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In the Drops: LeMond e-bike, Maap kit, Brompton jacket, POC Omne Eternal helmet and Snail Mail

Will Strickson
29 Oct 2021

This week's roundup of new gear and some things to beat SAD

It's week two of In The Drops and that means it's now officially a regular round-up of some of the latest bikes, kit and the rest that we've been able to get our hands on and try out in the wild.

This time out it's my turn. I'm Will Strickson, one of three editorial assistants on the Cyclist team meaning I mostly do what I'm told but you'll find me writing about some of the latest gear and bikes both online and in the magazine as well as dabbling in poor takes on pro cycling and interviewing framebuilders for Me and My Bike.

The final week of October (!) was pretty heavy on the news front as Geraint Thomas launched a trust to get more kids into cycling, Rishi Sunak announced funds for another British Grand Départ bid, James Shaw's transfer to EF Education-Nippo was finally announced and something about NFTs if you're into that.

Meanwhile the ultra enthusiastic Emma Cole had a chat with ultra enthusiast Ulrich Bartholmoes about balancing an IT career with competing in some of the world's toughest endurance tests, and delved into the increasingly popular art of dotwatching.

Paul Norman got to grips with new Lancashire-based bike brand Fire's Ignite 2 aero road bike and digital editor Joe Robinson put the pedal to the metal with the Favero Assioma Duo-Shi power meter.

You can also find Joe – along with Cyclist deputy editor James Spender – talking to Ned Boulting on the Cyclist Magazine Podcast Episode 42 about life, the universe and everything darts, women's cycling, Kula Shaker and more.

Over in the world of social media we asked what you thought were the most defining moments from the year of pro road racing and got nostalgic about my trip to the Dolomites for the launch of Basso's new Palta II gravel bike.

Finally, somehow, it's gift-giving season again. That's right, November is my birthday month and I'm expecting big things, so we've updated our guide to the best gifts for cyclists to avoid any unfortunate misfires come the festive season.

LeMond Prolog e-bike

Clearly Greg LeMond never needed an electric bike but the fact that one of the greatest ever is not only riding but designing e-bikes such as this LeMond Prolog tells you a lot about where we're at.

This isn't just any e-bike either, it's all-singing, all-dancing. Firstly it's light (for an e-bike) at 13.1kg for this size large thanks to a carbon frame, fork, mudguards, seatpost and monocoque handlebar-stem.

Alongside that it's fitted with an 11-speed Shimano GRX groupset – it's 1× with a 40t chainring and 11-40 cassette – with hydraulic disc brakes and the option to go Di2 for a few extra quid. LeMond has doubled down on the versatility GRX provides too, fitting it with 700×38mm Panaracer GravelKing tyres.

It has also got integrated front and rear lights – claimed 500 lumens up front and 70 at the back – so you know you'll always be covered in the dark as long as the bike's charged up.

In terms of the actual assist, the Mahle X35+ Smart system provides three levels of push with a claimed range of 45 miles and, where the law allows, it can go up to 20mph (in the UK it's limited to 25kmh/15.5mph). It's not a super-aggressive assist either, g-force is kept to a minimum while the boost is still significant in the top mode.

Such is the build of the bike, the Prolog is a ridiculously fun one to ride with the electric assist on or off. Made for everyday riding, it's the stuff commuters dream of.

Unsurprisingly it doesn't come cheap at more than £4,000 but when you consider what it can do on the road and compare it to the competition, it could be a lot worse.

I'm inclined to describe it as the bike rider's electric bike, if you're looking for an e-bike as a way to get on the bike it's probably not the one but if you enjoy cycling without an assist, you'll love this. Even when you're getting full assist it's begging to be pushed harder and you can only oblige.

Ultimately it's a great advert for e-bikes.

  • From £4,350
  • Find out more at LeMond

Maap Training collection

Even the hardiest of roadies need extra incentives to go for a ride in winter – especially now most people are on turbo trainers – so having reliable and comfortable kit is a necessity.

Maap's Training Collection is designed to be worn and washed every day without sacrificing any performance benefits and this, the second generation, has been honed to tick all the boxes.

Made with premium Italian fabrics with flatlock stitching and a flexible fit, it's aimed at long days in the saddle. The inside of the thermal jersey is incredibly soft and could be worn off the bike without feeling too out of place.

The details are reflective too, which is a nice touch, though with long sleeve and short sleeve jerseys as well as bib shorts, you might still need leg warmers. Personally, I find shorts and warmers less restrictive than bib tights, so that's not an issue here. If you opt for both jersey styles you'd be covered all year round.

On the green front, the Training Collection is made in conjunction with the Bluesign System that aims to improve the sustainability of production.

By the way, the jerseys also come in navy, olive, burgundy and black.

  • Maap Training Thermal jersey: €135
  • Maap Training bib shorts: €165
  • Maap Division socks: €20

Brompton × Oliver Spencer jacket

Brompton is obviously known for its bikes but its collaborations with menswear designer Oliver Spencer suggest it's taking a more holistic approach to commuting.

Having previously brought out a blazer, the brands have now created this jacket that blends style and substance remarkably well.

While aesthetically it's a hit, it's also made for the dark, rainy conditions with which British commuters are only too familiar.

The jacket is water-resistant – though it holds out moisture better than that designation would suggest – and it has a hood as well as a small chest pocket and a large rear pocket to keep your things dry.

The grid pattern detailing is reflective too, adding visibility on the road.

Not only that, but it also has straps fitted inside so you can carry it on your back if it gets too hot.

POC Omne Eternal helmet

Combining the functions of the other kit on this list, the POC Omne Eternal helmet is equally at home on your daily commute or your weekend spin.

We first covered it in back in February but due to the situation the release has been pushed back to this winter.

Fitting the same as POC's standard Omne helmets, it's lightweight, comfortable and pairs well with sunglasses.

The USP though is entirely more impressive – this helmet has a light integrated at the rear.

Not only that but the light automatically comes on when you put the helmet on in the dark. The top of the helmet houses a Powerfoyle photoelectric system that coverts any light source – natural or not – into electrical power, so the light self-charges.

The only shame is that you can't see the light when you're wearing it, but I've been assured it does work (and you can see it in the picture of the Brompton jacket).

  • €250 (approx. £212)
  • Find out more at POC

What we're into this week: new music and fighting the doom

I'm incredibly thankful that In the Drops gives me the opportunity to go off-piste here so I can talk about my other *thing*: music.

In another life I was a music journalist so I've decided to make a 20-song playlist for every time it's my turn running the show with some new music that I've been enjoying recently.

The first edition is headlined by Snail Mail, the sublime solo project of 22-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist Lindsey Jordan. Her second album 'Valentine' is out next week and the three singles released so far are well worth a listen even if you haven't heard album one – 'Lush', which I'd also wholeheartedly recommend.

Other highlights of the playlist include new Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg's two releases, Joy Crookes, James Blake, Sam Fender and more.

Finally something to dilute the doom. Social media, especially in the last week, has been a depressing place with the Budget, a pathetic misuse of ink on Insulate Britain protesters, and the all-too-usual narrow-minded hate, but among the chaos there have been some bright spots.

For fans of football, pubs and Yorkshire, checking out Steve Bracknall on YouTube and Twitter is a must.

It follows Bracknall, assistant manager of Royal Oak F.C., played by Chris McClure – the cover star of Arctic Monkeys's debut 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' and brother of Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon.

He's passionate about the game and his team and the short videos are a hilarious reflection of all-too-real people.

This week we got an insight into Bracknall's plans for the Oak's presentation night and it's star-studded.

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