It's miserable out there, but you don't have to be miserable on the bike if you dress for the occasion! While anyone who has cycled home through a blizzard or thunderstorm might not totally agree with the old saying that 'there's no such thing as bad weather' if you're wearing appropriate kit, it doesn't half help... so we'll be trying out lots of warm and waterproof kit in the next few months as always. With that said, here's the best of our test pile this week.
It's shiny, it's over 500 quid... and whatever you think of the absoluteBlack Hollowcage OSPW, it can't be denied that the Polish brand has managed to generate itself a huge amount of internet column inches, leaving YouTubers incensed and the rest of us wondering if even quite a significant aero and efficiency gain for your drivetrain is ever going to be worth the same as a perfectly serviceable entry-level road bike.
At launch absoluteBlack promised "a new era" for silent derailleur operation, saying that the unique mono-plate design is "the quietest, best shifting, aerodynamic cage design created to date." The 60% sound reduction and flexible build that means the Hollowcage tips the scales at just 71g differentiates it from other oversized pulley systems. absoluteBlack is also claiming aero savings as well as decreased friction. Do the claims stack up? And even if the Hollowcage surpasses expectations, should you really spend £519 on it? Jamie Williams is doing his homework and will be reporting back soon...
Yes we uploaded our first ride report of Shimano GRX Di2 two years ago now... but some stuff happened since then which made getting more of it rather difficult, so here we are. Proclaimed as the “world’s first dedicated gravel component groupset" (Campagnolo has since launched its bigger cassetted Ekar of course) Shimano promises GRX isn't simply a reworking of road components, and was made specifically for cyclists who want to explore. In its Di2 guise you can have 1x or 2x drivetrains, and Shimano has made numerous modifications for riding rougher terrain, such as a higher braking pivot which makes braking on the hoods easier. The lever is also reshaped to be wider, and the hoods are ribbed for more grip in poor weather.
If you can ever find it in stock... is it worth making your drivetrain gravel-specific with Shimano's GRX Di2? Stu Kerton's verdict is coming soon.
This tiny tool with a less tiny price might be the ultimate compact torque wrench. With a value range of 4-20 Nm, it has a standard hex drive reversible ratcheting head with adjustable preset torque values, that "allows you to tighten frame or component bolts safely and with confidence" according to Topeak. The five-bit storage pen even has a window so you can easily see and select which bit you need, and there are nine attachments in total. Check back for the full review soon to find out if tester Jamie Williams will be sticking with the Topeak Torque Stick when the test report is written.
This bold balance bike reflects "the irresistibly inviting and pristine waters of the South Pacific", much like the ocean surrounding the Polynesian island nation it's named after, we presume. On this ride your little one will be diving into a haven of two-wheeled fun, says Hornit, and at just 2.95kg they should be gliding around and honing those bike riding skills with ease. Crafted from magnesium alloy, it's built to last and is recommended for ages 18 months up to 5 years.
Should your nipper be asking Santa for an Airo Tuvalu this Christmas? Oli Pendrey will be reporting back on behalf of his budding Bradley Wiggins soon.
Muc-Off has been going big on cutting waste recently, introducing its plastic-free Punk Powder that is converted into a bike cleaner by just adding water. This bundle on test combines Punk Powder with a tough aluminium spray bottle that can be reused again and again, with a non-toxic, food-grade silicone base. Muc-Off promises "increased stability when placed on even ground", and it's also compatible with the Muc-Off Pressure Washer. Hollis Jones is currently scrubbing his bike with the formula and will be reporting back very soon...
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.