Another weekend that ended on a high in glorious sunshine for most parts of the UK, of which we took full advantage by getting out there and riding lots! Here is some of that stuff we were testing...
The AR4 is a more affordable option in Felt's popular AR aero road series, but is still offered in a race-ready package and has a quality wind tunnel-tested carbon frame. That frame has carbon fibre dropouts, a BSA threaded bottom bracket shell and is made with Felt's 'InsideOut' construction (basically you can see some of the carbon weaves on the outside of the frame) with a UHC Advanced Carbon Fibre monocoque construction. Felt have tried to balance out comfort with the aggressive geometry by speccing a 3T DiffLock Comfort Module seat post and a Fizik Arione R5 saddle, and the drivetrain is the ever reliable Shimano Ultegra R8000; although they've gone with a RS500 chainset to keep the price down. The frame sounds impressive, but does it work in this cost-effective build? Ash Quinlan's verdict is coming shortly.
Vision's disc brake clinchers are available in various rim depths, and these 55mm versions should be perfect for fast road racing while being stable in crosswinds. They're entirely hand-built, and have 2:1 aero bladed carbon spokes to buy some fractions of extra speed. The Metron 55's also come with ABS self locking nipples and six sealed cartridge bearings, and you also get quick release adapters included if that's the way you roll. Are they wheely good and more importantly, fast? Dave Arthur is currently riding these hoops.
Bont's shoes are world renowned for their custom-fitting via a heat mouldable chassis that features right through their range, and the Helix is one of their top-end road shoes. It's also available in a wide fit, and Bont say the anatomic fit has now been improved further with a new closure system, which is a unique system comprising of wires that are routed inside and around the actual shell of the shoes, with a BOA dial on the tongue. The heat mouldable chassis is a unidirectional carbon monocoque, and for extra plush comfort your get memory foam padding inside. Are they the ultimate race shoes? Mat Brett is finding out now...
They sell more bikes than anyone else, and while they're not quite so renowned for their clothing Giant's racier apparel still maintains a solid reputation with competitive cyclists. The Elevate is touted as an all-round jersey for serious riders who demand high performance materials. It's optimised for comfort in the racing position, with a close fit and Giant's 'TransTextura' fabric with UPF 30 protection. This is the only colour option, and the usual hard-wearing zipper plus three back pockets are included to make it a practical option for speedy training or racing.
Available exclusively at Evans Cycles, Kalf's gear has steadily being building a reputation amongst road.cc testers with some impressive reviews posted recently. This lightweight jacket is built to be ultra packable and light (135g) yet also keep the rain right out and wick away the sweat. They claim the fabric is fully waterproof and windproof, and it also has a four-way stretch which should feel soft against the body while still being form-fitting. Water-resistant zips, elasticated cuffs, reflective highlights and a handy front pocket finish the Flux, it looks impressive but does it perform as such? Ash Quinlan is waiting for the next storm to text it to the max...
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.