If the last week is anything to go by, autumn is definitely here and we've got some appropriate clothing from Specialized to help keep us warm. There's also a couple more torque wrenches to go into the big group test we've been putting together. Also making its way into the premium round up of the most interesting kit to come in for testing is Rapha's brand-new Trail GORE-TEX Infinium jacket. With all of that, we're going to reflect on some of the biggest stories of the week.
This week has been huge for the cross-country mountain biking scene with four brand-new bikes being released. First, Cervelo entered the mountain bike market with the ZHT-5, then Ridley launched the Probe RS and Raft mountain bikes, Voodoo overhauled the Bizango Carbon hardtail and BMC gave the Fourstroke family a big overhaul with an incredibly exciting dropper post.
Edging slightly away from the cross-country genre, we reviewed the Sonder Cortex GX AXS, a downcountry/all-mountain bike that's kitted with RockShox Ultimate suspension and SRAM GX AXS shifting for less than £4,000. While its value is nothing short of stunning, we found that the whole package wasn't without a few downsides. In keeping with the subject of bike reviews, Aaron tested the magnesium-framed Vaast A/1 Allroad - and that's a review not to be missed.
Finally, moving over to some sporting news, rumours have surfaced about the Ineos Grenadiers women's team and Gee Atherton makes his video return in The Rideline II. We also invited you to Check out the 2022 Merida Ex Enduro highlights, one of our favourite events in the UK calendar.
Rapha Trail GORE-TEX Infinium jacket
First off, we've got Rapha's latest jacket, the Trail GORE-TEX Infinium. As its name suggests it combines GORE-TEX's weather-battling tech with a breathable, windproof, and water-resistant softshell. This jacket benefits from a C-KNIT backer to give the garment some stretch while the adjustable hood has plenty of capacity to fit over a helmet.
There are also internal and external pockets so you can carry all you desire while you pedal through the rain. Then, for breathability the Infinium employs paneled gussets under the armpits which also allow a full range of mobility, says Rapha.
Orange Seal sealant
£9 - £21
Adding to Matt's big sealant test is Orange Seal. Next to Stan's it's a staple in the sealant world capable of sealing holes up to 6mm and slices up to 19mm, says Orange Seal. It's claimed to work down to -11°C and can last anywhere from 30-45 days between top ups.
What's extra great about this sealant is that it comes with an injector tube and a dipstick, so it makes quick sealant level checks super easy.
Specialized Long Sleeve Jersey
2022 specialized long sleeve jersey.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Alongside the range of bikes, Specialized offers a full collection of mountain-bike-specific clothing. Here, we've got the Long Sleeve jersey which uses MiniR tech which promises to keep the rider cool by reflecting 65-75% of Near infrared light. It also has a UPF 50+ rating that'll keep you well protected from harmful sun rays.
As for the jersey's fit, Specialized says it's not too loose or too tight. The cut has been designed with strategically placed articulation for the best fit in the riding position. I'm also a big fan of its minimalist branding which means that you don't need a Spesh bike to ride in the gear!
Topeak Torq Stick 4-20nm
Next up is Topeak's Torq stick. It comes with a preset but adjustable range of 4-20Nm and gets a reversable hex-drive ratcheting head. Included in the pack are nine bits that measure 30mm in length to help reach those hard-to-reach bolts. Each individual tool bit is knurled too to boost grip when swapping or removing from the included organiser.
Specialized Trail SWAT jacket
The Trail SWAT jacket features a wind-resistant fabric that's breathable and coated with a DWR finish, making it ideal for keeping you comfortable in harsh weather. Unexpected of a SWAT product, it only gets one pocket but that's been done with good reason as it makes the jacket easily packable, excellent if you have a Specialized bike or any other with a built-in storage compartment.
This jacket comes with abrasion-resistant panels to up durability and there's an integrated hood with a fixed elastic binding to help it fit as best it can.
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