The first week back after the New Year has been a busy one behind the scenes at off.road.cc but as usual, we've got a bunch of cool things to show you. This week has also been packed with news, reviews, and techy features. Dive in.
Let's kick off this week's Five Cool Things by highlighting some of the best reviews we've had go up on the site. We've had products from both ends of the pricing spectrum with Leatt's £70 MTB AllMtn 1.0 helmet scoring a cracking 4.5 stars for its excellent performance and the features it packs. There's then the eye-wateringly expensive Wolf Tooth Waveform flat pedals, though while they're a fiver short of £200, the quality and aftercare seem to make them worth the cash. And even though we've passed the winter solace, night riding is still the only way to maximise time on the bike, so we've published our review on USE Exposure's Sixpack MK12 SYNC MK4 front light.
There has been some big news in the cycling events world with the Merida EX Enduro making a comeback for the seventh time in 2023, and announcing that the 2024 iteration will be open to e-bikes only. The organisers of Unbound Gravel have banned aero handlebars and made changes to the starting procedure, choosing to stagger the groups to keep elite riders and amateurs separate.
Along with all of that, we've been cranking out the tech features, starting off with my 2023 cycling tech predictions where I gaze into my techy crystal ball to predict what cool tech we might see this year. We've also got a how to bleed SRAM, Hayes and Magura brakes guide and a feature on tubeless mountain bike tyres - everything you need to know. And if you were lucky enough to bag yourself a brand-new bike for Christmas, here are the 5 best upgrades for your new mountain or gravel bike. Now, on to the Five Cool Things.
Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump
A very fitting continuation from our raft of tubeless tyre and tyre pressure content published this week is Blackburn's Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump. This chunky-looking thing is designed to inflate all kinds of tubeless tyres with ease thanks to its large secondary chamber. Much like the Topeak's Joe Blow Booster, you charge up that secondary chamber and at the flick of a switch, all of that built-up pressure is delivered straight to your tyre, and if it does what it's meant to, it'll force your tyre to seat perfectly.
While there are a number of pumps on the market that do exactly that, perhaps the stand-out feature is the mini handlebar handle and it looks like it can be swapped for a handlebar of your choice. Watch this space for the full review coming soon.
Haibike AllMtn 2 e-MTB
This year, we're going to be working hard to bring you a buyer's guide on the best e-mountain bikes you can buy but first, we need to get testing and that starts with Haibike's AllMtn 2. It's a bike designed to put up with the rigours of all-mountain riding and even a bit of enduro thanks to its 160mm of suspension and mixed wheel setup.
The AllMtn 2 employs a Yamaha PW-X3 motor offering up 85Nm of power, with a 720Wh battery. Up front, there's a RockShox 35 Gold RL fork serving up another 160mm of squish and the bike utilises a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain. The wheels and tyres look like solid budget choices as it rolls on a pair of WTB ST i35 TCS rims with a Maxxis Minion DHF at the front and a DHR II at the rear.
Its geometry looks pretty sorted too with this large frame featuring a 475mm reach, a 64.5-degree head angle and a 75-degree seat tube angle.
Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Gravel TM Superflow
2023 selle italia novus boost evo 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
The Selle Italia Novus Gravel is a gravel-specific saddle that takes the classic Novus road saddle but adds a few features that gravel riders should appreciate.
It comes with extra padded inserts designed to soak up vibrations and the cutout reduces pressure on the perineum, says Selle Italia, claiming that it's one of the most comfortable gravel saddles on the market. It then gets a waved-shaped profile that's said to keep it comfy over long distances. Our tester Matt Page, who's renowned for his silly long rides will be the judge of that.
Lake MX219 shoes
Lake is a brand that puts comfort and a range of sizing at the forefront of its design, and that's no different with the MX192s. These shoes get a 100% carbon fibre sole paired with the brand's Mountain Race X real rubber sole in order to provide top-notch power transfer while solid off-bike grip. The upper is made using Clarino microfibre and mesh which is secured by a single BOA retention system.
What makes this shoe extra interesting is that it comes in both standard and wide fits, meaning that this shoe can fit a wide range of riders. This particular shoe uses the brand's MX Competition last which comes with a wider toe box and a tighter heel.
Rounding up the first Five Cool Things is 7Mesh's Copilot jacket. The brand says that this is the ultimate backup shell as it's built with a durable waterproof and windproof GORE-TEX Paclite Plus material. It can also pack down into its own pocket for easy carrying and it can even clip to your bike.
The Copilot is sorted with an over-the-helmet hood, a dropped rear hem and elasticated cuffs. The whole jacket then uses sealed seams to help keep water out.
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