For our second roundup of new road and mountain bike gear for 2015, we've got an Italian roadie quartet and a French jacket while MTBers can look forward go some frame, fork, pad and pump action.
New road bike gear
Vittoria Ikon road shoes
Vittoria’s Ikon shoes made it into this week’s selection purely for their eye-searing looks, but there’s a lot going on in these high-end road shoes.
The SSP micrometrics fastening system works like any other dial closure, but there’s a hinged lever on each for extra purchase. It’s a nice idea, even if it’s not an addition we’d been clamouring for. The one-piece, soft-touch microfibre upper has laser-cut holes to allow the shoes to breathe, while the Advance One frame (the black bits) looks great in contrast to the bright orange.
The colourscheme is inverted on the unidirectional carbon sole, which also has vents and a replaceable heel stud. It proved impervious to our roughest twisty-bendy-in-the-hand tests.
The heel cup is reinforced inside and out; the grippy, Achilles-hugging patch on the interior designed to eliminate heel slip in conjunction with the rubbery-plastic on the exterior. The mesh-lined tongue is soft and there’s a proper shaped insole with serious arch support on offer.
The Italian-made Ikons come in sizes 38 to 48 and are also available in green and white – but why wouldn’t you want them in orange?
£275 / US$499 / AU$TBC
Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 tubular wheels
The Bora Ultra 35 wheels have been redesigned for 2015. They now have a 24.2mm rim width to improve aerodynamics. They are the shallowest in the range, and offer a lighter, more versatile option to sit alongside the 50 and 80mm deep models.
The 3Diamant brake track is created using diamond-tipped tools, which Campagnolo says eliminates imperfections and improves braking performance in both dry and wet conditions.
The carbon hub uses Campy’s ceramic CULT bearings for ultra-smooth spinning. All this keeps the wheels below 1,200g for the tubular option and below 1,400g for clinchers. The company’s G3 system means there is twice as many spokes on the driveside of the rear wheel for better stiffness and power transfer while the rim is also balanced to offset the weight of the tube’s valve. They look pretty too.
£2067 / US$3,687 / AU$2,665
B’Twin 700 Warm cycling jacket
We don’t see many riders clad in B'Twin out on the roads, which means there are plenty of roadies missing out on quality high end, technical gear at look-twice-because-it’s-so-cheap prices.
The Decathlon own brand might not carry the cache of ponsier labels, but the features are certainly up there with them. The 700 Warm cycling jacket offers race-cut that’s best worn over a thin baselayer and is made from windproof and water-resistant materials with the odd fleece and mesh panel thrown in.
The laser-cut hem (complete with silicone gripper) and the glove-friendly, skin-covering cuffs show the attention to detail – as does the right rear pocket that features a built in mini-pump sleeve. There’s also a zipped rear pocket with a headphone port as well as a chest pocket, pit-zips and a more breathable mesh panel on the back.
It doesn’t stop there – B’Twin has also specced a detachable snood, which sits inside the fleece-lined collar for extra snuggly warmth. All of that for only £70.
£70 / US$N/A / AU$N/A
Bianchi Vigorelli road bike
Bianchi is celebrating its 130th year of business in 2015, and to commemorate this milestone, the Italian brand has created a selection of retro-inspired, steel-framed rides – including this celeste Vigorelli.
It’s certainly not a superbike, but there’s definitely something satisfyingly nostalgic about the thin-tubed chromoly, tig-welded frame with its forged dropouts, traditional graphics and silvery bars, stem and seatpost.
11-speed Shimano 105 takes care of shifting and, while we weren’t expecting down tube friction shifters, it’s perhaps a bit odd that a bike with a decal proudly dating the Italian company’s birth date has been specced with a Japanese drivetrain.
If this had come with Campagnolo Veloce or Athena, it would’ve been that bit more special. The matching fork features K-Vid technology – Kevlar woven into the dropout end for vibration damping, which goes some way towards making up for the aluminium steerer.
The wheels are Fulcrum Racing Sport wrapped in Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks. It’s a bit expensive when looking at the specs on paper, but if you’re a fan of the celeste and the bikes of yesteryear, you’re probably already sold.
£1,500 / US$1,800 / AU$TBC
Met Drone Widebody TT helmet
Two years of computer modelling, wind tunnel testing and professional rider input has resulted in the 100th production helmet from Met. It's claimed to save 10 watts at 50km/h compared to the company’s previous aero lid, the Pac.
Met also says the Drone outperformed any other competitor tested in the wind tunnel, but there’s no indication as to who the competition was, and we would’ve been surprised if Met hadn’t made this claim, given the wind-tunnel one-upping that goes with the bike tech territory.
The Airlite straps use a self-proclaimed revolutionary technique to weave polyester fibres to speed wicking and reduce weight, while there are three slim vents on the front that have been designed to keep drag at bay as well as all the head-protecting safety features you’d want from a cranium case. Aside from that lot, it actually looks rather smart with the wide visor clipped in.
Look out for the Drone on the heads of team MTN-Qhubeka in 2015 following the helmet’s first outing with them at last year’s Vuelta.
£250 / US$TBC / AU$315
New mountain bike gear
Focus SAM 3.0 Factory
The Focus SAM 3.0 Factory is a rough-and-ready 160mm travel trail tamer from German manufacturer Focus.
It's packed with a wishlist of components that includes a 160mm travel RockShox Pike RC Solo Air fork and Monarch RT shock, a Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost, Sram X01 transmission and Continental Trail King tyres.
It's only just arrived at BikeRadar HQ, but we'll give you more details in a full review soon.
£2,999 / USN/A / AU$4,999
RockShox Reba RLT fork
The hugely popular RockShox Reba is back in black for 2015.
It features Motion Control damping, a Solo Air spring, external rebound, lockout, threshold and low-speed compression damping with lockout, as well as forged hollow crown, magnesium lowers and 32mm stanchions.
We can't wait to plug it in and test it out on the trails.
£463 / US$609 / AU$TBC
Alpinestars Paragon knee pads
The new Paragon knee pads from Italian manufacturer Alpinestars are minimal to say the least. They combine a very lightweight slip-on sleeve with elastic cuffs and strategically placed silicone strips to keep them in place.
Their limited bulk should make them comfortable to wear, and should mean they protect your knees without compromising your ability to pedal.
£TBC / US$40 / AU$TBC
Topeak CO2-BRA inflator
The snake-like Topeak CO2-BRA (see what they did there?) should stop you having a hissy fit when you're trying to reinflate a flat tyre in a rush.
A CO2 cartridge inflator is often the fastest way to get air into your tyres, and this one charmed us by taking the concept to the next level. It lets you regulate the inflation while also preventing the air from slithering out again. We think it'll be particularly handy in the case of snakebite punctures…
£25 / US$TBC / AU$TBC
Santa Cruz Chameleon frame
The Santa Cruz Chameleon is an ageless classic, and still one of the most popular frames among riders looking to have fun on the trails, so this new model should blend in nicely.
It's built for 27.5in wheels, and comes complete with internal dropper post routing. The 142mm rear gives you the ability to change the dropouts to suit a 135 x 10mm singlespeed setup.
£599 / US$750 / AU$990