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Buying Guide Clothing Clothing Hot Products News

Castelli Spring Summer 2021 Range

This weekend the weather took a turn in the right direction, the leg warmers are well and truly off! With the arrival of the sunshine, we thought we’d take a look at some of the highlights of Castelli’s 2021 Spring/Summer range. With technology developed alongside the Ineos Grenadiers trickling down across the whole range, Castelli creates products that not only perform at the very highest level but that look good while doing so. With comfort and style in mind, Castelli SS21 collection sees updates to some of the Italian brand’s best-loved kit along with all-new cycling bib shorts, jerseys and accessories. Here we walk you through some of the key pieces for Men and Women.

Men’s Competitiione Bib Short
The Competizione is a premium bibshort in look and feel. The sort of thing that’s ideal to pull on for a Sunday club ride but is equally at home being raced in. When you’re pinning on a number you need kit that you can forget about and simply concentrate on the road in front of you, the Competizione lets you do just that. The Giro4 leg gripper features silicone stripes to help lock the legs in place, this technology along with the Vortex textured fabric comes straight from Castelli’s top-of-the-line Free Aero Race 4 bibshort. Other features include a KISS Air2 chamois, flat-lock stitching and breathable mesh straps.

Women’s Prima Bibshort
Castelli understands how hard it is to get one of the most important pieces of cycling clothing right. With the Prima bibshort they’ve taken their obsession of making the perfect bibshort and packaged it into an entry-level short in terms of price with a zero-compromise approach in terms of performance. From the Women’s specific KISS Air2 chamois to the Pro Dry Soft material the Prima bibshort has a premium look and feel. Ride this short all summer long then take it indoors to the trainer come the colder months. If you’re looking for your ideal Women’s specific, Summer Road Cycling bibshort the Prima is exactly that!

Men’s Rapido Jersey
Featuring a striking graphic comprising of lines and fades, this is a jersey that not only looks fast, it performs at the highest level. Utilising Strada micromesh fabric with a 7% Lycra content the Rapido jersey is designed to fit without being overly tight making it suitable for all body shapes. With an easy on/off full-length zip and Tailwind dimpled fabric on the shoulders, side panels and pockets, the Rapido is the perfect all-day Summer jersey.

Women’s Gradient Jersey
Based on Castelli’s long-distance Squadra jersey that you may be familiar with, the Gradient jersey is designed to keep you comfortable mile after mile. Featuring ProSecco Micromesh fabric to help wick moisture away with breathable mesh side panels, the Gradient jersey provides a great close-to-body fit ideal for long days on the bike we all dream of.

Men’s Classifica Jersey
The Men’s Classifica jersey oozes style. Slip this jersey on for your next training ride and as you clock up the miles you’re bound to turn heads for all the right reasons. Offering supreme comfort, the micro-piqué knit fabric offers moisture management and has a super-soft feel. With a close-to-body fit that offers slightly more room then Castelli’s race kit, the Classifica jersey offers as much style at the cafe stop as it does performance on the bike.

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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Electric Bikes Featured Hot Products Road Bikes

Cannondale Topstone Neo SL E-Gravel Bike

When Cannondale told us about their Topstone Neo SL e-bike we thought it sounded great. An e-bike built for roads, lanes, byways, gravel trails or just about anything you can point it in the direction of with an ultra discrete, lightweight Mahle ebikemotion X35+ drive system. No we’ve had a chance to get our hands on the bike we’re even more impressed than we had anticipated.

When you first see the Topstone Neo SL you realise just how far e-bikes have come. You’d be forgiven for asking the question ‘Where’s the motor?” The simple answer is that this clever hub-based motor really does hide in plain sight. Despite its subtle appearance, the assistance achieved by this lightweight motor is far from it. 250W power with a 250Wh battery provide three levels of support ensuring assistance is always there when you need it. A maximum range of 47 miles is achieved when used conservatively so you really can go the distance.

Controlled by the integrated top tube controller, assistance is always within reach. You can turn the system on, select your assist level and see your battery charge, all at the touch of a button leaving plenty of space on the bars for any other accessories you decide to take along for the ride. Charging is simple thanks to the easy access charging port. This also allows for an optional range extender for a total battery capacity of 450Wh allowing you to ride even further!

