Not only has this week been pretty massive on the kit release front but, as always, we've got another Five Cool Things to show off. Today, we will check out Altura's latest bikepacking range and its new mountain bike jersey. Along with those, we've got WTB's new e-bike-specific saddle, Garmin's new Edge 540 Solar cycling computer and open-ear headphones from Oladance.
Of course, our weekly Five Cool Things can't go on without highlighting the most exciting stories of the week and first off, Lance highlights everything trail mounting biking - everything you need to know. We also take a look at the best cycling apps in 2023.
As previously mentioned, this week has been huge for fresh kit with Yeti launching the new SB135, a 650b trail bike, and Mondraker updating the Foxy Carbon enduro bike. Fox has also expanded its shock family and Hutchinson has launched the downcountry-specific Kraken 2.4 tyre. Arguably the biggest news of the week came from Morgan Hill and the brand's announcement of the all-new Specialized Epic mountain bike.
As for reviews, we've checked out the Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pro knee pads, WTB's HTZ i30 e-bike wheelset, and the Race Face Aeffect R flat pedals.
WTB Devo saddle
The Devo is WTB's first new saddle in around seven years and it's been designed to cope with the demands of e-MTB. Not only is this clear through the grip cut into the rear, but it's shaped to offer support while saddled and pedaling, and it also gets a specific base to offer the right levels of flex and comfort.
Coming with three rail materials, Chromoly, steel, and titanium the saddle sits at three different price points. On test, we've got the titanium-railed product and we've been mega quick on this one, as we've already got a review ready for your perusal.- LM
Altura Vortex bikepacking bags
£50 - £90
This is Altura's waterproof bikepacking bag range with each bag benefitting from a nylon ripstop fabric with a TPU coating and a welded seam construction. Making itself a one-stop shop for all of your bikepacking needs, many of these come in a number of sizes and with additional pockets to open up your storage options.
To make life with the Vortex range easier, the roll-top bags come with a pressure release valve, allowing the user to easily roll down the bag without battling with trapped air. - LM
Altura Ridge Men's Performance long-sleeve jersey
2023 altura ridge mens performance long sleeve jersey 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Next up we've got another freshie from Altura and this time it's the Ridge Men's Performance long-sleeve jersey. This jersey is designed for comfort during long mountain bike rides and it's constructed of recycled polyester fabric. It then features a high-wicking double knit which promotes thermal regulation and abrasion-resistant ripstop sleeves.
What's extra cool is that the Ridge jersey uses a PFC-free DWR coating so it's extra friendly to the environment. - LM
Garmin Edge 540 Solar cycling computer
Garmin Edge 540 Solar cycling computer, by Aaron Borrill
Following in the footsteps of the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is the Garmin Edge 540. A smaller, lighter device the 500 series has always stacked up well in the performance stakes in the past with superb battery power and navigational prompting. The new Garmin Edge 540 Solar, launched alongside the similarly sized touchscreen-operated Edge 840, aims to build on all those attributes but with the addition of solar technology.
Garmin claims that the Edge 540 Solar can supply up to 32 hours of battery life and up to 60 hours in battery saver mode. For context, the non-solar model provides 26 hours of battery life and up to 42 hours in battery saver mode. Like the model it replaces, the Garmin Edge 540 Solar uses a 2.6in colour display with button controls on each side and at the bottom. It weighs 85g (actual).
We've got one in for testing and will have the full review ready as soon as we can, so remember to look out for it. - AB
Oladance Wearable Open Ear Headphones
Oladance Wearable Open Ear Headphones, by Aaron Borrill
These intriguing-looking earphones come from Beijing-based company Oladance. The Oladance Open Ear Headphones are housed within a fairly;y sizeable container - not too unlike that of a sunglasses case. This container acts as both a charging station and protective storage solution. While the container lacks the built-in battery of its rivals, you’ll need to charge the headphones by plugging in a USB-C cord into the rear end of the container. It’s a pretty simple and smart way of handling things in my opinion.
The pods have a peculiar design and represent a new take on the open-ear headphone concept - they’re essentially a meld of the TSW IEM and bone-conduction earphones. In terms of their design, the open-ear design is double-ended and fits around the ear quite cleverly. The battery end rest on or just above the mastoid bone while the speaker is suspended in front of the ear canal. Each earphone employs a 16.5mm speaker which is controlled via touch-sensitive controls. A single tap takes care of stop/start; a double tap to skip or rewind, while three taps activate the voice assistant and sliding up or down changes the volume.
The full review will be published on off.road.cc next week Tuesday. Keep your eyes peeled. - AB