Well that was a windy one, and it shows no sign of abating with Francis just around the corner. We'll hope for better riding weather this weekend, but come rain or shine we'll be out testing all the latest new gear anyway! Here are this week's highlights...
If you're after a racey shoe that be fine for the commute or slaying trails/gravel tracks, then the Charge Elite XC could be the one. Weighing in at 365g per shoe, you get a thermoset carbon/glass fibre composite plate that is exclusive to Giant, complemented by a full rubber covered dual beam design to increase power transfer and stability. The water-resistant PU upper has laser cut micro-perforations for better ventilation while providing optimal support, and you can perform on-the-fly micro-adjustment with the single BOA dial (there's also a reversed forefoot strap for an even more secure fit). Giant also say their 'Slip-Last construction' allows the forefoot to be stiff, while "enabling torsional rotation of the rear and mid foot." What did Stu Kerton think of these kicks? The review is coming soon.
Since resurfacing after a change of ownership three years ago, Edco are now making some affordable race wheels that appear to be bang on trend, with the SIX-4 wheelset featuring a wide 21mm internal profile that is tubeless-compatible. Edco say that on this rim profile a 23mm tyre should blow up to 25mm and so on, which will allow the rider to "use a lighter tyre, but still have the wider ground patch and better aero performance." Other highlights include an enhanced 3K brake track on the rim brake versions (they're available for rim or disc brake bikes) and promised "secure and easy installation" for tubeless tyres. The rims are full carbon, in a depth of 62mm and weighing in at 1,650g for the pair. Find out if they're the ultimate budget carbon race wheels in the full test report, due next month...
With classic lines and plenty of features to help with year-round commuting duties, Condor say the latest version of their popular Fratello is "a sporty all-rounder" with a dynamic ride quality that is both speedy and practical. Weighing in at 1,960g for the frameset, it's made in Italy out of custom Columbus Spirit triple-butted steel that Condor say is both lively and exciting to ride in all weathers. New for 2020 are 12mm thru-axles from and rear to stiffen the frame and create "a responsive feel when you accelerate or climb out of the saddle", and there is also space for up to 32mm tyres. Condor's Smart Cabling system also makes the frame compatible with all groupsets, mechanical or electronic, and it even has internal routing for dynamo light cabling. There are also eyelets for mudguards and racks for plenty of load-carrying ability. Is the Fratello "the king of versatility" as claimed? Find out in the full review, coming in early September...
This high-vis number is described as ideal for low light or riding at night, and is also recommended for off-bike activities such as hiking, jogging, walking or scooting. BTR say the silver material reflects headlights straight back to the driver, and can make you "highly visible" in low light conditions. On the practical side, there is one external chest fleece lined pocket and two side pockets for essentials, and stretchy side and under arm panels for ventilation and extra stretch. It's also mesh-lined and there's a back vent to stop you getting too sweaty. A soft-lined neck should prevent rubbing, and there are elasticated cuffs for comfortable fit.
Fancy seeing some motivational words when you're staring at your handlebars during a hard uphill effort? Consider this signature bar tape from Kinesis, with artwork courtesy of ultra distance specialist and road.cc contributor Jo Burt. Kinesis say the tape is tacky to touch, with a shockproof layer to protect your wrists from harsh road surfaces. A Vex Gel backing should provide plenty of cushioning with no sticky residue left over on your handlebars, and included are logo plugs and finishing strips with enough tape for a full drop bar. Will Matt Page be slipping some on all of his bikes from now on? He'll be giving his verdict next month.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.