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June 3, 2020
Photography by Dave Rome, James Huang
A lot of gear comes across our desks here at CyclingTips. Our Tech Round-Ups are 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 (none of that in this round).
Words by Dave Rome
Scribe’s Aero Wide+ 42 wheels aim to be a well-rounded option for those with disc brakes.
A relatively new player in the crowded consumer-direct wheel market, UK-based Scribe wheels has been making a name for itself with impressively low-priced wheels which still offer a handful of unique and/or premium features.
Just received for review, and our first experience with the brand, the Aero Wide+ 42 wheels feature a 21 mm internal width carbon rim which broadens to an ultra-modern 30 mm on the outside. The 42 mm deep rims offer a hooked tubeless-ready tyre bead and a fairly common U-shaped exterior aero profile.
The hub design is said to be unique to Scribe and features a ratchet-ring-drive system not too different in concept to DT Swiss’ new EXP. Those hubs offer centerlock mounts (six-bolt adapters included), and can be outfitted to suit Shimano, Campagnolo or SRAM XDR cassettes, along with all the common axle sizes.
At no extra charge, you can select between more tightly sealed “endurance” bearings or opt for faster (but not as well sealed) EZO “race” bearings. The wheels are built with premium Sapim CX-Ray spokes.
I’ve yet to ride these, but I can say the build features even spoke tensions throughout – a good sign. Perhaps most impressive is the 1,420 g actual weight (including tape but not valves) for a wheelset that’s matched to a marginal US$1,000 price tag.
Weight: 1420 g (with rim tape)
Price: US$1,000 shipped. Local taxes and duties may apply.
More information: www.scribecycling.com
Scribe’s hubs feature a steel ratchet-drive system. The freehub body offers a steel insert to prevent cassette cogs from digging in.
The external width is as wide as many known fast options.
Internally the rims offer a hooked bead for use with either clincher or tubeless tyres.
Sold consumer-direct, Scribe is another fast-growing option in the wheel space.
The wheels are shipped in a single box, with a small handful of extras provided, such as spare spokes, a nipple wrench and six-bolt rotor adapters.
Words by Dave Rome
Under no secrecy at all, the “Power with Mirror” has been doing the rounds under riders in the WorldTour, and is now finally available for purchase.
First teased and then tested last year, Specialized’s 3D-printed saddle concept is finally available for purchase. Made with the assistance of UV-light-based 3D print specialists Carbon, the Mirror saddle takes Specialized’s hugely popular Power shape and produces the padded top out of a furturistic layered resin.
I won’t go into the specifics of the Mirror saddle as we’ve done that already. However what I can add is that I’ve had my butt on one of these high-tech saddles for a couple of months, just long enough to know what I’ll be missing when I send it back.
It truly is an impressive concept that leads to a noticeable difference in material density and support across the length of the saddle. Overall the saddle is far softer than what you expect of a performance saddle, but impressively it achieves this with the support and stability that you’d expect of a firm performance saddle. There are noticeable zones to the saddle, too; for example, the nose is softer than anything else I’ve ridden, while the area around the sit bones is far more supportive (while still offering an impressive amount of compression).
The issues I’ve encountered with the Mirror are minimal, however, the perforated design will likely have you wanting some fenders on wet rides, while a crash is likely to wreak havoc on the saddle’s surface. One big concern I had was related to short wear, but the material on the edges isn’t as abrasive as it looks – although it’s still too early to rule this one out.
The technology certainly has future applications in creating fully custom saddles, and my brief testing has given me the opinion that this technology can and will change saddle design for the better. For now the “Power with Mirror” remains an ultra-premium preconfigured product with two choices of width: 143 mm and 155 mm.
So if I loved it so much, why am I sending it back? Well, it costs US$450 / AU$700. That’s why.
Weight: 196 g (155 mm width)
Price: US$450 / AU$700
More information: www.specialized.com
I’ll miss you, Power with Mirror.
The Power with Mirror is built on an S-Works carbon saddle base and rails.
The construction really is something to marvel at. The material density changes all over the saddle; for example, the middle section in the saddle’s cut-out is like a stretchy hammock.
The sit-bone-supporting area is noticeably more dense and supportive, but it does that with a surprising amount of soft comfort, too.
The material has a roughened texture, but not an abrasive feel.
This part is almost entirely for show as you can feel the base by pressing here.
MagicShine is a value-oriented light company based in the USA.
I’ve been a convert to daytime running lights ever since Bontrager released its first Flare R rear light. And while more than five years have passed since then, that Bontrager light (well, a newer version of it) has remained my trusty go-to. Sure I’ve tried others since, but fiddly brackets or straight-up failures always see me back on the old faithful.
My latest purchasing trial comes from MagicShine and its new Seemee rear light range. Here I picked up the new Seemee 100 and Seemee 30, offering 100 and 30 claimed lumens of output respectively. Beyond those numbers, what attracted me was the slim profile designs and elegant mounts.
The Seemee 100 is supplied with both a saddle rail mount (and accompanying zip-ties) or a classy rubber mount that uses a miniaturised version of Garmin’s quarter-turn Edge computer mount to hold the light in place. The light itself is loaded with features: including 260º of visibility, an accelerometer-based brake sensor, auto-adjusting ambient light sensor and an automatic low power mode. And all of this is in a light that weighs just 49 g (with the bracket) and costs US$35 / AU$70.
