Techtalk Round-Up: Muc-Off, Enve and Bontrager

Muc-Off X-1 chain cleaner

Every cyclist should own a chain cleaner. Dispense with old toothbrushes and the like, and save yourself a whole lot of time removing grime from your chain.

Those bike-buffing boffs at Muc-Off have created the X-1 for this task. A very compact, sturdy design, with a system of six replaceable, rotating brushes to remove dirt from all parts of the chain as it passes through.

A sturdy side handle should ensure easy operation and mean that it’s doing the hard work, not you. Yours for £19.99 the X-1 chain cleaner will return this investment time and again by saving heaps on drivetrain wear.


Enve Composites Compact bar
Alongside its standard road bar, Enve has released a 127mm drop, 79mm reach compact bar to suit this growing market. Like its standard bar, grip paint is used at the brake lever and stem junctions to reduce the required fixing torque and the clever integrated bar ends are maintained.

These silicon end caps are comfy, secure tape exceptionally well and can’t go AWOL when leaning or storing the bike.  Cables are channeled rather than running internally but they are still claimed to come in below 200 grams. The price is top end at £260, but the numbers tally well with offerings from other better-known brands. We’ll be putting them through their paces to see if the performance does too.


Bontrager Aelous 3 D3 Tubulars
We had a sneak peak at Bontrager’s latest wheel project over a year ago, predominantly focussed around superior aerodynamics from a much wider rim profiles. The D3 suffix is – Dual Direction Design – which Bontrager claims, improves aerodynamics and stability in cross winds.

The Aelous 3 is the shallowest profile at 30mm which, by Bontrager’s reckoning, is more the climber’s choice, but whilst undeniably light at 1150g pair, if claims the profile yields aerodynamic benefits of a much deeper rim are to be believed it’s arguably more versatile.

Bontrager’s own carbon hub shells combine with DT Swiss internals, with 18 spokes up front and 24 rear. £749.99 front and £949.99 rear.


Bioracer Frost and Freezing jackets

Bioracer missed out in our winter clothing supplement, but with months of cold weather still to get through, its worth introducing two new jackets.

The Frost is a full Winter jacket featuring a lot of laminated, brushed weatherproof fabric and includes superb double cuffs for a super sealed glove sleeve interface. The Freezing is a more traditional windproof front and sleeves, backed by waffle style insulating brushed fabric plus some neat details.

Both tops feature secure and open rear pockets, protected from road spray with weather resistant panels. At £159.99 for the Freezing and £199.99 for the Frost, performance needs to match the price, but from first perusal, it appears they might just do that.


Specialized Starter Kit
If your Christmas hints fell on deaf ears and your stocking failed to deliver any necessary essentials you might have been missing, then the Specialized Starter Kit may be a worthwhile New Year purchase. As a £40 bundle it contains some really nice pieces, especially the Mini Wedge seatpack, a firm favourite of ours, as its narrow shape tucks sleekly behind the seatpost practically eliminating the chances of inner thigh rub.

The exceptionally diminutive Airtool mini pump comes with a simple frame mount, plus tyre levers and a Zee cage too, so all you need to add is a spare tube and you’re all set.


Muc-Off Ultimate Cleaning Kit
Muc-Off’s dedication to labour saving bike cleaning products has saved us hours of elbow grease over the years. The ‘ultimate’ kit brings all its know-how together, with a comprehensive quota to take you through the process from start to finish.

Even the trademark pink liveried storage box doubles up as a handy parts washer and that added to the combined cost of the individual products that includes cleaners, lubes, brushes, a sponge and microfibre cloth, would total around £70 so the £49.99 price tag is a sizeable saving. It’s practically a no-brainer as, let’s face it, you can never have too much bike cleaning gear for a British winter.

KCNC K3 Cobweb Chainrings
Pushing the limits of CNC machining to the max, KCNC’s K3 Cobweb chainrings are certainly a unique design concept that will be an eye catching addition to any chainset.

For the gram counters, the rings are clearly incredibly light too – our 39/53T combo weighed in at 33g and 72g respectively, which knocks spots off standard equivalents. KCNC claims the high quality 7075 alloy is still tough and durable, even with so much material removed, and shifting should be slick and smooth thanks to the machined shift ramps and pins.

We’ve yet to put any miles on them, but we’ll let you know the outcome of our initial rides soon.  39T £40.99; 53T £69.99.


This article was first published during January and Febuary issues of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.