The lightweight aluminum frame and full carbon fork provide a smooth and stable ride. The geometry is perfectly balanced to allow you to munch miles in a back-friendly position without being too slack. You can still get pretty aero in the drops! Clearance for 700x42c tyres provide all the cushioning and grip you’ll need on the more technical trails, tubeless compatibility means you can get the pressures nice and low too.

Functionality is catered for with multiple mounts for water bottles, racks and storage. Fit a set of fenders to keep the grime off in the damper months and you’ll have a year-round companion if you don’t mind facing the elements making it the perfect companion for commuting in style.

Available in two differing builds, the Topstone Neo SL1 comes equipped with Shimano’s GRX600 1×11 Speed groupset, the Topstone Neo SL2 has Shimano GRX400 2×10 Speed, providing reliable functionality you’d expect from a Shimano hydraulic disc brake groupset in both cases. The SL1 even has some fine finishing kit like the Fabric Scoop saddle, Promax carbon seatpost both of which aid in soaking up any buzz. WTB Resolute TCS, 700 x 42c, tubeless-ready tyres and Cannondale 16 degree flared handlebars round up a really well-thought-out build.

Available in-store and online the Cannondale Topstone Neo SL1 and Cannondale Topstone Neo SL2 form part of our huge range of electric road and gravel bikes.

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Hot Products Mountain News Parts And Accessories

The SRAM GX Eagle AXS upgrade kit has landed!

SRAM launched the latest in their Mountain Bike component series yesterday, the GX Eagle AXS wireless upgrade kit. SRAM’s high-end AXS technology has trickled down to their mid-range groupset, meaning flawless wireless shifting for the masses at an affordable price point. Retailing at £554.00 for the upgrade kit which includes everything you need to make your existing Eagle drivetrain wireless. Backwards compatible with both their original and expanded range Eagle Cassettes, making it a no-brainer for anyone looking to upgrade or replace tired components.

Featuring SRAM’s proven AXS wireless technology and renowned, rugged durability of the GX range while mirroring the performance of their XX1 and X01 Eagle AXS derailleurs, the GX Eagle AXS rear mech doesn’t disappoint. Paired with the GX Eagle AXS Controller which has incredible levels of customisation this is a winning combo that makes for effortless shifting. Not only is there the option to assign different touchpoints using the SRAM AXS app but you can also swap out the paddle shapes should you feel the need. With SRAM’s AXS technology at the heart of this setup it also leaves the option open to pair a RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post with the system.

Using ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, the AXS system allows you to pair with a multitude of devices such as a Garmin or smartphone. Fire up the SRAM AXS app and you can fine-tune the setup to your heart’s content, you can also check the battery life of your components via the app, not that it’s something you need to worry about with around 20 hours of run time thanks to the AXS Battery. If you do drain the juice you won’t need to wait long before you can hit the trails again however with a charge time of around an hour. The shifter uses a button cell battery which has a run time of 2 years, allowing for a fit-and-forget approach.

Another amazing feature of the new GX AXS derailleur is the double-clutch mechanism system. The Overload Clutch protects your investment in the event of an impact, the mech senses this and disengages the motor gearbox. This allows the derailleur to move out of harm’s way, before instantly returning to its position allowing you to get back on the gas! The second roller bearing clutch keeps the chain under tension preventing chainslap.

If you have a mechanical SRAM Eagle drivetrain and the components are in need of a freshen up or you’re just eager to see what all the fuss is about with wireless shifting then the SRAM GX Eagle AXS upgrade kit is right up your street! Available in-store or online, giving you the option of having our team of qualified technicians fit that for you or go down the DIY, home mechanic approach.

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Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Gravel Bikes, the perfect 4 season UK bike?

Living in the UK our bikes need to be versatile, after all the weather in the UK can be grim at the best of times. Let’s face it we get about 3 months of sun every year, the rest of the time we spend battling the elements.

When it comes to cycling, especially road riding the best way to combat the inclement weather, protecting yourself and your bike from the relentless road spray is often to fit a set of mudguards. Wider tyres tend to favourable with those who like to ride right through the very worst of the weather. While modern endurance-orientated road bikes do tend to allow for this, sportier bikes certainly don’t. That’s where a winter bike comes into its own and we’ve found that Gravel Bikes make a perfect year-round bike here in the UK for training and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Hear me out…

Tyre Clearance
One of the key features of a gravel bike is the clearance for large volume tyres, typically 40mm and above in width on a 700c wheel. While this is ideal for gravel riding when it comes to pounding miles on the road you might want something a little narrower. The beauty is though while you may not need the tyre clearance it allows you to fit full mudguards in place and still a nice wide tyre.

