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The Musette - Performance casual shorts, SPD Chelsea boots, a half titanium Brompton, and a stealthy bell

A black folding bike held up by a stick on an overpass
(Image credit: Will Jones)

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.

Life at Cyclingnews isn't all 15 grand Pinarellos and bib shorts made of hand-harvested spider silk. We also get our hands on some more utilitarian products to keep you abreast of what's hot and what's not outside the world of pure speed. This week we've got Brompton's half titanium P-Line to preview and Quoc's latest footwear offering - a clipless compatible pair of Chelsea boots.

We've also got some casual shorts from purveyors of gear to bike messengers the world over, Chrome Industries, and what might be the world's most subtle bell for those of you who want to alert those around you of your presence without sacrificing your hard-won uncluttered handlebar real estate.

It's not Summer quite yet, but it isn't far off, so depending on when you're reading this, maybe make yourself an aspirational iced coffee or a gently perspiring glass of gin and tonic and bring the sunshine to wherever you are and have a scroll through our digital goody bag.

Brompton P-line

A black folding bike held up by a stick on an overpass

The P-Line is Brompton's mid level offering (Image credit: Will Jones)

Owning (or at least riding) a Brompton is, to my eyes, as much a rite of passage for any cyclist as getting your stabilisers off, failing to unclip at a set of lights and toppling over, and having a catastrophic bonk 50km from home whilst on a solo mission, wishing you'd browsed our guide to the best energy gels, and raiding the nearest petrol station for every carbohydrate they have. The British brand is the name in folding bikes, not quite reaching the genericization of Hoover, Google, or Escalator, whereby they actually replace the original term, but it's not far behind.

The P-Line sits in the middle of its range, with the all-steel, Sturmy Archer equipped A- and C-Lines below aimed solely at the commuter market, and the all-titanium T-Line above. The P-Line features the same steel main frame as the C- and A-Line, but has the titanium and rear triangle of the T-Line, as well as the four-speed derailleur system of the T-Line to add greater gear range.

While it isn't as light as the full titanium model it's just shy of a kilo and a half lighter than the lightest all-steel model, and £1.5k cheaper than the all-titanium version, starting at £2,264 or approximately $2,825. Does this mean it's a goldilocks model, taking the best of both worlds and creating a just-right bowl of cycling porridge, or will it be the confused middle child, constantly pulled between the success of the steel elder and the fun of the youngest sibling? Only time, and some serious testing, will provide an answer and put an end to an extremely tortured metaphor session.

I'm looking forward to putting some miles into it, and using the portability as an excuse to play as a tourist under the guise of work as the weather gets warmer.

Will Jones - Reviews Writer

A white man wears a pair of olive shorts and w white tshirt.

A shorter inseam and some more colourful options are both good things in my eyes (Image credit: Will Jones)

Chrome Folsom 2.0 Mid shorts

Who likes short shorts? Or at least shorter shorts?

Chrome has launched some new gear for the season, including a shorter version of their perennial Folsom shorts. I had a pair of the Folsom 1.0 and genuinely wore them almost every day for a year for commuting as well as hiking and general use too. They absolutely failed to disintegrate, and I only had to stop wearing them after they were stolen along with a whole bag of stuff while on holiday. While I can't speak for the build quality of this specific pair of shorts as I've done a grand total of zero miles in them so far, the two other pairs of Chrome shorts in my wardrobe should help you see that I rate them.

My major criticism of the original Folsom was they were a little too long for my liking, and like a lot of the Chrome range, they came in an extremely monochromatic range of colour options. The new Folsom 2.0 Mid features an eight-inch inseam rather than the 11in of the standard Folsom 2.0, and comes in this handsome olive green as well as tan and black, so on paper they tick the boxes.

A white man wears a pair of olive shorts and w white tshirt. The shorts have a U-lock in a holster

The lock holster, made from seatbelt webbing, is a benefit for urban riders (Image credit: Will Jones)

As with any pair of casual cycling shorts worth their salt they are cut with a higher back to avoid showing any unwanted skin to people riding behind you, feature four-way stretch fabric and have a reinforced gusset and inner thighs to better withstand abrasion. They've also got a handy D-lock holster at the rear, made from trademark car seatbelt webbing, so you can cosplay as an extra in Premium Rush - all jokes aside it's a very handy feature for urban riding even if you're not about that #MessLife.

