This week at BikeRadar we turned back the clock as we took a look at Simon Bromley’s 2009 Giant TCR Advanced SL.
It’s a bike that perhaps you wouldn’t expect to see from BikeRadar’s technical writer, but one that attracted a very positive response from readers. In the feature, Simon delves deep into the spec choices of the bike that he first built up from a frame back in 2014 and explains why it remains such a capable bike today.
Many of you will know Go Outdoors brand Calibre has a knack at pushing out mountain bikes that can humiliate big brand competition, so when the company turned its attention to a more premium trail bike we had high hopes.
Turns out we were right to get excited because the £1,500 Calibre Triple B trail bike concluded testing with a perfect score and naturally made its way into our best mountain bikes for under £2,000 list.
Another top scorer came from German brand Focus, with its aero-focused Izalco Max Disc 8.8 narrowly missing a full five stars.
In the headlines this week was Specialized’s latest Demo downhill race bike, which gained the ‘mullet’ mixed wheel size treatment for the 2020 model year.
Fox 38 Float Factory Kashima GRIP 2
Designed for long-travel enduro bikes, the Fox 38 fork is available with 160 to 180mm travel, meaning at its shortest length there is an overlap with the latest Fox 36 fork.
In that scenario, Fox recommends choosing the 38 over the 36 for aggressive riders, in particular those using 29in wheels, due to its stiffer chassis.
It’s important to realise the 38 isn’t just a scaled-up 36. The chassis is totally different with its own arch, crown, steerer tube and axle. An elliptical steerer tube is also used to increase fore-aft stiffness. There’s around a 150g weight penalty when compared directly with a 36.
Other trick features include bleed ports to release excess air pressure that can build up in the lower and reduce sensitivity. Underneath the bleed ports is a raised tapered section of the fork casting, these air/oil channels are said to bring a wealth of advantages that amount to better lubrication, less friction and slower wear
Inside there’s also an internal air sleeve air spring that’s unique to the 38, and in this version an updated GRIP2 damper that uses VVC (variable valve control) on the compression as well as rebound valving.
For more detail on the Fox 38 head across to our initial write up. Meanwhile, these are soon to be tested by Alex Evans, so stay tuned for a full review.
Rapha Core Lightweight jersey
Rapha’s Core jersey is one of our favourites thanks to its quality fit and decent performance for the cash, so we are particularly keen to try out this lightweight version that’s been designed for warmer weather.
The front panel and sleeves are a mesh fabric (so don’t forget the suncream), while the back is made from a dense-knit 105gsm material, compared to 125gsm on the regular Core jersey.
You still get the full-length zip, signature armband and wide elastic gripper of the original, plus the same fit across the size range.
Naturally, there’s also a women’s version and a wide range of colours.
Enve Foundation Collection 45 wheelset
Announced a couple of months back, ENVE’s Foundation Collection line of road and mountain bike wheels was introduced as a cheaper alternative to the company’s well-established carbon wheelsets. They’re significantly cheaper too, saving typically £1,000 against their more expensive equivalents.
Like those other more costly wheels, the Foundation Collection 45s you see here are manufactured in Odgen, Utah. Cost savings are achieved through the use of a hookless rim profile (with a 21mm internal width) and they’re also disc-only, so naturally do away with the complication and cost of a braking track.
The wheels are laced to a new ENVE-designed hub via Sapim CX Sprint spokes. The new hubs feature an “automatic preload system” that increases preload to the hub’s bearings to account for bearing wear and thus supposedly eliminating any play that would normally arise.
ENVE claims these wheels are most efficient when paired with tubeless road tyres between 25mm and 26mm in width, though its charts list compatibility with tyres up to 32mm in width.
An important safety concern for anyone with hookless rims should be tyre compatibility and usefully ENVE has published an approved/recommended list of tyres which also outlines those it does not recommend.
As the shallower of two rim depths (45 and 65mm options available), these come in at a claimed 1,540g. This particular set is destined for Felix’s Cannondale Synapse long-term bike, so expect to hear about them in more detail in his next update.
- £1,800 / $1,600 / €1,800 / AU$2,250
Megmeister Premium Woven Leaves Jersey and Women’s DRYNAMO Cycle Sleeveless Baselayer
Megmeister wants us to join its “woven revolution” and to get us started has sent us this lovely looking baselayer and jersey.
The clothing brand says its jersey is “the world’s first woven, eco-friendly cycling jersey”, using a mix of dyed yarns and regenerated polyester instead of virgin polyester. This method, it says, uses less water and ink than dyed and printed polyester jerseys, which is much better for the environment.
The design has a contoured style for a close fit and the woven nature of it is claimed to help regulate body temperature, while mesh side inserts help with breathability. Plain, regenerated polyester is used across the shoulders and arms, though, to aid with aerodynamics.
There are all the usual features you’d expect too, such as a silicone waist gripper and drop tail with three rear pockets, as well as a handy zip pocket.
Pleasingly there’s a full length zip, which for female riders can make comfort breaks a little easier, and it’s topped with a zip garage to avoid irritation.
Five designs are available for men and women, and Helen, our head of production, has chosen this Woven Leaves design to test.
The jersey is available in five sizes from extra-small to extra-large.
The baselayer is also woven but the feel of it is very different to the jersey, being much softer with plenty of stretch.
It uses Megmeister’s DRYNAMO fabric, which weaves together technical yarns, and is claimed to be “warmer and stronger than traditional natural or synthetic fibres,” and is anallergic.
The baselayer is also completely seam free, even on the neck and cuffs, which should help with comfort, and Megmeister says its technical fabric’s sweat wicking properties should mean it’s dry on the skin, too.
The baselayer is available for men and women and comes in navy blue, white, and black but there’s also a pink option for female riders, sorry guys.