Goodies Scott, Five Ten winter shoes, ceramic coatings and retractable roof bars
Although it may seem premature, are the first signs of spring showing up here in the UK? Certainly the bulbs I planted in the fall are showing strong growth, with a few small snowdrops poking their white heads above the ground.
That’s certainly the case in the bike industry too, with a pair of new bikes, as well as a new dropper post unveiled this week.
Luke Marshall was the lucky one to get his hands on the new Santa Cruz Heckler e-bike – as seems to be the rage these days, there are 29er and mullet options, plus a big range battery .
Next, when it comes to curly bars, we saw the release of the new Cotic Cascade. Cotic is a brand with a long history of producing amazing steel mountain bikes, and I wonder how this steel gravel bike will perform in testing?
When it comes to droppers, OneUp has released the longest dropper in the market, with a jaw-dropping 240mm stroke.
Away from the news cycle, BikeRadar Video’s Robyn wrapped up her long-term report on the Canyon Grail 6 WMN, while we took a look at Tom Pidcock’s World Championship-winning Pinarello Crossista.
Other reviews included a technical look at the Fox DHX2, as well as the Vitus Vitesse Evo CR and the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar – that’s a long one!
We’ve also taken a little more serious look at the issues of cycling and eating disorders, and how bike tires can be recycled.
XL drop racks
Besides those who are lucky enough to live in a riding mecca (and therefore never feel the need to explore further), transporting your bike on or in a car or van is an unavoidable facet of cycling . Roof or rear mounted racks are convenient ways to do this, but if you decide to transport your bike on the roof of your vehicle, you need to get it there first.
This strongly designed solution from the Norwegian brand Dropracks is not really a bike rack. Instead, it’s a hinged set of roof bars, onto which you mount the rack of your choice.
As you can see, via a winding crank, the bars are lowered to much more manageable heights for van users or those who find it difficult to lift their bikes onto the roof of a car.
The roof bars accept standard T-bolt connections, so there is a wide range of compatible rack options.
Of course, this does not limit you to bicycles – skis, canoes, kayaks and roof boxes can also be attached on board.
Two products are offered: the Droprack Sport and the Droprack XL. The one you choose will depend on the size of your vehicle.
The Sport is 140cm wide, with an effective loading width of 130cm. The Droprack XL is 160cm wide, with a loading width of 150cm. They have load capacities of 75 kg and 80 kg respectively.
The Sport is designed for cars, small vans and small 4x4s, with a 70cm drop when unfolded by your car, while the XL is designed for vans, larger 4x4s and vans, and will bring your bikes 80 cm closer to the ground.
Five Ten Freerider EPS Mid
Winter is often a time of cold toes and wet feet here in the UK. While Five Ten’s Trailcross Gore-Tex Flat Pedal Shoe is probably the most technical all-terrain winter slipper, the Freerider EPS Mid has been in the brand’s line for a bit longer.
It’s got classic Five Ten styling, using a leather-like outer material that, although not Gore-Tex lined, should shrug off most spills and raindrops, while wiping nice and clean. .
The mid-rise construction provides a little more weather protection, while keeping mud at bay. The tongue has a continuous lining all the way to the sides of the shoe, further eliminating water entry (well, as much as you would expect anyway).
What sets it apart is the Primaloft insulation. The synthetic material helps trap heat in the shoe to keep your little fingers rather less pink than they otherwise would be, while still being relatively low bulk. This means that despite having good weather protection, they don’t look like a pair of leather clogs.
As you’d expect, they feature Five Ten’s classic dimpled Stealth rubber sole, so you can rest assured that performance on the pedal is as good as it gets.
Gtechniq bike cleaning and protection
Twenty years of experience in high-end automotive and marine cleaning and detailing will probably teach you a thing or two about how to avoid dirt and properly attach paint to fairly expensive kits. As such, we have high hopes for this line of cleaners and a ceramic coating for bikes from Gtechniq.
Instead of dripping one product at a time, Gtechniq has gone straight to a range of products, primarily for cleaning and degreasing bikes, but also with a cleaning kit and a flagship product, the Bike Ceramic coating for your frame.
Bike Clean and Bike Clean Concentrate are typical spray-on-and-off bike cleaners, while Bike Wash is more like car shampoo. The transmission degreaser is self-explanatory, while the Tri Clean is designed to keep your helmet, shoes and non-washable items fresh. A range of gloves, brushes and towels is there to make your life easier.
Some bold claims are made about the Bike Ceramic kit – if true, it could be the key to keeping your bike looking fresher for longer.
It comes in two forms: a Ceramic Quick Coat and the Bike Ceramic kit itself.
The Bike Ceramic kit is said to give your frame a chemically bonded and optically completely invisible ceramic film. This ceramic coating is said to minimize the grip of mud, brake dust and road grime, meaning your bike finishes a cleaner ride and is much quicker to clean up in the long run.
Coating application requires thorough cleaning of the bike and some time to apply carefully and cure properly. Once done, you should have 24 months of protection. All the necessary bits and bobs are included in the £55 pack.
The Ceramic Quick Coat (£19.50) is the fastest option, with spray and buff application. It should give you as much protection, but for up to six months.
- Cleaning fluids: £9.75 to £19.99
- Brushes, towels, mitts: £3.98 to £14.99
Scott Pro Shield and Trail Hip Belt FR 5 Goggles
Scott has long, quietly produced some great P&As and apparel, with helmets, shoes, bags and apparel all of which are top notch in our experience.
The Pro Shield goggles are its deep lens, high coverage offering, with full frame (as pictured) and half frame (Sport Shield) options available, as well as a range of interchangeable lenses.
The lenses are curved in a plane, but initial use suggests that optical distortion is minimal and overall optical clarity is good.
Their arms are much more hooked at the end than many mountain bike sunglasses, providing excellent security on your face, while making packing in helmets a bit trickier.
The nose is simple, but efficient and comfortable.
The waist belt has 5 liters of storage space that is simple and easy to access, thanks to a pair of zips on the top, as well as a pocket on the sleeve and a zipped pocket at the hip.
The belt is wide and constructed from what feels like a strong but thin material. While the Velcro on other hip belts is clip-backed, Scott apparently doesn’t think this is necessary, contributing to a lightweight, low-profile build.
Sure, white matter looks great in the sun, but we bet it won’t be quite as flashy by winter’s end!