The Musette: Pearl Izumi, Rapha, Enve and more
A closer look at the world's best cycling gear brought to you by the Cyclingnews tech team
The Musette is Cyclingnews’ weekly curation of the world’s best cycling gear. Here, we’ll take a look at pro-level equipment, bikes and components, alongside some of the most desirable clothing and newest accessories in the world of cycling.
Pearl Izumi Pro Road V5 shoes
The new Pro Road V5s from Pearl Izumi are an exquisitely designed pair of cycling shoes. They look even better when kitted out in the white colourway you see here - not the most practical colour for British roads no, but, for summer, they will do the trick.
Touted as 'the lightest, most comfortable' road shoes the American brand has ever made, the Pro Road V5s utilise less material and carbon fibre than previous models. As such, Pearl concentrated on using as little material as possible - particularly around the carbon-fibre soles - accounting for a total weight saving of 22% over the previous version. According to our scale the Pearl Izumi Pro Road V5s - with Look cleats - weigh in at 268g a shoe.
Structurally the shoes combine a sock-like, knitted upper material with a microfibre sheath upon which two IP1 Boa dials are affixed for retention. Having taken them out for two rides to date, the shoes are impressively supportive and comfortable, and naturally offer impressive levels ventilation and stiffness.
The only real bugbear to date is getting them on. Foot ingress is a lot tighter than traditional shoes but the upshot is second-skin-like levels of support. They're also fairly pricey at £399 a pop.
Weight: 268g per shoe (with cleats, actual)
Retention: Twin Boa
Robert Axle Project Lightning Bolt-On Axle
As the name suggests the Robert Axle Project makes thru-axles for a variety of bicycles. What started as a solution to help founder Chris Bryce tow his BOB trailer around has since grown into a business that caters for the new industry-standard thru-axle configuration.
While the company also produces axles for turbo trainers and kid trailers, it's the Lightning Bolt-On Axles that have recently caught our attention. Call us weight weenies but a gram saved is two watts earned, right? Okay, we just made that up but we like to think there's a little bit of truth to that...
The good news is that a Robert Axle Lightning Bolt-On is indeed lighter than your average stock thru-axle. Put to the test, the Lightning Bolt-On came up 34g lighter than the standard lever-style axle on my 2018 Cannondale SuperSix EVO disc bike. The low-profile design also makes for a much neater-looking package.
Rudy Project 'The Wing' TT helmet
Rudy Project's 'The Wing' TT helmet was, up until recently, reserved exclusively for professional cyclists but the Italian company has since changed tack and made it available to the general public.
The helmet is built around the notion that a rider's head is never truly in a fixed position and should be optimised as such. To achieve this, it has been aerodynamically honed to excel in a variety of rider positions thanks to a collaborative engineering research program with renowned aerodynamic company Swiss Side, the results of which have been validated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel testing.
The helmet gets a removable magnetic front cover and visor and is available in the choice of two colourways - black matte or white shiny - both of which are finished off with a red-tipped rear exhaust port. Rudy Project claims The Wing will save riders 12.6-watts when riding at 45km/h with the vents closed.
We'll be putting it to test when lockdown eases and the local TT season commences.
Weight: 368g (S-M, actual)
Katusha Light Wind Vest
The Light Wind Vest from Katusha is a simple item of clothing, but its execution is superb. It's a wind vest (or gilet) that promises extra protection from the elements on days where there's a cool breeze in the air. It's available in just one colour - Asphalt - and in your typical run of sizes from XS to XXL.
It offers frontal wind protection across the chest and shoulders, with 37.5 mesh fabric at the back for increased breathability. It has a cam lock zipper for quick and easy removal, and it packs up to about the size of a tennis ball.
It offers frontal wind protection across the chest and shoulders, with 37.5 mesh fabric at the back for increased breathability. It has a cam lock zipper for quick and easy removal, and it packs up to the size of a tennis ball. ic closures to prevent flapping in the wind.
One thing worthy of mention: sizing runs around a half-size smaller than average, so if you're between sizes we recommend sizing up.
Enve Road handlebar and stem
One of the most venerable brands in cycling, Enve has long produced highly sought-after carbon components. The Road Stem and Road Handlebar are no different.
The Enve Road Handlebar is available in compact or standard drop shape and in either 40, 42, or 44cm widths. The standard bar features a 144mm drop and 85mm reach, while the compact shape has a shallower 127mm drop and shorter 79mm reach. Riders using Shimano Di2 with the bar-end-plug junction box can take advantage of the pre-marked Di2 cut line, although this comes at the expense of the integrated bar end plugs.
Our 40cm wide compact drop model weighs in at a mere 227g (11 grams above the quoted 216g), and retails at £340.00 / $350.00 / €367.00.
