Factor's Lando HT, a saddle from SQlab, components from Seido, Scott's winter boots and Oxford's waterproof bags
Our weekly gear curation, Five Cool Things, is showing no signs of slowing down with bikes such as Factor's cross-country thoroughbred making an appearance along with a mega-ergonomic saddle from SQlab. That's not all as we're prepping for winter riding with some winter boosts from Scott and a range of waterproof bikepacking bags from Oxford.
- Bikepacking kit on a budget: everything you need to bivvy for under £100
- How to prepare for your first gravel race - kit, bike setup and training
As for our weekly highlights, DMR warns of fraudulent website using its logo, so keep your eyes peeled before investing in some new DMR Deathgrip Flangeless Race Edition review grips. Parcous announces 'Watts for Trees' Black Friday initiative and of course, today is Black Friday! We've worked all week to bring you some of the best cycling deals around so check out all the best Black Friday MTB deals 2022: bikes, gear and components, and our daily spotlight Black Friday deals, including 35% off Focus Thron 6.9 and 38% off Garmin Edge 530.
Moving onto reviews and Matt's sealant testing continues in full force. This week, Vittoria's Universal Tire Sealant got praise for its high performance and longevity, and Pat reviewed the PNW Components Pebble multi tool, the brand's latest addition to its portfolio.
As always, we've got a buyer's guide ready for your perusal, this time we show you the best mountain bike shoes 2022 to take out the guesswork when buying your next pair of riding kicks. We also take a look back at last week's coolest tech news in our new Tech of the Week franchise - witha focus on the new e-bike from Orbea, and Esker's titanium work of art.
Factor Lando HT
It's been a long while since we've had something as cross-country race-ready as the Factor Lando HT. This bike is built for any XC riders who are looking to maximise their speed not to emntion double up as a gravel weapon of mass destruction.
The brand's first dip into mountain bikes offers 110mm of travel supplied by a DT Swiss F 232 ONE fork and features road bike design cues, from its tube shape to its carbon layup. There's also Black Inc componentry scattered around the bike, joined by Maxxis rubber and a SRAM Eagle XX1 AXS drivetrain.
SQlab 70X grips
SQlab is a brand that takes ergonomics to heart, creating a range of saddles, handlebars, and grips to make your time on the bike as comfortable as possible. Here, we've got the 70X grips that are designed specifically for gravity riding. While at first glance, there's not an awful lot to see, if you look a little closer you'll see how they're contoured and tapered.
This grip comes in two thicknesses, pushing the ergonomics even further, and it's recommended that you measure your hand, using a video on SQlab's website as a guide to get the right size.
Scott MTB Heater GORE-TEX
Winter is here and Scott's MTB Heater GORE-TEX shoe is well worth a look. As suggested by its name, there's a GORE-TEX Duratherm L Kelvin 200g membrane to keep the worst of the weather out and there's a speed lace closure. That lace is covered by a velcro canopy to further bolster its weather-resistant properties.
At the sole, there's Sticki Ribber for grip and the shoe sits at an 8 on Scott's stiffness index.
Seido Phaser pedals
We've got yet more kit from Seido but this time, it comes in the form of the Phaser flat pedals. These are built with an alloy platform that sits on a CrMo axle with bushings and sealed bearings.
There are ten pins on each face of the pedal and they're all replaceable. As for weight, it's claimed that a pair tips the scales at 418g.
Oxford Aqua Evo bikepacking range
£20 - £55
Finally, we've got Oxford's Aqua Evo range in for testing. Made up of a handlebar bag, top tube pack, frame bag, and saddle bag, the range covers almost everything the discerning bikepacker will need.
Each bag utilises a 400D ripstop TPU fabric with a welded seam construction that offers waterproofing up to level IPX6. If wet weather bikepacking is your thing, this range looks to cover all bases but we'll leave that to Suvi to decide, as she'll be putting this range through its paces.