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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
Walking the halls of Eurobike quickly reveals just how widespread product innovation is these days. While much of the product can look the same as the next, a closer inspection will often reveal an element of refinement and progression.
This gallery looks at a broad variety of parts discovered while wandering the seemingly endless halls of Eurobike. Among the items showcased in our final round of coverage is a new custom gravel bike from Ireland’s FiftyOne, some new hoops from Fulcrum, and a bunch of 3T’s innovative products that are now ready for sale. There’s also a clever disc-specific aero wheelset on the way from Hunt, Elite is looking to fit within a classic modernistic home with its new trainer bike, and a few other tidbits that might strike your fancy.
Grab your favourite bean-based beverage and enjoy the scrolling.
Enve typically invites a number of smaller makers to fill its booth with droolworthy bikes, one of which is FiftyOne’s first gravel bike. This one is soon headed to its new owner, Jamie Wilkins, a former deputy editor at Procycling magazine.
FiftyOne doesn’t do model names, but rather each individual custom bike has a theme. This one is named the Steinès, after Alphonse Steinès, assistant to original Tour de France organiser Henri Desgrange. Steinès was sent on a reconnaissance trip to the Pyrenees prior to the 1910 Tour. Long story short, he ended up lost and in a bad way while traversing the Col du Tourmalet, and was luckily found the next morning. Despite the mishap, he sent the following telegram back to Paris: “Crossed Tourmalet. Very Good Road. Perfectly Passable.”
The paint work on the FiftyOne bikes is always world class. This bike was built with Enve tubes, and like all other FiftyOne bikes, it’s fully custom.
Wilkins has elected to go with the new Rotor Uno hydraulic groupset. It makes for an impressively lightweight bike.
Not a country you’d typically associate with handcrafted carbon framesets.
It wouldn’t be an Enve colloboration without a healthy dose of the carbon goodness.
The new gravel bike has space for up to 42mm-wide rubber, and that’s with a normal double crankset.
The down tube hosts William Ernest Henley’s famous Invictus poem. No question, that would have been tedious to paint! Best watch those rock chips.
Feedback Sports’ new Range torque wrench puts the torque element at the bottom of the tool, allowing it to used as a regular ratchet multi-tool for tightening and loosening bolts. When you need tightening accuracy, the 0-10Nm spring-indicator torque wrench provides 1Nm increments and easy zero setting.
The Feedback Sports Range is set to sell for US$80, including a 14-piece S2 steel bit set and a smart storage case.
Elite has updated the Drivo direct-drive smart trainer, which now claims a power accuracy of +/-0.5% – twice as good as before. The folding legs are more refined, too, and it’s now available in a dirt-hiding black (it was white before). This new model is simply called the Drivo II.
The lower-cost Elite Direto receives similar tweaks. Its power is said to now be accurate to +/- 2%.
Keen for the complete indoor training experience but can’t stand it ruining your post-classic modernistic interior styling? The Italian-made Elite Fuoripista is just for you. This 120kg training bike hides all the features of the Direto within its hand-carved wood, chromed metal, and glass construction. With a projected price in the vicinity of €12,000 to €14,000, you’ll want to be sure your cleaner keeps that glass spotless.
Elite has designed the Fuoripista for real-world (digital) use. It offers a decent amount of adjustability and of course, full electronic training control. If you ever wanted a talking piece, this is it.
Topeak’s new CubiCubi modular light range adjusts the lumen output depending on the chosen battery size. The batteries double as USB power banks and can be interchanged between light heads. They’re designed for Topeak’s modular mounts, allowing use of popular computers and cameras on a shared mount. The three battery sizes produce maximum outputs of 500, 850, and 1200 lumens. Did I say modular?
Topeak continues to grow its Ninja integrated storage range. The range is quite extensive, with many pieces based around different types of bottle cages. From there, you can elect to attach multitools, inner tubes, or similar commonly needed accessories. The names come from the shape of the bottle cages, so the X-Series is defined by the bottle cage’s X shape. The Z cages form a Z, and the SK is for side access.
