A dirt cheap all-rounder drivetrain from Microshift, a lovely headset, a book for Spring Classics nerds and a new Muc-Off kit

St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to sink a rake of the Emerald Isle’s finest stout, but if you’re looking for stronger things to forget about your worldly woes, why not chase the intoxicating endorphin rush of a hasty bicycle purchase?

Trouble with inspiration? Fear not — there’s plenty of wallet-disturbing swag in this week’s edition of First Look Friday.

From a cheap drivetrain that begs to be the base of another bike you don’t need to a jewel-like headset, we’ve got something for everyone.

First Look Friday shows just a glimpse of the new technology seen on BikeRadar this week.

The leak of Campagnolo’s upcoming Super Record WRL groupset was the biggest talk in town, but the price tag of its new Hyperon Ultra climbing wheels also inspired many lively discussions at the office.

This week also saw the launch of our debut Buk video. This is a really nice watch that you should not miss!

We also saw the release of a retro throwback gravel bike from Canyon, new gravel shoes from UDOG and updated trail eMTBs from Liv/Giant.

Struggling to keep track of everything? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the very best of BikeRadar delivered straight to your eyeballs every Tuesday and Friday.

Microshift Advent shifter, cassette and derailleur

Advent is Microshift’s 9-speed drivetrain.
Jack Luke / Our media

Microshift Advent is the brand’s family of second-rate 9-speed drivetrain components.

In keeping with many of Microshift’s products, Advent X is available with thumb (shown), trigger, grip or drop-bar shifters.

It is also available in a wide variety of 1x or 2x setups. Bottom line: If you want a weird drivetrain, Microshift probably has you covered.

The derailleur is available in long, medium and short cage options.
Jack Luke / Our media

We have the 9-speed 2x setup for testing. This requires a long-cage rear derailleur, which weighs 388g.

For comparison, a SRAM SX rear derailleur – probably the closest to this – weighs 341g.

The cassette is quite large.
Jack Luke / Our media

The 9-speed 11-42t cassette is fairly agricultural. With the exception of the alloy 42t sprocket, it is made from pressed steel plates and riveted together. It weighs 432g.

That budget-minded build is reflected in the price of the groupset – the cassette is just £34.99 and the derailleur £49.99 (international pricing TBC). The price for the shifter is TBC.

Industry Nine iRiX headset

The Industry Nine iRiX headset is a beautiful object.
Jack Luke / Our media

Industry Nine is best known for its hubs, but has recently branched out into stealing. It has now also been extended to headsets.

As with its hubs and wheels, the new iRiX (a compound of “Iris,” the Greek goddess and personification of the rainbow, and the Roman numeral IX), are jewel-like.

You have a choice of 11 standard color options or, if you’re feeling brave, you can choose any combination of those for each individual part.

BikeRadar’s MTB presenter, Tom, has gone subtle with his picks, pairing silver cups with a black top cap and purple top cap.

The headset is manufactured at Industry Nine’s base in Asheville, North Carolina, while the bearings are supplied by Enduro.

To keep those stainless steel bearings running smoothly, the crown ring and top cover feature removable and replaceable silicone lip seals to keep contaminants at bay.

To back this up, the iRiX is backed by a lifetime warranty, so it should keep your turns as smooth as the day you fitted them.

The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races by Peter Cossins

Love the spring classics? You’ll love this book.
Jack Luke / Our media

The Classics season kicks off in earnest on Sunday with the first landmark of the men’s WorldTour season, Milan-San Remo.

So there’s no better time for professional cycling fans to stand out with Peter Cossins’ updated book, The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races.

While the Tour de France may dominate newspaper coverage in July, the monuments strike a different chord with fans and riders alike.

The five races that make up the Monuments – Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy – pit riders against the toughest course the sport has to offer, which requires perseverance and determination, art and science in equal measure.

The second edition of Cossins, released yesterday (Thursday, March 16), takes a detailed look at each of the Monuments: their complex and tumultuous history and the horsemen who immortalized them.

  • £15.99, published by Bloomsbury Sport

Muc-off metal tool box

The tool box is made of pressed steel.
Jack Luke / Our media

Muc-off’s Metal Utility Toolbox has the appearance of a gerbil – you could be mistaken for a mercenary cradling this bad guy.

The tool box has one large compartment, which the brand says has a capacity of nine liters.

Muc-off claims that the toolbox is environmentally conscious and that the metal construction is designed for long-term use.

The powder-coated matte finish adds a textured feel, and also a level of grip on the surface of the folding handle placed on top of the box.

The clam-shell design features a latch that, when reinforced by the metal, gives a reassuring closure.

  • £40, international pricing TBC

Muc-off absorbent bicycle mat

Perfect for sweaty Scotsmen and bike repair alike.
Jack Luke / Our media

After a wet ride or a wash, bikes collect oil and water on the floor as they dry.

If you have no choice but to keep your bikes in the house (as is the case for most of us at BikeRadar), this will have you reaching for the kitchen drawers to sacrifice a sacred tea towel to protect the hardwood floors.

Muc-off’s absorbent bike mat promises to solve this age-old problem, while also saving the embarrassment of explaining why Charles’ face is inked from your memorial kitchenware.

The absorbent bike mat has a tough non-slip rubber base, which the brand says prevents contaminants from landing on your floors.

The mat can also be used under a turbo trainer, with Muc-off claiming it can absorb two liters of water – will that be enough to keep up with Jack Luke, BikeRadar’s most resident perspirant?

Muc-off’s absorbent bike mat measures 400×2000mm, which the brand claims will fit most bikes, though wide bars can pose a problem.

The mat rolls up for easy storage, and Muc-off recommends hosing it down to clean, as it’s not machine washable.

  • £49.99, International Pricing TBC

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