Disc Brakes
Disc brakes offer far more consistent braking regardless of conditions, that paired without having to worry about wearing rims out lend towards all season riding. Come rain or shine you’re not likely to notice a dip in braking performance. Hydraulic discs offer superb modulation which can be crucial on slippy lanes and you don’t have to worry about them clogging up with mud.

Mounts
One thing that gravel bikes tend to feature is mounting points. This opens up a range of possibilities for attaching all manner of accessories from mudguards to extra bottle cages or even pannier racks. It’s always handy to carry a few spares, there’s no harm in being over-prepared.

Geometry
While gravel bikes may look to the eye to essentially be a road bike with bigger tyres, they typically have a more relaxed riding position. A slightly slacker front ends helps to aid stability which can prove hugely beneficial in ferocious winter crosswinds. This can also help with reducing the change of toe overlap when you’ve fitted mudguards! With a shorter reach than your typical road race bike, gravel bikes are more akin to endurance bikes, so you can ride all day in comfort.

So if you’re considering a gravel bike but aren’t quite convinced yet, we certainly think they’re worth their while. Even if you won’t be riding miles of unpaved tracks, they’re equally at home on the road with a few minor adjustments and might just make the ideal winter training bike. That being said, they’re certainly no replacement for an out and out road bike but do provide a huge level of versatility.

Shop our range of in-stock Gravel Bikes.

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured Mountain Bikes News

Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp Review

For 20 years Specialized Epic’s have been putting racers on top of podiums. One of the most successful Cross Country Mountain Bikes available, with renowned athletes piloting the bike around World Cup circuits. Utilising the experience gained by racing at the very top tier, Specialized make race-ready bikes available to buy off the shelf. The Epic Hardtail Comp is a perfect example of this.

What’s new?
The lightest production hardtail on earth is also the most capable and comfortable racing machine they have ever created. Specialized have used their featherweight FACT 11m carbon to create a dropper-post friendly frame which is only 140 grams heavier than the elite level, S-Works equivalent. The handling is more confident thanks to a slackened head angle, reduced fork offset and increased reach. Paired with Rockshox‘s Reba RL fork to soak up the bumps with a steady hand.

The full Shimano SLX M7100 series groupset ensures the Epic Hardtail Comp strikes a perfect balance between performance and reliability, all at an accessible price point.

Epic good looks
Dressed in the iconic Specialized Flo Red that has adorned Specialized bikes for so many years, the Epic Hardtail Comp comes to life in the sun thanks to a special ghost pearl addition to the paintwork. This thing really needs to be seen to be appreciated properly.

Epic in name, epic in nature
The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a thoroughbred race bike, every turn of the pedals catapults you forward at a rate more akin to a gravel bike, this thing is seriously quick! Thanks to the pedalling efficiency of a hardtail, the Epic really feels like it’s going to take off when you get on the gas, even in the heaviest of slop, synonyms with the classic British Winter we’ve grown so accustomed to. Nimble over roots, the Specialized Fast Track CONTROL tyres provide ample grip when required while carrying the necessary speed to rip uphill and on the flats. You’ll spend most of your time in the saddle dropping a cog and finding ways to go faster.

The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a carbon XC mountain bike that makes you want to ride all the time. It’s a straight forward no-nonsense bike that’s going to prove to a reliable and hassle-free partner for miles to come, owing to the carefully selected equipment that it’s specced with. We’re a huge fan of the Specialized Epic here at Hargroves Cycles and we’re certain you will be too.

Shop Specialized Mountain Bikes at Hargroves Cycles available with finance and delivery.

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Maintenance News Parts And Accessories Safety

Fixing a puncture on the road

Let us get back to basics. Changing a tyre and/or fixing a puncture is something that every cyclist, no matter how experienced, will have to face at some point. You may have the best tyres, do your utmost to avoid potholes and meticulously prune your tyres for undesirable objects, however, the day will come where you have to come to terms with the fact that you have a puncture. Maybe you’ve cycled over a carelessly disposed glass bottle or caught the end of a spiked vine, whatever the case you’ll start to feel as if the bike has suddenly become almost… sluggish, as if it’s somehow consumed a good few pints. You survey your surroundings, eyeing your tyres suspiciously, trying to determine whether it is, in fact, a puncture or you just didn’t pump your tyres up pre-ride. Then the moment comes when you finally concede to the reality that your slowly losing air. At this point (post swearing), it’s best to find a safe spot to pull over and set about fixing the thorn in your side (or tyre).

