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Mid Term Review: Forme Calver SLC Carbon Cyclocross Bike

Thanks to Cadence Images for the photography, and VOID for providing us with some lovely kit for the photos

At the start of the season we were lucky enough to receive a brand new Forme Calver SLC Crossbike to test out for the season. After some early season racing here are our first impressions:

“Having only ridden high-end cantilever cross bikes prior to this season, I was excited to test out this new offering from Forme.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss

This is Forme’s high end Carbon Disc Brake CX race machine fully kitted out for the serious racer with Shimano’s new Dura Ace Di2 9170 Hydraulic Groupset, and as ridden by multiple British CX Champion Ian Field and his Neon Velo teammates.

Our build came as a full bike, however a frameset only option is available, to suit cross racer’s preferences and budget.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Fall Jersey

Immediately the lightweight setup provided super straight line acceleration, whilst the stiff bottom bracket and laterally stiff rear triangle seemed to deliver all the power to the rear wheel. I first rode this at the National Trophy at Derby, surprising myself by leading out the race from the gun taking the holeshot. The main frame angles seem race oriented, in particular the front fork allowed me to keep the ride aggressive in the corners and the longish wheelbase on the 56 cm frame meant I could keep things stable at speed.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Armour Jersey’s

This bike came with a tubeless set up which needs some practice to get right, riding very differently to tubulars I recommend giving the tyre pressures plenty of practice before race day to avoid mishaps. That said the Mavic Ksyrium wheels are strong and light, and could cope with everything I threw at them!

Thanks to Forme’s updated geometry the ride inspires confidence and the bike feels bombproof, which is just what you need if you are hopping the hurdles in a race or tackling dry ruts and bumpy fields at speed.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void WindJacket

While I have yet to ride the frame in the mud, the clearance looks to be good with a high seat stay bridge and thin seat stays which seem to offer a good soft ride with vertical compliance given the stiffness mentioned earlier.

Other areas of notice included the through axles keeping things stiff at the rear end of the bike, as well as helping with tracking the front end and obviously the added security of having your wheels securely locked into the frameset. In addition to this, as expected on a race ready frame, internal cable routing helps improve durability and provides a clean finish to the Frame.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss

It is evident that Forme have put extensive time and effort into the design of this bike, with the top tube shape allowing for easier shouldering and most importantly the bottom bracket is threaded meaning there is no creaking, maintenance is easy and there is increase compliance in the BB area.

As expected the Di2 has been faultless and the frameset gives me every confidence it can tackle a heavy winter ahead with ease”

Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Fall Jersey

More information about the new Calver SLC, including where to purchase the bike, can be found here

Words by Alec Gregory

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First Look: Van der Poel’s Secret to Success? 4Gold Nutrition

Mathieu Van der Poel and Gold. Two things commonly associated. Van der Poel does not settle for silver and neither do 4Gold who’s unique brand motto is #DontSettleForSilver

We were contacted through our website a few weeks ago by a Belgian CX Fan, who looked to share with us his reason why he thought Van der Poel had been so dominant this year in Cyclocross.

The margins between winning and losing in sport are often very small, and hence riders look for every marginal gain to increase their performance.

We were pointed in the way of 4Gold.be, a new nutrition company, with great experience.

It turns out Ex-Pro Brent Luyckx and former motocross rider Axel Roelants joined forces with Mathieu Van der Poel to create a high-quality sports drink and nutritional range, which launched this season.

We’ve all heard of MVDP, however it is too Brent and Axel who bring great knowledge to the brand. Luyckx, not so long ago, was a very promising rider himself, together with ex-motocrosser Roelants and cross phenomenon Mathieu Van der Poel seem to have formed the perfect combination. “After more than a year and a half of long days and short nights it is finally, Mathieu Van der Poel, Axel Roelants and I who proudly introduce our food supplement company 4Gold.” explained Luyckx.

Luyckx, who is only 23, was forced to end his career early caused by Crohn’s disease, which affected his intestines. This motivated Brent to strive for the perfect sports nutrition: “During my career, I felt that there was still a lot of improvement in terms of supplementation, so the idea of ​​4Gold has grown to where we are now, namely helping with achieving the dreams of other athletes.”

There is already a wide range of products available specifically for a cyclocross rider. The range includes Pre and Post race drinks as well as Carbo Electrolyte drinks for which maybe were found in the bottle of Mathieu during the early season races!?

A further range is in development with additional energy bars and supplements, and recently a range of special performance coffee has been added to give you that extra recovery benefit.

As a team of professional athletes 4Gold were quick to realise that there are lots of different factors which determine what of, and how much you need to consume. As a result, thanks to extensive research and testing a table can be found on their website suggesting exact qualities and quantities of each product to be consumed depending on your own unique circumstances, such as your type of sport, your height, temperature etc.

And obviously with the extensive drug testing top riders such as Mathieu are subject to, the focus on drug-free food is also present, with products batch tested and batch numbers of purchased products available with information on the site.

More information on 4Gold can be found here

Image result for 4gold

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Review: GripGrab Raptor Gloves

Wout Van Aert, Marianne Vos, Tom Pidcock… All multiple World Champions and all with something in common. The GripGrab Raptor gloves have been around for a few years now and have enjoyed plenty of success – we thought it would be good to see why so many athletes are opting for the Raptor Gloves in Cyclocross.

WVA GripGrab
Photo: GripGrab / @naimawieczorreck

 

GripGrab, based in the cold climate of Denmark, clearly know how to make a warm glove and this was immediately evident in near freezing temperatures endured during testing, but these are a race glove so although warmth is key for Cyclocross we were confident these could be worn in races all year round, so have focused more on the specific details of the design.

As you’d expect with Grip in the company name, the grip on our muddy handlebars was exceptional, thanks to rubber printing on the palm, fingers and thumb making sure your fingers don’t slip off the bars or levers which was summed up by the brands motto ‘Never lose your Grip’. Hidden from the outside, the InsideGrip™ technology features silicon grips located inside the glove which are claimed to improve friction between glove and palm, making the glove work like a second skin with an unprecedented grip. The fingertips incorporate the same approach and ensures grip to the brake levers and gear shifters.

We too were impressed with the breathability, with the slip-in cuff allowing easy removal at the end of a muddy race, whilst the breathable softshell back allowed air to reach our hands even during high intensity races, yet the windproof design preventing that horrible feeling of wind rushing through your hands.

With ourselves located in the U.K, the typical British Winter provided us with some ideal rainy test conditions. Although the glove is not fully waterproof, we were impressed by how dry our hands kept, and linking back to the impressive warmth avoided us suffering from any cold hands during testing.

Finally a few nice additional features such as the sweat wiper and no padding again show why the Raptor Glove is tailored to suit Cyclocross Racers. We were also a fan of the Touch Screen Compatibility – allowing us to get some photos whilst still keeping our hands warm and dry!

 

More information at https://www.gripgrab.com/products/raptor-1

 

GripGrab Raptor Cyclocross Glove Review
Product Testing