You’ve made it through the first four working days to yet another casual Friday. Whether you’re still in your formal attire, or already wearing your weekend getup, you just know your bike is eager to greet you. And while it waits, here are the latest bikes, gadgets, components and accessories to land in the hands of the Australian BikeRadar crew for review.
New road bike gear
Giant Defy 1 Disc – 2016
As recently reported, the entry-level 2016 Giant Defy range is already available in Australian dealers. For 2016, this popular alloy model receives a major change in the form of disc brakes.
A quick look at the frame’s wide and flat top tube and seat stays would have you guessing it’s high on fibre, but the only carbon found is in the front fork legs and ‘D-Fuse’ seatpost with a flat back section designed to encourage vertical flex.
This disc brake-only frame offers plenty of clearance around the stock 25c rubber. Adding to the long list of frame features is a tapered head tube and press fit bottom bracket. Interestingly, Giant continues with its resistance to thru-axles on its disc road bikes, keeping this one with standard quick releases.
Shimano 105 11-speed handles the shifting duties, with a massive 11-32T cassette out back, just incase the compact front gearing wasn’t enough. Keeping a check on speed are the TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes – a model we commonly praise. All other components are from Giant’s own component catalogue.
At 9.12kg, it’s relatively low in weight for a disc-equipped bike of this price. Look out for a full review in the near future.
£TBC / US$TBC / AU$1,799
Merida Cyclo Cross 500 - 2015
Built to withstand an hour of pure torture in the mud (okay, it’s pretty fun), or perhaps just your daily commute, the Cyclo Cross 500 offers a high-value option.
Introduced for 2015, this frame provides a masterclass in alloy manipulation with wildly hydroformed triple-butted tubes. A curved, flat top tube for easy shouldering flows onto miniscule seatstays out back. Smooth welds and internal cable routing are unexpected for the money, too.
Up front, the tapered full-carbon fork is equipped with a 15mm thru-axle for ultimate steering precision.
Much like the Giant Defy above, this ride features Shimano 105 11-speed shifting, with TRP Spyre mechanical brakes. A quality Continental cycolocross tread is given, although the cushy 35c width isn’t UCI legal.
Our 52cm sample weighs 9.7kg – which given the price, isn’t too shabby.
£1,000 / US$N/A / AU$1,749
Cuore Two-In-One suit
Swiss-based custom clothing brand Cuore may not be all that well known outside of Europe, but a recent global expansion with offices in Sydney and Boulder (much like BikeRadar) should put it on your radar soon.
Sitting as an item in the brand’s top-level ‘Gold’ range, the Two-In-One suit is a hybrid between a traditional cycle kit, and a skinsuit. Where a skinsuit can be a little awkward to get into, the Two-in-One is no harder than putting on your shorts and zipping up the jersey.
Once on, you’re met with the glove-like fit that a good skinsuit should provide. The MS2 chamois is heavily padded and every other detail imaginable seems to have been included in our garment.
With any custom clothing, pricing varies on features and quantity. Although it’s expensive to do so, Cuore will let you custom order just a single item if you wish. Look out for a first-look feature on this brand soon.
Garmin Bike Speed sensor and Cadence sensor
Quietly launching with the Garmin Edge 1000 last year, these ANT+ sensors simply strap on with no magnets needed.
The Speed sensor wraps onto nearly any rear hub – well away from any risk of clearance issue or magnet placement like the previous GSC-10 sensor. The Cadence sensor attaches to a left crankarm with a special band (multiple sizes given). No zip ties or double sided tape are needed for either.
Given users of power meters generally don’t need a cadence sensor, Garmin offers these items separately, too. As a pair they weigh just 27g.
£60 / US$70 / AU$90
Cycology Bike Obsession jersey
Sydney-based cycle lifestyle brand Cycology recently made an entrance into the Aussie performance bike wear scene. The brand’s hand-drawn designs are now available on Italian-fabric cycling jerseys and bibs.
Those who like the artistic impression will be glad to know that the race-cut clothing doesn’t skimp on performance. Fitting snugly, the jerseys are made of a four-way stretch thermal-regulating fabric. Out back, there are three traditional pockets, with a fourth zippered pocket for your phone or other valuables. Quality grippers at the arms and waist, along with multiple reflective panels add further class.
