If you've been riding through Ciara this weekend, you're both brave and perhaps short of a full deck! Here is some of the best stuff we've been looking at and wishing we could go out and test this weekend, which may delay some of our deadlines...
Proclaimed as "the ultimate ride pack for your life on the move", the LAB.94 backpack has been refined following plenty of feedback from riders and a whole load of research and development according to Muc-Off. It's also highly modular so when you're not riding, you can slide out the back protector and hydration system and add in the flight friendly laptop protection sleeve to transform it into a general backpack. The LAB air conditioning system should fend off excessive back sweat, while the roll top design means you can make use of the 20 litres of storage capacity right to the top for less weight. Check back for Lara Dunn's verdict towards the end of the month...
We know how much you love top tube packs, so how about one that mounts to the side of your headtube to stash even more snacks? It's big enough to fit plenty of gels, bars and malt loaf or even an additional bottle, and there are three adjustable Velcro straps for optimal mounting and versatility across most frames; it's also made with a waterproof material so your flapjack doesn't get soggy.
Able to hold over a litre of liquid and fitting in 98% of standard cages according to Soma, this new bottle is aimed at endurance riders who want to go further without having to refill. At 30cm tall, the Further has graduated marks all the way up to help you get the right consistency if you are using hydration mixes, and is described as easy to grip and easy to squeeze thanks to the LDPE plastic construction. It's clear so you can see exactly how much liquid you still have left, and has been fully designed and made in the USA. Did Joh Stevenson appreciate the extra gulps on his latest long rides? Find out in the full review coming soon...
New for 2020, the stripped back version of the budget Dawes 201 is described as a "simple, lightweight and low maintenance machine", ideal for commuting or weekend pootling. It has a 6061 alloy frame, 1x 8 speed Shimano Altus gearing and Schwalbe Road Cruiser tyres mounted on sturdy quick-release alloy wheels; this should provide you with wide enough gearing for most scenarios and suitable traction so long as you're not venturing too far off road. Did Mat Lamy adore this Dawes?
The Vinci is a more affordable version of MET's top-level Trenta aero road lid, with the MIPS protection system and 360° adjustment fit system included. There are also two dedicated ports designed for securely docking sunglasses for longer climbs or during your coffee stop, and it's also compatible with MET's Duo rear led light. There are 16 vents to cool you down, and a reflective sticker to tick the visibility box - did the Vinci convince our tester? The review is due later in February...
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 road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc 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.