Now, if you’re the type of cyclist that prepares an ’emergency kit’ prior to heading out, you will have a full puncture repair kit which consists of – tyre levers, a piece of chalk/crayon, a spare inner tube, puncture patches, glue, sandpaper and a pump/co2 canister. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you have no spare tube, so you’re resigned to fixing the puncture and continuing on the same tube. While tyre levers are not a necessity for removing a tyre, it certainly helps and keeps your fingers from getting sore, we’re going to assume that you have a pair.

Getting your bike set

Puncture in the rear? Make sure you change gears until you’re in the small ring at the back (this is better for your bike when you remove the wheel). Then flip the bike upside down, this isn’t essential but helps considering you’re riding solo. Make sure it’s rested on the saddle and handlebars.

Removing the wheel

If you have rim brakes you may have to undo your brake to remove the tyre. Sidepull brakes have a little lever on the calliper that opens the brake further. With V-brakes, the J-shaped metal ‘noodle’ unhooks from the yoke. With cantilever brakes, the cable unhooks from one brake arm. If you’ve got disc brakes, you don’t have to do anything. Remove the wheel by undoing the quick release and pulling the wheel smoothly out, if it’s a rear-wheel, pull the derailleur back out of the way and lift the wheel up and out.

Tyre off and innertube out

Insert the first tyre lever under the edge of the tyre (the bead) and work it off the rim. Either hold this lever or slot the end behind a spoke. Insert the second tyre lever about 10cm away on the same side. Lever up the bead, then run the second lever around the rim, lifting off the tyre completely on one side only. This may take a few tries to get it right. Remove the valve cap and locking ring, if any, then remove the tube.

Finding the puncture, fixing the puncture

If you’re…erm…lucky! You’ll be able to see the offending hole that caused the puncture, however, it might not be so easy. The best bet is to pump up the tube and move the tube around listening carefully for a soft hissing sound. When you think you’ve found it place a finger over the hole and feel for the releasing air, mark the hole with a cross using the chalk/crayon and grab the sandpaper. Rough up the area and spread the glue over an area that’s larger than the patch with your finger, and then leave it to dry for at least five minutes. Don’t do anything else until it’s totally dry – otherwise, you won’t fix your puncture. Peel off the foil backing, apply the patch, making sure it’s centred over the hole. Press down firmly for a minute, and then remove the backing, being careful not to lift the edges of the patch. Inflate the tube and make sure there’s no air escaping, if there’s a hole under one edge of the patch, remove it and start again. You’ll need to roughen the tube more thoroughly, and let the glue dry for longer.

Check the tyre, check the tyre, check the tyre

CHECK THE TYRE. I for one have experienced the sheer frustration of fixing my puncture, putting everything back together only to ride 500m down the road and get another puncture because I hadn’t removed the original culprit. Run your fingers carefully inside the tyre to see if the sharp object is still there. If so, remove it – a knife helps. If you don’t find anything, feel around the rest of the tyre just in case. Hopefully, it’s already fallen out.

Putting it all back together

Place the inner tube back in the wheel with it half-inflated. This will help the process of putting the tyre back on the wheel and not catching the inner tube between the tyre and rim – something which will save you time and the frustration of another blown tube. Work your way around the tyre, holding one hand at a point and working the tyre into the rim. If your tyre is being stubborn turn the tyre levers over and leverage the tyre back over the rim, being careful not to pinch the inner tube against the rim. After some exasperating noises and lots of elbow grease, you’ll have it back in place ready to pump up and put your wheel back on.

This is the best way to fix a puncture on a commute. A brand new inner tube will have your bike good to go again in no time (no need to take into a shop for a service). However, there may be times where you get a puncture and you don’t have a new inner tube on you.

Disaster averted, following these easy steps you’ll be a master of changing a tyre or fixing an inner tube in no time. Saves those embarrassing phone calls to the other half or best friend, begging for a lift ‘Yeah, you know the roundabout near the layby? The one near that place we had a roast in once? Erm, you know the one, it had the dead badger on the road?’ Nah, neither do we.

To view our range of puncture repair kits: https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/puncture-repair