Happy New Year, Fresh Grit fans! We hope you’ve had the most excellent of festive seasons, full of both gluttony and riding. Tech Ed Tom squeezed in a few rides in between meals, including a brief Christmas morning pedal and his one and only ‘cross race of the season.
It took Dugast the Butler three hours to help Tom squeeze into that skin suit, all the while muttering something about how no man should be able to eat that many pigs in blankets in one sitting. Fortunately, lycra is stretchy. Unfortunately, there’s no hiding a lack of fitness. It turns out that all the sausages, turkey, wine, etc are not great fuel for an hour or of power. Still… riding bikes is fun, innit?
Moving on to the good stuff, we received a Santa’s sack full of goodies over the last month… all of which are already being put to the test as we speak.
We’ll start with the big hitters, and we have three, yes THREE beautiful bikes for you to cast your eyes over…
Canyon Inflite CF SLX 8.0 Pro Race
- From: Canyon
- Price: £2,499
When we shared a sneak photo of the Canyon Inflite on our Instagram it garnered more comments that pretty much anything else we have ever posted. It’s fair to say that the aesthetics of Canyon’s race-focussed ‘cross bike are divisive. You can read all about the reasoning behind that dropped top tube and the multitude of other features available over in our first look.
Kona Major Jake
- From: Kona
- Price: £2,999
Not to be outdone, the Kona Major Jake has been receiving its fair share of comments as well. That sky blue colour seems to be more universally popular than the Canyon, and we reckon it looks even better in the flesh than on screen. The Major Jake is a whole wedge of cash, but features a re-designed from the ground up frame and forks, again with a focus on ‘cross racing. Check out the first look here for all the deets.
Cube Nuroad Pro
- From: Cube
- Price: £1,299
At first glance the Nuroad Pro punches well above its weight. Coming in at around half the price of the two bikes above, it features the same groupset/braking as the Kona. Obviously compromises have to be made and the frame is alloy rather than carbon, but we reckon the Cube still looks like a good value package. Once again, you can find out a bit more here.
Beet It Sport Shot
- From: Beet It
- Price: £20 for 15 x 70ml bottles
Now time for something a little different, and I’ll hold up my hands to a bit of cynicism on my part here. Beet It’s concentrated beetroot shot drinks deliver around 400mg of dietary nitrate in each little bottle. So what? Well, the company claim that this nitrate has performance benefits. Simply put, it is meant to increase time to task failure and improve the oxygen cost of exercise, resulting in improved performance times. So you are most likely to ‘feel’ a benefit when you are accustomed to becoming fatigued. These are big claims, but backed up by some good quality scientific research, which is refreshing. Even better, it looks like Beet It is effective for all levels of athlete – happy days.
Now, you could of course munch down on a few beetroots and get the same dosage, but that’s not so practical before a race. The Beet It Sport Shot is designed to give the optimal dosage in a convenient package. The company recommends that you consume a bottle or two around three hours before exercise and daily for six days in the build up to a race.
There’s lots of information over on the Beet It website, including links to the scientific research (including blind testing with placebos) that has already been conducted. We’ve been sent two bottles, so won’t be able to test the longer term benefits of taking the juice, but will report back with how we got on with one-off doses.
Rapha Pro Team Arenburg Glasses
- From: Rapha
- Price: £150
Perfectly timed for the greyest winter we can remember, the Rapha Arenburg glasses are riding sunnies from the posh clothes company. These aren’t Rapha’s first foray into specs, and actually take the shape of their Pro Team flyweight glasses, adding a full frame around the lens and snapback arms, designed to make them easier to swap from face to helmet and vice versa. Our test pair are black, with a Carl Zeiss bronze mirrored lens, intended for “all-round sunny and bright conditions”. Other lenses are available and can also be bought separately and swapped.
The glasses come with a cloth bag and a posh tin, with space to store an extra couple of lenses. For £150 we are expecting pretty damn good performance, comparable with top end Oakleys. Fingers crossed for some sunshine so we can put that to the test…
- From: Ass Savers
- Price: from €9.00. UK pricing starts around £7.00
The kind folk at Ass Savers were worried that we’d be suffering from muddy/wet backsides this winter. How right they were. Fortunately things are looking a little drier with this bumper drop of bum protection. We’ve got both the Ass Savers Regular and the Big. (For bigger tyres, not bigger butts… at least that’s what we’ve told Tech Ed Tom).
The company has been around for quite a few years now, and while the basic principle of the product hasn’t changed, there have been a number of little tweaks to the design. The latest version features a “Flip Tip” to help secure the guard to saddle rails. There are also more patterns and colours available than ever before – including this custom collab with Enisaurus.
That’s that for the first FGF issue of 2018. Stay tuned for more shiny goodness over the course of the next year. In the meantime, Tom’s off to try and lose a bit of that gut.
’til next time kids.