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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
Cycling shoes and helmets garner a disproportionate amount of attention when it comes to other related gear, such as groupsets, wheels, tires, and other hard goods. Is it because of style? Is it because they’re wear items that frequently require replacement? Or is because it’s just such an easy way to express ourselves while riding, without even saying a word?
Whatever the reason, shoes and helmets were some of the most common items at this year’s Eurobike show, with dozens of new models (and colors) on tap. Whether you prefer flashy or demure, inexpensive or pricey, road or mountain, or anything in between, there was definitely something for everyone in the halls of the Messe Friedrichshafen.
Louis Garneau’s Course Air Lite II road shoes won a Eurobike award last year thanks to its clever stretch inserts that boost rider comfort.
Whereas the majority of the shoe is intentionally stretch-resistant, the “X-Comfort Zone” inserts are designed to stretch so that the shoe can adapt more readily to riders’ different foot shapes.
The HRS-400 injected nylon external heel cup combines with the cat’s-tongue fabric liner to grab firmly on the back of your feet.
Boa IP1 dials aren’t anything new, but these clear covers are neat because they leave the internals fully exposed.
An additional non-stretch panel is laminated into the medial side of the shoe. According to Louis Garneau, this lets the shoe hold more securely without having to overly tighten the Boa dials.
The carbon fiber sole has flow-through ventilation channels and replaceable heel treads.
Louis Garneau has now added its X-Comfort Zone feature to the mid-range Carbon LS-100 model, too.
Since etry-level riders shouldn’t have to put up with foot pain, either, Louis Garneau has even added the X-Comfort Zone feature to the Copal II and Cristal II shoes as well.
Interested in comfier trail shoes? Louis Garneau isn’t quite finished with these yet, but the X-Comfort Zone stretch panels will soon find their way into the new Cobalt Boa shoes as well.
Louis Garneau will equip the new Cobalt Boa trail shoes with a natural rubber outsole, which supposedly offers a better grip than synthetic compounds.
And yep, X-Comfort Zone is even being incorporated into Louis Garneau’s kid-sized cycling shoes as well.
POC is aiming the new Omne Air Spin helmet toward all-road and urban riders, but it looks like it’d be a good option for general road riding as well with its sleek shape and comparatively generous coverage.
The shell design focuses on flow-through ventilation with deep internal channeling that funnels air through the interior of the helmet.
Rear coverage is refreshingly generous on the new POC Omne Air Spin. Hidden from view here are POC’s Spin elastomeric helmet pads, which promise similar functionality to a traditional MIPS low-friction plastic liner, but with better ventilation.
Why restrict this to just the all-road and urban crowds, POC?
Gaerne’s redesigned G.Stilo road shoes sport a more refined upper with two-zone Boa adjustability, and a new heel cup design that promises a firmer hold.
Heel hold hasn’t always been a strength of Gaerne’s road shoes, but the new external heel cup promises to change that.
There’s also a new Gaerne G.Stilo MTB model, built with the same basic construction as the road-going G.Stilo, but with additional reinforcements on the upper and a fully treaded sole.
Michelin is now supplying a growing number of shoe brands with its grippy rubber.
Gaerne offers its G.Tornado Lady women’s road shoes in this insanely sparkly finish in addition to the standard colors.
The new Gaerne G.Chrono shoes look particularly sleek with their one-piece uppers and partially hidden heel cup.
The injection molded heel cup is elegantly integrated into the upper on Gaerne’s new G.Chrono shoes.
The carbon fiber sole has flow-through air channels and a replaceable heel tread.
The hybrid plate on the Gaerne G.Chrono uses a carbon fiber reinforcing plate in the middle of the fiber-reinforced nylon frame.
Giro’s new Aether MIPS road helmet may be commanding all the attention lately, but it’s the new Syntax MIPS mid-range model that will ultimately find its way on to far more heads.
It’s unusual to see this many polycarbonate shells on a mid-range helmet like the Giro Syntax MIPS.
The retention system and MIPS liner are molded as one piece on the new Giro Syntax MIPS.
There’s also a version of the Giro Syntax MIPS that’ll accept a small visor for off-road use.
Giro’s new Privateer lace-up shoe looks like a fantastic option for cross-country and gravel riding.
The fully treaded sole should provide plenty of grip when on foot. The elegantly understated colors look good, too.
Giro has added some fresh new colors to its range of knit cycling shoes.
Bell’s new Z20 Aero uses the same basic design as the current Zephyr Z20, but with a more solid shell for better aerodynamics. Claimed weight on the new Bell Z20 Aero is 274g for a medium size.
The Bell Z20 Aero boasts just a single vent up front, plus four smaller ones on the side. Whether that’s enough to keep a rider’s head cool will likely depend on the speed of travel, the ambient temperature and humidity, and the rider’s tolerance.
