Things may have been a little quiet on the tech front this week but there was still a lot to talk about. Not only do we have the skinny on Merida's new Silex – a bike we tested in the Reggio Emilia province of Italy – but we also have the details of Orbea's new hard-hitting hardtail and Fox's new helmet. On the feature front, we took a deep dive into hydraulic brakes and gravel handlebars. Scroll down to read all about it.
Merida Silex 10k first ride review
We've put some miles in on the Merida Silex 10k over in Italy. As a bike that's just won gold at the Gravel World Championships, we wanted to know what this meant for the average rider.
This bike gets a complete overhaul but retains the attributes that made the original such a success. Even though it was piloted to victory by Matej Mohoric at the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships it's not 100 per cent focussed on competition or racing. In a move to please fast-pedalling bikepackers, it's kitted with a full selection of mounts, so it looks more than ready for a night or two out on the hills.
Aaron runs through the changes, what's on offer and how it performs.
Fox adds XC and gravel Crossframe Pro to helmet lineup
Fox Racing has added the Crossframe Pro to its helmet lineup. The visorless helmet is new to the brand and is designed to blur the lines between mountain biking and gravel. It's equipped with Mips, Varizorb EPS and all of the vents you can shake a stick at as well as a Fidlock SNAP buckle. The new helmet is available now in a number of colours and a full gamut of sizes.
Orbea releases the Laufey - A new hardcore hardtail
The new Orbea Laufey was launched earlier in the week with 140mm of travel and great geometry. Designed to be pushed hard, it's got some neat features to boot. Those come in the form of the Lockr downtube storage that we saw on the latest Rallon, which allows users to stuff enough kit into the bike for a decent short ride or enduro race. It also gets a very short seat tube, allowing for long dropper posts, as well as a low standover to offer tonnes of space for pulling shapes.
With three builds on offer, the Laufey offers a mixed spec for different budgets. But we don't want to give too much away.
How do hydraulic brakes work?
Ever wondered how hydraulic brakes work? Lance takes us through everything there is to know about brakes. If you're curious about the differences that two- and four-pot calipers offer, as well as the advantages that DOT fluid and mineral oil pose, this is your very place.
Lance even goes into as much depth as to highlight rotor diameter and what that offers in terms of braking power. There's a surprising amount that goes into hydraulic brakes and it's all covered here.
Drop bar vs flat bar gravel bike - which one is best?
Gravel is the only cycling genre where bikes come with flat- or drop handlebars. Both arrangements offer a range of advantages that'll suit a variety of riders – and even change the riding focus of certain gravel bike builds.
In this video, we've teamed up with Marin who gave us a DSX FS and Gestalt XR to show you exactly what the differences are, and why one might be better for your riding than the other.
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