In this week's Five Cool Things, we're bringing you hot tech from Northwave, Wolf Tooth, Endura and more. This time, the top kit to find its way into the office spans work stands to small gravel-specific chain guides. As usual, we'll also highlight the most exciting stories this week has to offer.
But before we dive into this week's fresh techy goodness, let's highlight some of the top stories and the headlines that have been rolling in as we ask the question, 'what's next for off-road coverage as GCN+ is set to close its doors?' and we explain exactly how to take a bike on a plane.
It's been a little quieter on the news front but it's a case of quality over quantity as Whyte has Whyte's new E-Lyte e-MTB brings big power and low weight, all while unveiling a bit of an overhaul to its brand. This new Bosch-equipped e-MTB is equipped with a host of UK-centric features that include a seat post gaiter and sealed internal cable routing, not to mention its Hope finishing kit.
As for reviews, we've been bringing with winter heat with write-ups on the Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic waterproof jacket and Altura's Ridge Thermal Waterproof trousers. We've also brought reviews on kit from the more premium end of the scale with Reynolds' Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheelset scoring 4.5 stars, and ODI's new Vans v2.1 MTB Lock On grips proving to be a great performing choice for those who would like to add a bit of style to their bike.
Topeak Prepstand ZX
Simplicity is key with Topeak's Prepstand ZX but unlike most other work stands, it comes without a clamp. The brand's choice to omit what would usually be a very important part of a bike stand was made in the name of bike protection, as clamps can scratch and damage a bike. Instead, a user hangs their bike.
A bike is held between a pair of non-marking rubber jaws which can hold up to 25kg, so it should be more than capable of supporting even e-MTBs. Two rubber feet keep the stand stable and the whole thing is foldable into a small and portable package. It's built using 6061 T6 aluminium and there's a handy tool tray available for a little extra cash.
Wolf Tooth LoneWolf Aero Chainguide
With suspension and dropper posts finding their way onto gravel bikes, they're increasingly benefitting from the tech that's commonplace on their heavier-going mountain bike brethren. One small component, the humble chain guide, is another bit of MTB tech that's finding solid use over the corrugated terrain that makes up the bulk of gravel terrain.
Wolf Tooth's LoneWolf Aero Chainguide fits into your bike's braze-on and keeps your chain in place while rattling over the most intense terrain gravel can offer. It'll only work with 1x drivetrains but has the capacity for 38 to 52T chainrings with a range of mounts on offer. There's also 8mm of chain line adjustment via the GuideLock adjustment system. It can also be used with both regular and oval chainrings.
This kit is made from 6061 aluminium with stainless steel hardware and an injection moulded composite head.
Northwave Magma X Plus
Along with the Multicross Plus GTX that we checked out last week, the Magma X Plus is one of Northwave's very latest winter shoes. It's a shoe that's been sculpted to suit the demands of winter riding in a range of cycling genres while being up for a bit of hike-a-bike.
It's closed using a combination of a Velcro strap and an SLW3 dial, and inside, there's a Primaloft Gold 200G thermal lining constructed of recycled polyester fibres for warmth. It's also said to be rather light. The shoe benefits from Northwave's Damp Evo sole which is built around a clipless design and offers more flexibility for comfort during long rides, and when walking.
Fizik Terra Argo X1
The Terra Argo X1 is Fizik's gravel-specific saddle that is said to offer compliance and vibration damping but it also gets a special shape to place the rider in a more planted and stable position. It's a shorter saddle than most to allow the rider to sit more forward in the saddle without discomfort.
This saddle's shell has been engineered with compliance in mind and it uses a closed-loop rail system to boost stability and responsiveness. With that compliance in mind, this Terra Argo X1 should absorb all kinds of trail chatter, making for a more comfortable ride over any distance.
The waved profile then provides better support to the lower back and the dropped nose allows riders to rotate their pelvis while pushing on the nose which Fizik says offers better traction and power transfer.
Endura GV500 L/S jersey
Endura says that the GV500 L/S jersey performs during long and short rides over all kinds of surfaces but most of all, it brings extra load capacity and techy fabrics.
Those fabrics come in the form of a merino blend at the main body of the jersey which has been chosen for its temperature regulation. There's a stretch woven overlay across the shoulders chest and rear pockets which adds wind, shower and spray protection in areas where it matters the most in the riding position.
A gravel jersey isn't a gravel jersey without a plethora of pockets and that's the very case for this one as there are three large pockets at the rear and two side mesh stash pockets. On top of those, there's a zipped chest pocket and a zipped security pocket at the rear.
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