Five cool things coming soon from Triban, Rapha, Bontrager, Castelli and DeFeet

Some more of the best bikes, kit and gear we've just got in for review...

The clocks have gone back, and our beams, overshoes and gloves are well and truly on for the winter... we keep on riding through any weather though, as we wouldn't want you lot buying anything without the seal of approval! Here are some of our top picks from the test pile this week... 

Rapha Explore Down Jacket


Part of Rapha's 'sleep system' for bike packing adventures which also includes a sleeping bag, this jacket is described as Rapha's 'most versatile ever', with a fit that's purported to work on or off the bike. It's made with a lightweight woven nylon outer fabric and an insulating layer inside to keep you warm in a deep freeze, weighing just 238g. There's a DWR coating to keep the rain off and there are elasticated openings at the hood and cuffs to keep the warmth in. Is it worth the sizeable prize tag for the sizeable number of impressive features? Dave Arthur's review is coming soon. 

DeFeet Thermeator Knee High socks


They might not look the prettiest (well in my opinion anyway), but these socks are all about keeping your feet warm and dry with DeFeet's Thermolite technology, a special hollow core performance fibre that provides warmth without adding extra weight (it's supposed to be 30% lighter than merino). Have they kept Mike Stead's toes toasty? The verdict is imminent.

Triban 520 disc


If you though the Triban name sounded familiar, you'd be absolutely right... formerly branded as B'Twin, Decathlon's Triban line of road bikes have now simply dropped the B'Twin moniker, but while the name has been reduced the quality of the build and the finishing kit looks like it definitely hasn't. Hydro-mechanical disc brakes, aluminium frame, a carbon for and Shimano 105 groupset all feature as part of the package, and there are also mudguard mounts to make it fully winterised. Was Ash Quinlan impressed? You can read his verdict soon.

Castelli Alpha Rain or Shine Women's insulated jacket


Another jacket with a big ticket price, this one from the renowned premium Italian brand Castelli and promising that you should be able to wear it for about six months of the year. The water and wind-resistant construction allows you to stay dry in all but the most torrential conditions, and the Nano Flex Extra Dry fabric on the back is added for even more water resistance where it matters. There are three rear pockets and reflective taping for extra visibility, plus a handy side pocket for keeping cash or keys in.

Bontrager GR2 TLR Team Issue Gravel Road Tyre 


This purpose-built gravel tyre is designed for fast-rolling performance and plenty of traction on rugged roads, with proven success at gravel events so say Trek. The Inner Strength Casting provides lightweight puncture protection, and you can also run them tubeless for even more guarding against flats. Dave Arthur is currently pounding the trails on these tyres, with a review coming soon...


To read all's latest test reports, head over to our reviews section. If you want some more advice before splashing the cash, check out our buyer's guides.

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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