Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month
Hot stuff! This is what we’re excited about this month: big sprockets, pumps for speed, trucker caps, monster tyres, foot spas and more.
SRAM GX Eagle groupset, £495
SRAM GX Eagle has always impressed us with its functionality, delivering arguably the crispest shifting for the best price of any drivetrain. It’s been slightly underdressed though, underwhelming to look at and outshone by XO1 higher up the range, and Shimano’s cool looking XT setup.
This year GX gets a full makeover, decked out in something called Lunar its a highly polished silvery black colour. Twin it with any of the four chain colours now available – black, gold, rainbow or copper – and its even easier to customise the look of your bike.
That’s not what makes it Most Wanted though, it’s GX’s range extension – the cassette is now 10-52t and you get a 520% gear range, all mounted on SRAM’s regular XD driver. This last part is really important, because while 12speed Shimano demands a whole new Micro Spline driver body, with SRAM you can just slide the new cassette onto your old wheel.
SRAM plays a continual game of one-upmanship with its great rival Shimano, and it looks like once again SRAM is a few inches ahead with GX. Shimano’s cassettes only go up to 51t so it’s no surprise to see them adding just one more tooth to its bite.
The tech improvements don’t stop there either, you can get a carbon version of the crankset, or stick with aluminium. Everything in the new range is compatible with all SRAM Eagle ranges too, although you’re best off getting the new dedicated derailleur to go with the big cassette to guarantee good shifting.
Gore C5 Paclite Trail Shorts, £129.99
We’ve not had much of it lately, but sometimes it does rain in this country. Chances are it’s raining now as you read this, so apologies for the kiss of death. But to help you ride in warm, wet conditions Gore has released its C5 Paclite Trail Shorts, promising top-end waterproofing but still maintaining the breathability of regular shorts. Sounds like unicorn clothing, but after the performance of the C5 Trail hooded jacket we tested last winter it really could be a game changer.
The shorts are made from Gore-Tex Paclite Plus material, meaning they’re made from just two fabric layers rather than Gore’s usual three, ditching the inner liner. Gore has been able to get away with this by coating the waterproof membrane in an abrasion-resistant material, and this makes them much lighter and more breathable.
There’s a lovely side effect from this new coating too, the C5 Paclite Trail actually feels like a pair of regular shorts, not the rubbery or plastic waterproofs of old. This makes them ideal for warm muggy rides when it just might come on to rain – that’ll be a classic British summer day then.
Ride Concepts Wildcat, £110
Ride Concepts’ Wildcat flat pedal shoe is a hightop version of its well received Livewire shoe. That means it gets decent grippy sole with DST 6.0 High Grip rubber and robust construction, with added extra ankle protection.
Smith Convoy helmet, £64.99
The Convoy helmet from Smith packs in high-end features and fit from a highbrow brand, but maintains a low price. Comes with MIPS liner, ratchet retention, multiple vents and stylish looks.
CushCore Bead Dropper, £19.99
CushCore has made a Bead Dropper tyre lever to help you seat or remove a tyre around its insert. Made from plastic to prevent rim damage, it features a flange to protect your hand, a rubbery handle for grip, and a lifetime warranty.
Deity Lockjaw grip, £18.99
The Lockjaw grips use Deity’s own soft TRC+ rubber compound, they’re fat at 32mm diameter and feature a recessed half waffle, diamond and smooth pattern for comfort and grip. 133mm length, 12 colours, 104g claimed weight.
Brand X Ascend XL 200mm, £169.99
The excellent Brand X Ascend XL dropper post now comes with a super-long 200mm drop option, while the the collar height and post length are down to help squeeze it in. There’s greater durability too, including extra bushings and a wider shaft.
Hutchinson Kraken Racing Lab tyre, £44.95
Designed for XC or trail use, Hutchinson’s new Kraken Racing Lab tyre is a semi-slick – you’ll find shallow, fast rolling tread down the centre, backed up by taller shoulder lugs for cornering. Comes in 127TPI or 66 TPI versions, 29×2.3in only.
Fox Flexair Defend pant, £155
Fox has released a limited edition run of its Flexair Defend range, sporting new colours for the Pant and Jersey. Our pick is the Defend Pant, made from tough Cordura nylon and with reinforcement around the knee.
Falke BC Impulse sock, £18
Falke’s BC Impulse sock is ideal for summer, it’s made from thin and fast drying Polyamide fabric and features an open mesh knit on the sole. They say it massages you too. Great fit, three size bands, three colours.
Smile and wave
Bontrager Rally, £129.99
The excellent Bontrager Rally helmet now comes with WaveCel, Bontrager’s in-house technology that’s designed to better protect you from oblique impacts. Boa retention system, adjustable visor, free crash replacement plan, four colours.