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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
And that’s a wrap! Well, sort of. The Eurobike trade show has shut its doors for another year, but not before we share with you some of the highlights that caught our eyes during our third and last day on the ground.
The recent exodus of bigger bike brands from the show has left the floor with fewer complete bikes relative to prior years. However, we still found plenty of interesting machines that will soon arrive on shop floors, including Ceepo’s truly radical triathlon bike, and new road and gravel bikes from Basso.
Shimano is one major label that continues to return to Friedrichshafen, Germany, unveiling a comprehensive range of parts, accessories, clothing, and helmets, not only from its main brand, but also from PRO, Lazer, and Pearl Izumi. Spanish brand Catlike also showed off three new road helmets, Oakley has announced an expansion into mountain bike helmets, and Stages Cycling has grown its collection of cycling computers with two new Dash models to go along with the original version.
Don’t think that this is all that we have left to show you, either. Eurobike may be over for now, but there is plenty more coverage to come from us in the following days and weeks.
Basso’s latest Diamante uses more rounded tubing than before in order to make a more structurally efficient (read: stiffer and lighter) frame than previous editions. According to Basso, the frame is wholly produced in Italy, from lay-up to molding to paint and assembly.
The “monolithic” front end still looks unusual despite the fact that several other brands have adopted similar design philosophies in recent years.
The seatpost shape and integrated binder design seems quite novel.
Gravel bikes are definitely hot in the United States, but they’re definitely not quite on everyone’s mind in the halls of Eurobike. That said, Basso’s new Palta model is one of a handful we saw from European companies that seems to properly fit the bill.
Tire clearance looks very generous on the Basso Palta, with plenty of space around these 38mm-wide WTBs.
The removable front derailleur mount indicates that Basso designed the Palta with 1x drivetrains in mind. This mini-guide is optional, but not a bad idea if you intend on hitting rougher sections of trail.
Basso doesn’t use the same front-end design on the Palta as it does on the new Diamante, but the profiled headset spacers are still meant to help the stem blend into the frame shape somewhat.
Hidden seatpost binders are definitely very popular at the moment, for better or worse.
A third bottle mount is located on the underside of the Basso Palta.
The Ceepo Shadow-R triathlon bike is a perfect example of what’s possible when bike companies aren’t restricted by UCI technical guidelines. The radical shape – and especially the wild fork – is specifically designed to minimize how much surface area is presented to the wind.
Ceepo says the fork on the Shadow-R is not only more aerodynamic than a conventional double-legged fork, but also more comfortable since the whole structure basically acts as a leaf spring on bumps. That said, the fork also weighs a whopping 1,450g despite being made of carbon fiber.
The upper section of the fork is further supported by a small strut mounted to the steerer tube below the stem.
Even if the Shadow-R is as aerodynamic as Ceepo claims, triathletes will probably still want to stick to flatter courses while riding it. As already mentioned, the fork alone weighs 1,450g – double some high-end road frames – and the frame adds another 2,230g.
Catlike showed off three new helmets at the Eurobike show, including the all-purpose Kilauea (at left) and the aero-inspired Vento (at right). Both unmistakably adhere to the company’s highly distinctive design.
The Catlike Kilauea (left) focuses more on ventilation, and features an internal reinforcement structure made of aramid (Kevlar) and graphene that allows for bigger vents and deeper internal channeling. Meanwhile, the more solid exterior of the Vento aero road model (right) doesn’t require as much reinforcement, so it gets by with a more conventional aramid skeleton.
Catlike’s retention system closely follows the lower edge of the helmet for minimal sunglass interference.
As the name suggests, the new Catlike Mixino Evo is an evolution of the current Mixino. That model was already riddled with holes, but the new has even more than before.
As compared to the previous Catlike Mixino (right), the new Mixino Evo (left) has a slightly more rounded exterior as well as a few more vents that further accentuate the company’s trademark Swiss cheese aesthetic.
Fixed strap splitters can be nice because they create more room around the ears, but their lack of adjustability can sometimes be problematic. Catlike has a clever take on the idea, with guided splitters that still create extra room, but can also be fine-tuned for fit.
