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The Musette: Lightweight wheels, drag-reducing tyres, mouldable shoes and more

A white Bont Vaypor S Li2 shoe perched against a leafy bush
(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The Musette is Cyclingnews’ Friday series in which we take a quick look at some of the world’s best cycling gear. We’ll take a look at pro-level equipment, bikes and components, alongside some of the most desirable clothing and newest accessories in the sport.

The test gear keeps pouring in and this week we've got an array of products that might be of interest to you, dear reader. With TT season ramping up, Aaron has managed to get his hands on some incredible-looking Schwalbe Pro One TT rubber which promises to reduce drag and shed weight. There's also some lightweight disc carbon hoops from Italian brand, Deda Elementi.

And what's a Musette without a fresh pair of kicks? Exactly. Josh has been sent some beautiful Bont Vaypor S Li2s that he'll be testing this summer in a bid to ascertain where they place among the best cycling shoes. Mildred's been out and about on a Cannondale Treadwell hybrid bike, while Will has been basking in the sartorial goodness of Le Col's Lion of Flanders collection.

So what are you waiting for? You know what to do by now, surely... Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy the read ahead of a weekend filled with bike riding and croissants.

Deda Elementi RS4DB wheels

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Deda Elementi RS4DB wheels

The Deda Elementi RS4DB wheelset represents an important product for the Italian brand, as it aims to upset the chief protagonists that make up the best lightweight wheels segment - and that's not going to be an easy task considering the current champions from Roval, Zipp, Lightweight and Campagnolo.

With a 38mm-deep rim profile, the RS4DBs look to balance weight with straight-line performance, offering the best of both worlds combined with an on-trend 26mm external rim width (19mm internal). The hoops have been fabricated by using varying thicknesses of carbon fibre, placed strategically to reduce weight and improve strength.

The hubs - both front and rear - have been completely re-engineered when compared to the Deda Elementi's current SL generation of wheels. The Italian company claims a total weight saving of 80g over the SLs. The freehub utilises a two-ratchet system which promotes near-instant pick-up - ideal for quick accelerations during climbing situations.

Deda Elementi RS4DB wheels

The hoops are constructed from unidirectional carbon fibre (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

In terms of tubeless compatibility and the like, the Deda Elementi RS4DB wheels will play nicely with regular tube-type clincher and tubeless tyres. The rear hubs are compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM cassettes.

We'll be putting these wheels through their paces in the coming weeks, with the full review to follow shortly - so keep your eyes peeled.

Aaron Borrill - Tech Editor

Cyclist posing outside wearing Le Col Lion of Flanders kit

(Image credit: Will Jones)

 Le Col Lion of Flanders collection

Winning Paris Roubaix once would likely be the crowning glory of any cyclist's career, and sit right at the top of their palmares. Winning it three times feels more like an act of defiance against the race itself, and puts Johan Museeuw, the Lion of Flanders, only below Roger de Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen in terms of total race wins over the cobbles of northern France.

Le Col, in collaboration with Museeuw, has released a collection to celebrate both his wins in Flanders, with a black and gold kit, and in Roubaix, with this handsome off-white and red kit, inspired by the flagstones that mark the start of each cobbled sector. A cap and socks complement the main event, which is a Sport jersey featuring the dates of his victories on the rear, and on the front 'pave de la rosee' in celebration of the cobbled sector where he launched his decisive solo attack in 2002.

As a Sport jersey rather than the Pro or Hors Categorie options from Le Col it fits a little less snugly. I opted for my usual size, a small, and while the Pro Jersey in the same size was skin tight I could have easily sized down here. Still, a bit of flapping material adds to the vintage effect. 

I’m a big fan of matchy-matchy, and while I do draw the line at pro kit this is a viable alternative whilst avoiding the risk of strangers mistaking me for Wout van Aert. The large block lettering, apparently inspired by French zinc stencil typography, combined with the red and white scheme did leave me feeling like a sporty pack of Marlboro Reds from before the govt changed the rules on packaging, but not in a bad way. In all honestly, I think it looks lovely, and while I am unlikely to win even one edition of Paris Roubaix, I could definitely stretch to some big-time daydreaming of historic cycling feats when I catch my reflection in a shop window.

Will Jones - Reviews Writer

Schwalbe Pro One TT tyres

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Schwalbe Pro One TT tyres

As a time trialist, the need for speed is an ongoing battle - and it's a pricey rabbit hole to go down. Ask anyone who dabbles in racing against the clock. One of the easiest ways to improve on-bike performance - and this goes for any discipline really - is finding the right tyre for the job. At Cyclingnews, that's usually a case of scrutinising the best road bike tyre catalogue but, in the case of time trials, it's a little trickier. When it comes to TT, the tyre with the less drag and lightest weight is usually the quickest but is often not the most reliable. There are various attributes to weigh up - such as puncture resistance, compliance and price, and finding a product that balances them all is a tricky exercise.

