Winter is well on its way and along with some of the best winter-specific content to help you make the very best of the wetter months, we're preparing to bring you reviews on all of the latest winter gear. That rings true in this week's Five Cool Things where we highlight Endura's new gilet, some wet and cold weather boots from Northwave, and some budget-friendly cross-country kicks from Rockrider. On top of that, we've also got Starling Cycle's hardtail which once again raises the question, 'Is a hardtail the perfect winter mtb?'.
This week we've brought you a proper mix of mountain and gravel content, kicking off the week with a look at Pauline Ferrand-Prevot's Pinarello Dogma XC HT which was exhibited at Rouler Live, and show you exactly how to set your mountain bike up for winter riding. As for gravel, we highlight the gravel-specific products you never knew you needed and the Muck n' Mac Fest gravel event has opened its entries for next year's event.
It's been a big week for tech news too as two big bike brands have launched fresh bikes. Firstly, Canyon introduced the latest iteration of the Lux Trail, equipping it with on-bike storage and a more aggressive geometry. Specialized also brought updates to the Kenevo SL as it now features the 1.2 SL motor and a six-way adjustable geometry.
Moving onto our in-depth kit reviews, Pat took a look at the Abus Moventor 2.0 Mips helmet and Evoc's Handlebar Pack Boa WP 2.5. We also brought reviews on the WTB Silverado 265 Medium Fusion Form carbon saddle, and the e*thirteen Grappler 2.5in Enduro Mopo tyre.
And don't forget, Black Friday has come early this year, so we've rounded up the best Black Friday MTB deals for 2023. So be sure to dip into that article to find some of the best bargains around at the moment.
Endura MT500 Spray Gilet
The Spray Gilet is a fresh entry into Endura's MT500 range and it takes the lightweight weather protection philosophy laid by the Spray family and builds it into a gilet. This outer layer has been crafted to provide some protection against wet weather but in conditions where a full jacket would be too warm, or just too much altogether.
It's built using a lightweight four-way stretch fabric with two zipped hand pockets that double up as large vents. Fending off spray, there's a PFC-free, non-toxic DWR coating and there are silicone backpack grippers on the shoulders, a staple feature of Endura's jackets. Finally, there are laser-cut perforations at the back to encourage more airflow.
Starling Cycles Roost
The Roost is Starling Cycles' hardtail mountain bike and it's built for one thing - fun. The brand describes it as a bike that sits between XC and more aggressively shaped hardtails with the aim of creating a bike that can be ridden anywhere while having a great time.
This bike is built around an uncoated stainless steel frame, chosen for its beautiful aesthetic, durability, and resistance to rust. However, the grade of the stainless has been carefully picked to match the compliance and strength properties of regular steel.
It's designed around a mullet wheel size and for a 140mm fork, although it'll be happy running anywhere from 120mm of travel up to 160mm, depending on the rider's preference. As standard from Starling, the Roost can be picked up as a frame only, or it can be built up with any combination of Ohlins, RockShox, Hope, Funn, Magura, Bike Yoke, Michelin, and CushCore components.
Castelli Perfetto Max gloves
The Perfetto Max is the warmest of Castelli's Perfetto gloves thanks to its thermoformed single-seamed construction. But that's not all as these also get Gore-Tex's Infinium Windstopper high-loft fabric and the brand's thickest fleece lining.
It's not just about warmth, however, as Castelli has included its damping system (or CDS) which is designed to protect the median nerve which should improve comfort during lengthy rides. The glove then gets reflective detailing, silicone zones for grip, a stretch wrist and touchscreen tech on the fingertips.
Rockrider Race 900 shoes
Alright, so these aren't particularly wintery, but they are Rockrider's XC and gravel focussed shoes. They've been built for those who want a rigid sole without having to shell out tonnes of money.
For the £80 price tag, you're getting quite a lot of shoe with a deep tread for grip off of the bike, and a stiff nylon sole for efficient power transfer. A standout feature at this price point is the Habu micro ratchet dial, with similar dials only being found on shoes far north of this one's price. Wrapping up the shoe is a reinforced toe and heel for durability and a bit of protection.
Northwave Multicross Plus GTX
Last but not least, we jump back onto the winter theme with Northwave's brand-new Multicross Plus GTX shoes. These boots claim to offer advanced protection against rain and cold but without holding back on versatility. The closure comes from a combination of a Velcro strap and Northwave's SLW3 dial. The former secures the upper of the foot while the latter tightens the shoe from the middle of the foot.
The Multicross Plus GTX benefits from Gore-Tex's Koala membrane that's inside a thermowelded layered upper. There are then TPU inserts around the shoe to up durability and abrasion resistance.
Providing the pedal grip is a Fort William Vibram sole that comes with an ST LUG design. This is to provide traction on the pedals and during those hike-a-bike scenarios. The shoe's complete with an EVA midsole for shock absorption.
You might also like: