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In the Drops: Shokz OpenRun, Rudy Project, Shimano and space

Matthew Loveridge
11 Feb 2022

This week's kit and content highlights from Cyclist plus an audiobook that's out of this world

What costs $220 and looks more 'beachside tat stall' than edgy fashion designer? Yep, it's a hoodie from Chris Froome's new clothing range. Form an orderly queue.  

This week on Cyclist, intrepid Freelancer Will Jones proposed a set of alternative performance metrics for bikes that are grounded in more practical considerations than the usual performance-focussed ones.

The component shortage took a turn for the criminal with a huge heist of Shimano components, while SRAM upped the ante on satellite shifters with the launch of new wireless Blips.

Our testers gave their verdicts on the pleasingly affordable Alpkit Rhythm Elite bib tights, a selection of CBD gels and balms for cyclists, and the stylish steel All-City Zig Zag

Meanwhile, to celebrate Ernesto's 90th birthday, we revisited Colnago's marvellous collection of cycling treasures.


Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones

Formerly known as AfterShokz, Shokz specialises in bone conduction headphones that let you listen to audio without blocking your ear canals, meaning you can still hear what's going on around you. 

The Shokz OpenRun is an updated version of the existing Aeropex model, with the addition of quick charging. It's a one-size-fits-all design with a titanium band that runs around the back of the wearer's head, holding them in place. 

According to Shokz, just 10 minutes of charging gets you 1.5 hours of play time, a pretty impressive claim. Total battery life is said to be eight hours.

Where some previous models use a standard micro-USB socket hidden under a flap for charging, the OpenRun uses a more elegant but proprietary magnetic connector.

This no doubt helps the OpenRun achieve its IP67 waterproof rating, which should be more than adequate for anything you can throw at it while cycling.

Otherwise, the concept remains the same. Sound is delivered to the bones of your inner ear via pads resting against your temples, and the headphones are fully wireless, with Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. 

As well as listening to music and podcasts, the OpenRun includes a microphone so you can take calls on the go. 

I tested an earlier version of these headphones some years ago and thought they were a great concept that worked well for running, but suffered from some practical issues when it came to cycling.

I'm intrigued to find out how the latest iteration performs on the bike.

Rudy Project Deltabeat sunglasses

Another day, another zesty pair of shades for your delectation. Rudy Project is a well-established maker of slick sunglasses and the Deltabeats have a unique selling point in the form of frames made from Rilsan Clear polyamide, which the brand tells us is based in part on oil of castor beans grown in the Gujarat region of India, making it a more sustainable choice. 

Pictured here in their photochromic variant, the Deltabeats are aren't as radical looking as some currently fashionable glasses, but offer a healthy amount of coverage and subtle venting to reduce fogging. 

There are the usual gripper sections on the arms and a simple nosepiece that can be manipulated to adapt the fit. 

First impressions are that the Deltabeats grip my head really well without feeling excessively tight.

I maintain that sunglasses weight is completely irrelevant unless they're stupidly heavy, but if you must know, they weigh 29g on my scales. 

If photochromic isn't your thing, the Deltabeats come in a choice of lairy lens and frame colour combos. Oh, and they'll accept prescription inserts if you need them. Nice.

Topeak Tubi 18 multitool

The best multitool in the world isn't the one with the most functions, it's the one that most perfectly matches your everyday bike-fettling needs.

The Topeak Tubi 18 strikes a nice balance between svelte dimensions (roughly 85×35×16mm) and a really useful range of functions including the usual array of hex and Torx bits plus, more importantly, what looks like a well thought-out tubeless repair system. 

The Tubi 18 includes a reamer and plug insertion tool, while the black box section houses three 3.5mm thick tyre worms.

Better yet, there's even a knife blade that could be a life-saver if you need to dig something sharp out of a tyre.

Note that this locks in the open position, so this isn't a multitool to take to the shops – UK laws take a dim view of that sort of thing.

The Tubi 18 weighs 110g on my scales which feels pretty reasonable. The lack of a chain tool aside – Topeak has chunkier options that include one of those too – it feels like a good option to cover the bases for everyday riding. 

Shimano TL-BR Professional Disc Brake Bleed Kit

Having to bleed hydraulic disc brakes is the price we pay for the lashings of stopping power and modulation in all conditions we now take for granted from our bikes. 

The TL;DR on the new TL-BR from Shimano is that it's the fully fledged pro option that covers all of the brands brakes, incorporating the TL-BR001 syringe and hose, TL-BR002 bleed cup (for road levers), TL-BR003 bleed cup (for mountain bike levers), and four different bleed blocks to suit a range of calipers. 

Refinements to this latest kit include a small metal insert in the caliper end of the bleed hose that should mean less spilt brake fluid, and new large bleed cups in two sizes, meaning you won't need an adapter for road levers. 

The new cups are larger than previously and feature a lip that should again help keep things tidy. 

It's not a cheap set and you can certainly bleed your brakes for less cash using aftermarket options, but Shimano's latest kit shoud be very easy to use and comes with the warm, fuzzy reassurance of being on-brand.

Can you put a price on that? You can, as it happens...

What we're into this week: Space

Image: Penguin Random House

Remember when we left Matt Damon on Mars and he grew potatoes with his own poo? Top bants.

The Martian was a great film and, as it turns out, an even better book, one that's incredibly enjoyable as an audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton

While the film did a fantastic job of telling the overarching story, the book goes full nerd with an incredible level of technical detail. 

Science fiction often glosses over the finer points of how seemingly far-fetched space happenings unfold, but The Martian doesn't shy away from the nitty-gritty, reasoning its way through every scenario with science that, while perhaps at times unlikely, is certainly plausible. 

Image: Penguin Random House

Having enjoyed The Martian so much, I listened to Project Hail Mary next, and it is just wonderful.

I won't spoil any of the plot, but while it's tonally very similar to The Martian, it takes things further into the realm of fiction, but again manages to retain that essential element of plausibility. 

It's also an interesting example of a book that, if anything, works better as audio than it would on the page, for reasons that will become obvious if you give it a listen. 

If you're even slightly drawn to space stuff, I can't recommend it highly enough.

That's all for now folks, catch you next week.