Interbike ’14, Part VI

Interbike ’14, Part VI

The title for world’s lightest road frame is still under assault. Guru Cycles has achieved a stunning 625 grams in a frame, leaving Cervelo, Cannondale and anyone else with aspirations for low-gravity achievement to eat their epoxy. Yep, 625g. Less than some bottles of beer, less than some forks, hell, less than most front wheels. Looking inside the BB and the head tube of the bar frame showed exceptionally clean work with no drips or spider webs of excess epoxy inside the tubes.

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Guru shaved nearly 50g from the existing Photon HL to hit the mark of 625g for a 54cm frame.  Also handy: This frame is available in full custom geometry. IMG_9220

What I found most compelling about Guru’s offerings wasn’t that they had the lightest production frame available, though that is terrific, but that the Photon v4 features a 950g frame (54cm) and starts at $3500 for this Ultegra-equipped bike. There aren’t many companies that offer as high a weight-to-price ratio as Guru does in this bike. Put a different way, most frames in this price range use a much lower grade of carbon in order to get the price down while keeping the frame as stiff as the upper-end stuff; the result is a bike with not nearly as nice a ride as the top of the line. I’m willing to bet the Photon Flite rides like bikes in the $5000 range.IMG_9237

Speedplay has been promising a replacement to its Frog pedal system for a few years. The Syzr has been in production for several years and while the design seemed complete to those of us watching from the outside, the tight tolerances involved in the pedal/cleat fit were causing problems in wet conditions. I’m told that’s why we kept seeing it at Interbike and Sea Otter but couldn’t ride it. This was a product at risk of becoming vaporware. But it’s here, finally, and we’ll be reviewing it soon. IMG_9226

Not content to simply get one product out there, Speedplay unloaded the full magazine. Above is a new walkable cleat cover with a Coffee Cap that twists into the pedal’s position.
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This is what the cleat looks like when you’re ready to clip into the pedal. IMG_9228

Speedplay also showed off a new single-sided aero pedal and cleat. Speedplay has been known as an exceptionally aero pedal system for years; when combined with shoe covers, not another system comes close. Richard Bryne, Speedplay’s creator-in-chief, decided to tackle the aerodynamics head-on and created this dimpled pedal and cleat cover for maximum advantage.

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On a four-bolt shoe, the Aero Pedal has a stunningly low profile. IMG_9230

The Pavé pedal (and cleat) has been produced for sponsored teams for use at the cobbled classics for a fair number of years. And until this summer, Speedplay has always insisted this pedal was never going into commercial production. That just changed. 

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Ritchey showed off a new stem, the WCS C220. It’s a slight variation on the C260 (review coming) which is the lightest production stem on the market. Installing a bar in the C260 meant slipping the skinny part of the bar through the narrow opening in the face of the stem. The 4-Axis 44 allows you to push the bar straight in, which mean that if you need to swap stems for some reason, you no longer need to unwarp the bar tape. A 110mm stem is still light; Ritchey says it tips the scales at 130g. Retail is $109.99.IMG_9242

Ritchey has taken an unusual step in tackling counterfeit products. Many of their products are now bearing hologram stickers to demonstrate they are authentic Ritchey products. IMG_9243

The stickers bear a serial number in addition to the difficult-to-reproduce hologram. Anyone old enough to remember vinyl LPs in the 1970s may recall the efforts to prevent counterfeit albums and the holograms that were used on albums from bands like Styx and Split Enz. They were effective then; maybe it will help today. IMG_9245

One of the lightest road pedals ever produced is back. Ritchey’s Pro Micro. The 208g pedal was popular with people who wanted to run one pair of shoes between their road bike and their mountain bike. I liked them for touring in Europe so that I didn’t walk into hotels, bars and restaurants in Speedplay cleats. It’s a two-bearing, one-bushing design that goes for only $84.99.

