Wow, it's windy out there! It looks like our weirdly warm spell has come to an end and it's back to more February-like conditions in Blighty, so we're putting those deep rims away for the time being. Here's the pick of the test kit pile this week...
Inspired by Bolle's Chronoshield model, the Shifter has curved temples for a secure fit and vents on the lenses for optimal cooling. They also have an anti-fog treatment on the lenses, and are also available in prescription versions. They're currently the shades of choice for the AG2R Mondiale team, but will they become Stu Kerton's too? The verdict is due later this month.
Now distributed in the UK by wheel brand Parcours, Aussie born but Belgian-named Flanders are offering the 980g Forte frameset as a reliable yet speedy gravel and/or CX option. "A culmination of countless months invested by the R&D department and race development program", say Flanders, this updated model is 200g lighter than the first version and has a new monocoque fork, shaving a further 100g off the weight. Promising a razor-sharp ride for cyclocross, it's also built to be stable for longer off-road rides. What are Stu's thoughts on the Forte? Find out in his review soon.
The Barrier grip gloves are multi-layered, with a soft, thin fleece lining to offer plenty of warmth and comfort. Around the outside there’s a polyurethane membrane to provide weatherproofing, that Galibier say confidently stop all wind from getting in. The bulk of the insulation comes courtesy of their 100g HyTex internal glove, and the final outer layer is a combination of five specific, hard-wearing synthetic fabrics. Are they as tough as they think they are? John Stevenson will be telling us when some colder weather rolls in (a matter of time no doubt).
Designed for racing and to be used by the Canyon//SRAM team, the Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts have a redesigned chamois and a self-centering magnetic clasp which enables easy removal of the uppers without removing the jersey, for easier comfort breaks. The shorts also have a high-stretch supportive fit with minimal seams and low-profile leg grippers. They've been three years in the making and tested by 38 women over 15,000km, so you can't say Rapha haven't done their homework. Are they worth that considerable Rapha price tag, though? Tass Whitby's review is imminent.
These hoops from FSA are available in 650b or 700c, with Alloy PRA hubs for direct pull spokes. A 25mm depth with a 26.1mm width means you can fit some fat rubber in there, and they weigh in at 1,749g for the pair. 2-cross double butted aero spokes with brass nipples top things off nicely, and FSA say they're "artisan built" entirely by hand...
Artisan built, entirely by hand
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 joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. 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.