It’s the first day of April and what’s left me feeling like a fool is how quickly the year seems to have passed thus far.
But once we’ve (or at least I have) got over the constant march of time, the arrival of April does mean the bike industry has begun to move in full force, releasing a continual slew of products.
This week, we’ve seen Ridley launch a revamped version of its Kanzo Adventure gravel bike, with a progressive, mountain-bike inspired geometry and more than a dozen mounts for bags and accessories.
Factor also released the Lando, marking its entry into the cross-country mountain bike market.
For smaller people, Propain announced the Bam Bam balance bike, which has more than a couple of nods to The Flintstones.
We also saw a pretty novel grip idea for gravel bikes from Ere Research.
If the prospect of time outdoors has become a bit more attractive with the onset of spring and you’re looking for a new ride, we’ve put together our guide on how to buy your perfect bike in eight steps.
And if your shoes are looking a bit beaten up after the winter, we also published an update of our best cycling shoes list, featuring the wallet-friendly Triban GRVL 500 shoes.
Elsewhere, Simon von Bromley has been testing the Wahoo Powrlink Zero Speedplay power meter pedals and Matt Baird, editor of our sister title Cycling Plus, gave the Giro Eclipse Spherical helmet 4.5 stars.
Lazer Vento KinetiCore helmet
Lazer has just released the Vento, one of six helmets to feature the brand’s new rotational impact protection system, KinetiCore.
For a long time, Lazer has fitted its helmets with MIPS to help protect against oblique impacts. But KinetiCore is said to do the same thing without the added cost of licensing fees for the third-party technology.
KinetiCore works in a different way to MIPS. While MIPS is a separate layer added to a helmet that slides on impact, KinetiCore works like a crumple zone on a car, with foam sections in the helmet breaking off upon impact and minimising rotational forces transferring from the helmet to your head.
Lazer says that beyond reducing costs, KinetiCore has several other benefits. It allows for greater airflow in its helmets, lowers weight and increases ventilation. KinetiCore is also said to help reduce plastics because the system removes material to create a crumple zone rather than the addition of another protective element.
The fact sections of the helmet break on impact is also described by Lazer as a good thing. This will clearly signal that the helmet is no longer safe, something which isn’t necessarily obvious on other helmets, according to the brand.
The Vento is an aero helmet and it sits at the top of Lazer’s new range. It is said to be 2.3 per cent more aerodynamic and 5.4 per cent more ventilated than the outgoing Lazer Bullet 2.0.
The helmet has a ScrollSys belt to adjust the fit. There is also a port to attach Lazer’s Universal LED helmet light on the back.
- £259.99 / $299.99 / €269.99
Fizik Vento Argo 00 saddle
The Fizik Vento Argo 00 is the lightest version yet of the brand’s Argo short-nose saddle.
Designed specifically for race bikes, Fizik claims the 140mm version of the saddle weighs 134g, which is 45g lighter than the 140mm Vento Argo R1.
Fizik says the saddle has various design features that help it achieve its low weight.
The saddle has a high-modulus full-carbon shell and carbon fibre rails, described by Fizik as a “one-piece Mobius strip”.
Fizik has topped the carbon shell with injected EVA padding, said to have a low profile to minimise mass and maximise power transfer.
The Vento Argo 00 follows the trend for short-nose saddles, many of which have made their way into our best road bike saddles list. Our reviewers have found that some ensure comfort even in an aggressive riding position.
This is something Fizik aims to achieve with the Vento Argo 00. Fizik says the saddle places riders in a planted position for better weight distribution, and the dropped nose allows you to achieve a more aerodynamic position.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes
Fizik recently launched the Terra Atlas, described by the brand as possibly the most versatile shoe in its range. With mounts for two-bolt cleats, the brand says the Terra Atlas is suitable for gravel riding, mountain biking and bikepacking.
The Terra Atlas is based on the Fizik Terra X5 mountain bike shoes but has several adaptations to boost its versatility, while simultaneously lowering its price point.
The Terra Atlas has a slightly wider outsole than the Terra X5, which increases the room inside, and is said to balance performance with comfort.
The outsole is also said to improve grip and traction when compared to the Terra X5, thanks to the rubber coating across the whole of the sole.
The wide heel and flex in the shoe are said to make hiking with the bike easier. But Fizik says the shoe’s nylon insole still “ensures efficient pedalling”.
Unlike the Boa and Velcro closing setup on the Terra X5, the Terra Atlas closes with a single Boa dial.
I have the black/black colourway, but the Terra Atlas is also available in Army/black, grey/black, pink/Grape/black.
MAAP x P.A.M. collaboration
What is it with cycling and skateboarding brands collaborating?
Palace collaborated with Rapha and Cannondale for the Giro d’Italia and later with Cannondale for the Mad Boy collection. There was also the Castelli and Supreme collaboration in 2019.
Last year, MAAP collaborated on a range of cycling kit with the Australian skate brand Perks And Mini, and the two brands have come back together for a new, more casual collection of T-shirts and accessories.
I’ve got my hands on the cap and socks from the latest set of releases, which, like other cycling and skate collaborations (or even the Lachlan Morton and Rapha collaboration), feature psychedelic graphics, and chopped and changed logos. These socks and the cap read PAAM rather than MAAP, for instance.
Maybe it’s something to do with all the people riding fixies 10 years ago growing up and getting into road cycling (guilty). Or maybe it’s to do with cycling’s rise in popularity and passing into the fashion fold, opening the door for brand crossovers.
MAAP was recently included in Highsnobiety and LYST’s 20 performance brands to watch, which says high-performance clothes have become “an insider fashion reference”. LYST allegedly saw a 210 per cent increase in searches for MAAP over 2021, with Cafe du Cyclist and Pas Normal Studios also seeing an uptick in popularity.
- Cap: £25 / $35 / AU$45 / €30
- Socks: £18 / $25 / AU$35 / €20
G-Paint bike paint
G-Paint is described as an “all-in-one” repair kit for chipped or scratched paintwork on bikes.
Andy Griffiths, the founder of G-Paint, previously ran a golf club refurbishment company and produced the paint to fill in the graphics on golf clubs.
The company began to sell the paint online and realised that the cycling market offered a huge opportunity, because the paint could be used to keep bikes looking good.
The pack I received includes eight colours, which are said to have been selected because they match the most popular colours for bikes. There are also packs of four.
The paint can be used as it is, but G-Paint’s website also provides basic colour theory to help you mix the paint and match it to your bike.
The paint is said to stand up to harsh conditions better than nail varnish or enamel paint and can be applied without a primer or clear topcoat.
A paintbrush is included in the pack and the paints can be used on aluminium, steel and carbon fibre.
- 4-pack: £12.99
- 8-pack: £19.99