I've experimented with a host of tyres over the course of the past year. I initially played it safe with Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres, moved onto the Pirelli Pzero Race and even tried some Enve SES - all of which were tubeless. I played around with widths, opting for options ranging in size from 25, 26 and 28c. And while each of these options were good - in their own way - none were able to sate my mental 'feel-meter' when it came to outright speed, although the Hutchinsons were really comfy.

I began trawling the net for better options and stumbled upon Aerocoach's (opens in new tab) Racing Tyre Rolling Resistance test, which confirmed my reservations. The Hutchinson, Pirelli and Enve tyres I'd been using, were some of the slowest tyres in the test, with the Hutchinson finishing in the bottom five. What did interest me from the testing, however, was the Schwalbe Pro One TT tyres that finished 8th in the test (they're also readily available). They don't profess to be the quickest out there but they offer better puncture resistance and compliance than their faster rivals, and far greater outright speed than the options I was using.

These particular versions of the Schwalbe Pro One TT, are 25c and tubeless-ready. They're designed for competition use only and, as such, use the brand's Super Race carcass and Addix Race compound. I've used them on two time trials already and have come away impressed with the ride quality and performance, not to mention ease of fitment. Looking at my first outing using this setup, I managed to go nine seconds quicker than Hutchinson Fusion 5s on the same course (and surprisingly same conditions). More testing and racing await but I'm pretty chuffed with how they're performing. I love the aesthetic, too.

Aaron Borrill - Tech Editor

A white Bont Vaypor S Li2 shoe perched against a leafy bush

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Bont Vaypor S Li2

As far as the best cycling shoes go, brands don't come much more revered than Bont. Like SRM in power meters, Polar in heart rate monitors or Hoover in vacuum cleaners, Bont is a brand that everyone's heard of and heard good things about.

The latest top-tier offering from the Australian company is the Vaypor S Li2, a road shoe with a hand-laid carbon fibre sole and a pair of Boa's latest Li2 slimline dials for retention. The wrap-over upper is made from a stretch-free Japanese Durolite fabric, which is paired with a faux suede liner and memory foam undersole. 

There's a luxuriousness to them from heel to toe. The overall shape is designed using scans from over 20,000 feet to ensure anatomical accuracy, and the pièce de résistance - as with many Bont shoes - is the heat-mouldable construction. Following Bont's instructions, a short period of time in the oven softens the resin in the carbon fibre allowing it to be moulded exactly to your feet. Having done this already, I can say the differences are small (a matter of millimetres) but for those with bony protrusions or awkwardly shaped feet, this technique and the blunt end of a screwdriver can be the difference between shoe heaven and shoe hell.

Josh Croxton - Senior Reviews Writer

Cannondale Quick Women's 3

A green Cannondale Quick 3 bike standing in front of a row of garages

(Image credit: Mildred Locke)

Dubbed a ‘fitness bike’, which is a term I’ve always found a little superfluous, the Cannondale Quick is essentially a flat bar road bike, built for speed and comfort. With more people cycling to work and around town, and as a utilitarian cyclist first and foremost, it only made sense for me to get in some commuter-friendly bikes to test, and this is the first of the bunch. 

At first glance it looks like most other hybrid bikes: flat bars, disc brakes, medium-width tyres and a double chainset. It’s got some fairly simple and basic specs, which isn’t all that surprising considering the £850 price tag. The SmartForm C3 alloy frame is paired with a carbon fork, powered by a mixed 9-speed drivetrain, consisting of Shimano Altus rear derailleur and shifters, Shimano Acera front derailleur, Prowheel crankset with a 48/32 chainset and a Sunrace 11-34 cassette at the back. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide the stopping power, while the alloy Cannondale rims are wrapped in 700 x 35mm Schwalbe Spicer tyres. All finishing kit comes from Cannondale itself, including a wheel sensor that enables connectivity with the Cannondale app, which you can use to track your rides and get service reminders.

First impressions have been very good, and riding the Cannondale Quick is surprisingly fun. It’s a super snappy and responsive aluminium bike that picks up speed very quickly and feels both comfortable and agile on the roads. It feels lightweight on the hills compared to a lot of heavier hybrids I’ve ridden up my local Bristolian Col, and I’m looking forward to spending more time on it and writing a full review soon.

Mildred Locke - Reviews Writer

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Aaron is Cyclingnews' tech editor. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former gear and digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's been writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 16 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic and completed the Haute Route Alps. When not riding, racing or testing bicycles in and around the UK's Surrey Hills where he now lives, he's writing about them for Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB 

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