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In the Drops: Rapha gilet, Wahoo pedals, Pinnacle smart trainer and The Cafe Ride

This week's round-up of cool new bike gear for winter and beyond, plus the best thing you'll watch all year and some music

Will Strickson
7 Jan 2022

Not only is it Friday – and time for another installment of everyone's favourite thing to come out of last year, In the Drops – it's also 2022, meaning we can finally start looking forward again after a month of retrospection.

If you're not over 2021 just yet, we published our favourite gear of the year over the Christmas period, however if you're like me and would rather get excited than nostalgic, we've got a few crackers to get you started.

Firstly, digital editor Joe Robinson put together a list of bike industry predictions and desires for the next 12 months. To add to that, Robyn Davidson wrote about the six things we're all looking forward to in professional cycling.

On the subject of the pros, nearly all the new team kits and bikes have been released and with it a closer look at the bike that Mark Cavendish will use to break Eddy Merckx's Tour de France stage wins record in the summer.

January brings with it discounts, so be sure to check out our guide to the best cycling deals currently on the market. It also brings cold weather, so don't miss our guide on everything you need for indoor training or, if you're still adamant on riding outdoors, you might want to have a look at Emma Cole's review of Santini's Coral Bengal women's bibtights.

Finally, this week saw the start of M1LE London and peer-to-peer grief and mental health charity The New Normal's Strava fundraiser, encouraging riders to log their kilometres throughout January, share their own stories and raise awareness for the cause.

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight gilet

One of the great things about cycling is that you can wear clothes that you absolutely would not get away with in normal life. I could never wear an actual gilet, I just couldn't. But a cycling gilet? It doesn't get much better.

This is Rapha's updated Pro Team Lightweight gilet, which comes in the brand's new colourways and has a mesh back for ventilation, raised collar for protection from the cold and redesigned arm holes for a better on-bike fit.

Essentially, its detailing is reflective and it packs down tiny, so it's really ideal for spring, autumn and long descents.

Although that might mean it stays in the cupboard for a little bit, any day can be a gilet day with the current state of the climate. I took it out last weekend to great effect because somehow it was 15° Celsius in London.

Wahoo Speedplay Comp pedals

Speedplay pedals are absolutely not a new thing but having been acquired by techsperts Wahoo in 2019, they're now everywhere and a power meter version is on its way.

These are the Comp version, which is the cheapest one but pretty much the only difference from other models is that the spindle is chromoly steel rather than stainless steel (as with the Zero and single-sided Aero) or titanium (as with the weight-saving Nano). Wahoo says a pair weighs 232g – compared to the 224g Aero, 222g Zero and 168g Nano.

The Comp also ships with 'easy tension' cleats that use a lighter spring than the standard model, making them easier to clip into. All Speedplay cleats are interchangeable however, so you can switch to the standard model if you prefer.

If you're not familiar with Speedplay pedals, they're double-sided road pedals that you click over rather than into and come with four-bolt cleats and a three-bolt adapter baseplate – if like most people you don't have four-bolt shoes.

The cleats boast the big benefits, with 14mm of fore/aft adjustment, 8mm of left/right adjustment and an adjustable float that ranges from fixed to 15° that can be changed incredibly easily using two limits screws in the cleat. That's the real seller for me as I need to prevent my heels coming in but don't want to stop all movement.

Pinnacle HC smart turbo trainer

Evan's own-brand Pinnacle has been on a roll lately with the likes of its £50 cycling shoes and news of its first smart turbo trainer in the form of the Pinnacle HC had us intrigued.

Though initially surprised it wasn't a tenner, it's obvious a lot of work has gone into it and it's come out very nicely. It's sleek, not too heavy at 16.5kg, not too loud and does everything you need a smart trainer to do, connecting via ANT+ or Bluetooth and simulating inclines up to 20%.

And it's still a fair bit cheaper than its competition.

What we're into this week: The Cafe Ride and playlist three

Matt Stephens is the hero we need, not the one we deserve. A certified national treasure, his Sigma Sports The Cafe Ride YouTube series is the best cycling content you'll find anywhere.

If you're not familiar with the concept, Stephens goes on a ride with a cyclist, often on their home roads, taking in nostalgic roads and sights as well as the all important cafe while providing a fantastic blend of humour and serious conversation.

Previous highlights have included Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig in Copenhagen, Mark Cavendish on the Isle of Wight and Daniel Oss in London.

Last week, it finally returned for its first episode since April 2020(!) with Pippa York in Scotland and it's absolutely sensational. A must watch.

Without spoiling it, Stephens and York get rained on, share laughs and have one of the most important conversations of the last few years.

The legendary York shares her experiences of life before and after her transition and it's hard not to get emotional at what she's had to deal with and still faces.

It's essential educational viewing for those that lack the empathy to support trans people and their struggle in sports. It's also incredibly heartwarming to look at the hundreds of amazing comments supporting York, some even saying the video changed their opinions. It certainly makes a change from what the rest of the internet seems to look like sometimes. Chapeau everyone involved.

To finish, I've somehow managed to collate my third new music playlist for In the Drops (find the first two on my Spotify). The first releases of January came just in time to save the day in a period that can be a complete desert for new stuff.

It includes a special release from my most played artist of 2021 Waxahatchee, the return of Father John Misty, a dreamy instrumental from Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Sleaford Mods covering Yazoo.

It's also been padded out with songs that aren't necessarily new but are by artists on the rise and being touted by the BBC's Sound of 2022 poll to blow up this year.