How much have gravel and e-bikes grown in popularity in recent years? Well, count HED among the latest companies to debut gravel-specific wheels in its new Eroica range, and DT Swiss now has a whole family of wheels devoted solely to e-assisted drop-bar bikes.
If all of this seems a bit too new-school for you, rest assured that Microshift has a broad range of thumb shifters and bar-end shifters for riders that long for the days of friction mode, and Ringle has brought back the venerable Bubba and Super Bubba labels for its latest customizable mountain bike hubs (and yes, they’re purple … sort of).
Also featured in this gallery are Tune’s 30th anniversary hubs, new chainrings and power meters from Rotor, and the latest road bike from SwiftCarbon.
Tune showed off at Eurobike a set of limited-edition hubs created to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. The hub shells are machined from the same aluminum alloy Airbus uses in the A380 jumbo jet (which supposedly costs twice as much as what Tune normally uses). And yes, that’s an image of company founder Uli Fahl etched right into the hub shell.
One end of the front hub is reinforced with a ring of carbon fiber. The axle end caps are thermoplastic carbon fiber all around, too.
The machining work on these is certainly very impressive, and hidden inside are hybrid ceramic bearings. Claimed weight for the set is a paltry 232g (70g front; 162g rear). Tune only plans to produce about 100 sets.
DT Swiss’s new “Hybrid Road” range of wheels is specifically built for the rigors of e-road bikes, but given the additional strength and durability, they’d likely be a good option for road riders that are also just particularly hard on stuff.
The rims on DT Swiss’s Hybrid Road range are the same as what’s found elsewhere in the collection, but the wheels all get thicker hub shells, steel freehub bodies, and increased spoke counts. Aero wheel profiles are developed by engineering partner Swiss Side.
DT Swiss’s Hybrid Road range is surprisingly big, including aluminum and carbon models for both road and gravel. Road models all have 20mm inner widths, while gravel ones have more generous 24mm ones. The fact that DT Swiss now has an entire line of wheels purpose-built for electric road and gravel speaks to the upward trajectory of the segment.
I want these valve caps.
HED is getting into the gravel wheel scene with two models called Eroica, both with tubeless compatibility and generous 25mm inner widths. Claimed weight for this carbon version is just 1,295g, and retail price is US$2,195.
HED has molded its Eroica carbon rims with location-specific spoke hole reinforcements that help reduce the weight of the rim without increasing the risk of spoke pull-through. If you look closely at the rim, you can see a subtle waviness on the inner edge from spoke hole to spoke hole.
A deep central channel promises easy tire installation, while the broad shoulders at the edges of the tire bed suggest a secure hold once the beads are seated. Tubeless tape is obviously required.
The aluminum version of HED’s new Eroica gravel wheelset has the same 25mm internal width as the carbon ones, but with a more conventional extrusion profile that doesn’t vary from spoke hole to spoke hole.
If you look closely, you can see just a hint of a lip on the edges of the tire bed, which help physically hold the tire beads in place. It’s good to see security elements like these in tubeless wheelsets.
There will be models of aluminum Eroica wheels available. The Eroica LT features five-pawl HED hubs and lighter-weight Sapim Race spokes for a claimed weight of 1,620g and a retail price of US$1,070. The Eroica GP set is built around more generic hubs and heavier-duty Sapim spokes, and costs US$810.
Rotor recently introduced a new spider-based power meter called inSpider. There’s also a new aero-minded cover that smoothes the transition between the spider and chainring, presumably to reduce aerodynamic drag.
The chainrings themselves haven’t changed at all, so if someone is looking to smooth things out, you just have to add the cover. That cover directly incorporates chainring threads right into it, too, so it also gets rid of half of the usual amount of hardware.
Rotor’s new inSpider power meter spider works with the company’s mountain bike crankarms, too, although you’re limited to chainrings no smaller than 34T.
Rotor offers the Aero Spider for non-power meter cranks as well.
Rotor has designed its four-bolt road chainrings to work with both Shimano cranks and its own asymmetrical spider.
Surely it’s got to be a logistical nightmare to be a chainring manufacturer. So. Many. Sizes.
SwiftCarbon showed up at Eurobike with its new RaceVox. Designed as an “all-rounder”, it follows the same vein as the Cannondale SuperSix Evo, Specialized S-Works Venge, and Scott Addict in that it’s claimed to be quite lightweight, but still includes some aero shaping and has room for 28mm-wide tires.
SwiftCarbon is using FSA’s new integrated cockpit setup for a clean front end.
Interchangeable aluminum dropout inserts allow for easy switching between disc-brake and rim-brake formats since the frame is molded with fittings for both, and only the fork needs to be changed to suit. It’s a neat way to save costs from a manufacturer’s perspective, and buyers may very well appreciate the flexibility, but it isn’t as elegant as having dedicated framesets for each format.
SwiftCarbon has certainly included a number of the latest must-have features, including a D-shaped seatpost, dropped seatstays, and an integrated wedge-type seatpost binder.
Down below is a BB386EVO press-fit bottom bracket.
The recess in the down tube is meant to help tuck the bottle in closer to the frame for smoother airflow.
Maybe for some people…
Pining for simpler times? Microshift showed a range of thumb shifters and bar-end shifters for a variety of Shimano and SRAM road and MTB drivetrains. And yes, there is a friction mode.
Microshift’s thumb shifters actually look quite nice. The knurled barrel adjusters remind me of the brass ones Suntour used back in the day.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in simplicity and reliability, it seems like these would be the way to go.
The Ringle Bubba and Super Bubba mountain bike hubs are back! While the hub shells aren’t offered in 3D Violet, the company at least still anodized the freehub bodies purple in tribute to days gone by.
Each rear hub has two sets of pawls in the freehub body that are stacked on top of each other, along with two separate drive rings – one for each set of pawls. Those drive rings can be arranged so that each trio of pawls engages in-phase or out-of-phase with each other, for your choice of 4° or 8° engagement speed.