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by James Huang
March 24, 2017
Photography by James Huang
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
The bespoke bicycle market has always comprised an intriguing dichotomy: while the frames (and sometimes, forks) are, by nature, custom made for each client, they’re typically equipped with parts that are either fully off-the-shelf or only lightly personalized. Major component companies were slow to embrace this market in the early days of the cottage industry, but as it has grown in recent years, so, too, has the level of attention being paid by the big labels — and many now even choose the North American Handmade Bicycle Show as the debut location for new products.
Highlights from this year’s show include the rebirth of Mavic’s venerable Open Pro aluminum clincher road rim, new gravel wheels from HED, Rolf Prima, and Boyd Cycling, an intriguing gravel-specific suspension fork from Fox, slick high-end tools from Abbey Bike Tools, the debut of Thomson’s new carbon fiber Masterpiece C seatpost, and a fleet of new headsets from Enduro Bearings, White Industries, CeramicSpeed, and Chris King.
Also featured are CeramicSpeed’s jaw-droppingly expensive 3D-printed hollow titanium oversized derailleur pulley wheels, pretty anodized aluminum thru-axle skewers from Paul Components, new leather saddles from Rivet Cycle Works, updated forks from Wound Up Composites, and a clever digital toolkit from Wheel Fanatyk aimed at professional wheel builders to measure and log spoke tension.
Mavic’s legendary Open Pro rim gets a long-overdue revamp for 2017, with a new ISM4 machined shape, disc- and rim-specific versions, and optional Exalith textured sidewalls for the ultimate in wet-weather rim braking performance.
Stainless steel eyelets help prevent spoke pull-through.
The machining leaves more material around the spoke holes for extra strength while thinning things out elsewhere to reduce weight. Claimed weight is 420g.
The Exalith sidewall treatment on rim-brake models yields some of the best rim-brake braking performance currently available.
Enve offers Mavic’s new Speed Release thru-axle system on its latest forks.
The Mavic Speed Release system provides the benefits of thru-axles while retaining most of the speediness of quick-release open dropouts.
The keyed dropout and step-down axle diameter are two of the keys to the Mavic Speed Release system.
HED will offer a new rim, tentatively named Eroica, in disc-only formats. A small ridge on the sidewall will keep anyone from being tempted to run the new rims with any sort of conventional caliper brakes.
HED previewed a new carbon-fiber front hub at this year’s NAHBS, with a stunning claimed weight of just 48g. A carbon-fiber rear hub is in development, too, and the company also plans to bring all hub production in-house, including aluminum models.
Rolf Prima debuted at NAHBS is new Hyalite ES Carbon wheels for gravel and cyclocross.
Internal width on Rolf Prima’s new Hyalite ES Carbon wheels is a healthy 23mm.
The aluminum hubs feature sealed cartridge bearings, aluminum freehub bodies, and interchangeable end caps.
Boyd Cycling debuted at NAHBS its new Jocassee carbon fiber wheels for gravel riding, built with a generous 24mm internal width to match higher-volume tires.
Claimed rim weight for the new Boyd Cycling Jocassee gravel wheels is just 430g (in the 27.5″‘ size). There will also be a 700c option as well. Claimed wheelset weight is as low as 1,570g, depending on configuration, and retail price will be US$1,650.
Boyd Cycling founder Boyd Johnson guided the pre-show group ride each morning at NAHBS. On one section of rough dirt, it was remarkable how easily he rolled away on these.
Fox finally pulled the curtains back on its new AX suspension fork for gravel bikes. While precise details still aren’t available, expected weight should be around 1.2kg (2.65lb).
Fox’s new fork is essentially just a shortened version of its 32 SC cross-country mountain bike fork, with just 40mm of travel.
Apparently, “Adventure Cross” is now a thing.
It might seem odd to find a suspension fork on a bike with drop bars, but we’re guessing it may soon become more common.
Abbey Bike Tools also debuted this slick saddle setback tool, specifically designed for team mechanics and fitters who regularly need to repeatably verify saddle positions for their clients and athletes.
Laser-etched markings are easy to read, and more critical dimensions are marked with physical notches.
Three crankset inserts provide consistent anchor points for tape measures.
Abbey Bike Tools made just a handful of HAG derailleur hanger tools for NAHBS, with a lower-weight titanium head instead of the usual stainless steel one. Company owner and founder Jason Quade suspects that not many buyers will be willing to pay the added premium over the standard HAG to justify the 165g weight savings, but then again, he’s underestimated the voraciousness of his customer base before. If you want one, speak up.
Speedvagen commissioned a special toolkit from Abbey Bike Tools as an add-on option for its bikes.
Included inside the custom Speedvagen-by-Abbey toolkit are a Crombie cassette tool, pedal wrench, chain whip, and hex keys, all with custom finishes, custom hardware, and modified dimensions. The price? Roughly US$775.
Artful touches like these are hardly necessary, but they’re undeniably cool.
Yep, even the lock gets the Speedvagen treatment.
Thomson has revamped two long-standing icons in its seatpost range. The setback post no longer has that trademark kinked shape, while the new Masterpiece C is added on top of the standard Masterpiece version with molded carbon fiber construction and an ultralight weight.
Even the head of Thomson’s new Masterpiece C seatpost is made of carbon fiber. Titanium hardware is still being evaluated.
