The top six road stories of 2015

After years of slow evolution in the road bike world, 2015 ushered in a few big trends.

This year we saw aero bikes that delivered that elusive mix of speed and great ride quality. We were swept up in a tidal wave of gravel/adventure/still-don’t-have-a-singular-term-for-them bikes, which in turn celebrate two other big trends in road bikes: disc brakes and wide tires. Finally, 2015 was the year of digital quantification — witness the slew of power meters, cycling computers, integrated heart-rate monitors, fitness tools, etc. — as well as virtual cycling, with Zwift having entered the roadie lexicon.

Here we take a look back at the six big stories of 2015.

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Aero road bikes

Cervélo can be credited with the first major aero road bike, dating back to the 2002 Soloist. But Trek and Specialized stole the show this year, with the Madone and the Venge ViAS, with impressive wind-tunnel numbers and equally impressive ride quality. The Madone and the ViAS have very different road manners, the former being eerily smooth and the latter feeling just like a Tarmac.

Scott thoroughly overhauled its Foil this year, ramping up the comfort (hooray!) but tucking the rear brake under the chainstays (boo!). And Cervélo’s latest S5 hit shops this year as well.

Disc brakes on road bikes

Gravel / adventure bikes

Fat is fast: 25mm FTW

The digital, quantified cyclist

Virtual cycling

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Quiz: BikeRadar's 2015 trivia challenge

As 2015 drifts away and is replaced by a sprightly new year full of promise, what better way to see it out than with a spot of trivia? Put down the drink for a moment and find out just how much cycling-based information you’re absorbed over the past 12 months.

How did you do? Share your smarts or your shame over at our Facebook page. If you want to check out all the kit that our editors loved this year, then take a look at our Gear of the Year articles too.

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Here’s wishing you a happy New Year from everyone at BikeRadar. We’ll see you in 2016!

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Torch T2 helmet

Adding lights to your helmet is a popular and very good idea – it places them above the line of car lights and makes you easier to identify as a cyclist.

Torch has taken that idea and built the lights into its T2 helmet so they look much sleeker and you can’t forget or lose them. The T2 features five LED lights front and rear, and recharges from a USB port in 1.5 hours.

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The T2 features five LED lights front and rear

The run time is six to 36 hours depending on which of the four modes (high/low, constant/flash) that you use. It weighs a very reasonable 359g and comes in eight colours but only one size, said to fit 54-61cm using the two supplied sets of pads and the dial-adjusted retention system.

It’s a good shape, providing lots of coverage without looking huge, and the vents are effective. The fit is decent but compromised by the single shell size and the unpadded retention device.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Santa Cruz Bronson II C S AM

For 2016, Santa Cruz has radically overhauled its Bronson all-rounder to create an addictively aggressive, adrenaline-pumping trail weapon that we couldn’t get enough of.

Yep, it’s longer, lower and slacker

It’s obvious at first glance that the revamped frame is longer, lower and slacker. The VPP linkages have been repositioned too, so the suspension doesn’t stiffen as much under power, and the rear end has the latest extra-wide Boost spacing.

Related: Santa Cruz gives 5010 and Bronson new angles

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The top-end CC carbon frame is available on its own or as a full build, while the cheaper C-level version tested here only comes on complete bikes. It’s heavy for carbon at 3.16kg (6.95lb) but is equally stiff and strong as the premium version.

The lower suspension link has been moved up above the BB to avoid rock strikes

Positively different

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

BikeRadar gear of the year: Tom Marvin's 2015 MTB picks

While guiding the tech content on What Mountain Bike magazine I come across a lot of bikes and gear throughout the year, but I unfortunately have to punt a lot of it the way of other testers. Fortunately, that also means I get to cherry pick which bits and pieces I ‘need’ to test myself. I boosted my air miles this year testing a raft of new bikes. Here are some of my favourite bikes and components from the past 12 months.