Leveraging Cycology’s consumer-direct business model, the jersey offers all the quality and features you would expect of a pro-level item, but at a price that’s near half that of some others.
£51 / US$79 / AU$100 – global postage included
New mountain bike gear
Garmin Fenix 3 watch
This do-it-all smart watch is well suited to fitness-focused adventurers – no matter what sport the season has you doing. Quite big for a watch, but likely smaller than your cycle computer, Garmin’s Fenix 3 features a stainless steel bezel and a 1.2-inch sunlight readable colour Chroma display.
The watch is GPS and GLONASS enabled, with the ability to not only track your movements, but also guide you along a predetermined route.
Waterproof to 100m, there’s a claimed battery life of up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and up to three months in watch mode (dependent on settings).
The near endless list of features includes such things as V02 max estimate, recovery advisor, race predictor, an altimeter barometer and compass. Bluetooth connectivity also allows the watch to be paired with a smartphone and/or a VIRB action camera. The former enables you to receive emails, texts and alerts right on your wrist. And of course, there’s ANT+ compatibility too.
The Fenix 3 also uses Garmin’s ConnectIQ platform for specialised software so you can personalize the watch with apps, widgets, data fields and unique watch faces.
£369 / US$499 / AU$669
DT Swiss XR 1501 Spline One 29 wheelset
Built for the XC racer, these tubeless-ready wheels offer an alloy rim with a 20mm internal width.
Straight-pull double-butted spokes are strung to two-piece forged hub bodies. The rear hub houses DT Swiss’s renowned star ratchet system, with faster engaging 36T ratchets provided.
Both front and rear hubs are modular, enabling you to convert between most axle standards with end-cap swaps. In fact, our thru-axle ready samples came with everything needed to switch to quick release (including DT’s RWS skewers).
Our sample 15mm front wheel weights 710g, while the 142x12mm rear is 820g – each weighed without the included tubeless tape and valves.
£TBC / €828 / US$1,118 / AU$TBC
OneUp Components for Shimano 11-speed
As recently announced, we now have both the XTR 11-speed wide-narrow chainring and 45T expander cog in our hands.
The chainring is a lightweight and high-value option for those looking to go single ring on their proprietary-sized XTR M9000 or M9020 cranks. Already made of a lightweight 7075-T6 alloy plate, further weight is saved with the chainring threaded so backing nuts are not needed.
Sized like a dinner plate, the 45T rear cog may seem like complete overkill until you realize it allows the use of a larger front chainring – providing for the wider gear range that 1x11 SRAM users already know and love. Compatible with both XT M8000 or XTR M9000 11-40T cassettes, you simply swap your stock 17 and 19T cogs for the supplied 18T, and then add the 45T to the end.
We’ve already fitted ours to an otherwise stock Shimano XTR M9000 drivetrain – early signs show it shifts respectably well.
XTR M9000 narrow/wide chainring - £TBC / US$65 / AU$TBC
45T expander kit - £TBC / US$90 / AU$TBC
C-Bear Ceramic bottom bracket
Hailing from Belgium and laying claim to supplying the bearings to the likes of powerhouse Andre Greipel and endurance-man Adam Hansen, C-Bear is all about stealthy performance upgrades.
Although C-Bear offers nearly every conceivable bottom bracket type, pictured is the PF30-24mm converter bottom bracket, allowing the use of a Shimano crank inside a PF30 shell without adaptors.
Housed within the machined aluminium cups are C-Bear’s ‘cross and mountain-specific double-sealed ceramic bearings. We’ll be pressing this into a long-term tester, where we’ll test the claims of no creaking, ultra-smooth rolling and lasting durability.
€119 (plus postage, ships globally)
PRO Tharsis XC seatpost
Much like the rest of the Tharsis XC component range, this seatpost is built with Shimano XTR Di2 integration in mind with a secure hold for a battery.
Whether used wired or not, it’s constructed with uni-directional carbon and features a slim profile, single-bolt clamp. This clamp style limits your saddle rail choice, and so PRO generously (most brands don’t) includes both round and oval rail-compatible clamps.
This particular post is the 400mm length, 27.2mm diameter with a 0mm offset and weights 214g.
£TBC / US$TBC / AU$299