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A lot of gear comes across our desks here at CyclingTips. Our Tech Round-Ups are a look at some of that gear. Sometimes it’s products we’re doing long-term tests on, other times it’s stuff we’re stoked on but don’t have time to fully review. And, sometimes it’s a wild innovation someone sent us unsolicited and that we’re having a laugh about (none of that in this round).
Hunt Limitless 48 Aero Disc wheels
Words by Dave Rome
It took almost a year from when we first covered the rather innovative Hunt Limitless 48 Aero Disc wheels to when I got my hands on a test sample. Early delays were the result of frantic sales demand, which was then quickly followed by an unfortunate recall related to potential damage through rim impact. Hunt has since returned to the drawing board, added material, and made the rims all the more ready for your local potholes.
At the time of launching, Hunt claimed its new, blunt-profile and ultra-wide rims produced the fastest disc brake wheel under a 50 mm depth. I’ve covered the finer details of these before, and will likely cover them again in a future review; for now, I’ll give you some key figures.
My sample set weighed a not-super-light 1,670 grams (with rim tape). That figure is the direct result of the rims (same profile front and rear) which measure 34.5 mm wide on the outside and are a true 48 mm depth. Internally they measure 22.7 mm between the bead hooks, and those hooks mean you can run almost any clincher or tubeless tyre you choose with these (but they are aerodynamically optimised for 25 and 28 mm tyres).
The wheels are strung up with Pillar Wing bladed straight pull spokes, with some free-spinning hubs between. Those hubs feature CeramicSpeed bearings throughout, including within the rather noisy pawl-based 48-engagement-point freehub.
Expect a full review of these in the future.
Price: US$1,509 / £1,208 / AU$2,209
Weight: 1,670 g
More information: www.huntbikewheels.cc
Clever Standard Flatout tire lever
Words by James Huang
A tire lever is just used to install and remove tires, right? Not if you’re Tomo Ichikawa of Clever Standard, who has quite the track record these days for packing an awful lot into a little bit of space. His new Flatout tire lever accomplishes the usual task, of course, but it also works as a chain hook (to make chain disassembly and reassembly easier), a chain “hammer” (to remove master links), a valve core tool, and a bladed spoke holder. There’s even storage on each lever for a spare master link, and — of course — the Flatout works as a bottle opener, too.
Does it seem like overkill for what has traditionally been a very simple and straightforward tool? Maybe, but given that the Flatout does its main job as well as any other tire lever, packs in a lot more functionality without adding bulk, and does it all without costing appreciably more than regular tire levers, this one seems like a no-brainer.
Price: US$7/pair (pricing in other regions TBC)
More information: www.cleverstandard.com
Apidura racing handlebar mini-pack
Words by Iain Treloar
As one of the leading brands in the burgeoning bikepacking space, Apidura has a history of making gear for big adventures – across states, across countries, across continents.
With the release of the Mini Racing Pack handlebar bag earlier this year, the brand has a small and lightweight option for ultra-endurance competition and audax rides, but it works for smaller adventures too.
With a 2.5 litre capacity, this bag is a handy size for a vest, gloves, some snacks, your phone – all the things that would normally hog jersey pockets. With a squared-off shape it’s a bit different to most of its competitors on the market (which are generally tubular in shape) and has a rider-facing flappy lid across the top that’s designed for one-handed ease of access on the go.
Strapped to the bar, all your supplies are easily accessible, but there are some limitations too. The Mini Racing Pack sits a bit above the level of the handlebar, strapping onto it directly, which rules out use with out-front computer mounts and many lights. At a width of 22.5 cm, it can also overlap with where your hands would sit on the bar tops, especially on narrower handlebars. To get around this, Apidura includes EVA foam spacers which move it out from the bar. There’s still interference with an out-front computer mount, but there’s more space for other stuff and your fingers get some wiggle room.
The whole shebang is waterproof, lightweight and appears well-made – just be sure it works within the parameters of your setup.
