CT Tech Round-Up #3: New gear from Specialized, Dynaplug, Scribe, and more
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).
– Scribe Aero Wide+ 42 disc brake road wheels
– Specialized S-Works Power saddle with Mirror technology
– MagicShine Seemee 100 & 30 rear lights
– Dynaplug Carbon Racer tubeless plug kit
– Light & Motion Vya Pro lights
– Evoc Multi Frame Pack
Scribe Aero Wide+ 42 disc brake road wheels
Words by Dave Rome
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
Specialized S-Works Power saddle with Mirror technology
Words by Dave Rome
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
MagicShine Seemee 100 & 30 rear lights
Words by Dave Rome
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.
Dynaplug Carbon Racer tubeless plug kit
Words by James Huang
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
Light & Motion Vya Pro commuter lights
Words by James Huang
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
Evoc Multi Frame Pack
Words by James Huang
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