The advancement of tubeless tyre accessories shows no sign of slowing. Topeak will soon offer this compact charge chamber to work with any floor pump. Just pump the reinforced chamber over 100psi and then use it like a giant CO2 canister to seat a tubeless tyre. Credit goes to English company Airshot for the initial idea, but Topeak’s version is certainly more solidly built (and noticeably heavier). Given it has a direct connection to the valve, I suspect this one will work extremely well. There’s no word on price just yet.
Don’t like being uncertain of your pressures when repairing a flat? Topeak will soon offer a CO2 inflator with a pressure gauge. For me, its size defeats a key benefit for carrying CO2, but to each their own.
Thomson now has a range of 35mm handlebars and stems. The larger diameter is an increasingly common sight in the gravity segments of mountain biking.
Hutchison is getting closer with its tyre pressure sensor. Due to be ready for early 2019, the sensor is designed to sit inside the rim and around the valve. It will have two sensors: one to measure the force of a tube pressing down on it, and another to measure air pressure if used with tubeless tyres. Apparently, it’ll be unaffected by tyre sealant and should add just 10g per rim. The Bluetooth-enabled device will work with an app to provide tyre pressure data during use, along with low-pressure notifications. The sensor will measure pressure to a tenth of a PSI. Battery life is still to be confirmed as the company is currently finding the balance between longevity and weight, but a year between battery changes is likely. Projected price is US$100 for a pair. In our minds, the key user group for this product is recreational riders who rarely check tyre pressure, as an automated notification would be extremely useful.
Hutchison has joined the stylish tan-walled tyre game. Currently it’s slim pickings for the stylish colour, but gravel riders may find joy in the Overide rubber that’s available in both 35 and 38c. It’s tubeless-ready and features an aggressive file tread pattern.
Hutchinson’s new Skeleton race tread has been spinning circles at recent cross-country World Cups. The lightweight, fast, and tubeless 2.1in rubber also looks great for use as a 650b gravel tyre. It, too, is available in a tan wall.
Hunt Wheels is a fast-growing consumer-direct wheel company out of England. The owners of the young company were walking around the show with a prototype disc-specific aero rim in hand. With a former aerodynamics engineer from Campagnolo now on staff, this 48mm-deep rim was optimised for use with a 28c tyre. The 22.5mm internal width is a far cry from the 35.5mm external width. But instead of adding redundant material mass at the edge of the rim to make up that bead thickness difference, Hunt has a new patent-pending technology that uses a resin filler that’s a quarter the density of carbon fibre or similar structural material. The design is said to save 50g per wheel while providing the ideal aerodynamic properties. Such a design is only made possible by the use of disc brakes and is just the sort of innovation needed for discs to be widely adopted in races. The new wheel is expected to be out by the end of the year.
Mitas tyres, formerly known as Rubena, can be a rare sight outside certain parts of Europe. The X-Road offers a versatile and fast-rolling tread pattern good for tackling rough gravel. The 38c version of this tubeless tyre is claimed to weigh 455g. There’s a 33c version, too.
The XC259 29er mountain bike rim is the lightest hoop Reynolds has ever produced. Claimed weight for the complete wheelset is just 1,380g, and the rim has a 25mm internal width.
The Thule Upright roof rack doesn’t touch the bike’s frame. While not the first of its kind, it works by clamping the front wheel tightly, keeping the bike upright and in place. It’ll work with just about any bike and should be ideal for transporting that delicate carbon fibre rig or complex full suspension mountain bike. We’ve got one of these inbound for review.
The Thule Upright rack hides an integrated lock at the back.
Birzman has a new dual-sided bottom bracket tool. It’s designed for use with common threaded 30mm bottom brackets. Made of aluminium, it features a large 1/2in square drive.