Price: £340.00 / $350.00 / €367.00
The Enve Road Stem is made from the same uni-directional carbon fibre and promises torsional- and lateral stiffness to offer sharp, responsive handling. It's available in lengths ranging from 80mm to 140mm, with a +/- 6-degree rise. Claimed to weigh 137g in a 130mm sample comes in three grams better off at 134g.
The Road Stem retails for £260.00 / $265.00 / €296.00, and is available at Enve.com
Price: £260.00 / $265.00 / €296.00
HJC Ibex 2.0 helmet
Better known for its motorcycle helmets, HJC is reasonably new to cycling but the South Korean company already finds itself in the WorldTour among the best road bike helmets. Worn by Lotto Soudal, the brand has already seen victories with Thomas De Gendt and Caleb Ewan.
The HJC Ibex 2.0 is a semi-aero road helmet that weighs in at just 220 grams (size medium). There's no MIPS or rotational impact protection technology, but it meets the necessary safety standards.
It features large frontal vents, takes advantage of the Venturi effect, and includes an 'Advanced Air Channel System' which claims to better-remove heat buildup by circulating air inside the helmet before exhausting. Inside, padding is kept at a minimum in favour of a Coolpath technology, which reduces weight and allows for greater airflow over the head.
Fitment is unlike any helmet we've tested. Instead of the usual ratchet dial, HJC uses 'Selfit', a spring-loaded mechanism that auto-adjusts to the size of your head.
Price: £200.00 / $260.00 / €249.00
Weight: 220 grams
Velocio Signature jersey and Concept Merino jersey
Velocio is a clothing manufacturer with a commitment to social and environmental values at its heart. Often donating money to good causes including 100% of the profits from its Unity series of jerseys.
Its Signature jersey is a light spring/summer jersey made from recycled high-gauge ultralight Italian-milled fabric to help keep you cool on hot days. The jersey has a close but comfortable cut that avoids flapping without feeling restrictive in anything but an attack position. A low neckline sits well and the longer arms don’t suffer from any uncomfortable twisting or bunching under the arms.
The three pockets on the rear are plenty deep enough to keep belongings secure and there is a fourth zippered pocket for valuables. Detailing on the jersey includes a gel strip along the hem and fabric zip covers. The Signature jersey comes in 5 standard colour options and seven special-edition designs.
Price: £141.00 / $169.00
Sizes: XS - XXXL
Its Concept Merino jersey features a very similar cut as the Signature jersey but is made from Italian-milled ultrafine merino wool blended with nylon and elastane for better fit and durability. Natural merino fibres offer impressive thermoregulation in varying conditions without sacrificing breathability. I have had this jersey for a few weeks now and it has been a go-to for spring weather rides, both layered with other garments or on its own.
Price: £159.00 / $189.00
Sizes: XS - XXXL
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Backpack
With a renewed interest in commuting by bicycle as many begin returning to work from lockdown, commuting accessories are becoming an increasingly hot topic. Rapha’s Pro Team Lightweight backpack is aimed at busy riders who are looking to use their daily commutes to fit training into their schedule.
The slimline design sits close and high on the back to improve aerodynamics and maintain access to rear jersey pockets while riding. Wide shoulder straps distribute weight and two sternum straps keep the bag stable during intervals.
The 10-litre capacity is just enough space for a change of clothes and shoes when you arrive at the office. A handy zippered stash pocket has been added to straps for keys or a work pass. A large rear reflective panel at the rear help increase visibility to cars on dark evenings.
Price: £85.00 / $115.00 / €100.00
Capacity: 10 litres
POC Pure-Lite Splash Jacket
POC’s Pure-Lite Splash jacket is a lightweight jacket for keeping away the chilling effects of wind, light rain and road spray. The thin two-way stretch material has been DWR treated to repel water should you get caught in a shower and, if it turns into a heavier storm, should dry quickly. Arm length is generous plus the cuffs are elasticated and diagonally cut for a closer fit.
Small vents under the arms help airflow as does the two-way zip which provides quick adjustment when needed. The collar features a thin lining for added comfort and there are reflective details for better visibility on the road. The jacket packs away into its own small pocket and is easily stored in a jersey pocket as a ‘just in case’ layer.
Pure-Lite Splash is also available as a gilet for body only protection and an even smaller pack size.
Price: £110.00 / $120.00 / €120.00
Sizes: XS - XXL
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Graham has been part of the Cyclingnews team since January 2020. He has mountain biking at his core and can mostly be found bikepacking around Scotland or exploring the steep trails around the Tweed Valley. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has gained a reputation for riding fixed gear bikes both too far and often in inappropriate places.
By Barry Ryan