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And the pick of this week's news and reviews

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By Jack Evans

Published: October 21, 2022 at 7:00 am

While the UK government changes leader more often than Movistar Team at a Grand Tour, continuity reigns here at BikeRadar as we stick to our manifesto pledge of delivering you superb content.

Appropriately in a politically and meteorologically tempestuous week here in the UK, a deluge of waterproof mountain bike jacket reviews poured down onto the homepage, including the high-scoring Gore Endure waterproof jacket.

In related news, our list of the best waterproof mountain bike shorts will help you decide what to pair your jacket with.

When the sun comes out again, some of the best hip packs offer enough room to store your jacket beside your other ride essentials.

If you ride your road bike in the wet, technical writer Oscar Huckle says look no further than his High-Mileage Hero, the Castelli Gabba 2 jacket.

Moving away from wet-weather gear and onto wacky bikes, Oscar gave an ambivalent appraisal of the Berria Belador Allroad LTD gravel bike. Is the Spanish brand's first drop-bar, knobbly tyred release one of our best gravel bikes?

In another busy week for Oscar, the seat-tube less Superstrata Classic was his Bike of the Week.

Air Deflector technology also lends an intriguing look to the new 2023 Bianchi Oltre RC, which the brand claims saves 17 watts at 50km/h.

Meanwhile, Specialized announced the 2023 Specialized Diverge STR. The revolutionary full-suspension gravel bike has 30mm of rear travel and its frame post suspends the rider.

Heading back off tarmac, Shimano's new RX8R gravel shoe has an integrated gaiter to stop gravel getting into the shoe.

Now we’ve covered the news and review highlights, let's cast our eyes over the finest tech to arrive at BikeRadar this week.

The Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders City do their uttermost to persuade skeptics that the best mudguards can be stylish as well as a practical addition to a winter bike.

Made from anodised aluminium, rather than plastic, and equipped with rubber flaps, these Portland Design Works mudguards offer as much coverage as the ‘Full’ in their names suggests.

They bolt on to mudguard mounts on your bike, which makes them harder to remove than the clip-on variety, but in theory, more secure and less noisy.

As with most full-length mudguards, installation isn't easy. Unless you’re adept with a drill and saw, consider taking them to your local bike shop mechanic, who should manage to fit them in 30 minutes or so.

By encircling much of the front and rear wheels, they should better protect you and, if you’re riding in a group, riders in front and behind from the worst of spray and road muck. They should also reduce how often you have to clean your bike.

The Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders City measure 45mm wide and can fit a 700 x 35c road bike tyre, according to the brand. They’ll add 568g to your bike.

The Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey is designed to solve the conundrum of how to layer up for winter riding by being a jersey and jacket in one.

Rapha suggests wearing the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey as an outer layer when riding hard in variable conditions.

The brand claims its top fits like a road cycling jersey because its stretchy fabric hugs the body to remain aerodynamic.

At the same time, the brand says the windproof, breathable and water-resistant Gore-Tex Infinium material protects you like the best winter cycling jackets.

The elasticated cuffs and the silicone print gripper on the hem are intended to fit securely to keep out the wind.

Despite having a low-cut race fit, the jersey has three rear pockets in which you can carry sustenance, such as energy bars or energy gels.

Rapha says the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium has reflective detailing on the front, sleeves and back to help you be seen when it's dull or dark outside.

The men's version comes in black, lime green and red, and the women's jersey is available in grey and green.

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The Time ATAC XC 8s are clipless mountain bike pedals, which can also be used for gravel racing and cyclocross racing, according to the brand.

Time says its second-tier off-road pedals have a carbon body to reduce weight, with a steel axle and bearings for durability.

We weighed them at 290g a pair, slightly above the claimed 286g. However, this still makes the Time ATAC XC 8 much lighter than some of the best gravel bike pedals.

The XC 8 pedals use Time's own engagement system, known as ATAC (Auto Tension Adjustment Concept). Time claims ATAC technology sheds mud and debris from the pedal when you clip in.

Another difference from Shimano SPD and SPD-SL pedals is that instead of altering the release and entry tension on the pedal body, you have to swap cleats. These only work with Time pedals.

The XC 8s are supplied with brass cleats that release with 13 or 17 degrees of movement. Easy-release cleats that require 10 degrees to step out from are also available.

The pedal stack height is 19mm and there is a 54mm gap between the pedal spindle and crank arm.

The Topeak Roadie 2Stage mini pump is another product that attempts to do the job of two in one.

The best bike mini pumps usually have good stroke volume or stroke pressure, but Topeak claims the Roadie 2Stage has a setting for both.

When you need to fix a puncture, a high-volume pump will inflate tyres quickly. However, pumping that large volume of air to higher pressures will tire out your arms.

By contrast, a pump with high stroke pressure will take more strokes to reach a given psi figure, but will be easier to pump at higher pressures.

Topeak says you should start with the high-volume stage to inflate your tyre from 0 to 75psi. This uses two cylinders at a claimed 40.8cc a stroke.

Then, if your road bike tyre needs to be harder, the single-cylinder high-pressure stage tops up from 75 to 160psi at 11.2cc per stroke, according to Topeak.

You change settings by turning a dial at the bottom of the pump.

The Topeak Roadie 2Stage measures 163mm long and weighs 90g, so it shouldn't feel cumbersome in a jersey pocket – Topeak also supplies a side-mount bracket if you prefer to fit the pump to your frame.

Topeak says the Roadie 2Stage has an aluminium handle and integrated thumb lock. A dust cap closes over the Presta-only valve.

Digital Writer

Jack Evans is a digital writer for Jack learnt to ride on rough Cotswold trails before switching to tarmac in his teens. Gravel riding and cyclocross racing (badly) has since taken him back to his roots. Most at home scaling south Wales climbs, Jack more commonly escapes his home in Birmingham via the lanes and bridleways of Worcestershire, riding either his Canyon Ultimate road bike or Canyon Grail gravel bike. He wishes he was as good at riding as he is drinking espresso. But he has completed the 296km Dragon Devil sportive in under 10 hours and finished in the top 100 at the 2022 UK National Hill Climb Championships. Jack is an NCTJ-trained journalist and a former press agency hack with bylines in The Times, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror. He was once electrocuted for a Sun frontpage exclusive and taste-tested camel milk for The Times.

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