Price: £60 (approx US$75/AU$110)
More information: www.apidura.com
Gore C7 Women Long Distance Bib Shorts+
Words by Sarah Lukas
Gore Wear, the clothing division of the company that has gifted us Gore-Tex and Windstopper fabrics, has stepped up to make a women’s bib short that should be high on any wishlist. There are a number of feature improvements from Gore’s previous models that make this a stand-out bib. The C7 bibs use a four-way stretch, soft and smooth luxe fabric, similar in feel to Velocio’s LUXE bib, with a comfortable amount of compression to keep everything in place. The leg bands are minimal, using a silicone-leg gripper with little compression.
When it comes to the bib straps, they aren’t the widest I’ve used, but they stay in place and are easy to forget while riding. When trying to pull them on, it is easy for the narrow material to roll over on itself and become twisted, making it an extra step to straighten out. I’ve found this to be less of an issue with wider straps. Again, pretty small concern considering they are at their best while riding. I have only ridden these bibs a handful of times, and I can confirm that they are one of my more comfortable pairs to ride in.
Weight: 142 g – size small
Price: US$199 / €199 / £179
More information: www.gorewear.com
Unior Hanger Genie derailleur hanger alignment tool
Words by Dave Rome
Unior’s new Hanger Genie aims to make it faster, easier and more accurate to check and adjust derailleur hanger alignment. The tool works like many other derailleur hanger tools by using the rear rim as a reference to gauge the squareness of the frame’s hanger. Such a process is outlined in a previous derailleur hanger tool feature.
The Hanger Genie’s design closely resembles that of the Abbey Bike Tools HAG, which means the tool offers a compact profile and a feeler gauge that can easily be swivelled around frame tubes without having to lose the setting.
Made by Unior in Europe, the tool arrives in its own fancy foam tray, with both straight and offset feeler gauge rods provided. The offset rod is intended for use on bikes fitted with wheels as small as 20″, and has also proven useful for giving extra reach when dealing with certain 29er rims. By contrast, the Abbey HAG is longer and so won’t work with such small-wheeled bikes, but reaches all 29er rims without issue or the need for a change in feeler gauge.
The tolerances are good, but not perfect. The hanger connection point has a hair of detectable wiggle from the brass bushing, while the extending tube-in-tube design has a little roughness to it. Thankfully none of this impacts the ability to get a hanger straight and with more accuracy then what cheaper tools allow.
After a few months, my sample has earned a little patina on the chrome. I actually don’t mind the look, and it certainly doesn’t impact the function of the tool, but the light surface corrosion is worth noting if you like shiny tools.
The Unior Hanger Genie is proving to be a good tool that does its required job with ease and better-than-average accuracy. Where money is no object I’d still pick the Abbey HAG which costs US$55 more, but the Hanger Genie still offers advantages over cheaper choices.
Weight: 746 g (the regular Abbey HAG is 522 g)
More information: uniortools.com
Words by Sarah Lukas
The Topeak FreeLoader is one of the newer additions to the brand’s bikepacking line. Looking to bring an extra water bottle with you? Some easy-to-grab snacks? The FreeLoader attaches at three points to the handlebar, stem, and fork, making it a secure option to carry that extra bottle or gear. Sure, bento boxes and other frame bags will do the trick for a few small snacks, cell phone, or money, but the FreeLoader is most attractive as an easy-access bottle mount.
The FreeLoader is available in a 1L capacity, with three adjustable straps that customize to a plethora of bikes. With two mesh side pockets for extra storage, the FreeLoader is made with nylon/EVA fabric, and can hold up to 1 kg of goodies. A self-cinching closure makes it easy to access that extra bottle or gear, without having to deal with buckles or removal of the bag.
This is not a waterproof bag so Topeak included a drain hole at the bottom for any water that may collect. While I haven’t taken this bag on a full voyage, I did spend some time in the backyard knocking it around. I was pleasantly surprised that with proper installation, the bag stayed in place.
Weight: 125 g
Price: US$39.95 / AUD$52.95 / €29.95 / £27.95
More information: www.topeak.com