Rear vents are fairly sparse on the Bell Z20 Aero, too. There’s quite a bit of internal channeling to help guide air across the rider’s head, though.
The mid-range Bell Formula helmet was already in the lineup last year, but this new version is all about visibility.
It’s not just about the fluorescent yellow colorway, though. The new retention system directly incorporates a bright LED flasher.
Also featured on the Bell Formula LED is the company’s superb Sweat Guide pad design, which very effectively keeps sweat from streaming down your face and into your eyes. Instead, that little tabbed extension redirects perspiration to drip harmlessly in front of your glasses.
Kask claims its new Utopia aero road helmet is not only fast, but sufficiently well ventilated that it can be “used year-round in all climates.”
Six ports – three right up front, two on the sides, and one up top – are designed to help pull air into the interior of the Utopia before funneling it out the sizeable exhaust ports out back.
The interior channeling in the Kask Utopia isn’t as deep as on some other aero road helmets on the market, but they’re quite broad so the total channel volume likely isn’t that different.
The occipital pads on the retention system on the Kask Utopia can be adjusted laterally to further fine-tune the fit.
Abus makes a wide range of helmet models, for road, off-road, and everything in between. Shown here is the more ventilation-focused Aventor (right) and the more aero-minded GameChanger (left).
Whereas many aero helmets focus on pulling air into the front of the helmet to provide ventilation, Abus emphasizes the large upper scoop, which supposedly funnels air down and out the back of the helmet. According to Abus, this simultaneously pulls air in through the front as well to help keep riders cool.
The polycarbonate internal structure of the Abus Aventor allows for larger vents than would otherwise be possible without it. In fact, it holds the back of the helmet together entirely, seeing as how the foam liner is practically in two halves back there.
Abus previewed a new helmet at Eurobike, too, which looks to blend aspects of the Gamechanger and Aventor models
Other helmet brands, such as Giro and Bontrager, have used plastic mesh screens like this before as a way to help keep air flowing around the outside of the helmet for better aerodynamics, while still allowing heat to escape from inside.
Abus’s new road helmet is chock-full of vents out back and on the sides, too, and there’s also plenty of internal channeling.
Northwave is replacing the single-dial RR road shoe after only a short year and a half. The new Extreme Pro offers two dials for greater customization of fit, but retains the crossed webbing and hidden loops of the RR. The microfibre upper is now lighter and said to be completely resistant to stretch. Despite adding an additional dial, the shoes are also said to be approximately the same weight as before.
The sole of this new top-tier shoe offers the biggest change in Northwave’s new patented “Power Shape” arch support. This new arch support is designed to prevent the foot from collapsing inward under power. It’s a welcomed change given the lack of support we noted in our review of the RR.
Sitting equal to the Extreme Pro on the mountain bike side in Northwave’s new range is the Ghost Pro. It receives a number of updates as well, including a move to two dials and a new construction technique that should ensure the grippy dual-compound Michelin tread never delaminates from the carbon sole. Apparently, the new Power Shape arch support is not included here.
Northwave being “edgy”.
Limar says its Air Speed model is the most aerodynamically efficient aero road helmet ever tested in the Magny-Cours wind tunnel in France. It’s also quite light, with a claimed weight of 235g in a medium size.
The profile of the Limar Air Speed is highly tapered and mostly smooth, but with clear paths for air to flow into, through, and out for good ventilation at speed.
The HJC Furion aero road helmet supposedly uses “Venturi Dynamics” to help actively pull air into and through the helmet for better ventilation. Perhaps more impressive, however, is the fact that it’s offered in ten different colors.
Endura developed the convertible AeroSwitch aero helmet with Drag2Zero. With the front shield and rear tail fitted, it’s a full-blown time trial or triathlon helmet.
But once those bits are removed, the Endura Drag2Zero AeroSwitch becomes a more conventional aero orad helmet.
The Koroyd liner is supposedly better at absorbing impact energy than conventional expanded polystyrene foams, but in this case, it also allows Endura to decrease the frontal area of the helmet to reduce drag.
Endura has been paying close attention to the rising popularity of higher-end kids’ bikes, and previewed a new higher-end, kid-sized trail helmet to match.
Alpina’s Rootage trail helmet definitely wins the prize for the most carbon fiber on a non-DH lid – and maybe for the biggest visor, too.
The carbon panels aren’t just for looks; Alpina claims they aid in impact protection as well. Coverage is impressively generous around the back of the head.
Crazy Safety certainly had the wildest assortment of helmets on hand at this year’s Eurobike show. Would your kid think these are rad or terrifying? There’s only one way to find out.