Thomson already had carbon-fiber road handlebars, but is now adding aluminum ones, too.
Enduro Bearings launched a new headset at this year’s NAHBS. Seeing as how the company already produced bearings for much of the headset market, this was a natural progression. The laser-etched graphics are still being finalized.
Quite cleverly, Enduro Bearings’ new headset will accommodate both 1 1/8″ and 1 1/4″ upper steerer tube diameters just by swapping bearing cartridges and split rings. The company will also offer split rings in stainless steel, which should be a boon to triathletes and anyone else who regularly sweats a lot on their bike.
The top cap is conveniently shaped for the Enduro Bearings logo.
If you look carefully, you’ll see that the taper on the upper cover matches perfectly with the chamfer on the upper cup.
New from Enduro Bearings are T47 threaded bottom bracket cups for Campagnolo Ultra-Torque cranksets.
If you’re a mechanic or shop that is regularly installing Enduro Bearings TorqTite bottom bracket cups, you should definitely get yourself one of these reversible tools.
White Industries introduced its new headsets at NAHBS.
The polished finish would look great on any number of paint schemes.
White Industries is making headset spacers to match, too, with thin walls to match modern aluminum stems, but also tapered bases for a seamless look.
White Industries now offers a version of its machined aluminum crankset with a 30mm-diameter splined axle.
A threaded preload collar makes for easy bearing adjustments.
CeramicSpeed was already making ceramic headset bearing upgrade kits, so it was only natural that it would eventually follow up with a new complete headset, too.
A little bit of fun from the folks at CeramicSpeed.
CeramicSpeed debuted a new ultra-premium version of its oversized derailleur cage system, featuring hollow 3D-printed titanium pulleys.
How much are CeramicSpeed’s new 3D-printed hollow titanium pulleys, you wonder? Seriously, you don’t want to know.
New from Chris King is the limited-edition matte bourbon finish.
Even once the limited-edition matte bourbon components are all gone, Chris King will keep two matte finishes in the lineup: the basic black shown here, and a more subdued slate.
Somehow, green anodized components always manage to look just right.
Chris King’s new reversible bottom bracket tool is designed to fit standard and oversized ThreadFit cups.
The matte slate finish is bound to be a popular one.
Paul Components offers a slick alternative to standard thru-axle skewers. And yes, you can get them in colors.
Paul Components’ Klamper mechanical disc brake is similar in function to the old Avid BB7.
Rivet Cycle Works is adding a new shape to its lineup, featuring a wider tail and shorter nose.
WoundUp is hoping to bring itself back into relevance with some updated features, such as these thru-axle dropouts.
Also coming from WoundUp is a new tapered steerer option.
Wheel Fanatyk’s digital tensiometer kit can be used with an optional foot pedal to input spoke tensions to a computer database, which can then output a graphical display of a wheel’s evenness.
Spline-drive aluminum nipples are back! As compared to conventional nipples, these are much less likely to strip at higher spoke tensions.
These “shaker” boxes are handy for keeping nipples within easy reach.
Wheel Fanatyk is the US distributor for P&K Lie’s masterful truing stands.
Brass clamps hold the wheels in place.
P&K Lie thinks there’s no good reason why something can’t be be functional and beautiful.
The dial gauges feature a progressive movement and scale that highlights tiny deviations.
Steel rollers provide pinpoint accuracy without damaging the rim surface.
Wheel Fanatyk has all the bits and bobbles for faster and better wheel builds.
Challenge is looking to bring tubulars back into the mainstream, saying the new crop of mounting tapes now makes it easier than ever to fix a flat while out on the road.
Cotton is now being supplanted by silk at the top end of Challenge’s tubular tire casing hierarchy.
Derby Rims is better known in the mountain bike world for its pioneering role in wider rims (especially in carbon fiber), but the company also has a range of tubeless rims for road and cyclocross applications, too.
The raised shelf on the inner profile of Derby’s carbon rims helps prevent burping at lower pressures.
If the standard matte finishes don’t suit your fancy, there may also be some glossy ones in store.
NAHBS isn’t just about bikes; there are also a host of component, accessory, and clothing companies on hand as well.
Portland-based wheel company HiFi brought a huge collection of aluminum and carbon wheelsto NAHBS. Common themes include relatively reasonable pricing, Japanese EZO bearings, and easy tubeless compatibility.
Industry Nine’s nifty Matchstix multi-tool packs five bits, a master link, a chain tool, valve core remover, and a spoke wrench into a standard thru-axle.
When it comes to bottle cages, there are few more iconic than the hollow titanium King Kage, still made by hand in Durango, Colorado, by Ron Andrews.
Reynolds Cycling recently revamped the profiles of its aero road wheels, moving to wider shapes throughout.
Reynolds Cycling also recently moved to Industry Nine hubs on its premium wheels.
Got kids? Love mountain biking? Tout Terrain’s single-wheeled trailer is, far and away, the most dirt-worthy option we’ve seen.
The Tout Terrain Singletrailer’s swingarm rear suspension offers up to 200mm of wheel travel.
Sinewave previewed its new generator-powered front light, featuring up to 750 lumens from three LEDs.
Sinewave’s new front light can be powered by either a hub dynamo or a standard USB battery.