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Tech Roundup: starring Bianchi, Foffa, Met, Brooks + video

Plus new products from Hackney GT, Hermes, Skratch Labs and more

It might be nearly Christmas but the bike industry hasn't jacked it in for the holidays just yet. Here's our roundup of all the product news we've got our hands on over the past few days.

Foffa offer up to 30% off bikes

Foffa are currently holding a Christmas sale on 2014 stock, offering up to 30% off and free shipping until Christmas Day. As you might have noticed, that’s not too far off, so you need to get a move on here if you want to take advantage.

Foffa specialise in singlespeed/fixed bikes although we reviewed their Urban 7-Speed Nexus bike earlier in the year and really liked it, John describing it as a “splendid, practical & charming urban bike”. 

If you’re ordering from Europe you’ll get 25% off and if you’re ordering from the UK you’ll get 30% off.

Complete bikes usually start at £359.99. With the 30% off, they’re £251.99.

Details of how to claim the discount are given on Foffa’s homepage.


Met launch Drone time trial helmet

Met have launched a new time trial helmet – the 100th helmet they’ve developed since the company was founded in 1987 – which they say saves 10 watts at 50 km/h compared to the PAC, their previous aero model. They claim that it  proved better at reducing drag than any other competitor helmet they tested in the wind tunnel (naturally! They’ve not listed the other helmets they tested) .

“A revolutionary concept, the widebody takes a totally new approach to aero design, which includes increasing volume on the sides, thereby decreasing the turbulence and drag created by the rider’s clavicles,” says Met.

A polycarbonate visor fits snug against the helmet to improve the aerodynamics.

This short video tells the helmet’s story.

Drone widebody - two years in the making from Met Board on Vimeo.

The Drone is priced at £249. For more info go to Met's website.

Hermes Sport comes to the UK

California’s Hermes Sport has unveiled the new VK series road bike wheels, designed in-house and made predominantly of US-manufactured parts. The firm is working in conjunction with The Aftermarket to bring this new product line to the UK market. 

The hubs and aluminium rims are made in the USA, while other components like spokes and freehubs are made in Europe. The project began in 2012 as an effort to design a new hub, but Hermes Sport say that it became apparent that the ideal hub design precluded the use of existing rims, so they eventually came up with a complete system wheelset design. 

Hermes Sport say that they’ve pushed the flange width as wide as possible to make their wheels stiffer without a weight penalty, they use oversized axles, and they have a magnetic freehub system.

The VK51 wheelset (£1,275), available in both tubular and clincher versions, has carbon rims that are 50mm deep and 24.5mm wide.

The VK11 wheelset (£620) is much shallower and has 23mm wide aluminium rims.

Both wheel weights are projected to be around 1,450g when they are released in the new year.

Preorders are now open through for the VK11 wheelset, with orders opening soon for the VK51.

For more info go to the Hermes Sport website.


Tour de Cuisine cookbook features favorite recipes of top pros

A new cookbook called Tour de Cuisine contains the favourite recipes of 53 top professional cyclists including Cadel Evans, Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan and Jens Voigt.

The book has been produced by Bora, the new-name sponsor of the German pro team BORA – Argon 18 from 2015 on. Bora is a manufacturer of cooktops and cooktop extractor systems, hence the cookbook link.

Tour de Cuisine, priced at €39.90 on Amazon, is published by Teubner Verlag and the English version is ISBN: 978-3-8338-4642-7.


Bianchi and Thomson Bike Tours join forces

Bianchi have joined forces with Thomson Bike Tours to offer a range of cycling tours around the world, all of them on the Bianchi Infinito CV

The first tour will take place in Bianchi’s homeland of Lombardia in northern Italy, 9-16 May 2015.

The one-week tour will include participation to the Granfondo Bianchi-Gimondi in Bergamo, a visit to Bianchi’s factory in Treviglio, dinner night at new Bianchi Cafè & Cycles Milano, a complete Bianchi Reparto Corse kit, and accommodation in three and four star hotels.

It’s not cheap, though. You’re looking at US$4,895 per person based on double occupancy.

Go to the Thomson Bike Tours website for more details. 

Skratch Labs nutrition being launched in UK

Sports nutrition from US brand Skratch Labs is about to be launched in the UK. It’s a busy market but Skratch Labs reckon their point of difference from most is that their products are natural and they’re guaranteed not to upset your stomach.

Skratch Labs was set up by Dr Allen Lim who worked as a sports scientist and coach for Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling Team. Dr Lim says he realised that high-sugar bars and drinks were causing upset stomachs among the riders so he started mixing his own sports drinks to replace lost salts and electrolytes.

A 24g serving of the Skratch Exercise Hydration Mix contains 21g of carbs, with 360mg of sodium and 40mg of potassium. It is available in six different flavours including orange, apple and cinnamon (designed to be drunk hot), and raspberry. The orange version, for example, doesn’t contain orange flavouring, it contains oranges.

We have samples to try out here at and a quick taste test says the drinks go down really well. They’re sweet but not ridiculously sweet.

Individual sachets cost £1.50 with boxes of 20 sachets priced at £24.95 (£1.25 per 500ml drink). It’s much cheaper to buy a resealable bag containing 20 servings for £13.95 (70p per drink).

Skratch Labs also have a cookbook, called The Feed Zone, that is aimed at athletes. The idea is it gives you 150 recipes for food that’s going to benefit you both on and off the bike. It’s priced at £23.95 and we have a copy in for review.

For more info go to

Brooks England move into small leather goods

If you like a Brooks leather saddle, you can now get leather goods like wallets and passport holders made from the same materials and to the same standards.


John Boultbee, trademark of Brooks England, has a new JB Small Leather Goods Collection featuring the same high quality vegetable-tanned leather used for Brooks saddles.

Each piece is made entirely from just one piece of leather which is cut and worked by hand in Tuscany.

JB Small Leather Goods are available from £20 at Brooks retailers and at

Hackney GT update Christmas jersey

Hackney GT have updated their Christmas style All-Year Fleece Lined jacket (£69.99) with a new colour option. This is the Giro version, as in Giro d’Italia, because it’s green, white and red, like the Italian tricolore. The existing green and white version is still available at the same price.

It is made from mid-weight fleece-lined polyester with a full-length hidden zip.

You can buy from Hackney GT's website. The last order date for UK delivery before Christmas is Monday, 22 December. 


Tenspeed Hero’s Sunshine Fendor-Bendor

Wit Industries have teamed up with Chicago-based clothing brand Tenspeed Hero to produce a Fendor-Bendor mudguard with sunshine graphics. They’re priced at €14.95.

You can also get a Sunshine Cap with the same graphics, priced at €16.95.

Buy both together from the Wit Industries website and the cost is €25 rather than €31.90.

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 technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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.

Add new comment


nortonpdj | 9 years ago

The Fendor-Bendor may protect the rider but I wouldn't want to ride behind him on a club ride.
I think this type of "mudguard" is technically known as a chocolate teapot  21

fukawitribe replied to nortonpdj | 9 years ago
nortonpdj wrote:

The Fendor-Bendor may protect the rider but I wouldn't want to ride behind him on a club ride.
I think this type of "mudguard" is technically known as a chocolate teapot  21

Nah, jobbies like the Ass Saver, the Velox Rear Saver and this do actually guard your own arse quite effectively from mud and crap, which is what they're designed for... and in anyway case


stealth | 9 years ago

Like the look of the MET helmet. Finally a TT lid that may fit properly over my (ridiculously) large ears!!

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