The occipital pads on Catllike’s wispy retention system can be independently adjusted for lateral position.
Aramid reinforcement cages aren’t exactly pretty on their own, but they still play a big role in helmet safety and design. They help hold the EPS foam liners together during an impact, and also allow for bigger vents and deeper internal channels than what would otherwise be possible without them.
Stages Cycling expands its range of computers with the new Dash L50 (left) and Dash M50 (right). Both are still focused on power-based training like the original Dash (center), but now have GPS-powered mapping functionality and easier-to-use interfaces that should appeal more to riders that are less accustomed to training with power meters.
Like the original Stages Cycling Dash computer, the new Dash L50 and Dash M50 computers have aluminum external frames that not only add a bit of visual flash, but allow the computers to be mounted in either landscape or portrait orientations.
Stages Cycling includes the standard out-front road mount with each of the new Dash computers, but also offers a full range of other mounts to suit nearly every cycling application. All of them are made of machined aluminum, too, so there’s little motivation to look for aftermarket options.
Just how quick is the bike packing market growing? Well, PRO (Shimano’s accessory company) has joined the game, offering a seat pack, top tube bag, handlebar bag, and frame bag. All bags feature waterproof zippers and materials, but the seams are aren’t taped.
The new bike packing range clearly takes inspiration from existing competitor products. For example, the two-piece handlebar roll uses foam blocks to space it away from the bar tops, a feature that also helps keep the bag from vibrating.
The PRO frame bag features two compartments with dividers in each one. The mounting straps can be fed through multiple loop holes along the length of the bed, allowing it to fit a wide variety of frame sizes, from 50cm bikes and up.
The top tube bag offers a 0.75L capacity and can be attached with either a strap or dedicated bolt-on mounts. The strap is given a soft finish to protect frame paint, while reflective tabs and a shielded cable port are welcomed features, too.
Like the handlebar bag, the 15-liter seat pack also uses foam blocks at all contact points to prevent rattling and scratching. A removable plastic insert gives it shape and stability, while Velcro and elastic loops keep excess strap length from flapping in the wind.
PRO has added lighter-weight versions of the Vibe Carbon and Vibe Aero drop handlebars, each reinforced with Innegra fibre to improve impact tolerance. The Aero bars weigh a paltry 205g, and the regular Vibe Carbon bars are lighter still. Both bars offer full Di2 integration with pass-through ports that work with stems designed for internal routing.
PRO now offers a handlebar for gravel riding with flared drops. The bars feature a 42cm width at the tops, but flare to nearly 50cm at the drops. The aluminium bars offer semi-Di2 integration, meaning the wire appears at a cut-out just past its ends and then runs externally to the shifter.
PRO has greatly expanded its range of Koryak dropper posts. There’s a new 27.2mm-diameter version with 70mm of travel (external cable routing only). Additionally, there are new internally and externally routed 150mm-travel droppers, as well as a 170mm-travel internally routed model. All models features updated internals with faster speeds, smoother action, and more reliable service.
PRO has long offered consumer-grade tools, but they’re now adding a small range of enthusiast-level tools. As it was explained to us, Shimano already offers a range of professional-grade tools, while these PRO versions are designed to be more affordable, and most importantly, easily available. The range currently consists of a chain whip, cassette lockring tool, multi-speed chain breaker, pedal wrench, and an internal cable routing tool. The chain whip, lockring tool, and pedal wrench feature long handles for leverage and a comfortable grip. The chain whip doubles as a bottom bracket wrench, while the lockring tool features a hollow design to ensure axle clearance on Center Lock lockrings and the ability to remove a cassette without removing the quick release. That last feature is something that was made popular by Abbey Bike Tools.
PRO’s new chain tool features a spring-loaded sliding mid-plate that allows the tool to adjust to just about any chain width. It borrows a number of features from Shimano’s professional TL-CN34 tool, such as the built-in chain catcher and generous leverage.
There are a few internal cable routing tools on the market and this is the cleanest setup we’ve seen to date. The design is somewhat similar to the Park Tool version, but instead of four separate wires, it uses a single wire with threaded inserts. The tool will help route Di2 wires, hydraulic tubing, standard brake and derailleur housing, and inner cables.