This lightweight Birzman aluminium tool tackles both Shimano Hollowtech bearing preload caps and the 16mm hex retaining bolts on some cranks. Both sides are broached for a 5mm hex key if more leverage is required.
Kool-Stop does plenty of in-house testing on all of its pads. The claim is that the company won’t make a brake pad unless it tests better than the market leading options. This new city rim-brake pad is interesting as it does away with the extremely common water chevrons and wear indicators. The bigger surface area of the solid pad is said to be superior for both brake performance and durability.
Kool-Stop didn’t see the point in throwing away your whole disc brake pad when all you need to replace is the braking surface. These Aero Pro pads split the cooling fin plate from the brake pad, allowing you to replace the worn pad and re-use the cooling fin plate.
Nino Schurter won the World Cup round in Val di Sole, and his winning bike was on display the very next morning. This retro-inspired ride was designed to celebrate Scott’s 60th birthday. Nino, way to add the icing on the cake. Sitting ever so slightly out of picture is Scott’s first mountain bike from 1990, the Pro Racing.
Fulcrum had a number of new wheels on display. The Racing Zero Carbon DB is the Italian company’s latest lightweight disc-brake road wheel.
Fulcrum’s ARC Technology features woven carbon patches to reinforce the spoke holes. All up, the 30mm-deep wheelset tips the scales at 1,450g and has a 109kg rider weight limit. The company has settled on a 19mm inner width across many of the road and gravel wheelsets.
The Racing Zero Carbon uses Fulcrum’s solid rim bed design, sealing it for tubeless use without the need for tape. Fulcrum must be extremely confident in its manufacturing capabilities to use such a design. If a spoke replacement is ever needed, the nipple must be guided through the internal rim wall with a magnetic tool. Any loose compaction bladder or wrinkles will make such a repair a real nightmare.
First seen last year, the Fulcrum Racing Zero DB is now available. This alloy disc-brake wheelset should be a popular pick as it weighs 1590g, is tubeless compatible, and uses the same outstanding cup-and-cone ceramic bearing design as Campagnolo. Like the Carbon version above, this Fulcrum Racing Zero passes the ASTM Two category, effectively meaning it’s been tested for use as a cyclocross and gravel wheelset (and of course, is great for road use).
Here’s an interesting little tidbit: Fulcrum can apparently skirt around having to pay Shimano’s Center Lock licensing fee by making some slight changes to the spline and the way the rotor is held in place. Shimano’s patent secures the rotor with an internally threaded lockring, similar to that used for cassettes, whereas Fulcrum uses an external thread.
Fulcrum now has a 650b disc-brake road wheel for use on gravel or smaller road bikes. It’s just an entry-level item carrying a Racing 7 label, and like the previous two wheels, this one features a 19mm internal rim width. The claimed weight is a reasonable 1,670g – not bad for a wheel of this price. Check out our recent comparative review of the Fulcrum Racing range (rim brake) for insight of the finer details between the models.
Eurobike is divided into seven main halls, interlinked by paths and outdoor space that also showcase exhibitors, The halls generally follow themes or categories, and so it was a little odd to find Fulcrum sitting amongst a bunch of e-bike offerings. As it turns out, the Italian wheel company is investing big in the e-MTB space, with a whole range of wheels specifically built for the purpose, including front- and rear-specific rims, stronger nipples, reinforced hub ratchet mechanism, and much more.
Announced just weeks ago, 3T added a front derailleur tab to its Strada disc-equipped aero road bike and called it the Strada DUE. It’s very much the same bike, but with some 35g of extra carbon to handle the front shifting forces. It’s for use with electronic drivetrains only.
3T co-owner Gerard Vroomen (a founder of Cervelo) is a key person behind the 3T Strada and still strongly believes in 1x shifting on the road. However, he also admits 3T’s push for single-ring drivetrains is a few years early.
