It's Good Friday and we understand it's a bank holiday and you're chilling at home with the family but we decided to keep with tradition and publish another Five Cool Things anyway. It's a goodie and features a selection of handy on-the-bike gadgets, riding gear and components from Marin, Brae Cycles, Dynaplug, Five Ten and Scott Sports. But before we jump into the juicy bits, it's worth highlighting some of the top stories and reviews that we published this week.
The Absa Cape Epic might be well and truly over but we've still got a plethora of bike checks to show you - the latest of which belongs to Vera Looser, winner of the UCI orange women's jersey. Vera's Lapierre XR is far from standard and features a slew of trick bits that enabled her to win the untamed African MTB race.
In terms of news, we covered a broad spread this week. Classified released an MTB-specific version of its Powershift hub, Cannondale showed off the MY23 Habit trail bike, and Hayes released the retro-styled Purple Hayes Dominion A4 brakes.
On the reviews front, we've published some great content to keep you covered this springtime with write-ups on clothing, sealant and bikes. Liam spent some time with the Canyon Spectral:ON CF8 e-MTB and came away thoroughly impressed by its trail manners and all-round performance. Suvi gave her definitive verdict on POC's Women’s Thermal Cargo bib tights and PRO's Discover Compact 2.7l frame bag, while Matt concluded his giant tubeless sealant test with the Halo Fibre-Tech Tubeless Sealant review.
All of the sealant reviews have been packaged into our brand-new best tubeless sealant buyer's guide. We hope you enjoy the read.
Dynaplug Covert Drop Tubeless Tire Puncture Tool - £135
Dynaplug Covert Drop Tubeless Tire Puncture Tool, by Aaron Borrill
Punctures are unavoidable, especially in the world of off-road cycling and it's always recommended that you leave home prepared. This usually takes the form of the best mountain bike pumps and CO2 inflators, but the humble tyre plug is often overlooked.
The new Dynaplug Covert Drop Tubeless Tire Puncture Tool is looking to solve this conundrum. They are designed to plug into the ends of your handlebar for quick and easy access when needed - allowing you to maximise your storage.
Sold as a pair, they weigh 76g (38g each) and are fashioned from an aluminium housing that slots into the bar end. The plug tool itself threads into the aluminium housing and can be threaded in or out by hand. The plug tool uses a dual-sided and flippable plug with four preloaded plugs. There are options available for both mountain and gravel bikes.
Marin Oso pedals- £40
Marin's nylon-bodied flat pedals get a concave shape to hug your feet. They roll on a machine chromoly axle with a slim bushing and bearing. There are then nine pins per side, each of which is totally replaceable. The pedals are then fully rebuildable which boosts the longevity aspect.
Brae Cycling bike bags - £22 - £50
Pictured here is a selection of Brae Cycling's bikepacking bags including the Cairne Handlebar Bag 7L, the Dass Saddle Bag 1.5L, and the Drookit 5.5L Anywhere Dry Bags. Each bag is 100% waterproof featuring welded constructions and they're all ideal for fitting to your gravel bike to boost its carrying capacity. We'll be putting these to the test over the spring to bring you the full verdict. Watch this space.
Five Ten Kestral Boa - £200
Five Ten Kestral Boa, by Aaron Borrill
The Five Ten Kestral Boa benefits from the brand's extensive experience in creating gravity-focused kicks with this fresh take on the downcountry-specific shoe concept. As we've come to expect from Five Ten products, the upper is made using 50% recycled content but this shoe uses a glass-fibre shank to bolster its stiffness. It's available in three colour options: Core Black, Grey Six and Grey Four, which aren't the most expressive hues but are practical choices nonetheless. They weigh 350g per shoe (EU 42) which is par for the mid-level course.
Elsewhere there's a slip-resistant ankle and an impact-resistant toe box and it uses the Stealth Marathon rubber.
Scott Solder Ghost Knee Guards - £85
2023 scott soldier ghost knee guards 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Coming with a paper-thin slither of D3O Scott's Solder Ghost Knee Guards are designed to offer certified level 1 EN1621-1 protection in a lightweight, comfortable, and breathable package. Its stretch fabric sleeve is pre-curved for a better fit on the bike and silicone patterning keeps the slimline pad in place.
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