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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
Is it Christmas in July already? It is for bike tech geeks, perhaps. With the world’s largest cycling trade show having moved forward seven weeks from its traditional date in late August – it now overlaps with the Tour de France – July has never been busier for cycling-related excitement.
Eurobike is a labyrinth of what’s new in the world of cycling tech with more than 1,500 exhibitors, many of which are showcasing multiple individual brands. The show serves as the launching pad for thousands of new products, but e-bikes and related parts and accessories increasingly dominate the floor space here. Several indoor halls are devoted solely to powered bicycles, there’s a huge (and wildly popular) demo area just for e-bikes, and virtually every manufacturer has pushed them to the front of their booths.
James Huang and Dave Rome will be walking the halls on each of the show’s three days to bring you a collection of what’s new and where the industry is headed. As per previous years, if there’s anything you’d like to see or learn about, let us know in the comments below, and rest assured there will still be plenty more to see from us in the days and weeks after this year’s show closes its doors.
PowerTap finally has a disc-compatible power meter hub again. The new G4 works with standard Center Lock rotors, not the proprietary ones from before. And before you get too excited about the purple hue, keep in mind that it’s basically just for show. Production versions will be matte black.
The new PowerTap G4 power meter rear hub will also be USB-rechargeable via a magnetic dongle, and you won’t need to remove the rotor to access it.
CycleOps has built a prototype platform for indoor training that not only floats fore and aft, but also tilts side to side, all of which is meant to create a more realistic feel. I rode it briefly, and it indeed feels surprisingly realistic. The prototype is made mostly of wood, and is exceedingly heavy. If the project moves forward, CycleOps envisions it being light enough for one person to easily carry, and made in such a way that it could fold in half for easier storage.
A sliding counterweight is located at the back of the platform to balance out stationary trainers whose mass isn’t perfectly centered.
Straps slide along slots in the upper platform to keep stationary trainers secured in place.
The rollers travel along curved tracks that automatically keep the platform centered. The curve is specially chosen to more accurately mimic real-world motion when getting out of the saddle or sprinting.
Two fixed pads are situated at the corners to faciilitate getting on and off the bike.
Canadian company AeroLab Tech stealthily displayed a development sample for a device that is best described as a portable wind tunnel. Similar in concept to what Argon 18 and Alphamantis have proposed, the device – in conjunction with a direct-measurement power meter – instantly calculates rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag.
Two sensors at the front of the device continuously measure wind angle in order to get accurate drag measurements. I don’t expect this device to become available to consumers in the near future, though. Instead, I would almost guarantee that a bigger company (Quarq seems like the most likely candidate) would purchase or license the technology, and then they would bring it to market.
Silca’s new Sicuro bottle cage is made of hollow titanium and weighs just 29g.
Silca says it uses a double-pass weld technique derived from the aerospace industry to produce such impeccable tiny and perfect weld beads.
The mounting slots are pleasantly long, meaning there will be plenty of flexibility in where the cage is located.
Wolfpack is a new brand created by Wolfgang Arenz, the tire guru responsible for the Continental Black Chili, Specialized Gripton, and Schwalbe Addix rubber compounds. According to Arenz, tires have gotten efficient enough in terms of rolling resistance, so he’s focused on improving grip for better handling and improved safety.
Wolfpack is launching with just three road tires (two clincher; one tubular) and three mountain bike tires for now, but more are certainly on the way. It seems safe to say that despite Wolfpack’s modest launch, the other tire companies for whom he’s worked in the past may be just a little bit concerned with where the brand goes from here.
Coming soon to Zwift are two new courses. First up is an exact replica of the 2018 road world championship course in Innsbruck, Austria, which will be added in August. Apparently, the Australian U23 national team have been (or will be?) using it for course recon work.
Further down the line will be a course based on the famous Central Park of New York. It’ll be somewhere between the fantasy world of Watopia and the life-like ride of Richmond.
Jagwire’s Pro Internal Routing tool isn’t new, but it’s still neat enough to warrant a second look. Special bits attach to the ends of derailleur and brake cables, hydraulic hoses, and Shimano Di2 wires, which can then be guided through the frame by a large magnet placed on one end of the handle.
At the other end of the Jagwire Pro Internal Routing tool is a smaller extendable magnet that can then “grab” those bits so they can be pulled back out of the frame.
And then after you’re done, everything stores within the handle for compact storage.
