Oakley Plazma photochromic sunglasses
Given that pros are paid to wear particular brands, you can probably take what they say about their kit with a pinch of salt. Geraint Thomas’s loyalty to his infamous Oakleys, however, is far from PR.
Every time he loses his white Racing Jackets in a crash, a new pair pops up – even after they’ve been discontinued. It felt like a crime seeing him briefly sport a different model but the faithful Racing Jackets always found their way back.
The Oakley Plazma sunglasses pick up that legacy with a design very much lifted from the classic Racing Jacket model and they continue to fight the good fight for normal-sized sunnies in the peloton. They’re packed with all the technology you’ll find across the rest of the iconic brand’s range, with a lightweight but durable frame and grippy Unobtanium earsocks and nosepads.
These bad boys also have Oakley’s HDO – high definition optics – technology, meaning they have photochromic lenses, which adapt to light on the go, so they’re perfect for wearing in the autumn months when the sun can drop out of sight faster than Geraint Thomas on a greasy hairpin.
From £139, oakley.com
You don’t often get kit that looks like it would be more at home on the ear of a Metallica fan than on a bike, but Absoluteblack is hoping its Hollowcage is a master of pulleys. From the brand that brought you oval chainrings, the Hollowcage is an oversized pulley wheel system made with an innovative carbon monoplate design, oversized ceramic bearings and a couple of rubber bands.
Why? Well, Absoluteblack says that while it shifts as well as a Shimano Dura-ace cage thanks to its tall teeth, it is ultra-quiet – it reduces noise by a claimed 60% – and more aerodynamic than the Dura-ace, as well as being one of the lightest oversized cages you can buy at a reported 71g.
The more flexible carbon cage and the stiffer guide pulley featuring those ceramic bearings help to provide more accurate alignment, which reduces the friction that comes from the tussle between pulley and chain. That helps to increase the overall performance of the system, while the suspended rubber bands dampen the impact of chain on teeth, thus minimising the sound of engagement. They won’t however reduce the sound your partner will make when £500 mysteriously disappears from the shared account.