3T is another handlebar maker to offer a flared drop bar for gravel use. However, 3T goes about it in a very different way. Where nearly every brand flares the drops at the ends of the tops, 3T kinks the drops just below the shifter. It’s a trickier shape to make, but it means you get the same familiar hoods-forward position, but with the additional width and hand comfort when in the drops. As Vroomen pointed out, both Shimano and SRAM already kick out their lever blades, something that coincidentally works perfectly with such a bar shape. Expect to see this bar shape widely copied in the future.
3T’s Torno LTD crankset is now available. Proving what can be achieved with a blank sheet of paper, the 1x-specific road crank is supposedly the most aerodynamic crank on the planet, and at just 330g (without the ring), it’s only 35g heavier than the weight-leading THM-Carbones crank. In fact, this aero crank is actually made in Germany by THM. The proprietary chainring is made in the US by Wolf Tooth Components, and is available in 36, 40, and 44T sizes.
It’s pretty obvious what such a thin crank profile achieves. However, what’s less obvious is that the thin profile provides a super low Q-factor of just 142mm without introducing chainstay clearance issues.
3T owns THM-Carbones, the German carbon maker of crazy light components. Displayed on the Strada DUE was this 81g Tibia stem with the new 149g Ulna bar. Both items carry a 110kg rider weight limit (it’s European law to provide a weight limit). The bars feature a subtle aero shaping, but it’s done more for comfort and not reduced drag. Such impressive pieces of carbon don’t come cheap; the bar and stem are priced at €449 each.
CatEye’s latest lights join a growing trend of lights that communicate with other electronic accessories. Named Sync, these Bluetooth-enabled lights pair with each other and allow joined control. If you turn one on, they all go on; and if you change the light settings on one, they all change. Neat.
The Sync range consists of two rear lights and one front. The Kinetic rear light is designed for the bike and the other model is for the rider. The Kinetic features an accelerometer that lets it act as a brake light, too.
Of course, there’s an app for CatEye’s new Sync lights. The app allows you to control the settings and power remotely. It’ll also show battery health.
CushCore is a foam insert that sits inside the rim channel to support the tyre sidewall. With the sidewall reinforced, the tyre can be run at super low pressures without squirm or tubeless burping. It’s a technology that’s used by many mountain bike racers in the Enduro World Series and may find favour in other disciplines, too. Such an insert does make fitting a tyre a whole different process and carries an approximate 250g weight penalty, but that comes with vastly improved control and little risk of rolling a tyre. CushCore released a new 27.5in Plus version at the show, designed for 32-45mm inner width rims.
Saddles are always a tough one to write about. All the tech in the world doesn’t mean it’s going to fit your anatomy. However, Ergon is one company founded on scientific ergonomics and its new performance road saddle range uses OrthoCell inserts (a product from the medical world) at critical soft tissue points. The channel on the men’s version (top) increases in depth from front to rear, and not just in terms of the padding; the shell channel shape changes, too. The women’s version is shown at the bottom, and you can see the huge difference in gender-specific design. For example, those OrthoCell inserts sit more rearward on the men’s version to match soft tissue. Pictured are the men and women’s SR Pro Carbon models, which aim to bring that comfort to a competitive weight and stiffer shell. These saddles will be out in early January and will cost US$190.
Want your saddle to match a pair of Adidas Boost shoes? Ergon can make that happen with its ST Core Prime saddle. The ST Core Prime saddle has a thick layer of Infinergy foam sandwiched between two saddle shells. It’s not as silly as it looks, providing suspension at the saddle without a loss of stability or structural integrity. It’s a concept we’ll likely see more of in the future.
Do you travel through airports like a pleb with a bike case that’s mis-matched to the rest of your luggage? Evoc is here to help.
For 2019, the Evoc Bike Travel Pro bag will include the internal bike frame that was previously an optional accessory, and secures the bike by its dropouts. The price is set to go up slightly, but it’ll still be cheaper than buying the bag and frame separately.
Carbon Works is a small German carbon company that’s new to the scene. This bottle cage weighed less than the single page pamphlet. The bottle is held in very securely – perhaps too securely.