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In the Drops: Important Shimano wheels, racy Bont shoes, Peaty’s cleaning kit and Boba Fett

Sam Challis
18 Feb 2022

Cyclist’s kit and content highlights from this week, plus some excellent sci-fi TV from the extended Star Wars universe

What a week we’ve at Cyclist. It started with love – our profile on power couple Jess Lowden and Dan Bigham went live on Valentine’s Day – and is ending with a lovely edition of In the Drops.

In between things have been just as good. Editorial assistant Robyn Davidson kicked off a brand-new weekly series called Robyn’s Extremely Online Round-Up, in which she gathers up and presents all the fun goings on inside the peloton.

Digital Editor Joe Robinson penned some mighty fine words on what it is like to take on a particularly famous Belgian berg, the Oude Kwaremont, in another edition of our Classic Climbs series, and we took a behind-the-scenes look at the life of pro cycling photographer Pauline Ballet.

It hasn’t all been about people and places though, things have been healthy on the tech front too.

We’ve reviewed the POC Devour sunglasses, Therabody RecoveryPro Air boots, Shimano 105 groupset, Scribe Aero Wide 50 wheelset and Hutchinson Fusion 5 Gridskin tyres.

I think the only appropriate way to top off this week’s tech is to take a look at the latest bits of kit to arrive at Cyclist. It’s a fittingly fine selection.

Shimano Ultegra R8170 C50 wheels

Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets launched mid-last year to much fanfare, but while the 12-speediness and semi-wirelessness of the components grabbed the headlines another significant development flew somewhat under the radar.

That was these. A new, fully-fledged Ultegra wheel range. The Ultegra groupset has long been the functional equal of Dura-Ace but the second tier’s wheel range has lagged behind in performance terms considerably.

That said, even Dura-Ace wheels have typically been on the conservative side of things. So it is great to see both tiers getting wheel ranges with contemporary features befitting the performance of their namesake groupset components.

In the same way the Ultegra groupset is functionally much like Dura-Ace but a little less fancy in design, the new Ultegra wheels echo their top-tier brethren.

That means their only real penalty is an increase in weight, with these C50s coming in a claimed 109g heavier at 1,570g.

The trade-off is a hefty drop in price. The Ultegra C50s are £1,259.98 compared to Dura-Ace's £1,799.98.

The Ultegra wheels are offered the same range of rim depths – 35, 50 and 60mm – and the rim widths are the same too, at 21mm internal and 28mm external.

The wheels are tubeless compatible and come with tubeless tape pre-installed and use hooked rims, so tyre compatibility shouldn’t be an issue.

Bont Cycling Vaypor S shoes

According to Bont Cycling, the Vaypor S is designed for sprinters and was the shoe of choice of Lotto Soudal’s pocket rocket Caleb Ewan for a long time.

Bont says the secret is in the design of the Vaypor S’s upper around the midfoot. Using a Boa fastening system, a somewhat conventional lower portion does much of the heavy lifting in terms of general foot security, but the extra flap that extends over and across the top of the foot is said to pull the foot down and back into the shoe without excess pressure.

The Vaypor S has been recently updated with Boa’s latest Li2 dials. Their improved tactility and lighter action over Boa’s previous premium IP1 dial should make achieving that secure hold a doddle.

Elsewhere, classic Bont features remain in evidence. The Vaypor S’s still have that uber-stiff, bath tub shaped carbon sole, a useful grid over the cleat holes that helps alignment as well as robust heel and toe bumpers too.

The shoes are light as well as stiff, at 483g for a pair of size 43s, but ostensibly their best features are ergonomic rather than performance focused.

The sole is heat mouldable at home and the shoe’s last is based on an aggregate of actual foot measurements, so Bonts look a little different but tend to fit feet very naturally.

Peaty’s Complete Bicycle cleaning kit

Who else’s bike cleaning bits and bobs live in an old bucket? A fair few of you I’d wager, for Peaty’s has recognised the need to put together a dedicated kit for us in a nicely proportioned storage box from storage box masters Wham.

Peaty’s says as a company it aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so that big lump of third-party plastic isn’t as hazardous as you might imagine.

Wham says the box is made from 100% recycled plastic, but is still sturdy enough take the rigours of a bike cleaning regime in its stride, thanks a bulky construction and aluminium carry handle.

The Peaty’s products contained within it use natural materials wherever possible.

The runny elements of the kit – the Loam Foam cleaner, Foaming degreaser and All-weather Link Lube – are all biodegradable, and instead of using plastic for the scrubbing and buffing parts of the kit – the Bog brush, Drivetrain brush and Bicycle cleaning cloth – materials like beech wood and bamboo are deployed instead.

Despite the kit’s eco credentials, Peaty’s promises its cleaning performance is undimmed, so your bike should go from a mucky mess to sparkling stallion in no time.

What we’re into this week: The Book of Boba Fett

Image: Disney

I’m not just nerdy when it comes to bikes and have always enjoyed watching a good bit of sci-fi.

However, I’ve typically been reticent to dive into the myriad spin-off series that have arisen recently off the back of original franchises that I know and love.

The cynic in me viewed them as soulless capitalism, a way to wring extra money from sewn-up classic stories that ultimately dilutes that which they are trying to add to.

While the commercial agenda for such projects is obviously there, series like the The Book of Boba Fett have convinced me that these off-shoots can actually genuinely enrich their source material, in this case the original Star Wars trilogy.

The series tells the story of the iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett immediately after his untimely apparent demise in the Return of the Jedi film (Han Solo breaks his jetpack, which fires him into the pit-like mouth of a monster called a Sarlacc).

It documents his escape and charts a poignant character arc that sees Fett become more than a ruthless, solitary bounty hunter. ‘You can only get so far without a tribe,’ he recognises as he fights to become a respected daimyo (crime lord) for the town of Mos Espa in the power vacuum left by Jabba the Hut’s death (who was of course strangled by Princess Leia).

Such was my naivety to the ‘extended universe’ concept that I’ve since realised The Book of Boba Fett is essentially The Mandolorian (another bounty hunter-themed Star Wars spin-off) series three. I’m now getting stuck into the first series.

I’m having fun connecting the dots and resolve to be more open-minded about spin-offs in future. The Mandolorian and The Book of Boba Fett are available to stream on Disney+ now (as are the original films!).

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