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Five cool things coming soon from Merlin, Rapha, Shadow Stand, Muc-Off and Topeak

Another selection of the finest and most fascinating things we're testing at the moment, with full test reports coming soon...

We hope you're all enjoying a final blast of sun before the weather turns. We certainly are, as the test products continue to fly in and out of towers! Here are the highlights this week...

Rapha Pro Team Crit Jersey


2020 Rapha Pro Team Crit Jersey - pockets.jpg

This aero jersey was designed specifically for criterium racing, with an insert added to display your race number. "Built for speed" according to Rapha, particular attention has also been made to ensure there are plenty of reflective applications to make you stand out on the start line, with the design also inspired by road markings. As you'd expect, Rapha say the jersey is lightweight and breathable with plenty of stretch. Did Jamie Williams turn heads while railing bends at his latest crit? Find out in his full review soon...

Merlin Malt G2X GRX 2021


2021 Merlin Malt G2X GRX.jpg

Weighing in at 10.18kg, the 2021 Malt G2X with Shimano GRX components is Merlin's top-of-the-range aluminium gravel model despite the attractive price, and is now in its third iteration. Featuring revised geometry to enhance comfort for long rides, it has a triple-butted aluminium frame with 12mm thru-axles front and rear, and Merlin say it's ideal for tackling a wide variety of terrain: muddy trails, gravel tracks, green lanes... the Malt G2X can handle it all. Cable routing that is mostly internal also gives a cleaner look than most similarly-priced gravel bikes, and offers more protection from grit and grime.  
Did the Malt melt the gravel tracks around Stu Kerton's neck of the woods? His test report is due shortly.

Muc-Off Rim Stix


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Yep, they're tyre levers... but Muc-Off claim their Rim Stix aren't just any old tyre levers, saying they are designed specifically for easy tyre removal without the danger of damaging your rims or pinching tubes, no matter how tough your tyres are to fit. High strength materials make them sturdy and grippy, "making even the toughest of tyre removals painless", say Muc-Off. They say the tip is engineered "with the perfect scoop angle", and there's even a handy valve core remover built in. Are they now Matt Page's levers of choice? Find out later this month.

Shadow Stand bike photography aid


2020 Shadow Stand Photography Aid 1.jpg

It might be minuscule and weigh just 18g, but this tiny accessory is generating plenty of noise over on our Instagram page. Ideal for snapping your pride and joy on a picturesque ride, the Shadow Stand attaches to your crank and will be completely invisible in (most) photographs. One pitfall noted by some of our Insta followers is that the design of the stand means the crank is at six o'clock, when discerning bike photography fans often demand the cranks are perfectly horizontal in the three o'clock position. Shadow Stand say on their Facebook page: "Yeah...those strict Velominati rules! I've got that point if it's all about the bike itself, for sure. In this case I thought it worth to sacrifice the horizontal position to make the stand small enough to fit into a rear pocket. Also with this gadget it could be more about the scenery and the bike, not just the bike."
Worth sticking in your pocket to make some two-wheeled memories? Mike Stead will be telling us his opinion soon.

Topeak Barloader


2020 Topeak Barloader.jpg

This bar-mounted bag from Topeak weighs in at 371g, and can take loads of up to 3kg. It has "ultrasonic welded seams", a roll-top closure and weatherproof zips, providing plenty of secure protection for your gear no matter how muddy your route is. It can also be attached and removed quickly and easily with the Velcro straps, and there is also a detachable shoulder strap for carrying off the bike. Lara Dunn is testing it right now, with a test report coming soon...

For all the 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

Arriving at 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 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.  

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