Wahoo Fitness launched three new products at Eurobike. First is the new KICKR Headwind (US$249), something many will be a fan of (pun intended). This fan directs air at the rider, and can sync with a heart rate strap, speed sensor, and/or KICKR trainer to automatically ramp up the fan speed based on your exertion level. Flip-down legs at the back allow it to be mounted on the floor or a table, while still aiming air where it needs to go. The next phase will be for third party platforms to work it into the experience, offering headwinds and breezes on descents.
The original Wahoo Fitness KICKR gets a few small running updates. The flywheel is heavier at 16lb, it’s quieter, and it now has a maximum resistance of 2,200W.
The new Wahoo Fitness KICKR Core fills the gap between the top-tier KICKR and the budget KICKR Snap. At US$899, it’s a paired-back version of the flagship version, offering a lighter 12lb flywheel, a simpler frame design, and 1,800W of maximum resistance.
The pattern on this silicone rubber bar tape from Silic1 provides a visual aid for how tightly the tape is wrapped. Why does that matter? Silic1 says the effective tape thickness can be varied between 2-3mm depending on how much it’s stretched, and the lines help you see how much padding you’ll end up with.
The Hex storage stand from Granite Gear (the sister brand of Funn Components) is similar to the Feedback Sports Scorpion, and works with hollow crank spindles to provide a quick and easy way to hold the bike upright. It weighs just 730g and folds to an impressively compact size.
Funn’s new dropper seatpost design features a twin-tube configuration that the is claimed to help prevent the internal air pressure build-ups that can commonly cause other dropper posts to start sagging over time.
Tripeak was one of the first companies to offer thread-together bottom bracket solutions for press-fit shells. New to the catalogue are oversized rear derailleur jockey wheels with hybrid ceramic bearings that fit within existing Shimano R9100 and R8000 derailleur cages. The 12-tooth upper and 14-tooth lower pulleys replace the stock 11-tooth wheels, which should slightly decrease drivetrain friction. If there’s as much extra room in the stock cage as claimed, such a component upgrade will likely become available from a number of other manufacturers.
Early Rider is a brand that’s foreign to us, but had a booth full of impressive kids bikes that all looked trail-ready.
Enduro Bearings is experimenting with supplemental stainless steel outer shields for its Max range of full-complement suspension pivot bearings. At just 0.2mm thick, these are designed to create an extremely precise two-way barrier, keeping grease in and contamination out. It’s an idea already proven in industrial applications, according to Enduro, and should find OEM use on full-suspension mountain bikes soon.
Enduro Bearings is expanding its range of XD-15 rear derailleur pulley wheels. These feature Delrin teeth for quiet and smooth running, but a hollow aluminium central core that both saves weight and decreases flex relative to all-plastic construction. That added stiffness is claimed to improve shift performance, and like all of Enduro’s XD-15 bearings, these carry a lifetime warranty.
Cane Creek’s Thudbuster suspension seatpost has been used to add comfort to an otherwise rigid bike. The new eeSilk is a much lighter-weight option at 295g, and with less travel and firmer tunes than the Thudbuster, is aimed more at road and gravel bikes. The seatpost will ship with three different elastomer inserts designed to suit riders weighing under 50kg to just over 90kg. Additional inserts for heavier riders are available, too. The post uses titanium hardware and is available in only a 27.2mm diameter and with setback.
Cane Creek’s new BarKeep expandable bar end plugs weigh just 12g for the pair, and hold much more securely than cheap plastic plugs. The design is similar to the company’s amazingly light eeNut steerer expander plug.
Unior continues to make many of its tools in-house and in Slovenia. These CNC machined bottom bracket sockets feature a 1/2in square drive (most BB tools are commonly 3/8in) and are far simpler than Unior’s previous offerings.
Two tools in one. This tool is used both for straightening disc rotors and spreading disc pads. We’ve seen similar ideas from other brands before, but this one is more neatly implemented.
Not all of Unior’s tools are made in-house. For example, these new digital torque wrenches are sourced from Taiwan, something Unior openly admits is done for categories for which they’re not manufacturing experts. The larger one features a 1/2in drive, whereas most torque wrenches of this size would typically feature a smaller 3/8in drive.
Do you prefer cradle-style repair stands? This workshop version uses a steel base that was requested by a number or Unior’s sponsored WorldTour teams.
Unior will soon have a new pro-grade shop workstand clamp that features brass handles, a quick-release button, and a ratcheting closure system. This looks like another nice option for shops.
Unior teased a new race stand last year, but the Pro Road stand is now all finished. These sorts of repair stands are hardly new, but one feature that’s unique to Unior’s version is that the entire bike can be angled, which makes it much easier for mechanics to work on road bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and internal cable routing.