Even though we're still recovering from the best action at Sea Otter Girona 2023, this week's been an exciting one thanks to our collection of top features and uber-cool tech stories. Liam already spotted the SRAM e-bike motor in the wild at the Sea Otter, but now the Eagle Powertrain has been officially unveiled and we've taken a look at all the details. We've also seen yet another new bike from Merida, Liv has updated the women-specific Devote and Specialized has amped up the gravel capability on the Creo 2.
But we cannot forget to highlight some of our reviews. This week we've given a score to Giant's Roost helmet, the Thule Epos 2-bike car rack that Pat has absolutely loved and the Endura MT500 Burner Lite L/S jersey - among many others. And below, we've got all the new things that we're currently testing, so keep on reading...
Rotor Inspider MTB crankset - £695 / €799
Rotor Insider MTB, by Aaron Borrill
Rotor is no stranger to the power meter game and has the pedigree to prove it. The crankset pictured here is the brand-new Rotor Inspider MTB – a modular power meter that, like its road-going sibling, can be swapped across myriad bike platforms. This one, however, has been designed specifically to deal with the rigours of off-road riding and will suit both mountain and gravel bikes.
In terms of headline attributes, the new unit has shaved off 32% from the previous system's weight and comes in at a staggering 100g on our scales (552g for the complete system comprising spindle, chainring and 175mm carbon Kapic crankarms). The feature list is as expected: dual leg power measurement (with a maximum deviation of +/-1.5%) cadence, L/R balance as well as 360-degree pedal analysis with torque vectoring.
Our resident power meter guru, Aaron, will be putting the Rotor Inspider MTB crankset through its paces in the coming weeks/months. He's very experienced at testing these units in detail and will be comparing it to its current rivals from Garmin, SRM, Quarq and Stages, as well as the previous-generation Rotor INspider.
Troy Lee Designs Raid knee guards - £145
2023 troy lee designs raid knee guards 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Kicking things off is a pair of Troy Lee Design's Raid knee guards. These pads are designed to be mega tough in order to keep knee protected while riding the gnarliest of trails, but also to be comfortable and vented enough to be ridden in all day long.
To hit those goals, the Raid knee guards are built using vented neoprene as well as a wicking mesh towards the rear. On top of that is an abrasion-resistant cap that should keep this going tumble after tumble. Holding them in place are silicone grippers at the top, as well as a velcro strap.
Thanks to D3O pads, these comply with EN 1621-1 Level 1 standard.
Troy Lee Designs Drift jerseys - £80-90
2023 troy lee designs drift jerseys 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
The TLD theme continues but, this time, the brand has sorted us out with some lightweight but variable weather jerseys. I say variable because these Drift jerseys pair a breathable and moisture-wicking base with a wind-resistant upper that's been made with Blue Sign-certified materials. There's also a feather knit for comfort and subtle silicone Troy Lee Design printing.
The side and back panels then feature an even lighter knit in order to keep the jerseys cool and breathable when needed.
Tioga Undercover Sratum Max saddle - from £80
Tioga's Undercover Stratum Max saddle uses a special cutout that's designed to compress on impact with a quick rebound that offers continuous shock absorption. This is helped through the use of Tioga's SpyderWeb base that's said to be super strong but it acts as a finely tuned suspension component that cushions impact without needing loads of padding.
However, it does use BioPad padding which is shaped to compliment the body with extra cushioning, which is essential around the perineal region. BioPad's shaping adds extra squish in areas to better insulate the sensitive areas, and that's combined with thinner padding around the sit bones to stop padding from bunching in areas where it's not needed.
With all of this tech, we reckon that this saddle will be absolutely ideal for gravel riding, while not feeling out of place on a cross-country bike.
Altura Men's All Road Packable Trousers - £110
2023 altura men_s all road packable trousers 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
As we approach the UK's cold and wet winter season, we reckon Altura's All-Road Packable Trousers look well up to the task. They're built using a 10k/10k fabric that's both breathable and waterproof for comfort in the nastiest of conditions and it's cut with further comfort in mind. They're sorted with an elastic waistband and side zip opening that should make pulling them on over shoes and bibs super easy whilst the legs get a tapered fit to keep snags at bay. Ideal for brief road jaunts, there are reflective strips to keep you visible in the dark and of course, these pack down when not needed.
Altura uses a PFC-free DWR coating to futher improve the waterproof performance of these trousers.
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