Happy Friday everyone, and welcome to another edition of First Look Friday, where we take a peak at some of the kit that’s landed with us recently.
Before we jump in, let me share a quick highlights reel of the top stories this week on BikeRadar.
First up, we saw Santa Cruz update its Tallboy to bring its frame features in line with the brand’s other bikes and refresh its geometry. Pirelli released its Cinturato Gravel S tyre, designed for tackling the grottiest conditions, just in time for the seasons to change.
Continuing the tyres theme, Specialized added three new tubeless tyres to its S-Works Turbo range. Check out the article for a thorough look at the new rubber.
It hasn’t all been news this week, though. Plenty of reviews have gone live in the past seven days, including the exotic Pole Voima electric mountain bike, plus a host of fast mountain bike tyres from the likes of Vittoria, Teravail and Specialized.
What’s more, with the 2022 UCI World Championships well under way, we told you how to watch all the action from one of the biggest events of the year.
Elsewhere, make sure you check out our YouTube channel for a closer look at one of the most anticipated products to be released this year. Jack Luke gets his hands on Shimano’s 105 Di2 groupset for a deep dive into the new kit.
And, while you’re hunting for alternative forms of media, we’ve got a great episode of the BikeRadar podcast, where George sits down with Trek’s director of road bikes, Jordan Roessingh, to discuss the development of the new Madone and Domane. Put the kettle on and enjoy!
Industry Nine Enduro 305 V3 wheels
Industry Nine’s best-selling wheel has seen some updates to improve its ride character and puncture-protection performance.
The aluminium rim receives a 45 per cent increase in bead wall thickness in an attempt to reduce pinch flats.
The wheel is intended to be hard-charging and capable of withstanding repeated laps at the bike park as well as enduro racing duties.
To improve ride feel in these places, the rim features a shallower profile, with the aim of enhancing radial compliance. This is designed to improve traction and help riders hold lines through rough sections of trail.
Size-wise, everything is covered, from 26in to 27.5in and 29in wheels. The internal rim width is 30.5mm, and the recommended tyre widths are 2.3 to 2.6in.
They have a 32-hole spoke count using direct-pull spokes that thread into the hub and rim with an integrated nipple.
One novel thing about these wheels is you can customise the spokes from 11 different anodised colours. Sure, this adds cost to the wheels, but you can get a wheel to colour match your bike if that takes your fancy.
The wheels use Industry Nine’s HYDRA hub with its 0.52-degree freehub engagement for near-instant pick-up. The wheels are ebike-rated with a maximum rider weight of 113kg. Claimed weights max out at 1,850g from a set of 29in wheels.
Hayes Dominion T4 brakes
These new four-piston brakes see Hayes take the formula for the impressive Dominion A4 brakes and shave off a bunch of weight, while trying to maintain the same performance.
They still use the same four 17mm pistons, but the caliper has undergone additional machining to remove any excess material. The brake pads use an aluminium back plate. The bolts and banjo fittings are titanium to help save grams too.
The calipers still feature the Crosshair alignment screw that helps you set up the caliper to prevent rubbing, which is a neat feature. Also, it carries over the ‘Two-Stroke’ bleed port, which enables you to bleed each brake piston individually.
The lever sees a new carbon lever blade from Hayes’ sister company, Reynolds, and a composite reservoir cap. Reach and bite adjustments are no longer tool-free, though. The lever hardware is titanium, but it maintains the sealed cartridge bearings for the blade to pivot on.
All these details mean the brake has seen a 22 per cent weight reduction, or 55g (front brake, no mounting hardware) over the Hayes A4. It weighs just 250g, which is pretty light for a four-piston brake. To put that in perspective, it’s 15g lighter than a Shimano XTR M8120 front brake.
ABUS AirDrop MIPS helmet
German security giant ABUS is making more and more waves in the cycling segment. The brand’s first full-face MTB helmet is its attempt to gain more coverage (pun intended) in the off-road market.
The new AirDrop is designed as a lightweight enduro full-face helmet with plenty of ventilation. In addition, it comes with MIPS to help reduce rotational impact forces, and the chin bar is ASTM 1952 Downhill racing certified.
The shell is in-moulded to the EPS foam for a more durable connection between the two. There are 11 air inlets and six exit ports for a healthy dose of ventilation. What’s more, the helmet uses ABUS Communication Channels around the ear to help improve spacial awareness and balance – essential for MTB riding.
Other safety features include EVA foam collarbone protection inserts to reduce impact force in case of helmet contact with the clavicle in a crash. In addition, there’s a D-loop buckle and adjustable cradle connected to the MIPS liner to help tailor the fit.
Changeable check pads also help fine-tune the fit, while a breakaway peak is a helpful addition. Another piece of tech incorporated into the helmet is QUIN. This is an integrated acceleration sensor that detects falls. In the event of an accident, the system sends alerts to emergency contacts.
Exposure Zenith Mk2
Updated for 2023, Exposure’s Zenith Mk2 light pumps out a maximum of 2,100 lumens from three LED lights. These are designed to give a long throw and wide beam to highlight as much of the trail as possible when riding at night and deliver a white light.
Nine possible modes give you a run time between one and 18 hours from the 5000mAh battery.
One of these modes is the ‘tap’ mode. This enables you to tap the light’s body to change the lumen output to one of three levels of brightness, saving you from having to hunt for the function button on the light.
The body is made from anodised 6063 aluminium and weighs 148g. It’s been machined with cooling bands to help dissipate heat. If the LEDs become too hot, power is automatically reduced to provide the optimum operating temperature. When they have cooled down, full power will be usable again.
An LED on the rear of the light indicates battery levels. It’s not cheap, but the Zenith Mk2 has some impressive features and power output.