In this week's Five Cool Things, we take a look at Troy Lee Design's latest winterwear, Shimano's CUES drivetrain and a neat portable torque wrench from Topeak. On top of that, there's Madison's budget friendly Enigma glasses and Fizik's Tensor flat pedal shoes, making a bit to enter our latest best mountain bike shoes buyer's guide.
Last weekend the most incredible mountain bike event of the season, Red Bull Rampage, took place with Brendan Fairclough returning after a four-year hiatus. In this piece, he gives us a look at this Red Bull Rampage bike build. We also cover how hydraulic brakes work with a detailed feature compiled by Lance Branquinho. We also teamed with Marin Bikes to bring you Drop bar vs flat bar gravel bike: which is best? – ur latest video offering.
As for reviews, well, they've been flowing as our editor Aaron, went out to Italy to check out the bike that won the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships, the Merida Silex. Other reviews come in the form of our look at SRAM's Code Ultimate Stealth which we liked for its sleek new look and snappier feel, and the Fox Transfer dropper seatpost. But without further ado, here are the five coolest things to head into the office.
Troy Lee Designs Crestline jacket
The Crestline is one of TLD's latest additions which is built to cope with cooler conditions. It's lightweight and packable, making it ideal for big days through changeable weather and it gets two front pockets, along with a sizey pocket at the rear.
This jacket is insulated with Primaloft Gold and it's sorted with a water resistance coating, so it should be more than capable of staying warm and dry.
Shimano CUES U8000
From £55 to £130
Shimano's CUES is the brand's latest addition which covers 11-speeds and will suit everything from urban to trekking, and a range of mountain bike styles.
Here, we've got the CUES 11-speed Linkglide cassette as well as the CUES four-piston brakes which look to have taken a similar direction to SRAM in moving the reservoir closer to the handlebar. While we have the 1x11 drivetrain here, CUES U8000 is available with a 2x setup and the cassettes and chains are built to withstand the demands of e-MTBs.
Madison Enigma glasses
These Engima glasses from Madison are designed to offer a large field of vision and protection but at a more than accessible price. This comes in a pack that includes two extra lenses: an amber medium-light lens and a clear lens for low-light conditions. As standard, it comes with a Cat. 3 lens for bright days.
The specs are built using a TR-90 plastic for its lightweight, durability and flexibility and non-slip rubber tips make sure they stay in place. On top of all of that, there's a soft pouch in the box, as well as a hard case to store it safely.
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+
The Ratchet Rocket's capabilities have been boosted with TorqBits that cover a 2-6Nm torque range. There are 2 to 8mm Allen bits, T10, T15 and T25 Torx bits and a number two Phillips bit.
Of course, there's also that handy ratchet tool which is built using chrome vanadium steel and that's all help in a nylon carry pouch.
Fizik Gravita Versor flat pedal shoe
Fizik's Gravita Versor flat is the flat pedal version of the gravity-going clip pedal shoe. It gets its grip from a Vibram Megagrip rubber compound that's complete with a zonal lug pattern for the best mesh with flat pedals. There's a low profile tapered tread pattern at the mid-foot which Fizik says results in an immediate connection between rubber and pedal. The shoe benefits from Fizik's X5 outsole and it's designed for downhill and enduro riding.
This shoe is said to be more supple and compliant than the clip shoe which allows the shoe to flex around a pedal to boost grip. The Versor's laces, of course, are in quite a different position than any other MTB shoe on the market which Fizik says is ergonomic. The upper uses a ripstop fabric and there's a PU-laminated toe cap for protection and durability.
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