Happy long Easter weekend to our readers in the UK. As you read this, I will be trundling my away around a hopefully sunny south coast on a laden touring bike with my partner (not Cecil the tandem for this particular adventure).
It’s safe to say I need some time under canvas to recover from the sheer volume of news that has hit BikeRadar in recent weeks – the cycling industry really has gone a bit bananas recently and it’s been a pleasure to report on it for you, our dear readers.
We started the week with an in depth news story, first ride review, video and podcast all about Lauf’s new Seigla gravel bike – a shred-ready gravel bike featuring the Icelandic brand’s signature leaf-sprung fork and oodles of tire clearance.
Tuesday then brought news that Team DSM will run a pretty whacky €3,998 (€3,998!) wireless tire pressure control system at this weekend’s edition of Paris-Roubaix. We’ll be watching closely to see whether this system lives up to its significant performance claims.
Gravel Rides ScotlandEd Shoot
I like to remind anyone who will listen (or otherwise) at every given opportunity that I’m from Scotland.
This is particularly true if whoever I’m speaking to is a gravel cyclist – I endlessly extoll the virtues of Scotland’s amazing gravel riding, which can include everything from desert-like upland grouse moorland adventures to gritty central-belt post-industrial noodling.
Ed Shoote’s Gravel Rides Scotland (Vertebrae Publishing) goes a long way to compiling the very best routes across the length and breadth of the country in a well-illustrated and interesting guide.
There are routes from 31 to 128km in length and each is accompanied by a helpful difficulty grading, meaning there’s something for every gravel rider.
Kask Protone Icon
Kask recently updated its existing Protone aero-vented road cycling helmet with a new design that, the brand claims, increases comfort and performance.
Key changes on the Kask Protone Icon include an increase to eight vents at the front and six at the rear, the addition of the brand’s Octafit+ retention system and new pads.
The £245 / $299.95 / €275 / AU$409 helmet is available in three different size options and 10 colors (we’re particularly fond of the luscious matt blue option pictured). Unusually, the helmet is not available in a MIPS-equipped variant.
The helmet is available in most territories now, but won’t be available in Australia until October.
- £245 / $299.95 / €275 / AU$409
Apidura Expedition bolt-on top-tube pack
While handlebar bags are definitely the trendiest cycling luggage option for budding gravel riders and bikepackerstop-tube bags are a very popular option for gravel racers because they offer uninhibited access to mid-ride snacks.
The Apidura Expedition bolt-on top-tube bag is a waterproof top-tube bag that attaches using the now increasingly common two-bolt fitting found just aft of the head tube on many gravel and endurance road bikes.
Unlike many bags, Apidura’s attaches using a plastic tool-free winged bolt (most use regular bolts), making fitting and removal much easier. These sit beneath a removable padded base, protecting the contents from hard edges.
It also features a cable port on the front of the bag, enabling you to charge GPS devices from a battery pack. You could also feed a charging cable into the bag from a dynamo setup to charge a phone or other device.
- £50, international pricing TBC
Chrome Union Short 2.0
Chrome’s updated Union 2.0 shorts are made from a water-resistant durable four-way stretch nylon outer lined with a softer nylon fabric on the inside.
Unlike many ‘urban’ baggy shorts, these aren’t festooned with numerous useless cargo pockets or straps (a real bug bear of mine), lending them a slim silhouette that won’t look daft off the bike. The cut of the shorts is generous enough to allow comfortable pedaling without looking too baggy.
In addition to black, the shorts are available in ‘Castle Rock’ gray and a handsome ‘Wood Thrush’ tan.
My 1960s Viking track/path racer frameset
While our focus is, unsurprisingly, on the latest and greatest tech here at BikeRadar, it’s important to acknowledge that the release of something shiny with new fabulous features doesn’t make old bikes automatically obsolete. Nor does reporting primarily on new tech mean that we aren’t interested in older bikes.
In the end, I found this handsome Viking path racer – so-called because it has track ends with mudguard eyelets – for sale locally that, according to the seller, is most likely from the mid-60s.
The Reynolds 531-tubed frameset features classic Nervex lugs and particularly lovely spearpoint details on the fork crown.
It’s also on just the right side of tatty for me to feel comfortable locking it up while supping murky, expensive craft beers (the only thing that could possibly be supped by an owner of such an unashamedly hipster-tastic bike).
It’s been a while since I had tickled the addictive endorphin rush of sniping for a last-minute deal on eBay and I’ve loved obsessively researching every possible purchase as much as I would any new bike.
This bike will most likely form the basis of a future edition of BikeRadar Builds, so it stayed tuned for that in the coming months.