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The bikes and kit I'm most looking forward to testing this year

David's shortlist of bikes and products he wants to test this year

Wow what a busy year 2014 turned out to be. The industry appears to be in overdrive at the moment churning out new products and bikes, and sometimes, honestly, it's hard to keep up. And 2015 looks set to be even busier. I was fortunate to ride some interesting bikes and products last year, but what am I most looking forward to testing this year you ask? Here's a quick roundup. 

Obviously, it’s only possible to mention bikes and products I actually know are coming out this year. There are sure to be a lot of products launched that during the year that we just don’t know about at this point in the year. Will Campagnolo's rumoured disc brake be launched this year, will FSA be any closer to revealing the electronic groupset they're supposed to be working on, and will Giant update the TCR? It's long overdue for an update.

SRAM's wireless groupset - rideable samples this year?

Everyone knows this is coming, the first ever wireless groupset looks to become a reality quite soon. It appears to have passed muster in some US races last year, and the photos we've seen do show what appears to be a very nearly finished product.

After the recall issue it had with its hydraulic disc brakes that spanned most of a year, SRAM won’t be taking any risks and will be aiming to have everything perfectly ready for a slick launch. Could that launch be at the Tour? That’s the usual favourite for getting as much press coverage of a brand new product. We will see.

Specialized Diverge and GT Grade 'gravel' bikes

The gravel riding scene is hugely popular in the US and this success has spawned a whole new category of bikes, and the Specialized Diverge and GT Grade are two brand new models that best represent this new direction, both launched at the end of last year as 2015 models, and they’re just about available.

In truth, a touring or cyclocross bike could fulfill the purpose of riding over a multitude of terrain with the capacity of big tyres. But the idea of a gravel bike, perhaps better defined as an adventure bike over here, is gaining a lot of traction with cyclists who want a bike that is a bit more capable than a regular race bike, can take wider tyres so you have more choice if you want to venture away from the smooth stuff. The geometry tends to flutter somewhere between a road and cyclocross bike, and disc brakes are a key ingredient, and rack and mudguard mounts are making them an appealing choice for commuters and tourers. Interesting bikes, it’ll be intriguing to see if they actually live up to the hype.

FSA's ‘delta’ brake

With disc brakes becoming increasingly widespread on new bikes, you might think the humble caliper rim brake is destined for the Big Box of Old Unloved Cycling Products, but not according to FSA. The Italian company showed off this delta brake at Eurobike last year. And I don’t mind admitting I think it looks stunning. There’s absolutely no information on it anywhere so no idea if it’ll surface this year, but I do hope it does.

Could this new brake form part of the 11-speed electronic groupset company is rumoured to be working on?

Zipp’s new 404 Firestrike wheels

First they had Firecrest, then last year Zipp launched the latest evolution of its aero wheels, Firestrike. Zipp wheels have long led where others follow, and the Firecrest popularised the idea of a wider rim profile for improved aerodynamics and better compatibility with the growing trend for wider tyres.

The Firestrike takes things to another level, with a wider rim profile both internally and externally at the braking track, and a new dimpled pattern which the company claims provides a 34% reduction in side force, which should create a much more stable wheel in strong crosswinds.

Zipp has also developed a new braking surface with a silicon carbide surface which it reckons results in braking performance in wet conditions that are equal to aluminium rims. Braking performance has long been the massive downside to running carbon rims, so it’ll be interesting to see if they live up Zipp’s claims.

Colnago C60 Disc

When Colnago announced the new C60 last year, it also revealed it had developed a C60 Disc at the same time as the regular version. The Italian company has been taking this dual approach with all its latest models, even the V1-r aero road bike. I was really taken with the C60, a fine blend of handling, speed, stiffness and smoothness. Could disc brakes be the cherry on top? One way to find out, hopefully I’ll get to swing a leg over one this year, I say hopefully because Colnago haven’t made the C60 Disc available yet, despite announcing it earlier last year.

Stan’s No Tubes Grail wide tubeless rims

Wide rims are in fashion. I first had a ride on the new Grail tubeless rim from Stan’s at the GT Grade launch last year and I was very impressed. Stan’s take their tubeless technology and put it into a very wide rim, 21mm internal and 24mm external, which is a boon for anyone interested in riding wider tyres. Really can’t wait to get these an extended test.

Bowman Pilgrims disc-equipped aluminium frameset

I’m a fan of disc brakes on road bikes. And one of the new disc-specific bikes that I saw last in 2014, is the Pilgrims from new brand Bowman Cycles. It’s an aluminium frame, so the price will be good, and it’ll have plentiful stiffness, and it looks to have the sort of geometry that should make it a good companion for all the sort of riding I do most of the time, with the added benefit of accommodating a pair of fat tyres. And if it goes anything like as well as the Palace frameset, which just walked off with the recent Frameset of the Year award, it should be a cracker. 

The even faster Cervelo S5

From the company that first introduced the concept of aero road bikes with its Soloist many years ago, the completely revamped S5 garnered a lot of attention at Eurobike where it was first unveiled. The previous S5 was a bit of an ugly duckling, but the new model looks much cleaner, and it should be faster if the Canadian company’s claims are to be believed. The S5 is considered by many people to be the fastest aero road bike, so it might have just raised the benchmark with the new bike.

Lightweight disc brake wheelset

Disc brakes on road bikes is a technology in its infancy, and one unavoidable penalty is the higher weight. That Lightweight, makers of some of the lightest carbon fibre wheels, are making a disc brake wheelset is very interesting. They were showing this prototype at Eurobike, and the one interesting detail is the adoption of Shimano's screw-on CentreLock rotor mount, rather than the more common 6-bolt standard. Sure they're going to be crazy expensive, but the upshot is going to be seriously light disc wheels.

Argon 18 Nitrogen aero road bike

Another aero bike, and from that other Canadian bicycle company, Argon 18. I’m a fan of the Gallium, a fine handling bike that manages to balance stiffness and comfort to just the right degree, will it have managed the same balancing act with the Nitrogen aero road bike. And with Argon 18 now joining the professional ranks and sponsoring a team, expect to see a lot more of its bikes out and about.

Is there anything you're looking forward to seeing tested this year?

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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