Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Five cool things coming soon from Van Nicholas, Rapha + Bang & Olufsen, Castelli, Pirelli and Sportful

Another fine selection of bikes, gear and clothing that we're testing at the moment, with full reviews coming soon...

Spooky, eery riding over the weekend with all that fog! Hills creep up on you, but it’s great fun. Although it would have been hard to see us, we were out and about on the roads (and gravel) putting some neat bits of kit to test. Here’s a few of the top pickings…

Van Nicholas Rowtag


2021 Van Nicholas Rowtag - head tube.jpg

The Van Nicholas Rowtag is the brand’s titanium gravel racer that is designed to cross over from rough tracks to smooth roads and anything in between, with a balanced geometry that is said to inspired confidence. Multiple frame mounts are included for maximum versatility for longer adventures, with two on the top tube, seat tube and bottom of the down tube, as well as three on top of the down tube. Integrated cables throughout keep the frame uncluttered. Other neat features include an integrated tapered headset, disc brakes and thru-axles, and the frame is optimised to allow for a dropper post, if that’s your thing. Mat Brett has been testing the Rowtag with a 2x11 Shimano GRX set up, and with 650B wheels wrapped in 48mm robust Panaracer Gravelking SK tyres. His full report is incoming soon…

Rapha + Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport wireless earphones


2020 Rapha + Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport earphones - inside charging case.jpg

These new limited edition Beoplay E8 Sport earphones, released from a collaboration between Rapha and the Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen, are sweat-proof (IP57-certified) as they are intended for indoor training sessions. “World class audio” is promised, and the variety of ear tips and fins that are included are said to ensure a secure fit even when sprinting out of the saddle. Seven hours of battery life per charge should cover the length of most rider’s turbo needs. There’s also an extra three charges inside the wireless charging case before you need to plug it in at the socket. At £300, are these a worthwhile addition to your indoor training set up? Mat Brett has been finding out and his test report will be landing shortly.

Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoecover Unisex


2021 Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoecover Unisex - side.jpg

These aero cut Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoe covers are optimised for riding in the rain with its waterproof PU-coated stretch fabric and waterproof rear zipper to prevent water from getting inside. A silicone lined cuff with a cross wrap Velcro strap should also seal off any water trickling down the leg and entering this way.

> Buyer's guide: Best cycling overshoes

With the fleece lining inside these promise to keep your feet warm in cold weather, and are said to be suitable for riding from -2 to 12 degrees. Mat Brett has been hunting out the rain to test the waterproof claims of these overshoes and his report is due in soon…

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M Classic Tyre


2021 Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M classic

Pirelli’s Cinturato Gravel M Classic tyres are tubeless ready, and designed for mixed terrain use. The 527g tyres feature knobs with average height and spacing which is said to guarantee high performance on varied terrain, in all weather conditions as well.

> First ride on Pirelli’s Cinturato Gravel M Classic tyres

Pirelli's SpeedGRIP Compound promises to provide mechanical resistance and chemical grip without compromising rolling efficiency. Rob Wilmott has been testing how these perform on dirt tracks and gnarlier sections, and he will be delivering his verdict shortly…

Sportful WS Essential 2 Glove


2021 Sportful WS Essential 2 Glove - palm.jpg

Sportful’s WS Essential 2 Glove has a Gore Windstopper on the back for a warm defence, paired with a fleece-lined palm that has light padding. Sportful says the gloves are suitable for rides in five degrees plus, and they've been fitted with a Velcro closure.

> Buyer's guide: Best winter cycling gloves to keep your hands warm and dry

Useful touches such as an Ultrasuede wipe strip on the thumb and a reflective logo are also included. With a wide range of sizes from XS to XXL, do these gloves provide the dialed-in fit they promise? Rob Wilmott has been putting these to the test and will be delivering his verdict 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.

Add new comment


DoctorFish | 3 years ago

The Rowtag looks great.  Eagerly clicked the link to learn more.  Press fit BB.  Why?

Sriracha | 3 years ago

"mechanical resistance and chemical grip"???
Translated in translation? Surely they mean chemical resistance and mechanical grip?

Drinfinity replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago

Chemical resistance and mechanical grip would be useful for gloves in a lab. I think what they are trying to imply is the material  will deform around wrinkles in the road mechanically, and is a high friction compound. Which would be a remarkable  feature if every other rubber tyre ever made didn't already work the same way.

Sriracha replied to Drinfinity | 3 years ago

Well, yes, so they are on about Van der Waals forces, a "sticky" tyre, like a F1 tyre? You can actually see the grit sticking to the tyre. More physics than chemistry, but I doubt it's a design factor here anyway. Or is there another interpretation of "chemical grip" that I'm missing?

wycombewheeler replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago

coated in a sticky substance? not sure how long that would last though, especially off road.

Sriracha replied to wycombewheeler | 3 years ago

Not coated so much as made from a 'sticky' (I can't see any other meaning for "chemical grip") grade of rubber, so it won't just rub off. But, I don't see how a sticky tyre would work for a bike, once it was coated in a layer of stuck on dust. Just like the sticky rubber suction cups for phone dash mounts, they don't stick unless clean. I presume that with an F1 tyre the constant wear is forever exposing a fresh surface. But this bike tyre claims, apparently, to be mechanically resistant, so does that mean it wears more slowly? It all sounds like marketing twaddle to me - or a translation error.

rjfrussell | 3 years ago

Are disc brakes still a "neat feature"?  Are they not now, like, just, you know, "brakes".


CAnstead replied to rjfrussell | 3 years ago

Absolutely. The calling out of tapered steerers and headtubes more so, it’s like these reviews have just got a checklist of sh!t to say that hasn’t been updated for years!

WeLoveHills | 3 years ago

"cintura" ==> "cinturato"

Latest Comments