CT Tech Round-Up #1: New gear from Bontrager, Assos, Spank and Vittoria
A lot of gear comes across our desks here at CyclingTips. Our Tech Round-Up is a look at some of that gear. Sometimes it’s products we’re doing long-term tests on, other times it’s stuff we’re stoked on but don’t have time to fully review. And, sometimes it’s a wild innovation someone sent us unsolicited and that we’re having a laugh about.
SPANK WING 12 VIBROCORE™ DROP BAR
Now that we are putting fat tires on our road and gravel bikes to keep us from getting rattled to death, maybe there are other ways to stay comfortable. Different gloves, bar tape, and suspension designs are also claimed to alleviate discomfort on rougher terrain.
Spank Industries, known more popularly in the mountain bike market, has introduced a flared drop bar that is meant to address these issues. The Wing 12 Vibrocore alloy drop bar reportedly combines off-road performance with on-road aerodynamics by using a foam core along with a 12-degree flare. The foam core is meant to make for a drop bar that can dampen certain types of vibrations better than a traditional design.
Whether it works as claimed or not, it’s still an interesting bullet point on the features list that other drop bars don’t have.
– Zirconium Doped 7-Series Alloy (does it come with bling?)
– Vibrocore™ foam core
– Width (hood to hood): 440 mm (also available in 420 mm and 460 mm widths)
– Drop/reach: 110 mm / 70 mm
– Bar clamp: 31.8 mm
– Weight: 355 g (440 mm width)
– Price: US$110 / Pricing for other regions to be confirmed
– More information: Spank Industries
Bontrager Aeolus Pro Bike Saddle
The Bontrager Aeolus Pro, named after the Greek god and keeper of the winds, has a snub nose which, upon first glance, makes it look like a tri saddle. The shape, the full cut-out split, and the carbon rails suggest this is a saddle meant for a more aggressive riding position.
The carbon rails attach directly to that cute little snub nose which is designed to allow a little more flex in the saddle when rocking and rolling. I wouldn’t recommend this for an entry-level weekend warrior, unless you’re used to a sharper hip angle.
– Widths: 145 mm and 155 mm
– Weight: 170 g and 173 g
– Gender neutral
– F-24 soft touch cover
– Oversized carbon rails (seatpost ear clamps required)
– Accessory mounts that work with Bontrager’s Blendr line
– Price: US$230 / €200 / £150 / AU$250
– More information: Trek Bikes
Assos Women’s UMA GT SPRING/FALL JACKET
The Assos Women’s UMA GT jacket is an excellent item to have in my wardrobe when it comes to riding in Squamish, Canada. I would agree with Assos’s description that it is a “cross between a thermal LS jersey and a membrane-equipped shell.” Meant primarily for the constantly changing weather of spring and fall, the UMA GT is definitely a layering item with a breathable, ultra-stretchy fabric called Type.157 that Assos uses on the underarms and along the back of the jacket.
While this Type.157 fabric is incredibly lightweight and almost sheer, the rest of the jacket uses a NEOS MILD 3L softshell. Sticking with the theme of aero and fast, this baby is quite snug across the chest and shoulders (I wear a size small), automatically rounding me forward. Assos claims this is its regularFit, compared to the “second-skin” racingFit, but it sure feels race-ready!
– Named like a really fast car
– NEOS MILD 3L softshell and Type.157 fabric
– Three pockets along the back
– Water resistant / windproof
– Sizes: Women’s XS-XL
– Colours: Black, deep blue, galaxy pink
– Price: US$219 / €190 / £165 / AU$351
– More information: Assos
Vittoria Terreno Mix tires
The Terreno Mix is Vittoria’s all-rounder tire for cyclocross and gravel. The tread has an incredibly pronounced centre ridge, which shows it to be fast-rolling, with a complementing arrow pattern for when faced with softer conditions. The side-tread reuses patterns from the centre ridge, along with another side-tread located just below it which Vittoria calls “ribboning,” offering up that little extra traction should you be railing the turns.
Vittoria also uses graphene in its tires, which reportedly “interacts with rubber by filling the space in between the rubber molecules.” Vittoria started adding graphene to its tires and composite wheels in 2016. At the time, the company was able to demonstrate a variety of benefits, many of which stemmed from the remarkable strength and conductivity of the material. In the case of tires, graphene improved durability and cut resistance, while it added strength and increased heat dissipation from its composite rims.
We got our hands on the 40c (TNT) which are going to be more useful on the gravel end of the spectrum, while the Terreno Mix also is available in more narrow widths which are better suited for cyclocross racing.
– Terrain: Mixed
– 31 mm and 33 mm tubular
– 31 mm, 33 mm, 40 mm tubeless (TNT)
– Tubular Casing: 320 TPI Corespun Cotton
– Tubeless Ready Clincher Casing: 120 TPI nylon
– Weight: 380-500 g
– Price: US$54 / €45 / £45 / AU$65
– More information: Vittoria
Rudy Project Strym Helmet
The Rudy Project Strym is meant to be a do-it-all kind of helmet. It uses fewer vents, has a net bug-catcher for the vents it does have, and is practical for road, gravel, and commuting alike. It’s quite unassuming, but is still a quality lid for your dome. There are plenty of adjustable points, including the RSR10 retention dial, an adaptive airframe band, and adjustable ear straps that make this a good fit for a variety of head shapes.
– CPSC 12.03 safety certification
– Fastex buckle closure system
– Adaptive Airframe band
– Bug-stop padding with protective net
– Divider pro side buckles
– Adjustable RSR10 retention system comfort fit
– 16 vents
– Colours: White matte, yellow fluoro shiny, dark grey shiny, black matte, pacific blue matte, grey metallic shiny, blue/orange shiny
– Sizes: Small/medium, large
– Price: US$150 / €138 / £121 / Not available in Australia
– More information: Rudy Project