Interbike ’14, Part VII

Interbike ’14, Part VII

SRM has introduced a new head unit, the PC8. Like all SRM units, it is jam-packed with features, but what sets this unit apart from previous SRM head units is that it records GPS data and speaks not only ANT+ but Bluetooth and Wifi as well. With GPS running, batter life is 30 hours; without, it’s 100 hours. It features a noticeably larger screen that can display seven different data point, plus a few handy icons. The new casing is also made from aluminum for improved durability. In addition to tracking all of your ride metrics, it also includes a number of different bike profiles as well, so that you can factor out changes between various bikes. But yes, it’s still going to be the most expensive unit on the market, at roughly $870. IMG_9263

Assos has entered the mountain bike apparel market. And of course, they’ve done it in a way that only Assos would do it. The front of the jersey, with its full zip, looks normal enough. IMG_9267

Its the back of the jersey that gets interesting. It features a mesh weave not found in any other jersey on the planet. It’s part of a two-garment system, meant to be worn with a base layer. IMG_9268

What makes this jersey interesting and not a complete oddity is the fact that this mesh has some loft to it. The upshot is that air can circulate through the mesh and the mesh helps keep a hydration pack from sitting flat against your back, hopefully keeping you cooler on hot days. The look is really unusual, but I can’t wait to try this. IMG_9270

Assos also introduced a new road jersey that is meant to bring their apparel into a more affordable price range without sacrificing materials or fit. IMG_9277

The Canadian company Race Face bought Easton Cycling earlier this year. That’s not particularly big news, but this is: The long awaited replacement for the EC90 has finally hit the market. The new EC90 features Easton’s new (more durable) hubs as well as the new Fantom rim. I’ve been waiting for this wheel for a good 18 months; it, like the Syzr pedals, was threatening to become vapor ware. The Fantom rim features a rounded spoke bed for a double leading edge approach to aerodynamics; it’s got a 38mm depth and a 19mm internal width, making it one of the widest rims for road tires on the market. Another unusual feature of this wheel is that its tubeless-ready design uses a hookless bead. The EC90 is available into two carbon clincher versions (spoke counts of 16/20 and 20/24), a tubular version as well as a carbon clincher disc version.

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Also new is the E100 carbon tubular. It features a 45mm depth and is 24mm wide at the brake track, so it’s perfect for anyone wanting to run a 25mm tubular tire. Its most compelling feature is its weight. That number on the scale—1.03—is the weight in kilograms. IMG_9279

But light can be frustrating if the wheels aren’t serviceable. These wheels may feature carbon fiber spokes, but they can be trued and in the event of a broken spoke from a crash, a set of spokes (drive side or non-drive side) can be replaced, unlike some other high-zoot wheels. 
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Lezyne has revamped some of its floor pumps. The CNC Floor Drive, the Alloy Floor Drive and the Steel Floor Drive all have a new 3.5-inch wide gauge, perfect for aging eyes. IMG_9284

For everyone who thinks the new Silca is just too expensive, the CNC Floor Drive delivers great quality for only $100. IMG_9285

Lezyne also added a gauge to its popular hand pump. The Gauge Drive goes for $49.99 and works with both presta and Schrader valves. It can take a tire up to 120 psi, though only track riders take tires that high anymore. IMG_9286

Lezyne added a new organizer to its offerings with the Flow Caddy. It takes the mini-bottle and includes a tool roll to make it easier to get everything in—and out. Just add tools; $15.99. 
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A number of bike companies are beginning to offer dedicated gravel bikes. Arguably no one has as much experience in off-the-beaten-track road bike design as Co-Motion. They work in steel and aluminum and aren’t afraid of disc brakes—mechanical or hydraulic. At one end you’ve got the Klatch, a racey bike capable of tearing up all unpaved surfaces. On the other you’ve got the Pangea which is essentially a drop-bar, loaded tour mountain bike. In between those are another eight or so bikes, most with an S&S Coupler variant.  IMG_9290

Not only does Co-Motion machine all their own frame fittings, they offer some interesting adaptations, such as these dropouts that will allow someone to convert their bike from the geared, derailleured version shown here to a single-speed version. 
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Bell has entered the aero helmet arena with the $280 Star Pro. The eye shield (their term) is much better than those included on most competing helmets, probably because they went with Zeiss optics so that you can actually see what’s approaching. If this looks like some of the other aero designs, that’s because that vent-free frontal area is a shape that wind tunnels have shown is faster. IMG_9293

The helmet’s real innovation is a slider that closes the helmets vents, making a fast helmet even faster. And because this can be done on the fly, unlike the helmet covers that Team Sky’s Kask requires, it’s easier to use and therefore likely to be used more. IMG_9294

Bell had a clear plastic version made to demonstrate how the slider would close all the vents. Not exactly obvious, but definitely cool. IMG_9296

Enduro isn’t really our scene, but I dig anything that allows you to stretch your limits. Bell just introduced a revision of their Super 2 helmet, the $200 Super 2R. Where it differs is the full-face protection. But this ain’t the rad kid’s full-face helmet. It’s convertible.

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Yep, it snaps off. And while I wouldn’t have tried this without a three-way mirror, the face protector is nearly as easy to install as it is to remove. As a matter of fact, I’m told it’s easier to both remove and install the face protector when you’re wearing the helmet. IMG_9298

Not everyone replaces their helmet after it takes a good hit, and no amount of education will fix that for everyone. The answer is a helmet that can take multiple hits. The Reflex uses EPP foam instead of EPS so that it can take multiple impacts without crumbling. It also has a hard polycarbonate shell to insulate the EPP from light impacts, like a distracted kid dropping the helmet on the ground. At $65, it may be one of the better values in helmets.
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Panache showed a new kit called V-Lab. Making bib shorts aero is no big thing as they already follow the skin, but the jersey has been the issue. To make a jersey more aero, more form-following, it has to do more than just fit better, it also needs stretch. Most jerseys accomplish this by increasing the amount of Lycra in the jersey, but that compromises breathability. IMG_9303

The V-Lab jersey uses an unusual knit in order to increase stretch while keeping the Lycra content to only three percent. This is a lightweight fabric meant for those special days, if not race day. V-Lab is available in both their existing collection and in custom. IMG_9305

When Italian bike makers began producing bikes overseas, Italian geometry did a magnificent Dodo act, virtually disappearing from the Earth. Scapin has introduced a custom carbon fiber bike that restores that classic geometry of a long wheelbase and lower bottom bracket. Those bikes were beloved for a reason and that geometry was the big reason why. 





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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Chainlinks: Best of the Bike Web, September 18, 2014 - Trail & Tarmac

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