While the Tour de France may be over for another year, this week has seen plenty of top-level bike racing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
There’s been action in the men’s and women’s road race, TT, BMX and XC races so far, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Tom Pidcock stormed to an emphatic victory in the men’s XC, and this morning Bethany Shriever took gold in a thrilling women’s BMX final, while Kye Whyte won silver in the men’s.
We checked out Pidcock’s stealthy BMC Fourstroke and looked at the six ways XC race bikes have evolved over the past ten years. We also chatted to MTB legend Tracy Moseley in the latest edition of the BikeRadar Podcast.
On the road, Matthew gave his thoughts on the one detail he can’t stand on every new superbike and we listed the best energy chews on the market.
Plus, roadies may or may not rejoice at the new £600(!) handlebar from PRO that comes with integrated grips.
Velosock Indoor Bike Cover
Not everyone has the luxury of a large garage or secure shed in which to store their bike, so for many of us, keeping bikes indoors is the best solution. However, mixing lush interiors with dirty bikes is a recipe for disaster.
Velosock has a range of thin, stretchy socks that fit over the wheels of your bike (and in some models, over the bars too) to protect bike and house from house and bike. There’s a huge range of colour and design options too, so finding something to match your chosen decor should be possible.
Velosock’s demo videos make it look super easy to put the sock on the bike, though we’re still working on getting the knack of it! But, once on, it seems to be sitting pretty, keeping our walls free of dirty tyre and pedal scuffs. Plus, in our opinion, it looks pretty good too!
Options for indoors, transportation, kids’ bikes, folding bikes and BMX are all available, while custom designs are also available if you want something completely different.
Prices start at €59.99 for an Indoor Bike Cover.
The Airas is the latest eyewear from SunGod. The brand offers an increasing range of cycle and casual sunnies, all of which are customisable for no extra cost at the point of purchase: lenses, frames, socks, logos – you can go as wild as you like.
The Airas has a frameless design, though there’s an optional bottom frame. The lens has a ”cylindrical 8KO’ nylon lens, which apparently gives it its strength, and it also has greater optical clarity than the polycarbonate lenses used by other glasses brands.
The hinges for the arms pop on and off, so there are no screws to go missing, and the hydrophilic arm socks get grippier when wet – i.e. when you sweat.
SunGod claims that the triple-layer scratch protection on the lens should keep sight-lines clean even if you’re not the best at looking after your kit, while the hydrophobic treatment and anti-fog coatings mean they’ll stay clear in wet and humid conditions.
SunGod offers a recycled frame material too, if you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your glasses.
Prices start at £105 / €130 / $150 for a Zero Frame with a clear lens setup and rise to £215 / €260 / $295 if you want a photochromic lens with the Bottom Frame and Zero Frame option.
Faff coffee bags
Coffee and cycling go hand in hand – a hot brew with a kick of caffeine is an ideal start to a ride. But what if you’re out and about on a bikepacking rig (or in your VW T5 camper) and don’t want to carry around a V60, stove-top Moka pot or AeroPress? Well, coffee bags might be the solution.
They work just like a tea bag; boil some water, pop a bag in your mug, pour over the water and brew.
Faff’s bags contain seasonally changeable single-origin speciality coffee, which is Rainforest Alliance Certified, and come with a 15g dose – roughly double what you find in many other coffee bags.
The bags are compostable and the plastic sealed sachets the bags come in can be recycled with plastic bags or sent back to Faff for recycling (and some reward points towards future purchases). Faff even donates to Ecologi to plant a tree after every purchase.
Faff offers 15 coffee bags in a large single resealable pack for £11 or 30 individually wrapped bags for £24, with free shipping for orders over £17.
Ribble HT AL
The general ‘hardcore hardtail’ bell curve seems to be on the steel 29er side of things presently. However, Ribble is bucking that trend with its new 6061 aluminium, 27.5in-wheeled HT AL.
Ribble says that the bike’s good for everything from being ridden hard on the trails to hitting local jump lines, and as such we’re going to be ragging it round our woodsy test tracks for an upcoming hardtail test, which will be on Radar soon enough!
As befits a bike designed to be ridden hard, the 150mm travel fork juts out at a slack 64 degrees, while the reach is a generous 473mm on this size large.
There’s plenty of tyre clearance in there too, with space for up to 2.6in rubber for a little extra damping through the rigid rear end.
Stock builds start at a very competitive £1,399 / €1,633 / $1,925 with SRAM’s SX Eagle drivetrain and a RockShox 35 fork, but the one we have is a little more ‘special’.
Ribble offers custom builds on its bikes, so this one has been bought up to a higher spec with a RockShox Pike fork, GX Eagle drivetrain, Hope wheels and SRAM’s Guide RE brakes, with a price in the region of £3,000.
If you’re in the market for a new hardtail but want to follow the trends, or want something even more unique, Ribble also offers its HT bikes in both steel and titanium, with the same hard-hitting shape.
Frame-only options are also available if you want to plug on your own kit.