Scott Watu Helmet

Don’t be fooled, there’s no reason to drop north of a hundred quid on a lid if you want a comfortable, well-vented helmet for XC and light trail riding. Just £35 / $45 will get you a Scott Watu, and once you’ve cut the big netting out of the front vents, you’ll have just that. A comfortable, not-too-sweaty helmet that fits pretty well and sure as hell doesn’t cost the earth. Unless you lie at the extremes of the head-size bell curve, the one-size-fits-all system should provide a secure and stable fit, while the adjustable straps are also pretty comfy. My bargain of the year.

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£35 / $45

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Trail

From budget to budget-blowing, Oakley have a legendary reputation for lens quality, and the new Prizm Trail lens takes that and makes it even better. Everyone who’s donned the Prizm Trail lens has come back impressed with its stellar performance in nearly all light conditions. The Grapefruit base colour accentuates the trail surface, while the mirrored finish keeps everything from getting too bright. It’s basically a low-light enhancing lens designed to wear on bright days.

100% ITrack gloves

Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Airshot

Specialized Command Post IRCC

Lezyne Flow Caddy

Check out all of our 2015 Gear of the Year articles

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Beginner mountain bike setup and maintenance tips

Budget mountain bikes are better than ever these days, but there are a number of setup adjustments that you can make to ensure you’re getting the most out of your entry-level steed.

It’s easy to buy a bike from a shop (or online), hit the trails and assume everything is how it should be – but there’s always room for improvement. Regular maintenance, once you’ve got your setup sorted, is essential too.

If you’re new to mountain biking, then the following tips will help you improve your bike setup and keep it working smoothly, without spending a lot of money on doing so.

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1. Adjust your gears  – they should shift, not skip

Naturally, the gears on cheaper bikes won’t shift as smoothly or quickly as those on more expensive options, but they should still shift accurately. If your gears aren’t staying in the right place, then you need to have them adjusted. Your local bike shop should be able to help with this. More often than not inaccurate shifting is caused by cable tension or cable friction (because of rust, dirt, and so on), but there can be other factors at play.

It’s also very easy to bend the derailleur hanger – the piece that connects the rear derailleur to the frame – if you’re not careful. To avoid doing this, always make sure you lean and transport your bike with the driveside pointing upwards with nothing resting on it. If your shifting is poor even after correctly adjusting it, have a shop check the hanger alignment too.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

7iDP Control knee pads

This 7iDP knee guard is a semi-rigid, hardshell knee protector that’s biased towards all-day riding over out-and-out descending. The pads have a classy, minimalistic look that hints at performance.

The Controls are very lightweight, at 180g, and ventilated, which makes them easy to wear for long periods. After a long day in the sun your knees don’t feel sore, which is always a bonus.

The back of the pads is elasticated and shapes to your legs’ contours nicely to help keep them secure. Two adjustable straps – one on your thigh and one above your calf – keep each pad in place. The two straps do their job well, but we did find it was a case of finding a compromise between comfort and stability when in use.

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The rigid, pre-shaped knee cup is designed to give a close fit around your knee, but the lack of flex does cause problems. Bending your knee while pedalling causes the top or bottom of the pad to lift which not only causes irritation, but allows grime in and under the pad. You can cinch the pads tighter to stop this but this does affect comfort considerably.

The pads are good enough if you’re looking for something light with a hard protective knee cup. But they’re not cheap and not really as pedal friendly as we’d ideally like.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Cube Litening C:62

At first glance it would appear that Cube’s designers were in a dour mood when they cooked up the Litening C:62 – it’s got rather a utilitarian appearance compared with some of the rest of the German brand’s often-multicoloured range.

Slammed riding stance

The ‘carbon ’n’ green’ colour scheme (Cube’s description) adorns a frame with a chunky down tube, deep chainstays and a hefty bottom bracket shell with slimline seatstays. Ultegra 11-speed does its usual first-rate job, and the wheels are similar to the Silverback Sirelli, which we were testing at the same time.

Related: Silverback Sirelli review

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The similarities don’t end there, either – the two German bikes’ overall weights are also very similar. You can just about detect the 113g difference when you lift the bike down from the rack; you can’t feel it on the road.

You’re not going to be able to alter the height of the handlebar

Contact point comfort

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar