That’s the first week of June done then, and that means the Tour de France is just over two short weeks away. With that, WorldTour racing is hotting up and we’re starting to catch glimpses of new bikes being ridden ahead of official launches.
This week we’ve seen an updated Pinarello Dogma and a new Merida Scultura, and we’ll almost certainly see a few more new bits of tech ahead of the most important race of the season. Watch this space, as always.
Speaking of the WorldTour, news also broke this week that the UCI has banned glucose and lactate monitoring devices from use in competition. That means devices such as those made by brands like Supersapiens can no longer be used in races.
This week also saw Schwalbe launch a new gravel tyre, the G-One R. Said to be faster, lighter and grippier all at the same time, we’ll be putting it through its paces soon to see whether that all comes at the expense of durability.
Specialized also launched its lightest ever cross-country shoe, the S-Works Exos Evo. Based on the original S-Works Exos road shoe, it uses a Dyneema fabric on the uppers that reduces weight (and increases price) dramatically.
And, finally, Scott revealed its 2022 Spark RC and Spark 900 cross-country and trail bikes. With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing more new bikes like this in the near future too.
And if all that hasn’t satiated your hunger for new cycling tech, here’s some more…
NoPinz Flow skinsuit and Flow shoe covers
NoPinz’ top-of-the-range skinsuit, the Flow, is said to be the fastest (most aerodynamically efficient) skinsuit the British brand has ever developed.
Designed in conjunction with UK-based aero experts Aerocoach – another British brand whose aero wheels and kit have been making waves in WorldTour time trials – the Flow suit promises a 7.4-watt saving versus the brand’s previous best skinsuit, the Tripsuit.
To put that into context, that’s said to be worth around 12 seconds in a 10-mile time trial.
Leaving no stone unturned, we also have a set of NoPinz Flow shoe covers.
The Flow covers use three different, strategically placed fabrics to save a claimed 7.1 watts at 45kph, versus bare legs. Potentially another 12 seconds over 10 miles.
Worn in the WorldTour by Taco van der Hoorn and the rest of Team Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux, the Flow is claimed to be one of the fastest UCI legal skinsuits on the market.
Riders taking part in CTT events, or any time trials not governed by UCI rules on sock height, can also save a further 2 watts by selecting the longer versions of the Flow shoe covers.
Worx track handlebar
If you’re in to going faster for the same effort, then a narrower handlebar is a relatively cheap and easy way to improve body position on the bike.
Given that, I’ve been happily using 36cm handlebars for some time now, but it raises an interesting question; if narrower is better, what’s the limit?
Well, to help me answer that, Worx has kindly sent me a very narrow handlebar.
Designed primarily for track use, Worx’s aluminium track handlebar measures just 33cm at the drops. Due to the way the drops flare out from the ramps, though, the position of the hoods ends up being around 24cm in width. That’s pretty narrow, for a road bike anyway.
The bar has a traditional bend drop with a depth of 120mm and a reach of 70mm. It uses a standard 31.8mm clamping area, so should work with any standard stem.
Of course, I’ll freely admit it looks a bit ridiculous on a road bike – the oversized Shimano 105 R7000 hydraulic shift/brake levers look enormous on it – but my first few test rides suggest that, surprisingly, the handling isn’t too bad at all.
And, as you’d expect, it also feels very fast when you’re tucked down into an aero position. It’s bordering on a proper time trial position.
Would I want such a narrow handlebar on a wet and windy descent of a steep mountain pass? No. Nor is it something I’ll shoot straight into our road handlebar buyer’s guide (my colleagues and editor are yet to be convinced they’re a good idea).
But for a less technical road race or a road bike time trial, I’m leaning towards a yes… I’ll need to do further testing to decide, but my initial impressions are positive.
Q36.5 short-sleeve jersey R2 Jungle
Using a raglan construction, Q36.5’s short-sleeve R2 Jungle jersey is a lightweight, highly breathable cycling jersey.
Made in Italy from 70 per cent recycled fabrics, the cut is close and Q36.5 says the jersey incorporates aerodynamic details like ribbed sleeves. There’s also a perforated fabric on the front and a honeycomb mesh fabric on the rear for improved ventilation.
BikeRadar’s video manager, Felix Smith, has been wearing it on his recent road rides (now that the UK’s weather has finally improved), and says: “It’s a very comfortable road jersey, and the mesh panels on the rear are a great feature for summer riding.
“The rear pockets also seem to carry quite a lot, despite their size, and the jersey doesn’t sag when they’re filled.”
Felix also says that as a keen house plant nurturer, he “loves the jungle print”.
In terms of sizing, Felix is wearing an XS, but would typically wear an S, so it’s worth double-checking the size charts before ordering.