This Friday, our Five Cool Things come from Shimano, HJC, Funn, Madison and Niterider – the collection of which looks to have set us up with the perfect winter riding package. On test we've got clothing to keep us warm and dry, some flat pedals for easy ejection from the bike and a light to keep us riding through the night. HJC has also brought its Bellus gravel helmet and, as always, we'll highlight the top stories to hit the site this week.
It's been a big one for bike releases as Bombtrack overhauled the Hook EXT C for 2024 and Cotic brought updates to its Jeht trail MTB. On top of that, we checked out the brand-new YT Industries Jeffsy MK3 in a first-ride review.
It's been a busy week for features, too, as we explain everything about oval chainrings - what they are and why you need one and we compiled the best-reviewed lights in the form of the Best mountain bike lights 2023 buyer's guide.
As always, we've been working our magic and churning out the reviews with Matt's take on Pirelli's Scorpion XC M tyre and Albion Zoa Burner scarf.
Funn Python flat pedals
The Python is the latest addition to Funn's lineup and it's been built with a super thin 10.5mm profile that should stave off pedal strikes. Its platform is forged from 6061 alloy, and comes with a cartridge bearing complete with full-length bushing axle to aid with durability.
On each side, there are 11 removable pins that can be unscrewed using a tool that's included in the box, and there's a spare set of taller and narrower pins to offer a slightly different feel on the pedal. The Python measures 103 x 110mm and they're claimed to weigh 375g per pair.
HJC Bellus helmet
While HJC touts the Bellus as a road helmet, we're told that it'll perform equally as great off-road, too – particularly when it comes to gravel riding. It gets HJC's Sliding Layer Impact Distribution (SLID) system which is the brand's own way of dealing with rotational impact protection, like Mips.
It also comes with HJC's CoolPath interior which is a liner that's built to encourage airflow around the head. There's also a Selfit system that offers a five-step solution towards a perfect fit. This means that adjustment is only needed the first time you pop the helmet on.
The Bellus comes with a special Beyond CoolPath cooling ventilation system that employs 19 channels to aid with cooling and airflow
Shimano GF8 GORE-TEX shoes
The Shimano GF8s are flat pedal shoes that are designed for wet and cold conditions. These not only benefit from a Gore-Tex sock liner and stretchy ankle collar to keep water out but also use a special low-temperature version of the Shimano Ultread GF rubber, so it should stay sticky in cold temps.
Inside the shoe, there's a spongy EVA foam to absorb impacts and boost flexibility which Shimano reckons enhances stability, and there's a Torbal 2.0 torsional plat that's said to improve outer edge flexibility for even more control. Water drainage channels cut into the outsole are included in a bid to ensure grip when off of the bike.
These shoes sit at a three on Shimano's stiffness rating scale and a size EU 42 is claimed to tip the scale at 390g.
NiteRider Pro 4200 Enduro front light
2023 nuterider pro 4200 enduro front bike light 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Kicking out 4,200 lumens is NiteRider's Pro 4200 Enduro front light. It gets seven modes with a burn time ranging from one and a half hours right up to 21 hours – it takes just five hours to charge. Its power is provided by a lithium-ion battery with an eight-step fuel gauge. This light is also water- and dust-resistant with an IP64 rating.
Madison Flux 3-Layer Men's Waterproof Trail jacket and Flux DWR Trousers
£99 - £150
Last week, Madison unveiled its most advanced winter range yet. Here, we've got two garments from that very range which should offer decent weather resistance from head to toe.
The Flux Jacket is a light and waterproof jacket that should keep you dry in mild conditions, where it's not terribly cold. With that, it's light enough to be packable and packs into its own hood. It's constructed with a stretch fabric and an articulated fit for the best comfort on the bike. There are also reflective inserts to help you be seen in the night.
The Flux trousers use a fast-wicking jersey fabric with a DWR coating for water resistance. They're kitted with mesh panels for even quicker drying. These pants close up by way of a quick-adjust ratchet and, similarly to the jacket, there's an articulated fit and plenty of storage. A cool feature is that these pants come in three leg lengths per waist size.
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