The smaller and simpler Seemee 30 offers an even slimmer profile with a simple O-ring-style mount. It too offers an ambient light sensor and low battery mode, but is otherwise a greatly pared back and simpler light.
Early impressions are positive and the lights certainly pack a visible punch. However, runtimes will likely prove the sticking point if you’re after something that goes the distance.
Weight: 49 g for the Seeme 100, 27 g for the Seemee 30
Price: US$35 / AU$70 (Seemee 100), US$17 / AU$40 (Seemee 30)
More information: www.magicshine.us / KWT Imports (Australia)
The Seemee 30 offers a wonderfully minimal profile while being visible in broad daylight. However, if absolute visibility matters, then check the Seemee 100 or even 180 models.
The Seemee 30 includes a USB charge cable and a simple rubber strap. An O-ring can be used in place of this strap.
The Seemee 100 comes with both a saddle rail mount and a universal seatpost/tube mount. The latter is quite clever, and features a secure quarter-turn locking mechanism.
Another look at how the Seemee 100 installs into the bracket.
Early impressions are good for these lights.
Words by James Huang
The new Dynaplug Racer Carbon tubeless plug kit features the exact same form factor as the aluminum Racer model, however it’s made of fiber-reinforced nylon instead of aluminum to reduce the weight.
Dynaplug’s new Carbon Racer tubeless plug kit offers the same proven performance and convenience of the standard Racer kit, but now in a fiber-reinforced composite body that brings the total weight down to a scant 14 g (plus 10 g for the included water bottle cage mount).
As with the standard Racer, the new Carbon Racer features a dual-ended design, with a small “soft tip” at one end, and a larger “mega” plug at the other so you can quickly repair a tubeless puncture without losing too much pressure. Alternatively, of course, you can also fit two large plugs or two small plugs, depending on your preferences.
Two spare small plugs and one spare large plug are included.
Weight: 14 g
Price: US$48 / AU$TBC / £TBC / €TBC
More information: www.dynaplug.com
The metal-tipped construction is one of the reasons why Dynaplug tubeless plugs work so well.
The Dynaplug Racer Carbon repair kit comes with a convenient water bottle mount. Unfortunately, it’s not very good since it’s made of surprisingly flimsy silicone rubber instead of a more secure plastic. Might be best to just keep this in your saddle pack or jersey pocket.
The standard Dynaplug Racer plug kit is hardly heavy, but it is heavier at 25 g instead of 14 g. Photo: Dave Rome.
Words by James Huang
The Light & Motion Vya Pro lights are meant to be as hands-free as possible, with a handy automatic on-off function and on-board sensors that adjust the lights to suit ambient conditions.
Light & Motion’s Vya commuter lights don’t come with a cord for recharging — because you don’t need one. Not only is the USB plug built directly into the body of the light, but it also acts as the manual on/off switch when it’s inserted into the handy seatpost and handlebar mounts.
Alternatively, if you’d rather not bother with turning the things on or off at all, you can just leave them inserted into the mounts and instead rely on the built-in motion sensors that automatically activate the Vya lights when you set out for a ride, and shut down when you’re done (but will still stay awake when you’re at a stoplight).
The 100-lumen rear light features a “SafePulse” flashing pattern that’s supposedly visible up to 2 km away, even in bright daylight, while the 250-lumen front light incorporates a built-in light sensor that adjusts output based on ambient conditions, pulsing during the day, but staying steady at night.
Both have a claimed run time of up to six hours in SafePulse mode, with an actual weight of 50 g each, including mount. Claimed recharge time from a completely dead battery is 120 minutes.
Weight: 50 g (front or rear light, with mount)
Price: US$100 / AU$146 / £79 / €91
More information: www.lightandmotion.com
Just twist the Vya Pro 90° in the mount if you want to remove it from your bike.
Run time is claimed to be up to six hours in SafePulse mode.
The front Vya Pro light is a bit bulkier visually, but it can be mounted below the bar if you like, and there’s also an optional GoPro mount, too.
There’s no separate cord required to charge the Vya Pro lights; USB plugs are built directly into the body.
The Evoc Multi Frame Pack is offered in two sizes, both of which are shaped to fit more front triangles.
Need to carry just a little bit more, or looking to empty out those jersey pockets? Perhaps best known for its superb travel cases, backpacks, and luggage, Germany company Evoc recently branched out into bikepacking bags – and now they’re actually available for purchase.
Showcased here is the Multi Frame Pack, which is offered in two sizes. The small (0.7 litre) option is handy for a tire repair kit or some snacks, while the medium (1 L) one is big enough for an extra layer or two. Both feature four repositionable Velcro straps for a secure hold in the front triangle of your frame, a single main compartment with a small elasticized pocket in the lid, and water-resistant YKK zippers. Clear vinyl decals are included to protect your paint from marring, too.
Available colors: Carbon Grey or Loam
Price: US$45 / AU$TBC / £TBC / €40 (small size); US$50 / AU$90 / £40 / €45 (medium size)
More information: www.evocsports.com
Each bag has one main compartment, plus a smaller pocket on the flap.
The 360° daisy chain allows you to move the Velcro straps wherever you need them to be for optimal mounting.
Never underestimate the importance of a good zipper.