Bendy protection from G-Form, YT Industries' Decoy, Canyon's Spectral:ON and Vitus's suspension gravel bike
This week we have yet another five very cool things to show you and this time around, it's very bike-heavy. In for testing, we've got two e-bikes from direct-sales giants YT Industries and Canyon. Those are joined by a suspension-clad Vitus gravel bike and there's a luggage rack from SEIDO. Rounding off the trickest kit is a body protector from G-Form. As usual, you'll find the highlights of the most interesting stories of the week.
- The best mountain bike handlebar grips you can buy - tried and tested
- Can you change the travel of a RockShox Reverb dropper post?
- Buyer’s guide to kid’s mountain bike helmets: how to choose the best lid for your child
So let's get on with those stories... The big news is that Peter Sagan is retiring at the end of 2023 to focus on MTB. The road rider with 121 wins under his belt now has his eyes set on the Paris Olympic games. Racing news continues as Katy Curd has introduced her Youth Development Team, which aims to bring three young UK riders to success in downhill and enduro racing. Finally, Lapierre has revived its international cross-country team, bringing the brand back to elite-level cross-country racing.
As always, the reviews have been coming in thick and fast with Wolf Tooth's Resolve dropper post receiving a glowing write-up for its unique and class-leading features. Our editor, Aaron, has put the steel-framed Ragley Trig gravel bike through its paces and Pete's been testing the Park Tool PTD-5 and Topeak Combotorq torque wrenches. Rounding off the reviews for the week is a gleaming five-star review of Hunt's Trail Wide V2 wheelset. That's one not to miss.
YT Industries Decoy 29 Core 3
First up in this edition of Five Cool Things is the YT Industries Decoy 29 Core 3. Taking place as the all-mountain ripper in the Decoy range, the Decoy 29 Core 3 boasts an impressive spec at a reasonably accessible price. That includes a carbon front end mated to an alloy rear with 150mm of suspension at the front and 145mm at the rear. Fox supplies the bouncy bits with a 36 Performance Elite fork and a Float DPS Performance Elite shock. The bike rolls on a pair of Crankbothers Synthesis alloy e-mtb wheels which are shod with a 2.5in Maxxis Minion DHF at the front and 2.4in DHR II at the rear. Shimano then has the shifting and braking covered with the SLX range.
With the Decoy, YT has done things a little differently and has leaned into integration. So the power switch is found underneath the top tube, resulting in a clean, distraction-free look. The battery is then bolted in and removed using Allen keys, stressing that this is a mountain bike, not a commuter. The hopes of decreased battery rattle aren't the only benefit of this as you're far less likely to lose your Allen key set than you are a key.
While the bike comes with a 540Wh battery as standard, a larger 720Wh unit can be bought separately. We've got both on test to find exactly how these alter the bike's ride.
G-Form MX360 shirt
Body protection is something that's often overlooked but as the speeds increase, so does the need for effective protection should the worst happen. We've got the MX360 shirt from the brand with deep roots in football protection that's more recently turned its unique SmartFlex pads to the off-road cycling market.
The MX360 is designed for a range of riding styles from BMX all the way to downhill and even motocross thanks to its CE-1621-2 certified protection. It comes sorted with a removable back protector and the whole top is fully washable. The back protector is ventilated and consists of that SmartFlex tech as well as multi-density foam. Elsewhere, the SmartFlex pads are stretchy for 360° protection, says the brand.
Vitus Substance CRX-1 HT
Next up, this is the suspension-equipped version of the Substance CRX-1 tested late last year. The CRX-1 HT model is as close to a mountain bike as you can get thanks to its RockShox Rudy XPLR suspension fork with 30mm of travel and Brand-X dropper post. As for the shifting and braking, that's provided by SRAM's 11-speed Rival kit and the bike rolls on a pair of Prime Kanza alloy wheels. Like the YT Industries bike above, this comes sorted with Maxxis rubber in the form of the 650bx47 Ramblers.
Though the bike's geometry comes with a rather racy 71.5-degree head tube angle, a 73-degree seat tube angle and a 371mm reach on this medium size frame. That frame is full carbon, too, and Vitus claims that it weighs 10.1kg.
Canyon Spectral:ON CF8
Yep, we're swimming in e-bikes at the moment, especially with the Haibike highlighted in Five Cool Things from a few weeks ago. This one is Canyon's Spectral:ON CF8 which has been designed with some very cool features. One of which is that the Shimano EP8 motor has been tilted upwards in order for the 720Wh battery to be mounted lower in the frame which lowers the overall centre of gravity in a bid to offer better handling. It also gets a bar and stem configuration that's been designed especially for e-MTBs. This combination routes the display's cables through the handlebar to the integrated battery for a super clean look.
Moving onto the componentry, bolted onto the full carbon frame is a Fox 36 Rhythm fork and a Fox DPS Performance Evolution shock, both damping 150mm of travel. Shifting is sorted by Shimano's XT mech paired with an SLX shifter to keep the price competitive, but the shifting crisp. There's then a pair of SLX four-piston brakes slowing down SunRingle's Duroc SD17 Comp wheels. Speaking of wheels, as it has from the very first iteration, the Spectral:ON dons a mullet setup.
SEIDO Stage Rack
Finally, here's Seido's Stage Rack. This front rack is built to haul cargo on those big bikepacking adventures. It rocks a full aluminium build and measures 246x332mm. It then mounts to the fork crown or via mid-blade fork mounts. Seido claims it weighs 654g.