While everyone has been eating its body weight in cheese and chocolate, the off-road cycling world has still been rolling along with a look at two Scott bike checks this week with Kate Courtney's new sparkly Contessa Scale RC, as well as Dangerhome's Ransom. Liam Mercer reveals the result of his tech predictions of the year, plus our publisher Patrick shares his best gear of the year.
Kate Courtney's Scott bike check
SCALELAUNCH_2023_SCALERC_KateCourtney_Photo_by_SusanTheis_90.jpg, by Susan Theis
Scott's Contessa models have taken many forms over the years and has been the go-to bike for anything from pure cross-country riding to gravel. Being a women's specific frame design, it is tailored to work well with the female anatomy. Scott's team rider, Kate Courtney, is one mega-fast woman who can show us how to ride to the world's tallest podium steps. From years of racing and becoming the World Champion in 18, Courtney knows exactly what she wants in a bike, and she shares her latest example of her sparkly Contessa Scale RC, from the metallic paint job to the carbon componentry and titanium bolts.
Here is a snippet of what goodies Kate's pro-level build features:
- RockShox SID SL Ultimate 100mm with RLC3 BlackBox race day damper
- TwinLoc remote to lock out front forks
- Syncros Fraser IC SL carbon on-piece handlebar - 680mm wide
- SRAM XX1 Eagle AS wireless drivetrain
- RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post
You can also look at Kate's personalised Scott Contessa Sparc RC 23, which is used intermittently during her World Cup rounds.
Patrick looks back at his best gear in 2022
Our publisher Patrick Joscelyne shares with us what products he has enjoyed testing throughout the year. With a couple of off-road cycling events under his belt - Dirt Dash and Gritfest, this was the perfect stage to test some tasty new kit. Not only did the events stand out for Patrick, but the gear put through its paces also made a special impact.
In the list of the best gear, you can find the Endura GV500 Insulated Jacket, with its lightweight Primaloft Active Gold insulation, the Ortlieb Seat Pack QR, with its ease of use for a weekend away and its waterproof material, and the Hope Union Clip Pedals featuring anodised shell and titanium axles.
Bike check: Gustav Gullholm's Scott Ransom
Scott Sports ambassador Gustav Gullholm, aka Dangerholm, loves to get creative when it comes to bikes, and with his impressive concoction of unique bikes in his portfolio, the Norwegian-born master of turning bikes into something extraordinary has revealed his latest project in the form of a Scott Ransom with fun and fast being the chosen brief.
The first thing that will catch your eye is the dazzling paint job called 'Golden Night', which moves from a warm bronze to a blue/purple depending on the light. Carefully chosen components such as Trickstuff brakes and the unusual looking Intend Blackline Ebonite Bandit one-and-half-crown fork with a firm and supportive shock stroke the deeper the travel. The Intend Hover Gamerchanger shock complements this on the rear for a supple ride.
Suvi's gear of the year
Suvi GOTY hero copy.jpg, by Michael Blann
Staff writer Suvi Lopenen had had one heck of a year with travelling taking a front seat and, in return, collecting memories and experiences that will stick forever. This a good reminder to us all that even though we buy fancy new products and want another new bike, the raw feeling of getting outside, spinning those legs, and taking in the sights, whether solo or in a group, is what truly keeps us all cycling.
Suvi looked back at the tech, which made her heart flutter a little more than others. There are Kostüme women's bib shorts on the list that focus on longevity with premium quality and designs in collaboration with artists to produce something special. Next up is a pair of cleats. Silca titanium SPD cleats not only claim to shave 30g off your standard cleats but also combine 3D printing technology with titanium. Perfect for the wintery UK weather conditions we typically get far too many months of the year, Suvi was impressed by Fizik's Terra Artica GTX boots to keep her feet toasty warm and comfortable. You can read the full feature below to see what else made it into Suvi's gear of the year.
Did Liam's tech predictions come true?
Specialized Diverge STR rear Future Shock detail, by Specialized
At the start of 2022, Liam shared his crystal ball visions of what the tech world may spring on us in the future. The time has come to see how right or wrong or maybe halfway there Liam was with his predictions of 2023.
Cycling tech can naturally progress to something lighter, more efficient or even smarter, but sometimes there can be technology that appears unbelievable and come in like a swerve ball. So we can never really be sure what will happen, and to be honest, if we did, where's the fun in that?
Some of Liam's predictions were spot on, such as the component brand PNW adding to its range with women's clothing. I know this as I was lucky enough to test some. Also, Endura introduced a whole shoe range plus adding MIPS safety system to its helmets. Some were almost there, with Schwalbe still trying to add sustainable ways by replicating its inner tube recycling project for tyres. Some predictions were a big no-go, with no new brands offering to provide drivetrain components when we lacked supply due to the pandemic. Possibly not a bad outcome as this means we are not in such high demand as we once were.
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