As we approach mid-November, the weather has changed here at BikeRadar’s Bristol UK headquarters, with cooler temperatures and a significant increase in rainfall. The nights are approaching and the Christmas commercials have broken cover now Halloween and bonfire night are behind us.
While adverse conditions can cause many cyclists to curl up under their duvet covers in the morning, that’s not the case here in the happy, ever-sunny highlands of online content creation.
Changes in the weather like this only make our lives easier, with testing winter jackets and cycling jerseys, tires and mudguards, winter boots and waterproof socks becoming 10 times easier.
If you’re struggling to get motivated to get out on the trails, our mountain bike tech team have rounded up their top kit tips to help you beat the winter blues and get out on the bike in our latest Spoke feature. Tension.
Once you’ve read that, it might be time to complete your winter wardrobe, so check out our guide to the best value waterproof jackets and treat yourself to a new riding jacket.
You can also check out our guides to the best mountain bike lights and the best road bike lights, to make sure you can see and be seen when you’re out after the sun goes down.
If your wardrobe is well stocked, you may want to keep up to date with the latest news. Yeti has released an all-new enduro bike, the SB160, with, you guessed it, 160mm of travel.
There was also a new adventure e-bike from British brand Cairn, while our editor George Scott traveled to London to check out all the fancy new tech from the Rouleur Live show – highlights included a superb 125th anniversary Ribble prototype.
Well, aside from Episode 1 of our latest podcast series, Getting into MTB, below, that’s enough of a look back over the past week. The real show begins now.
Magicshine SEEMEE 508 radar rear light
If you spend a lot of time on the road, you know that knowing what’s going on around you only improves your safety.
While we can’t control driver behavior and how far they may choose to overtake, knowing what’s behind you can help you take a defensive stance on the road and ride safely through traffic.
The Magicshine SEEMEE 508 combines a wide-angle taillight with radar functionality that sends a warning to your bike computer to let you know when something is approaching from behind.
The radar function detects up to eight vehicles coming behind you, with a 40 degree field of view and up to 140 m behind you.
It then connects to a wide range of Garmin computers and watches, as well as Bryton and Wahoo headunits, which can give you an audible or visual warning of what’s going on.
In this regard, it is similar to Garmin’s Varia.
The unit also acts as a rear light. With six functions, from solid to flashing, battery burn times range from six to 12 hours (the radar only has 16 hours of run time).
The light emits up to 20 lumens, with Magicshine claiming visibility of up to 1,200m.
The flashing mode can be altered in the light’s accompanying app.
Furthermore, when you brake, the light’s internal sensors will pump up the lumens to the maximum possible, to highlight your deceleration to others around you.
- Magicshine SEEMEE 508: $139.99 / £121.99 / €139.99
Prologo Energrip gloves
It’s not just the large, white ‘Q’ on the back of these gloves that stands out, but also the eyebrow-raising £79.99 price tag.
No, do not refresh your browser, this is an £80 summer glove.
It had better be good, right?
Well, if Prologo’s claims ring true, and gloves are the final frontier in your quest for marginal gains, then perhaps they’ll be worth the outlay.
The big news is the use of Prologo’s CPC grippers on the palm. The Connect – Power – Control polymer open-topped cones are dotted all around the palm and fingers, strategically placed to absorb vibrations through the bars.
Prologo worked with the performance research centre of Groupama FDJ, associated with the Franche-Comté Sports University. There, the little cones were electromyographically studied and Prologo says there’s a 10 per cent increase in vibration absorption compared to a normal palm.
All of this is said to reduce stress on tendons, muscles and joints, enabling you to ride longer and provide grip in a wide range of conditions.
The back of the hand is built from a fine mesh, while the palm has cooling channels. This is intended to reduce palm sweat.
At the same time, Prologo reckons the back, though thin, has thermal insulation properties, enabling the gloves to be worn in chilly conditions.
Needless to say, we’re wearing these rather fancy gloves on our MTB and gravel rides to see just how well they perform out of the lab and on the trail.
- Prologo Energrip Gloves: £79.99/ $85 / €79
Formula Cura X brakes
Formula’s Cura and Cura 4 brakes are among the most popular within the BikeRadar office, thanks to their impressive power-to-weight ratio, as well as a pleasant bar feel. They aren’t as snappy as a Shimano, but are firm and positive, with short, smooth lever travel.
The new Cura X takes the Cura brake and adds even more Italian flair.
The axial master cylinder features titanium hardware, as does the twin-piston caliper, which keeps weight down and adds a bit of bling.
This is enhanced by the carbon lever blade, which allows for tool-free reach adjustment.
Joining the lever to the caliper is a braided hose. It should be more impact resistant, if routed outward, while resisting expansion under pressure, to give a crisp leverage feel.
The lever body itself has a toggle design, so it can be mounted on either side of the bar and attaches to the bar with a split clamp. Shift lever and dropper post mounting options are available.
Finally, the organic pad has an aluminum backing plate to further reduce weight. The formula claims that 35 grams, per side, have been shaved off.
- Formula Cura X brakes: £250 / $262 / €255.50
Le Col Sport thermal cargo bib shorts
Bib shorts could be an interesting novelty as winter approaches – surely we should be craving bib shorts and tights? !
But the new Le Col bib shorts combine a cropped leg with extra thermal insulation and thigh pockets for all your cargo-hauling requirements.
The bib is cut higher in the front, to keep your belly and loins well wrapped. Keeping your core warm is key to staying comfortable in the colder months.
The fabric used by Le Col is a four-way stretch Italian fabric, lined with fleece. This adds insulation, while the stretch ensures a precise fit.
The bibs are also said to be wind resistant, so cold breezes will hopefully be kept at bay.
On the chamois side, Le Col has chosen a triple layer chamois with gel inserts, there to boost comfort. This should also make bibs practical for gravel walks.
So, yes, tights can be appropriate when the temperatures really drop, but Le Col reckons these bib shorts are ideal for cool, rather than really cold days.
Pair them with knee pads and you might get extra use out of them. If you’re a mountain biker or a graver, you can wear them with a set of mountain bike pants or waterproof shorts, further extending their use case in cooler conditions.
The leg darts are moderately deep and there are reflective details on the back of the legs to keep you visible on the road.