This month we’ve got a double hitter of pedal releases, Shimano celebrates its 100th anniversary, a five-way sub £100 shoe group test and the beautiful Specialized Tarmac SL7.
First up is Shimano’s centenary, there’s been a lot of build up to this with YouTube videos of tech from years’ past being steadily drip fed over the last so many months.
But for those who were anticipating the release of a shiny, new Dura-Ace groupset, the result was something of a disappointment – finally unveiled was a limited-edition commemorative photo book.
This tells Shimano’s story in 100 products, with accompanying images. Only 2,000 of these 10,000 yen (£66.50) books are to be made and they will be available via pre-registration and lottery selection through Shimano’s centenary website.
On which you’ll be able to find more information about the company’s history, along with some interesting poetry. You can view our full story of the release here. (opens in new tab)
Ever since the Wahoo’s acquisition of Speedplay in 2019, the release of a set of pedals was always a question of when, not if.
There have been some updates to the design, which should make them more durable – both in terms of the binding mechanism and the bearings.
These ones won’t read power, but it is hotly anticipated that a pair that do will be launched this summer. For all of the details, our launch story is well worth a read. (opens in new tab)
Garmin rally pedals
Garmin’s previous model, the Vector 3, had arguably the best looks of any power meter pedal, with a minimalist body that could pass for just an ordinary set. However, the Vector 3 platform was plagued by reliability issues and it only worked with Look style cleats.
Both these issues stand to be addressed in this complete rebranding. Regarding cleat compatibility, Garmin has released three different – and interchangeable – pedals bodies. Whether you’re running Look cleats, Shimano road faring SPD-SL cleats, or the two-bolt Shimano SPD mountain bike cleats – there’s Rally pedal body for you.
Assessing the reliability is going to take a little longer, but we have a set on test and we’re running them through all conditions – time will tell how well they measure up. If you’re after more information about these pedals, pop over to the article here. (opens in new tab)
We’ve had five sets of sub £100 road cycling shoes on test and of them all, it was the dhb Dorica Carbon which most impressed. These have a full carbon sole, as the name would suggest, and delivered an incredible stiff pedalling platform for the price point.
We found the upper to be quite comfortable, constructed from a perforated synthetic leather for breathability. The one thing that knocked these shoes down a point from being a full 10/10 was the heel cup, which was really quite wide.
There’s something of a trend for cheaper cycling shoes to come up in quite a large width. It’s not completely clear why brands are doing this – it shouldn’t cost any more to make a shoe a little narrower.
Some have suggested that the reason is a cyclical ploy by shoe manufacturers to encourage you to buy more expensive shoes. For a bit of an investigation into the phenomenon, we’ve done some digging here. (opens in new tab)
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert
Believe it or not, this is the entry level Tarmac and it comes in at £5,250 – making it the most expensive entry level bike we’ve had in for a while. But to contextualise that a little bit, the top end model costs a whopping £11,750.
For this you get the very nice Ultegra Di2 groupset, but there have been some major savings on the wheels. DT Swiss R470 rims are laced to Specialized’s own hubs – for context, these rims can be picked up for £40 each on Wiggle.
The assumption here is that you have your own wheelset which you would be using with this frame anyway. Although interestingly, the high-end Specialized Turbo tyres are paired to those budget wheels, so evidently Specialized believe that even if you have your own wheels, you could probably still do with some fresh tyres.
Stay tuned for when the review of this bike hits the website.
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Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours (opens in new tab) and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20 (opens in new tab). Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually (opens in new tab), to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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