As I do a sizeable portion of my riding in what I like to call performance casual riding gear, rather than the classic bibs and jersey, I'm looking forward to seeing how these hold up. To find out more head to Chrome.

Will Jones - Reviews Writer

HideMyBell cycling computer mount

The bell is discreetly positioned under the computer mount (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

HideMyBell

Ah yes, the good ol' bike bell? What was once considered the preserve of weekend warriors and commuters alike has now become a staple feature for many riders, and for myriad reasons. As more people flock to the bicycle, the roads and cycle paths are becoming increasingly busier, not to mention jam-packed with all kinds of foot traffic. The idea of using one of the best bike bells is to warn people ahead of your presence so they can move over and let you pass safely - it's the courteous thing to do.

Some of us though, and I'm talking about the purists among us here, aren't too keen on mounting something bulky to the bars for fear of ruining the aesthetics or aerodynamics of their bike, but that's where HideMy Bell comes in. It's a great idea and something that's easy to integrate into your current bike set-up. The model pictured here is the HideMyBell regular 2 - which essentially uses an out-front GSP mount to house a bell neatly under the area that secures the cycling computer. The idea is genius.

HideMyBell cycling computer mount

Bell features a pronounced chime that registers 95db (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Not even your cycling aficionado friends will notice it at first glance. The mount comprises a glass-fibre bracket complete with an integrated brass-tipped bell hammer, and it weighs just 47g. In terms of usability, you won't find yourself haplessly searching for the thumb lever - it's all very intuitive. The bell's got a crisp 95db ring, which is more than adequate enough to warn trail and road users of your presence. It's easy to install thanks to the clever two-piece clamp design which is based on the lightweight Raceday SL mount. It also features a hard-mount point for a GoPro or bike light and will play nicely with the best cycling computers from Garmin, Wahoo et al.

At £36 / €39.95, it's not the cheapest offering around but the convenience and out-of-sight packaging make it a no-brainer and something we highly recommended, especially from a safety perspective.

Aaron Borrill - Tech Editor

Quoc Chelsea Cycling Boots

A brown chelsea boot clipped into a sage green bike

Are these the ultimate gravel-casual fashion statement? (Image credit: Will Jones)

Over recent editions of the Musette you may be beginning to see that my preferred riding clothing isn't necessarily the standard jersey and big shorts combo, especially while riding gravel, so when Quoc announced they'd released a pair of SPD Chelsea boots I was extremely excited.

I think the majority of riders who opt for a pair of these will probably be the commuting crowd, after a stylish pair of boots that work in the office and on the bike. Like a pair of Adidas Velosamba for those whose office actually has a dress code. 

For some though, like me, they offer a reminder that not every ride has to be about performance; "Dress for the ride you want to have", said gravel fashion icon Jorja A.K.A Jambi Jambi, who is regularly seen rocking a pair of boots for a bike tour.

The boots are constructed from two-tone suede with a waxed front portion to allow easy cleaning and protection from road spray. Using natural leather suede, Quoc claims, makes for a naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant shoe, which is handy as, being a boot, they don't feature any venting. 

The sole is stiff for a casual looking pair of shoes, but by cycling shoe standards it's got a fair degree of flex, which should aid in walking around town or pushing your bike up a gravel track. The fully recessed cleat area sits within a pretty chunky sole, though despite the lugs being well spaced and apparently inspired by gravel tyres, they aren't so tall that you'll be mistaken for a trail runner at any point. If you do want to ride flat pedals at any point you can simply screw the cleat cover into the cleat bolts and you've got yourself a standard, if stiff, pair of boots.

To polish off the design flourishes, there are two contrasting pink tabs to help you get them on and off (the elastic is pretty tenacious so these are necessary), and a grid of 3M reflective dots on the heel to keep you visible from behind at night. They'll set you back £180, and also come in black if the brown option doesn't match your sartorial choices.

Will Jones - Reviews Writer

A rider props their heel up on a brown brooks saddle, revealing a cleat on the underside of a brown boot

The cleat cover is removable should you wish to use these with flat pedals (Image credit: Will Jones)

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Will Jones
Will Jones

Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage making his own frames and components as a part time framebuilder, restoring old mountain bikes, or walking his collie in the Lake District.

Height: 182cm

Weight: 72Kg

Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper, Stooge Mk4, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross

With contributions from