IMG_9238The Ritchey WCS Zeta II wheelset caught my eye. That’s not unusual for a Ritchey wheelset, but these had a couple of noteworthy features. First, in a world where most wheelsets are often going for north of $1000, this pair of wheels is just $800. I can’t get training wheels for that. The internal width of the rims is 20mm, perfect for running a bigger tire and getting the most out of the fact that these are also tubeless ready. They weigh only 1560g (116g more than the non-disc version), which is a stunner when you consider that price and the fact that they are road disc wheels. Yep. Two other details have me thinking about them for folks traveling with disc brakes on a road bike. First, they are center-lock, which will speed removal of the disc for packing and, second, the rear axle assembly slides apart without the need for tools so you can use the axle with freehub and cassette to protect your rear triangle spacing. Finally, that makes the rear wheel thinner to reduce the room it requires in the case. Yet another great design from Ritchey. Watch for a review.

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Wahoo Fitness keeps coming up with fresh twists on products that have been commoditized. The TICKRx is a heart rate monitor that transmits in both Bluetooth and ANT+, remains tiny and, most surprisingly, has a memory so that if you leave your phone at home, it will sync your effort after the fact. Perfect for swimmers or anyone who does really rainy rides. Not bad for $99.99. IMG_9252Handlebar Mustache is to irreverent cycling products what your favorite band’s first album was to musical adventure—just what we’ve been waiting for. The designs are just the sort that only a true cyclist could create, or understand. Brett and Ashley, are hilarious, warm and recovering Memphians on the lam in Boulder. My kinda people. Maybe yours, too.

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13 comments

  1. Dan

    I’m afraid that price on the Ritchey wheels might be wrong. I just looked at their website and the wheelset is priced at about $950. The front wheel alone goes for $411.
    If you are right I’m going to have to get a pair.

  2. Tom in Albany

    I have that Styx album at home. Nothing to play it on anymore, though.

    Any plan to review the Pave pedal/cleat system? Could be a good gravel-grinder pedal?

    Cheers, Padraig. Looks like you managed to have fun in Vegas. Hope you kept your $$$!


  3. Author
    Padraig

    Dan: Thanks; corrected.

    Peter: http://www.hbstache.com/

    Tom: Yes, I’ll be doing the Pavé pedal soon. I hate Vegas, but as long as my friends from the industry are there, I’ll go. I always have a great time. It’s like visiting the showroom for Santa’s workshop.

  4. Dustin

    “First, in a world where most wheelsets are often going for north of $1000, this pair of wheels is just $949.95. I can’t get training wheels for that.”

    That comes off a tiny bit elitist. There’s a lot of really great wheel options for under $950, especially for “training” wheels, even with disc brakes and 11spd compatibility.

    Example: White Industries CLD hubs, Pacenti SL23 rims (all black for disc use, naturally), 28 Sapim CX-Ray spokes per wheel – 1,580g, under $900 including rim tape and tubeless valves. Stiff 18mm inner width tubeless ready rims, top notch super smooth hubs that are made in the USA (with a ti-freehub body even), all built by hand with custom color options and whatnot. Using the new Shimano CX75 hubs knocks ~$200 off the price at the expense of only 80g.

    1. Sean

      Hi,

      The Zeta II Disc wheels that Padraig is referring to will retail for $800. They are not currently listed on the Ritchey website (though the rim brake version is).

      Also the new Zeta II disc wheels have an internal rim width of 20mm.

      I think makes these wider, lighter and $100 cheaper than the White industries wheels referenced.

  5. Mark

    Dustin,

    If you read the comments, the oddity clears up. Pedraig had originally marked the price of the pair of wheels as ~$400, which would be quite reasonable these days for a pair of wheels. Dan corrected him that the $400 figure was for the front wheel alone, so Pedraig went back in and edited the price for the pair up to the proper $950. The “I can’t get training wheels for that” referred to the mistaken $400 price, not the corrected $950 price.

  6. Steve

    Are those Ritchey wheels tubeless ready and are they spaced for a 135 rear? I recall reading that the “new standard” (oh joy!) for road disc was 135mm, but I can’t remember where I read that. I’ve been quite impressed with the Ritchey Vantage II mtb wheels (29″) which come in just over 1600g as I recall. They are surprisingly stout for a wheel set at that weight and price.

  7. Philip

    When you said “Photon Flite,” I think you meant the new Photon v.4? The Flite is a different model and not part of the Photon line. Otherwise, nice post!

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