It's beginning to look a lot like
Christmas that time of year when rides are miserable...so to cheer us up, here's a look at some of the coolest products that we've currently got out for review.
The full mudguards on the very pretty Mason could come in handy. Is Markus Stitz' new book going on your Christmas list? We've also got tyres to cope with sloppy gravel, aero wheels to get you home before the rain and a turbo trainer for when outside is just too big an ask...
The Mason SLR (Super Long Range) is designed for allroad and touring with space for 40mm rubber, full mudguards and plenty of attachment points. The steel frame features a custom-shaped, progressively-butted, phosphate-coated Dedacciai Zero/Zero Uno tubeset that is made exclusively for this frame. Given how well other Masons have reviewed, this one has a good shot of making it into our best road bikes buyer's guide.
Our size 54cm test bike with full mudguards, Sram Force 2x eTap AXS groupset and Mason X Hunt AllRoad Disc wheelset weighs in at 9.9kg on our scales of truth. Mason says that the SLR is a "result of our focus on ride quality, long-distance performance, and luxury grand-touring capabilities." Will Stu agree? His full review will be coming in the next couple of weeks.
Hed has an envious reputation when it comes to aerodynamics, and the 61mm deep Vanquish wheels claim to "seamlessly blend speed, control and style while remaining cost-effective".
The carbon rims are handmade in Minnesota, measure a modern 21mm internally, and are laced with Sapim CX-Sprint spokes using a two-cross spoke lacing pattern.
These aren't the lightest 60mm-or-so deep wheels and come in at 1,681g on our scales. They're tubeless-ready and feature hooked rims for the greatest choice of tyres. Ours didn't come pre-taped but (spoiler) they did hold their own in our recent wheels aero testing (full video coming soon!) They're currently on offer at an impressive £719.99, a tidy 40% saving off RRP.
Gravel riding is booming, but just where is the best gravel in the UK? Well in Great British Gravel Rides, Markus Stitz shares a collection of 25 routes – each a favourite of a passionate gravel cyclist that explores where you and your mates should take your best gravel bikes across England, Wales and Scotland.
Each route is illustrated with action photography and overview mapping, and the book also includes downloadable GPX files. We've locked Iwein in a room with this one to make sure he's done in time for Christmas! Is it the ultimate gift for the budding gravel explorer?
We've already tested the Cinturato Gravel M and Gravel H tyres from Pirelli, designed for mixed and hardpack surfaces respectively, and found them very good. This latest 'S' version is designed for soft and muddy terrain and hence has the most aggressive tread in the range.
Like many of the best gravel tyres, these have a gravel-specific compound dubbed 'SpeedGRIP' and are available in 40, 45 and 50mm widths with both tan or black sidewalls. The Gravel S could well be the perfect tyre to tame the recent deluge, and Stu has been on the case to find out...
Of course, for many people, this time of year means one thing... indoor training. The Wahoo Kickr has long been one of the best turbo trainers out there, and this sixth generation keeps many of the same features such as +/- 1% power accuracy, 2,200w resistance and 20% gradient simulation, but now adds Wifi connectivity, ERG easy ramp mode and an odometer to track mileage into the mix.
Wahoo says that the new Kickr smart trainer "continues to stay ahead of the pack as the smart trainer that gives you the most ways to connect, compete and train indoors." We've let Aaron - our in-house national-level eSports racer - loose with this one, and his full verdict will be dropping shortly...
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...