While fecund meadows may be buzzing with bug life, the legs of cyclists across the land have been cropped back to a sterile bald sheen at the first sight of consistent sunshine. That, dear reader, is the surest sign that spring is here.
Despite the past week’s pleasant climes, in our latest edition of BikeRadar’s High-Mileage Heroes, deputy editor Jack Luke looked back at the best waterproof cycling jacket he’s ever tested – the Páramo Velez Light Adventure smock.
Elsewhere, we took at look at Manitou’s new do-it-all Mattoc trail fork. Pivot also released its new Mach 4 SL XC bike and our steady stream of industry-leading Bike of the Year 2023 reviews continued to trickle out.
We also outlined everything you’ve ever wanted to know about disc brake rotors and revisited what FTP is and why it is important for cyclists.
However, the biggest news of all was the release of Specialized’s all-new Allez. This classic beginner’s road bike has seen a lot of changes for 2023, including a wholesale shift to disc brakes. Do those changes make for a good bike? Check out our in-depth review of the Specialized Allez Sport to find out.
The week ahead will also be packed with exciting news, reviews and features. Why not sign up to the BikeRadar Newsletter so you don’t miss a thing?
Fist Handwear Chapter 21 jaguar print gloves
Whether you’re into the jaguar print or not (plenty of other more garish designs are available, as are subdued styles), there’s no denying the Fist Handwear Chapter 21 gloves scream quality.
The four-way stretch spandex upper should conform to the backs of your hands, and the Clarino faux-leather palm is thick enough to exude luxury while being thin enough to not hamper feel.
Touchscreen capacitive threads feature on the thumbs, while the rubberised Velcro closure with elasticated cuff helps tailor fit.
Available in size from extra-extra-small to extra-extra-large, there should be a pair perfect for your mitts.
SDG Bel-Air V3 MAX – Lux-Alloy saddle
Thanks to plenty of padding, a deep, long central cut-out – dubbed the Peri-Canal – and a scooped rear end, SDG claims the Bel-Air V3 Max is its most comfortable saddle ever.
Specific to the MAX model is its lightweight EVA-injected foam that’s 5mm thicker than the standard Bel-Air, creating a pillow-like perch.
The lengthened pressure-relief channel is also exclusive to the MAX, while the scooped tail has been designed with electric mountain bikes in mind, boosting seated climbing performance.
It’s also shorter in length with narrower wings, but has a wider nose.
Dubbed ATMOS shaping, the cover has been vacuum sealed onto the nylon glass base.
The alloy rails help keep weight down, with our 140mm-wide version tipping the scales at 242g, lighter than SDG’s claimed weight.
It’s available in six colours (turquoise, tan, orange, red, black, ‘fuel’), so there should be a model to match any colour scheme out there.
Park Tool TPT-1 tubeless tyre repair plug tool
If you’re anything like me, your cycling life will be plagued by punctures.
While certain products can mitigate the woes of a flat tyre – such as tough-casing tyres, tyre inserts (to an extent) and well set-up suspension among other things – the inevitable hissing of air escaping is not wholly unavoidable.
Convenient, quick and slick ways to repair punctures, therefore, are a must.
Park Tool’s TPT-1 is designed to tick those boxes.
Its large handle should make jamming one of the five included repair plugs into your tyre more comfortable, especially when you need Herculean-like force to seal the hole.
A sliding plug retainer helps stop the plug from being pulled out of the tyre when the tool is removed, while the screw-on cover helps to keep the tool clean and the repair plugs in place.
Weighing just 80g and not much bigger than a small apple, it should fit comfortably in anyone’s riding pack.
Skratch Labs Hydration Sport Drink Mix
Whether you’re a long-distance fan, or prefer short, sharp sprints, keeping fuelled up is key to maintaining peak performance.
Made in Boulder, Colorado USA, the Skratch Labs Hydration Sport Drink Mix has been formulated to replace electrolytes lost in sweat when exercising.
With no preservatives, colouring or artificial ingredients, this hydration drink could be a good alternative for those who currently rely on fizzy pop to fuel their rides.
Madison Stealth Glasses
Madison’s Stealth Glasses are the budget brand’s answer to Oakley’s Kato, Sutro, Radar or EVZero Blades, and that’s no bad thing.
Their polycarbonate lenses offer protection against UV-A and UV-B rays, and have a colour-changing green mirror (a silver mirror lens is also available).
Thanks to TR-90 plastic used in its frames, Madison claims they’re flexible, and after being bent return to their original shape without snapping.
A softer rubberised portion of the arms slips behind your ears, helping the glasses stay in place. The nose bridge is also made from a flexible, grippy rubber.
Supplied with a hard carry case and cloth cleaning bag, the Stealth glasses also have a lifetime warranty.
DMR V6 Nylon flat pedals
These bargain pedals from DMR mimic the shape of the more expensive aluminium DMR V12s, but are made from a nylon composite material to save costs.
The 102x97mm (LxW) platform has 10 in-moulded pins per side, each protruding 6mm from the pedal’s body.
Boasting 6mm of concavity from its deepest point at the side to its shallowest point over the middle of the axle, the V6 promises plenty of performance.
The nylon-bodied pedal spins on two DU-bushings, and is available in 10 different colours.
As a pair, they weigh 334g.