The internal cable routing tool folds up and wraps together into a small pocket tool. It’s not the sort of thing you’d carry on a ride, but the compact size is sure to find use with travelling race mechanics, workshops, and of course, home mechanics.
There’s a new floor pump specifically for tubeless tyres, too. This rather stealthy design looks much like a regular floor pump and shows no obvious sign of an internal pressure chamber. To charge the pump, flick the lever at the base and start pumping; once you’re ready to seat your tubeless tyre, flick the lever up and away you go. There’s no word on pricing just yet.
Pearl Izumi is now joining the likes of Castelli and others in offering waterproof garments that don’t require the use of an additional rain jacket. But instead of coating the entire garment after it’s woven, the fibres are coated individually to make it more breathable. This new PI-Dry kit is effectively a waterproof summer-weight kit. Expect to see more of this technology being used by Pearl Izumi in the near future.
Last year’s Shimano S-Phyre RC9 race shoes have been updated for this season. The new RC901 see just a handful of small improvements, including a heel cup that’s said to be more forgiving of various foot shapes.
The biggest changes are made up front. Gone are the mesh panels, replaced with generous perforations in the material. This is said to keep the shoe more aerodynamic and prevents the material from creasing. The larger perforations at the ball of the foot are designed to allow a little material flex, something that should be welcomed on a hot day with swollen feet.
The off-road crowd hasn’t been ignored by Shimano, either. The new S-Phyre XC-901 receives similar tweaks to the road version, but most notably, the treads are now moulded with the sole, and a more generous toe guard protects the foot from rock strikes.
The new S-Phyre RC-701 is Shimano’s second-tier road race shoe. It’s now more similar to the RC-901 in both aesthetics and performance, and features a carbon fibre sole that sits at 10/12 on Shimano’s stiffness index.
Shimano’s RP range is designed to offer high performance shoes at more modest prices, and the range receives some big updates for 2019. For example, the new RP5 now uses Boa dials, plus premium styling that belies is reasonable cost.
The nylon sole on the RP4 is certainly more flexible than carbon fibre ones, but the Boa dial is an impressive addition for what’s effectively an entry-level shoe.
Shimano continues to expand on their S-Phyre performance clothing range. The pictured vest is a new addition and aims to be one of the best-ventilated on the market, keeping you shielded from the wind, but still comfortable and dry when riding hard.
Lazer Helmets now sits under the wheel house of Shimano. New for 2019 is the Century aero road helmet, which sits below the flagship Bullet model at €160, but still borrows a number of styling cues.
The Lazer Century features a new “Twist Cap” magnetic cover that lets you easily switch between closed or open front vents. It’s similar in principle to the sliding cover found on the Bullet, but is easier and cheaper to produce.
There’s an integrated USB-rechargeable light at the rear of the Lazer Century, which is said to last 37 hours on flashing mode. The Century will be offered in three sizes, and both with or without a MIPS low-friction liner. It’s claimed to weigh 277g, including the Twist Cap and light. Expect it in stores around December.
Oakley is expanding into mountain bike helmets and clothing. The new DRT5, an open-face trail helmet, was designed with nearly two years of testing and development with downhill mountain bike legend Greg Minnaar.
A big part of Oakley helmets is eyewear integration. The new DRT5 features the innovative “eye landing zone” at the back of the helmet. Certainly, finding a place to put your sunglasses is a far more annoying issue on mountain bike helmets than it is on the road helmets.
The new DRT5 uses a Boa retention system and MIPS. The former was chosen as it doesn’t interfere with eyewear. Perhaps the most welcomed feature is the silicone rubber sweat guard that diverts sweat away from your eyes and channels it to your temples.
In addition to all the new mountain bike kit, Oakley revealed the new G+ Aero road jersey made with graphene-infused material. Oakley claims the material effectively conducts heat better than conventional textiles, and releases it faster into the surrounding air, for superior body temperature regulation. In testing, it was shown to keep a rider’s core temperature half a degree cooler than usual, a test that involved someone shallowing a thermometer pill. Frankly, we don’t care whether the results are true or not; that’s dedication to the cause.