It’s about this time every year by the time I’ve had a chance to look over and test most of the new winter bike products that come our way, from apparel to cyclocross shoes to helmets to hardgoods. So I like to do a download of this latest-and-greatest for our loyal EO readers…who may be thinking about ski season but still haven’t switched out their gear sheds yet. Plus, let’s face it, unless you’re really committed to spending every weekend in the mountains during ski season, there’s still plenty of nice riding, especially gravel riding, to be had up and down the Front Range all year long. So keep reading, I’ve got something in here for everyone.
Niner Bikes RIP 9 RDO
I’m an old-school XC rider, yet I have some of the most technical trails in the state right out my backdoor, and no chairlift. So I was looking for the perfect mountain bike to fill this niche. The newly reimagined Niner RIP 9 may just be that quiver killer, coming in less than 30 pounds, with 140mm of stable-yet-supple “Constantly Varying Arc” suspension, available in 29er and 27.5 versions, standard with a 170mm dropper post. My buddy Zach at Niner up in Fort Collins says this is longer, lower, and slacker than any Niner ever made, perfect for a long guy like myself. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to get too bogged down in the endless specs of these bikes, you just want to rip, so let’s cut to the chase: This is a do-everything trail bike that’s more adaptable and capable than ever, with all the new new tech you can possibly wrap your mind around, built in Colorado. $6,600 (Shimano XT)
Having ridden and reviewed a lot of road bikes over the last half dozen years or so, the BMC Roadmachine is probably my favorite — with lots of new tech and a just re-launched frame earlier this summer. Not only is it one of the easiest bikes to fit and be comfortable on for long rides, but it’s inherently sleek, smooth, compliant and fast. I repeat, light and fast. A lot of the geometry on this bike will look unfamiliar, such as the lowered, flattened seat stays, the D-shaped seat tube, and the slim, asymmetric fork legs, all adding up to make this version of the Road Machine 25 percent more compliant and 20 percent stiffer. And yes, it will fit up to a 33mm tire. Fortunately for you, it’s available in an 01 model that might be out of some folks’ price range at $11,000, but it’s also available in a perfectly lovely 02 model — with the exact same frame — at $5,000.
Viathon G.1 AXS
When it comes up in conversation, some people are starting to refer to Viathon as the new bikes made by Walmart, launched just this past spring at Sea Otter — and the thing is, that’s ok, because the bike can’t get its feelings hurt, nor should it. The G.1 is a legit, high-value, competition-ready gravel bike, part of a much larger trend that is actually growing the sport, and that’s a good thing. It’s feature laden, with nice HED tubeless-ready wheels, and IRC Boken 40cm tires standard, and the Selle Italia Novus Boost Mag saddle gives you just another tiny little competitive advantage, which adds up over the course of 140 miles at the Steamboat GRVL. Another important note is that this is the least expensive SRAM Red eTap AXS bike on the market, and despite the brand being conceptualized and owned by Walmart, as part of its movement into core outdoors through Moosejaw, comes with all brand name parts (no house brand parts), so it’s a tremendous value. If it’s a SRAM Red gruppo, it has a Red chain. If it’s an Ultegra gruppo, it has an Ultegra chain…they’re not cutting corners. $7,000
Haibike XDuro AllMtn
Are you an e-bike hater; or from the other camp who thinks they have their place in our lives and if that grows the sport then that’s a good thing? And why are we still having this conversation…e-bikes are at the very least super rad technology — and sinfully fun. Here at 9,000 feet on mostly dirt roads, they’re great for riding uphill with groceries or a kiddo. I’ve also ridden Haibikes on the Kokopelli Trail and other OHV spots near Fruita. The newest AllMtn 6.o features an “InTube Battery Concept” that integrates the 500Wh battery into the frame for cleaner design and lower center of gravity. Couple that with the powerful Bosch Performance CX 250W motor and the rest is exactly like regular mountain bike technology, basically, including FOX forks with 160mm travel up front and 150 in the rear. As long as you don’t run out of juice, you’ll be ripping anything you want all day. It’s pedal assist up to 20 MPH, not throttle activated, with multiple output settings. Available in three models from $5,500 to $4,000.
Woom Kids Bike
Woom was founded in 2013 in Vienna, Austria, with the mission to create the ideal kids’ bike with unparalleled European design inspiring a love of riding. Designers (and fathers) Christian Bezdeka and Marcus Ihlenfeld spent years crafting this “ideal bike for children.” Using design-focused research and stats, woom bikes are developed through “the lens of a child,” according to their U.S. spokesperson, from the geometry and ride characteristics to every component on the bikes. The brands unique “upCYCLING” program allows parents to return bikes for 40 percent of the original purchase price toward a larger size, and the outgrown bikes are donated to nonprofits and underprivileged kids. From balance bikes to bikes for 14-year-olds, they’ve got something for your kiddo. Check the woom website for pricing.
Who doesn’t love this high-end, beautifully designed kit from Italy with the instantly recognizable red scorpion logo. Just be sure you try stuff on if possible before you buy, because it is the epitome of Euro sizing. But one thing that fits true and is now my favorite fall accessory is the CW 6.1 Cross Glove, created for cyclocross but ideal for mountain biking and gravel riding all year long. There’s just something special about a pretty pair of gloves with just the right amount of padding and grip and style.
Topeak Ninja CO2 + Bottle Holder
Sometimes on long gravel rides in shitty weather you need all your pocket space for clothing, so it’s nice to get some tools out of your jersey and onto the bike. And while we love all things Topeak, this cool little accessory has become one of our favorites. Not too over-engineered and certainly practical, when installed properly, the Ninja gives you two CO2 cartridges, two (integrated) tire levers and a mini Air Booster packed in under a lightweight water bottle cage, so you never have to think about something you’d basically be carrying on every ride anyway. $49; and check out the entire Ninja Master Series if you like what you see here.
I also insist that you try something from the new-ish Gore-Tex ShakeDry product line, in this case the Pro Team Insulated from Rapha. Gore worked in-house to develop this technology over the last several seasons, and only a few outside brands have come to market with their own version. It’s highly technical, stretchy in the right places, waterproof, windproof, and breathable, replacing almost every other jacket in your quiver — and it packs down better than almost any other jacket to fit handily in a jersey pocket without having arms flapping in the wind or maxing out your storage. This is also the only foul-weather road cape with a functional hood. $430.
Northwave Extreme GTX Winter Bike Shoes
You can mess with booties in the wet, cold months, and there’s a few that I like and use, but it makes things a lot nicer for racing or commuting to invest in some winter riding shoes. The Italian Northwave factory (yep, again with the Italy) was the first bike shoe brand to employ Gore-Tex membranes in its footwear, and the first to address the niche need for performance winter shoes. Now, the Northwave Extreme GTX is available in both a road (RR) and mountain (XCM) version, both at $300. Even more unique than the GTX Duratherm Kelvin waterproof membrane and the four-layer Arctic footbed is the Climaflex collar, eliminating Velcro leakage and creating a seamless sense of warmth and mobility at the ankle. You’ve heard me talk about Northwave’s XFrame technology before and it continues to help eliminate pressure points with a proprietary, bomber speed lacing system.
–Elevation Outdoors contributing editor Aaron Bible specializes in travel, outdoor industry and event coverage, no matter the season. Follow his adventures on Instagram.