Here's a long awaited run down of our favourite kit to have passed through the doors
It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s have a romantic look at the most beautiful of bike stuff.
We’ve been featuring a lot of new kit in Arrivals over the last few months. So with that in mind, we thought it must be about time to look back at some of our favourite bits of tech. Most have had a thorough thrashing already and have reviews up on the site or have been in the mag.
So without further ado, we give you the best components (in no particular order!):
1. DMR Vault Midi pedals
DMR’S Vault pedals need no introduction, they have been pretty much the most popular flat pedals on the market for some time. If you found the original Vault’s a little too big then these new Vault Midi should be right up your street. It’s like looking at a Vault from long distance, in fact the Midi is about ten percent smaller in area but still retains the same pin pattern and profile. Perfect if you have smaller feet or ride in tight ruts all the time.
2. Öhlins RXF36 TTX
We announced the arrival of Öhlins latest coil sprung 29er fork back in June. Now we finally have a set in our grasp. This coil version promises a predictive and reliable level of performance. Or as Adam Brayton puts it, “The RXF 36 Coil gives uncompromised trail traction, its confidence inspiring. It’s ready to race straight out of the box”. 160mm of travel out of the box but it can be stepped down all the way to 110mm. It offers preload adjustment and still uses the TTX damper system to provide high and low speed compression adjustments.
3. Fabric Scoop Pro Team Radius
The Scoop is one of those saddles that finds its way onto a lot of bikes. But what you might not know is how many different versions there are available. Firstly it’s available in three different shapes; the Radius version we have here is the most rounded and ‘comfortable’ of the three. It’s also available in seven different models (just for the Radius version!) This Pro team version comes with carbon fibre rails and an embossed microfibre cover. The range starts with the Sport for a reasonable £34.99.
4. Cane Creek Helm fork
The long awaited Helm fork from Cane Creek is the company’s first proper attempt at smashing the hold Rockshox and Fox has on the fork market. Available only in 27.5” and adjustable between 140-170mm (set to 160mm as standard), it is definitely aimed at the more aggressive trail rider. Just like with Cane Creek’s shocks, the amount of adjustability is fundamental to the Helm and so will appeal to the eternal fettler. Adjustments for high/low speed compression, low speed rebound are the norm.
Where it differs is instead of using volume tokens to adjust the air spring rate, the Helm has an internal 8-position indexed adjustment. So making adjustments to the fork behaviour a doddle. The Helm’s uique D-Loc thru-axle uses a simple shaping to enable rapid release.
5. ENVE M730 Wheelset
Price: £3200 (full build with Chris King hubs)
These are the latest ENVE M730 wheels, like the ones we put through their paces on the launch in the summer. Now finally here for a proper test, it should be a sure fire way of putting a spring in the step of your pride and joy. ENVE construct all their carbon rims in Utah to the highest standards of strength and safety. But what makes the M7 series standout the most is the new plastic Protective Rim Strip incorporated into the rim. This is said to virtually eliminate pinch flats, so we’re looking forward to trying that out! All of the new M Series full wheel builds come with Chris King hubs to add even more luxury…
6. Sunrace MX80 wide-range cassette
Eagle-like shifting ratios but for 11 speed and without having to ditch your Shimano compatible wheels. The MX80 offers an 11-50 range that will apparently work with any 11 speed setup. If silver isn’t your thing, they also do it in black…
7. Crank Brothers Highline dropper seatpost
We are a little excited about the new Highline. Crank Brothers has fitted the lowest profile collar to the post, which is a good thing. This slimmer collar allows the Highline to eke out 160mm of drop for the same length as most other companies 150mm dropper posts. So if you are of a slightly shorter stature or have a restricted seat tube this will make a difference. Stealth routing and a neat trigger lever are standard…
8. Rotor HAWK Crankset
Coming into Rotor’s MTB lineup alongside the existing REX XC oriented crank. The new cranks feature a sturdy profile and a clever modular 3-piece design that should make them compatible with a much wider variety of bikes. Effectively like Pick and Mix, you choose your crank length, and then the separate BB axle and chainring allow a myriad of options that should make frame incompatibility a thing of the past.
The other neat little feature of the HAWK is the removable ‘bash-guards’. These two plastic sleeves help prevent wear and also allow a level of customisation/colour-coordination for the individual rider.
9. Nukeproof Horizon CL CrMo DH pedals
We have already featured the Trail version of these pedals before (the CS) but here are the much larger CL versions, fresh in for our pedal test. Offering a much better platform for harder charging, they still include properly greased sealed bearings and a cold forged body for added smash proofing…
10. SDG Bel-Air 2.0 saddle
Price: from £54.95
Who remembers the cow print Bel-Air saddle we all wanted in the nineties? Still going strong and now available in this updated 2.0 version that retains the legendary comfort.
So there you go. Let us know what you think have been the best bits of kit in the last year. Next week, accessories and clothing.