK, that’s your lot this week. Here’s the traditional ending to Fresh Goods Friday – a tune. This is one of Mark’s favourite bands. Hannah thinks all Eels tracks sound the same, but then she likes Neil Young and Gillian Welch, so what does she know?

What is Fresh Goods Friday?

It’s Singletrack’s long running, weekly roundup of all of the new products that have been sent in to the magazine.

Where do all of the goods come from?

They’re sent in by bike companies and marketing agencies

What happens to all of the products?

They’re featured and then some are reviewed down the line in either Singletrack Magazine or in online reviews and photoshoots.

What happens to them when you’ve finished with them?

They’re usually sent back after review, or kept on long-term test bikes. But no one ever asks for shorts and shoes back. Trust us on that. Once we were asked to return some brake pads.

I’m a company making the next big thing. How much does it cost to feature in FGF?

Nothing. Nil. Zero. Diddlysquat. Sod all. Just send all ‘next big things’ to us at – Fresh Goods Friday, Singletrack Magazine, Lockside Mill, Dale Street, Todmorden. OL14 5PX. Please note that if you require the products back after they have featured then you are responsible for arranging collection at your cost. While it is our policy to feature everything we receive in FGF if we decide your product is not suitable for publication we won’t do it. Publication is at our discretion. Whether a product goes on for publication as a review is at editorial discretion. Beer, coffee & spirits will ALWAYS be tested.

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Comments (21)

    Thank you! Looks like they don’t actually fit you though.

    Just received some CBD tea from The Tonic. Looking forward to trying it after today’s ride.

    I’d not actually tried them on at that point, Onzadog… but here’s a live test for you 🙂
    (Sizing – I’ve always been a 43 until the last year when I suddenly found that 44s fit me better Too much lockdown slipper wearing? These are 44, and I run a Recon in a 44 too.) – anyway, on with the test. Length is good, width is great, apart from at the toe where they seem to curve in to my big toe a bit. However, when stood up, that goes away as (I presume) the slight angle of the insole moves my weight more to the outside of my foot, leaving a shoe that feels like it fits well. However, I’ll put some cleats on and give them a go for you!

    “a Stif Squatch sounds more like an uncomfortable wild poo.” It’s probably going to be my next bike but I’ll be laughing about that every time I ride it.

    +1 on the squatch poop comment! Good looking bike though.

    If I was a rumourmonger and was going to propagate wild bike talk without any foundation what so ever… I would suggest that the Squatch will be followed by a SuSquatch. The product name is screaming out to be used.

    Such a range of emotions in today’s FGF! I cracked up at “uncomfortable wild poo” (comment of the week, that). Amanda’s tale of woe was worrying – how long is it acceptable to be knocked out for? Good to hear she’s on the mend, though. Those glasses are amazing and make me wonder how big glasses are going to get. Will we soon be wearing PPE visors on the trail? Finally, I could only watch a tiny bit of that reaction video; I have a deep mistrust of polka dot.

    Can’t wait to see a first ride thingy on the squatch. i’ve got one on order and i’m very excited!

    Thatcher wore polka dots so your mistrust is probably justified.
    “If clothes could talk, they would have revealed volumes about an encounter at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s historic home of velvet drapes and polished furniture. At a fashion gathering in 1984, Mrs. T, in her floor-swishing skirt suit, set off with a polka-dot floppy bow, faced the designer Katharine Hamnett, who came dressed as a defiant punk in scruffy sneakers and a giant T-shirt printed with a political statement about nuclear missiles.”
    Class war innit?

    Those Specialized shoes in black look like old school PE pumps…

    @Eddiebaby Haha! You may be right. I don’t know, there’s something a bit “hide the bread knives” about them.

    Not sure the guy the Squatch is actually named after will be too pleased with your assessment 😉

    Conversation starter you say? Well as my tight fistedness has achieved legendary status over the years can I just say this is (probably) the first FGF that has actually relieved me of any of my hard earned. As a lowly shelf stacker in Sainsburys I’m being given a 10% bonus next month for the sterling work through the Pandemic. As I’m only part time this roughly equates to about the same cost of the Lockdown Bundle so instead of it going on brake pads etc it seems much more appropriate to be spending that virus bonus on something created due to said virus and if it helps in a small way to make Chipps, Charlie and Co smile just a little all the better. That’s my conversation sorry if it bored everyone

    @stwhannah the swytch link goes to the Uist gin distillery 🙂

    Do you wanna try that there ‘lectric wheel in me Ripmo

    @Tom Howard – I mean, I do get passed a lot in the woods… I’d say it’s a fair comment.

    That Swytch price is taking the P isn’t it?

    I looked at converting OHs bike to electric and found the going rate (look on ebay) is about £400 for motor wheel + controller + battery.

    With the proposed recipient bike dating from the 80’s and with 26 x 1 1/4 wheels we in fact ended up getting a whole new Orbea e-bike with concealed battery, hydro brakes, lights, guards rack etc etc for about £300 more than the Swytch price here.

    There’ll be a reason the ETC lights have Magic Shine brackets – they are rebadged Altys! And the commuter rear and little blocky square ones are X-lites. All good lights, but the 500lm one is 40 quid from Planet X.

    Onzadog.

    See my comments on the Shimano MW7 boot thread the other day. I’ve got an old pair of Shim winter boots which were feeling too tight for woolly boolies these days (I’m pretty sure your feet spread as you age or maybe spend more time at home not wearing shoes…)

    Anyway, new Shimano MW7s same 46 size. Same Japanese cm length. the specialised insole I was using in my old boots lines up to be the exact same size as the one in the MW7s but the fit and toe box feel completely different. I’m not convinced the insole is suffienct to judge the fit – maybe same ones used in everything whatever the actual shoe “last”.

    whats that about a free mini bottle of the bramble gin for members?
    please explain how to get that, the prospect is delicious
    neil

    Found it, took a while, anyone else look in member offers in the members area

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