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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
Magnesium is hardly a new material for bicycle frames. Kirk Precision brought a cast magnesium frame to market way back in 1986, and Pinarello used magnesium for its flagship models before transitioning to carbon. Now, upstart brand Allite is trying to bring the lightweight metal back into the mainstream with its proprietary Super Magnesium alloy, and not just for frames, but also frame parts, components, and accessories that might otherwise be made of aluminum. Will it take hold? Time will tell.
Also included in this round of coverage from Interbike is a wealth of new computer mounts from K-Edge, Ritchey’s new steel hardtail, a range of new helmets from Lazer, some enticing new hub options, and more.
Magnesium has been used for bicycle frames before, but Allite’s new “Super Magnesium” supposedly does away with most of the headaches once associated with the material.
Like aluminum, magnesium alloys can be extruded, welded, machined, forged, and die-cast, all of which allows it to be formed into a wide range of structures, as this prototype Allite demo frame demonstrates.
Allite claims its Super Magnesium alloy is 33% lighter than aluminum, 50% lighter than titanium, 75% lighter than steel, and offers 20 times the shock absorption of aluminum.
Allite displayed a trio of material samples to show the weight differences between identical volumes of steel, aluminum, and magnesium.
One of the problems with magnesium alloys is their propensity to corrode when exposed to moisture. Allite says its Super Magnesium frame tubing and components are first treated to a plasma electrolytic coating to seal the material from the environment. That coating can then be painted as usual. The specific alloy is supposedly also very amenable to traditional TIG-welding.
In addition to a handful of prototype demonstration frames, Allite also showed off a few components and accessories made of the company’s Super Magnesium alloy. In theory, this machined magnesium out-front computer mount should be roughly 33% lighter than an equivalent aluminum part.
Nearly anything that is currently made of aluminum can be made of magnesium. Where will Allite’s Super Magnesium go from here? We’ll find out soon enough.
Built around a 120mm-travel fork and Boost front and rear hub spacing, Ritchey’s new Ultra steel hardtail can accept both standard 29er or 27.5 Plus wheels and tires. Retail price for the frame is US$999.
Ritchey tucks the rear brake caliper in between the chainstay and seatstay. The somewhat unusual brake hose routing will require a caliper with a rotating banjo. Note the ultra-tidy thru-axle rear dropouts.
A port on the bottom of the seat tube allows for internally routed dropper posts on Ritchey’s new Ultra steel hardtail.
Slim tubes, elegant lines, and a classic aesthetic – the Ritchey Ultra looks like a winner. Want us to review it? Leave a comment below.
K-Edge announced a new puck for Lezyne computers at this year’s Interbike show.
K-Edge works directly with various other brands (and teams) to create computer mount solutions as needed. These mounts were made on very short notice for the Michelton-Scott team’s Syncros one-piece carbon cockpits, and now the mounts will be sold through Syncros dealers.
Looking for an out-front computer mount to go along with your new Enve aero carbon stem? Enve tapped K-Edge directly for this one, which will be sold through Enve dealers and co-branded with both logos. As with many other K-Edge mounts, this one is compatible with a wide range of computers thanks to interchangeable pucks, and additional holes on the underside of the mount will allow for a second accessory such as a GoPro camera or various lights.
Also new from K-Edge is a TT version of its recent Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT Bolt mount (top), and a super-slick mount for Shimano junction boxes. The new junction box mount is paper-thin thanks to stainless steel construction, and it can also be bent as needed for a clean installation. Say goodbye to that ugly plastic strap!
Lazer’s new Century helmet is essentially a lower-cost and more versatile variant of its Bullet aero lid. As with the Bullet, the Century features a convertible center section that can opened for ventilation or closed for warmth and better aerodynamic performance. But whereas the Bullet has a complicated sliding panel and underlying louvers, the Century uses a magnetic cap that is just flipped around as needed.
On the back of the new Lazer Century helmet is an integrated LED flasher.
Lazer has updated the Bullet aero helmet, which will now be known as the Bullet 2.0. The new version now includes a visor (which attaches via magnets) and improved venting.
Up top on the updated Lazer Bullet 2.0 is a new intake port designed to actively suck air into the top. Previously, there was just an exhaust port designed more to let hot air passively escape. Also note how the visor can be conveniently stored on the tail of the helmet.
Lazer is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a limited edition of its flagship Z1 road helmet. Functionally, it’s a standard Z1, but it includes a lion of Flanders Aeroshell, a rear LED flasher, and special graphics all around.
The graphics treatment on the front of the limited-edition Z1 is decidedly subtle and tasteful.
Wait, didn’t Shimano only grant a license to DT Swiss for its new XTR cassette spline pattern? Yep, but White Industries has gotten around that restriction by making its freehub body out of tougher titanium instead of the usual aluminum, and cutting the number of splines in half. Problem solved.
Onyx rear hubs use a slick sprag clutch mechanism that offers instant engagement and silent coasting. The five-bearings and mostly steel construction in the clutch make the hubs quite heavy – about 400g or so – but for riders that demand quick pedal engagement, look no further.
Onyx is developing a lighter-weight version that will lop about 70-80g of weight from the original version. This one is still a little ways off, but the resultant 320-330g weight will make Onyx hubs much more competitive for mass-conscious riders.
Roller-bearing clutch mechanisms roll silently, too, but the sprag clutch used by Onyx offers even-faster engagement as well as far greater load ratings.
One extra trick on Onyx’s new rear hub prototype is a freehub body that can be interchanged with DT Swiss ones.
DT Swiss owners stand to benefit, too. Onyx’s new freehub bodies feature embedded stainless steel wires that prevent cassettes from digging into the aluminum bodies. The projected cost is quite reasonable, too.
The key to the DT Swiss compatibility on Onyx’s prototype hub is how the company separated the sprag clutch section from the freehub body. It’s a very clever solution.
Thomson is introducing a Cerakote plasma electrolytic oxidation coating as an optional finish on its stems and seatposts. The surface treatment is about more than just color, though; it’s also extremely hard and resistant to scratching. Just this muted green hue will be offered for now, but more are on the way. The upcharge is a modest US$25.
Tacx has a new side-access bottle cage called Radar.
The cleverly named Tacx Radar (it’s a palindrome …) bottle cage can be configured for left-hand or right-hand access. It seems to hold bottles quite securely, too.