It’s been another eventful week in the world of two wheels, which kicked off with the jubilance and afterglow of the track cycling events at the Tokyo Olympics.
We’ve digested everything we saw during the games and have come up with five track tech talking points from Tokyo 2020, so make sure you give it a read to see where track cycling is heading in the future.
There have been a host of bike launches too. Pivot’s brand-new carbon fibre Firebird enduro bike, which costs a whopping £15,600 / $13,099 / €14,249 in its top-spec format, makes it, we think, the most expensive off-the-shelf non-electric bikes you can buy.
On the same day, GT launched the latest iteration of its Force enduro bike. The newest model gets a high-pivot placement, which means it should absorb bumps better. It’s more affordable than the Pivot though, costing $6,000 for the top-spec model.
Arguably SRAM’s latest launch stole the limelight somewhat, with its brand-new gravel-specific SRAM and RockShox XPLR range that’s designed to make gravel riding faster and more fun. Be sure to check out our initial ride impressions.
Still in the world of gravel, Bianchi announced the Impulso Pro. Although the new bike looks good, it left us asking whether it could do with a little more tyre clearance.
We’ve also covered off a load of product reviews this week with brakes from Formula and Shimano and listed our best mountain bike grips.
There have been reviews of Velocio’s Women’s LUXE bib shorts, dhb’s Modas and Giant’s long-standing TCR too. This time, it was the Advanced model, which is made from carbon and costs just a pinch under £2k.
Finally, for those looking to relax and improve their flexibility, strength and mobility on the bike we’ve got eight yoga poses for cyclists.
Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage SK with Topeak Ninja Master+ Toolbox T11
Remember when the best way to carry around a day’s worth of supplies for a ride was in a hydration pack? Although not that long ago, this does seem like a distant memory.
In the last few years, hip packs have become the coolest and most practical way to carry your bits and bobs, performing a full fashion U-turn from their mid-90s uncool status. Although I’m a proponent of the bum bag, it now looks like trends are on the move again.
On-bike storage is becoming the next big thing. It would be fair to say Topeak has gone in feet-first with its range of integrated on-bike kit, and this Ninja Master+ Cage SK with Ninja Master+ Toolbox T11 tool kit is no exception.
The switchable left to right entry bottle cage – that weighs a meagre 44g – can be paired with a host of Ninja Master+ Toolbox accessories (the Toolbox T8, T16, T11, T20, T30, Free StrapPack, and CO2 FuelPack) to combine hydration transportation and tool kit storage.
Pictured is the T11 kit which features Topeak’s 11-function multi-tool that has the tools needed to fix a torn tubeless tyre including a tyre lever, knife and plug tool along with a tubeless plug storage box.
The Ninja Master+ Toolbox T11 also comes with a separate frame-mounting bracket so you don’t have to attach it to the water bottle cage if you don’t want to.
- Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage SK: £9.99
- Topeak Ninja Master+ Toolbox T11: £49.99
Topeak Pocket Shock Digital
Correctly setting up your suspension is one of the most important things you can do.
And while analogue shock pumps are great for on-trail changes, their accuracy can be questionable. Removing any question marks around how the suspension is set up should be at the top of any mountain biker’s list of priorities.
The digital Pocket Shock doubles down on accuracy thanks to its no pressure-loss valve connector. It does this by having a two-step valve attachment where the larger barrel is screwed on first to seal the pump and valve, while the second, smaller section screws on to engage the valve’s core.
The process is done in reverse to avoid air being lost.
The digital display is clear and the pump measures up to 300psi. There’s an air release button on the side of the pump and the braided hose can be rotated through 360 degrees.
Its compact design means it can comfortably slip into most riding packs… if you’ve still got one after seeing the Ninja Master+ accessories above!
- Topeak Pocket Shock Digital: £67.99
Park Tool PPL-2 Polylube 1000
Park Tool’s PPL-2 grease has been designed specifically for use with bikes thanks to its high shear strength, where it’s able to provide protection and lubrication between two surfaces pushing against one another.
Thanks to its design, it’s also moisture repellent and compatible with other greases and carbon fibre.
7Mesh Northwoods Windshell
7Mesh’s products have become synonymous with quality thanks to well-designed and made products that are highly durable.
Its latest windshell, the Northwoods, appears to be no exception.
Tipping the scales at just 114g, this super lightweight windproof can be packed down into its own pocket with space to spare.
Its breathable Nylon material feels light and airy when worn but exudes quality and includes features not usually seen on such packable garments.
The collar has a soft tricot surface to improve comfort, while the low-profile hood has drawstrings to adjust tightness.
Its relaxed fit means it’s ideal for layering up underneath and looks at home on the mountain bike as much as it does on the gravel or road bike.
Of course, quality comes at a cost.
- 7Mesh Northwoods Windshell: £130 / $170
SKS Airchecker 2
Along with suspension setup, getting your tyres inflated to the correct pressure is another one of the most important things any bike rider can do.
On-pump pressure gauges can be notoriously inaccurate so getting your hands on a dedicated pressure gauge is a good move.
The SKS Airchecker 2 measures tyre pressure by bar or psi and, thanks to the handy air release button, measures the tyre’s pressure in real-time. This means setting your pressure accurately is dead easy.
The rotating head is compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves, too.
The digital display has an orange backlight so you can read it in low-light situations.
- SKS Airchecker 2: £27.99