Van Bikeradar: A new short saddle from Prime, reflective Bont gravel shoes, O’Neal MTB shoes and the latest edition of Bicycling Science

We’re in the midst of a cold snap in Bristol, and I don’t cope well with the cold.

Because of that (and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) I’ve spent almost every hour indoors in recent weeks. I’m becoming a hermit.

Of course, I could be more like my hardier colleagues, put on some winter cycling clothing, ride a bike such as the new 2022 Cannondale Synapse and brave the elements.

According to the lead photograph, technical editor Tom Marvin has been out testing Schwalbe’s Wicked Will Super Race tyres in shorts and a T-shirt. I’m sceptical. Look at the tyre sidewalls – something doesn’t add up.

The thing is, though, I don’t want to do any of that.

I’d just rather it was sunny, warm and dry. I’m dreaming of days when it’s appropriate to ride in whiter than white shoes such as the new Specialized S-Works 7 Lace.

Riding indoors (using Zwift and a smart trainer) ticks two out of those three boxes, though, so that’s mostly what I’ve been doing.

I even did an FTP test on my time trial bike last Saturday (of my own volition), which probably confirms I really have lost the plot.

But I digress, you’ve clicked through for the latest edition of First Look Friday – an opportunity to examine some of the latest swag to arrive at BikeRadar – so let’s dive straight into it.

Prime Primavera Shorty saddle

Prime Primavera Shorty carbon saddle

The Primavera Shorty carbon saddle is a new short saddle from Prime.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

The Primavera Shorty saddle is a new full-carbon, short-nosed saddle from Prime.

Featuring a 3K carbon fibre base and carbon fibre rails, the Primavera Shorty is 240mm long and 143mm wide. It also features a generously sized central cut-out to reduce soft-tissue pressure in sensitive areas.

This makes it very similar in design to popular short road bike saddles, such as the Specialized Power, PRO Stealth and Bontrager Aelous.

While how the PU padding performs in terms of comfort remains to be seen, the Primavera Shorty saddle clearly does very well in the value stakes.

With an RRP of £119.99, it’s significantly cheaper than equivalently specced saddles from many other brands.

Our test sample weighs just 165g (5g under the claimed weight of 170g), so it’s also very light.

A final feature worth noting is the integrated accessory port on the rear edge. This enables a universal accessory mount to be attached securely, on which you can place lights, rear-facing cameras, etc.

Bont Vaypor G Reflex Ghost gravel cycling shoes

Bont Vaypor G Reflex Ghost

The latest version of Bont’s Vaypor G gravel cycling shoes.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

We were very impressed with the previous-generation Bont Vaypor G shoes, so it’s nice to see Bont hasn’t messed with a winning formula.

As usual with Bont’s high-end cycling shoes, you get a super-stiff, full-carbon sole in a reasonably lightweight package (769g for a pair of size EU45s on our scales), and full heat-moulding capabilities to fine tune the fit.

This latest-generation Vaypor G updates the closure system to the latest Boa Li2 dials, and is now available in Bont’s Reflex Ghost colourway.

This grey lights up brightly like a reflective jacket when light is shone on it, making you a little more visible in dark conditions.

The soles are drilled for two-bolt SPD cleats (for use with clipless mountain bike pedals) and have a fully replaceable tread system.

O’Neal Pinned Pro Flat Pedal Shoe V.22 grey/blue

O'Neal Pinned Pro Flat pedal shoe

The O’Neal Pinned Pro Flat Pedal Shoe V.22 has been redesigned for 2022.
Max Wilman / Immediate Media

The Pinned Pro Flat V.22 is a flat mountain bike shoe with gravity-oriented riders in mind, and has been redesigned for 2022.

O’Neal claims the honey rubber sole brings a happy medium of good pedal traction and still enabling you to reposition your foot as needed.

The hexagonal shape on the sole is also said to allow the pins on your flat pedals to locate a more secure position.

A lasting board is placed inside the sole, which adds some rigidity from front to back. Not too much as to make walking uncomfortable, though. The lateral stiffness is greater, however, providing better control under heavy impacts, such as when descending.

The shoe has a high and soft padded inner ankle for added comfort and protection, and the tongue has a water-repellent coating. This stops the padded material from acting like a sponge if you plough through any deep puddles.

While the whole shoe isn’t claimed to be fully waterproof, the materials are naturally fairly water resistant, and there are perforations in the uppers to aid breathability in warmer conditions too.

O'Neal Pinned Pro Flat pedal shoe

The tongue wraps high around your ankle for added protection, and is coated with a DWR treatment to prevent it soaking up too much water in wet conditions.
Max Wilman / Immediate Media

Bicycling Science (The MIT Press), fourth edition

Bicycling Science (The MIT Press)

Bicycling Science (The MIT Press), fourth edition.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

For those who like to analyse every aspect of cycling in fine detail, the fourth edition of Bicycling Science “offers a comprehensive account of the history of bicycles, how human beings propel them, what makes them go faster – and what keeps them from going even faster.”

Covering recent experiments and busting myths, the latest edition discusses recent research into human physiology, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, braking and more.

With 568 pages, I’ll be slowly digesting every bit of it over breakfast for the next few months.

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