We often start First Look Friday by commenting on how busy the past seven days have been in the cycling world, and this week is no exception.
On Monday, Elaine van Dijk broke the hourly record at the Swiss Velodrome. The Trek-Segafredo rider and world trial champion set a new record of 49,254 km, overtaking Jos Lowden’s record of 48,405 km. Jack Luke has let us into his five ways to make cycling fun again (hours-scoring attempts not included) and we’ve updated our selection of the best road bikes for under £3,000 (or $4000).
On Tuesday, Warren Rossiter brought us news of a 3D-printed stem that costs £500 and his full review of the Shimano Ultegra R8170 Di2. Simon von Bromley has you covered in the new Specialized S-Works Torch boots and we’ve updated our guide to brake and gear cables.
A handful of new bike versions were announced on Wednesday, from Rondo, Nukeproof and Devinci, while we published our Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace review.
Thursday saw RockShox release three new forks and new rear shocks. Alex Evans reviewed the RockShox Lyrik Ultimate and the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate just in time for launch. ENVE has also released an updated SES wheel set with the news that they have ditched the rim brake options—a true sign of the times.
And that brings us to Friday and our weekly take on the latest cycling gear…
Levante Campagnolo gravel wheels set
The Campagnolo Levante is the brand’s first custom gravel wheel set, and is designed to complement the Ekar, the brand’s gravel range.
Sitting alongside the Borra racing wheels and all-around endurance wheels in the Campagnolo range, the Levantanti combines technology from the brand’s other wheels but has many features to meet the demands of off-road riding.
Like the Bora Ultra WT wheels launched in 2021, the Levante uses Campagnolo’s HULC carbon fiber and C-Lux finish.
Campagnolo says HULC technology helps the wheels achieve strength, stiffness and low weight for a confident ride without grit.
C-Lux is short for Campagnolo Luxury and the finish is said to be smooth enough that no lacquer is required, which helps save weight. The finish is also said to make gravel bike tires easier and reduce wear on the tire beads. Campagnolo chose to dig the wheels instead of using decals.
Campagnolo says the Levante is versatile thanks to its ‘two-way fit’ profile, which means the wheel assembly is compatible with tubeless and spacer tires.
The 25mm internal width can fit 38mm to 76mm gravel tyres and the 30mm rim depth makes the wheels suitable for gravel racing and bikepacking, according to Campagnolo.
Campagnolo has used cup and cone bearings and straight-pull spokes. The brand says this makes the wheels easily serviceable and consequently suitable for adventure riding, where mechanical expertise and proprietary parts might be lacking.
Campagnolo has introduced a new rim standard on the Levante, called the Mini-Hook. It says this small lip on the rim avoids the complications of matching hookless rims with compatible tyres only, while delivering the benefits of hookless designs – including being able to run lower tyre pressures.
- £1,349.99 / $1,899.95 / €1,575
Oakley’s response: SubZero . sunglasses
When Oakley relaunched her Sub Zero sunglasses at the end of April as part of the new MUZM collection, she said there would be more versions inspired by the past.
We didn’t have to wait long. Two weeks later, Oakley released the Re: SubZero sunglasses. These glasses are inspired by the original Sub Zeros but have a more modern look and feel.
Re: SubZeros has a larger lens that uses Oakley’s physical shaped geometry. This enables her to create a frameless lens with “extended wrap and stiffness” and a “mask-like fit,” Oakley says.
Oakley used its logo as a central element in the design of the sunglasses accessory, helping to attach the lens to the arms.
Elsewhere, the sunglasses feature Prizm lens technology and Unobtanium nose pads, which you can find on many of the best Oakley sunglasses.
Oakley didn’t explicitly say Re: SubZeros are cycling sunglasses. But she says it is for everyone who wants to improve their life through sports.
The Re: SubZero sunglasses I’m using feature a matt ruby lens with arms printed to look like carbon fiber. It is also available with a black, sapphire or “dark golf” lens, which appears to have a reddish hint.
Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyres
In March of this year, Pirelli launched the P Zero Race 4S, a new four-season tire that is said to have a “racing feel.”
To achieve this, Pirelli uses the same rubber compound as the P Zero Race summer tire – albeit with a greater thickness – but with several features to make it suitable for riding in the cooler, wetter months.
Pirelli has introduced a new drinking style, which the brand says improves grip on uneven or wet surfaces, as well as helping the rubber warm up faster for better performance in cold weather.
There is a “TechBelt” layer under the rubber designed to increase puncture protection. This is made of nylon, and Pirelli says it chose this material because it is flexible and therefore improves the tire contact patch.
This tire is the first to be produced at the new Pirelli plant, located just 10 kilometers from the brand’s headquarters in Milan. This makes it the first bike frame made entirely by the brand in Italy since it returned to the bike market in 2017.
Before the frame was released, Pirelli explained to BikeRadar that having a factory on the road means he can quickly review designs and test changes.
The brand also said that because rubber is difficult to work with, it should make its formulations less complicated when production is spread over a large area. So having tires manufactured in one place means they can develop more complex and better-performing vehicles.
The frame is currently available as a 700 x 26mm or 700 x 28mm spacer. Pirelli says more sizes and a tubeless tire version will be available in due course.
- $61.99 / $84.90 / $109.99 / €69.90
Le Col x Lion of Flanders Tracksuit
Johann Museo, nicknamed The Lion of Flanders, was one of the most successful classic knights of his generation.
He won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix three times. Palms also had victories in several other spring classics, winning the 1996 World Championships and several Tour de France stages.
This Le Col cycling jersey honors one of Museeuw’s most impressive victories. Paris-Roubaix in 2002, he attacked the Pavé de la Rosée before winning solo. This was one of the most muddy versions in racing history and was the last time the Belgian won the race.
The text on the shirt is said to be based on a French zinc stencil printing. The yellowish red and white design mimics the signs placed to signal the start of the cobbled sections of the race.
The jersey is the new men’s sports jersey design from Le Col. Le Col says it’s quick-drying and suitable for the most comfortable and challenging rides.
- £95 / $110 / $175 / EUR 115