road.cc visited The Bike Place trade show at Silverstone yesterday and we saw loads of new kit. Here’s the most interesting clothing, helmets and shoes...
We showed you a video of Sugoi’s new Zap jacket a couple of weeks ago but yesterday was the first chance we had to see it for ourselves.
In daylight, the Zap jacket looks like many others but with tiny dots (Sugoi call them ‘pixels’) covering the outer surface.
They’re actually tiny glass beads that reflect in light from car headlights or, in this case, the road.cc flash gun. Impressive, huh?
The jacket is said to be fully waterproof, with taped seams, and it’ll be available from September in red, yellow and black, priced at £99.99.
The Zap range also includes these booties (£55) which look incredibly reflective. Plus, they should prove particularly visible because, as footwear, they’re constantly moving. Sugoi also do Zap arm warmers (£30) and a Zap hat (£18), both with plenty of reflectivity.
The Versa isn’t a new model but it has been redesigned in a more bike-specific cut than before (there’s a running version too). The Versa is windproof and waterproof and its party piece is that it’s convertible from a jacket into a gilet.
The arms and yoke are held in place by magnets. When you want to use it as a gilet, you just detach that single piece and stow it in a rear pocket. Easy peasy.
A new lightweight Sugoi RSE jersey (£130) will arrive in May. It is a high-end laser-cut option with some neat little features like silicone patterning inside the hem to hold it in place against your shorts. A women’s RSE jersey will be available for £100.
Sugoi have redesigned their RS Pro bib shorts for women to make mid-ride toilet stops easier. Clips on the bibs allow the shorts to come down without the need to take off a jersey.
The straps don’t come entirely off so re-arrangement afterwards should be straightforward enough. Clever!
This is the women’s RS jersey (£75) that comes with mesh panels for plenty of breathability. It uses the same fabrics that the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team use. You get four pockets around the back, including a zipped security pocket.
Sugoi are also particularly proud of their Trisuit RS (£100) which is largely made of fast-drying breathable mesh. It has pockets for gels and whatnot and it comes with their Tri Lite pad which is designed to provide protection during the bike leg of a triathlon without getting in the way too much when you run.
Sugoi’s UK distributor is www.cyclingsportsgroup.co.uk.
Craft has just taken over as the clothing sponsor to the Orica-GreenEDGE pro cycling team (home to British riders Adam and Simon Yates) and the big news from the Swedish brand is its new wet weather gear that will be issued to the team and available to buy.
The Elite Bike Rain Jacket is said to be – as you might expect of a rain jacket – waterproof, with taped seams throughout.
The lightweight jacket is made from super-breathable eVent fabric with a tail that can be either poppered up out of the way, or dropped down to provide more butt coverage. It comes in a bike-specific cut, of course, so there’s no excess fabric when you’re in a bent-over ride position. Stretchy panels along the sides and underneath the arms are designed to stop the close fit feeling tight or restrictive. It’ll retail at £185 when it arrives in April.
The new Craft Tech Jacket (above, £160) will be available from about September. This one is made from VentAir which is windproof and water resistant (rather than waterproof). It’s a really stretchy laminate fabric that’s laser cut.
Legwarmers will be available with Ventair panels at the front too (£40)...
...as will fully taped overshoes.
For more info go to craftsportswear.co.uk.
Swiss shoe brand Suplest have updated their range for 2014, this S8+ being a new model. They come with one-piece uppers so there are no seams to bother you, and a dial closure.
Other shoes in the range come with a choice of ratchet or Velcro closure for the upper strap, and either carbon or vinyl soles.
The shoes have an anti-slip lining at the back to prevent heel-lift. That’s a change from the last time we reviewed a pair of Suplest shoes about 18 months ago. Other brands, such as Shimano, use something similar. Pushing your foot into the shoe feels normal but there’s a lot of friction when you pull up against the grain.
The heel protectors on the outsole are replaceable. You just remove the insole to reveal the fittings. That should add to the shoes’ life.
All of that grey finish is reflective. It doesn’t really look it in daylight, but shine a light on there and it shines.
Suplest have a new UK distribution deal with velobrands.co.uk who will have stock from March.
Italian clothing brand RedLevel will now be more widely available in the UK through Impact Cycle Trading (home to Fondriest Bicycles). We can’t say we know loads about RedLevel (Planet X did sell some of the range for a while) but they’re specialists in next-to-skin wear – base layers, socks, arm and leg warmers, and so on – with minimal seams.
RedLevel use ceramic and carbon performance fabrics and they do their manufacturing in Italy. We’re badgering the guys at Impact to send us some samples to review here on road.cc.
Italian helmet brand Kask are launching a new design called the Infinity (or the Infinito, if you want to be all Italian about it) and the first production version was hot from the box. We first told you about this lid last summer when Team Sky began using it in the Tour de France.
The big talking point here is Kask’s use of adjustable vents. You can open or close the front vents one handed while you’re on the bike, or leave it somewhere in between – so you can switch between an aero helmet and a fully vented helmet.
Kask claim that the Infinity’s 'side rib' disturbs the airflow over the sides of the helmet to minimise the low pressure area formed at the back of the helmet, and therefore reduces drag.
Kask give a weight of 260g (for a medium model) and the Infinity will be priced at £220 when it hits the shops. The UK distributor is velobrands.co.uk.
Finally we were very taken with the latest version of Kask's Vertigo helmet. It's another pro level lid which sits second in Kask's range behind the Infinity. We reviewed it a few years back and it impressed then - our eye was caught by this C50 version which Kask have produced in a range of different flag designs - that's the Union Jack one at the top of this story… but you knew that. It comes with all the range of features you'd expect from a top end lid and a welcome emphasis on build quality and rider comfort and here's a final pic before we go. No need to salute. Unless you want to.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.