As another week draws to a close let’s take a look back at the most popular stories to hit BikeRadar’s virtual columns before checking out the hottest new bike gear to land with our testers.
At the tail end of last week we published a DIY bike fit guide for beginners, which included all the key things to consider when setting up your road bike position. There’s valuable advice on everything from finding the right frame size and handlebar height to cleat positioning.
Finding the right road bike saddle is always a very personal choice, too, but our updated guide to the best women’s road bike saddles is a great place to start, (we also have a men’s/unisex best list for even more choice).
As a name that’s synonymous with waterproof panniers, it was great to see Ortlieb’s Back-Roller pannier bags score highly during a recent test.
Plus, those who want to securely mount their mobile phone to their bike can now check out the results of another recent test, which pitched six popular phone cases and holders head-to-head.
It was also a strong week for mountain bike products, with the latest Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon RS and RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork both narrowly missing out on full five-star scores.
Camelbak Rogue Light Hydration Pack
The Rogue Light is on the smaller side for a hydration pack, sporting a two litre water chamber and seven litres of overall storage space. This pack is ideal for your standard three to six hour ride, where you may only need the bare essentials.
It has a stretch overflow pocket on the front side of the bag to fit a coat or any other spare clothes you might want to shed mid-ride. This pouch has a waterproof front and two stretchy mesh sides to allow for cramming in those slightly larger items. There’s also a small elastic loop for either fastening a helmet or mini pump.
A generously sized zipped pocket runs down the side of that front pouch, which is perfect for storing tools, spare tubes or ride snacks.
The main zip at the top of the bag is where you can gain access to the hydration pack itself for refilling. There’s also a hidden zip inside of this compartment that leads to an area that’s a bit smaller, where you could probably fit a head torch or bar-mounted light for any sunset shreds you’re planning.
The shoulder straps are lightweight and meshed but feel hard-wearing. On the back of the pack there are two supporting panels that look like they’ll be comfortable and breathable.
The clipped chest harness looks secure but not intrusive, and contains a clip that holds the hose of the hydration system.
Tailfin Cargo Cage
Tailfin’s Cargo Cage is an interesting new luggage solution that’s ideal for those gearing up for bikepacking expeditions.
Attaching to your bike’s frame or fork via its bottle cage or luggage mounts, the aluminium Cargo Cage is a modular design that can be used in two configurations.
Its cradle-like shape is ideal for long items and you can screw-on a supplied lower section to form an L-shape to accept heavier loads.
The cage itself has chamfered slots for the simple and secure routing of straps.
When you’re not carrying cargo, the low-profile Cargo Cage sits out of the way and adds just 57g (small) or 79g (large) to your bike.
Felix has a size large Cargo Cage mounted to the fork of his ultra-endurance Lauf race bike where it will be used to carry water or luggage.
Manfrotto Element MII Monopod
A tripod is a great way to ensure photos from your camera are crisp, even in challenging light conditions.
Unfortunately, most tripods are relatively bulky and a lightweight, decent quality one can end up costing a serious amount.
This 500g Manfrotto monopod might not offer the full stability of a tripod, but at 43cm in its minimum length it will easily pack down into a trail bag or pannier.
Three telescopic sections allow the Element MII to expand up to a lofty 159cm height, while the top plate can support up to 15kg of mirrorless or SLR camera kit.
The monopod secures to a camera with a standard size spring-loaded screw and is held by a large rubberised grip while a wrist strap provides additional security.
In use, the Element MII should allow most users to minimise the camera shake associated with handheld shots and ultimately produce better images.
WTB CZR i23 carbon rims
Following two years of development, WTB has launched its flagship carbon fibre rim, the CZR.
Available in two widths, our test rims are the narrower 23mm internal width version that’s designed for gravel riding. The larger CZR i30 gets a 30mm internal diameter and is designed with mountain bikes in mind.
The gravel versions are produced with either 24 or 28 spoke holes with ours being the latter and coming in at a claimed 345g (vs 331g for the 24 hole variant). Both versions have a maximum rider weight limit of 120kg (265lbs).
WTB isn’t holding back with the boasts on these either, with press material claiming the CZR’s reinforced spoke beds, 4D angled spoke hole drilling and asymmetrical design make them the “most dependable carbon rims on the market”.
The big claims don’t end there, though, WTB’s lab tests found its CZR carbon rims to be “lighter overall, more impact resistant, and laterally stiffer while remaining vertically compliant” when compared to undisclosed competitors.
The CZR i23 rims in particular are cited as being 38 per cent more impact resistant than their direct competition.
It seems WTB is putting its money where its mouth is too, offering a no quibbles rim replacement policy for original owners if the rim breaks while riding. If the rim breaks outside of riding conditions – say in transport or in storage – then the original owner can buy a rim at half the recommended retail price.
At present, the rims are only sold individually and not as part of a wheelset, but for test purposes WTB has built these into a wheelset using the company’s own Proterra hubs, which launched recently in the US.
The price might look high but compared to equivalent products from the likes of ENVE they should actually build into a very competitively priced set of premium wheels.
Prologo Scratch M5 AGX saddle
The Scratch M5 AGX is the range-topping saddle from Prologo’s new AGX (adventure, gravel and cyclocross) line.
The unisex design features a rounded profile that measures 250mm x 140mm and goes without the cut-out of Prologo’s Dimension saddles.
The saddle is clearly divided into sections in what Prologo coins its Multi-Sector System. Each section uses different foams and padding for a saddle that is “ready to support you no matter the condition”.
A carbon base and Prologo’s Tirox alloy rails contribute to the total claimed weight of 201g.