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August 24, 2020
Photography by Dave Rome, James Huang, Iain Treloar, and Matt de Neef
A lot of new gear gets sent to us here at CyclingTips. Our Tech Round-Ups are a look at some of that gear. Sometimes we’ll feature 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. Here’s what we’ve got for you this time.
Words by Dave Rome
Goodyear recently announced a huge expansion to its road cycling lineup with notable updates to its performance tubeless offerings. Landing at the same time, and somewhat overshadowed by the wholly new model offerings, was the addition of 25 and 28 mm-width tan-wall-coloured variants of the existing Eagle F1 clincher tyre.
Like the pre-existing Eagle F1 clincher, the new tan-wall version features a 120 TPI casing, a graphene-silica tread-infused rubber compound, and a puncture-resistant belt under that tread. The Eagle F1 is intended as an all-round performance tyre, comparable to the likes of Continental’s GP5000, Vittoria’s Corsa, or the Maxxis High Road.
It’s still early days riding these but first impressions are positive. The tread is grippy without feeling sluggish, and so far appears resistant to all the glass I rode through. The tan wall colouring itself does have some colour bleeding from the tread, but otherwise, I have little to complain about. Fitment was snug without being a bear, while the tested 28 mm width measures an actual 29.9 mm on a 21 mm width rim.
Price: US$60 / AU$80 / £45 / €50
Weight: 220 g (actual, 28 mm width)
More information: goodyearbike.com
Currently Goodyear only offers the tan wall for clincher (tubed) use.
The tread offers a slick centre channel with roughened edges.
Goodyear has been increasingly growing its presence in the cycling world, with the most recent expansion seen in road cycling. Add in recent investments from the likes of Pirelli and Maxxis, and competition is a good thing.
Words by Iain Treloar
Parcours is a fairly young road wheel brand, founded in 2016 by Oxford University engineering graduate Dov Tate. In the years since, the company has expanded its range to four tubeless-ready models covering most drop-bar needs – from the new aerodynamically optimised Strade to the lightweight Grimpeur – with the Alta being the brand’s first gravel wheelset.
Featuring a 21.5 mm inner width and a 29 mm outer width, the Alta strikes a middle ground in a category that is growing ever wider, while the 35 mm depth borrows the brand’s wind tunnel-tested road models’ profile.
The centerlock hubs are 12 mm thru axle as standard, although Parcours sells conversion kits, as well as providing the option for a dynamo hub at a £200 upcharge.
The Alta, Parcours says, is designed to be a single-wheelset solution across a spectrum of riding. At a measured weight just below 1,400 grams (including tubeless setup) it’s impressively lightweight – and lighter than the company’s claimed 1,465 g – but gets there with a sensible 28 spokes front and rear. Keep an eye open for a full-length review.
Price: US$1,039 / £849.00 / AU$1,599
More information: www.parcours.cc
Graphics are minimal…
…with clear decals applied onto the matte UD rim surface.
The hubs are designed around Centrelock disc rotors, and roll on EZO cartridge bearings.
The rear hub is supplied for 10/11 speed Shimano/SRAM cassettes, although SRAM 12-speed XDR or Campagnolo freehubs are available on request.
A tubeless kit is a US$25 upcharge, including two valves and a 10-metre roll of rim tape.
Released earlier this month, Swiftwick’s new Pursuit Ultralight is a thin Merino-wool-based sock. Like most of Swiftwick’s socks, these come with a long list of technical features including a seamless toe box, reinforced heel and toe, thin upper, and a minimalist footbed.
The fine gauge Merino wool is said to help regulate temperature and keep your feet dry. The socks offer a blend of materials, including Merino wool (48%), nylon (28%), Olefin (11%) and Spandex (13%). Like most of Swiftwick’s other products, the new Pursuit Ultralights are available in only a basic array of colours, but with generous cuff height and sizing options.
I’m a fan of Swiftwick’s Aspire socks and love a number of Merino-wool-based products, and so I had high hopes for these new socks. They certainly offer a soft, thin and breathable feel, and so far I have had no durability issues.
However, they lack the secure holding compression that I love in the Aspires. There are a few baggy patches around my slim heel and toes, while the seven-inch cuff doesn’t remain at the edge of the calf for long. I suspect these socks would be great in shorter lengths for use in other sports, but I find the Aspire Sevens best for cycling.
Price: US$17 – $22 (depending on length) / AU$TBC
More information: swiftwick.com
The “Seven” in the name refers to the cuff height. This is a popular height for cycling with a sock length that reaches just below the calf.
The toes and heel are reinforced for added durability.
Swiftwick specialises in performance socks, and the new Pursuit Ultralight remains true to that.
Made in the USA.
Features. So many features.
Words by Matt de Neef
Aussie sports skincare brand Premax has been in the game since 2006 and offers a range of products for athletes. I was recently sent a handful of items for test: chamois cream, anti-friction balm, SPF50+ sunscreen, warm-up cream and a “weather defence facial cream”.
I haven’t tested the anti-friction balm — it’s designed for swimmers and runners and “prevents chafing and blisters” — and the Melbourne weather hasn’t called for sunscreen while out riding just yet. That said, a quick test confirmed the sunscreen doesn’t feel greasy to the touch — enough to make me happy to test it it once the weather warms up.
Stage 4 lockdowns in Melbourne have limited riding to one hour a day so chamois cream hasn’t been a necessity in a while, but the times I have worn it, I’ve had zero complaints. It’s light, applies easily, and doesn’t leave sticky residue post-ride. Note that Premax makes men’s-specific and women’s-specific chamois creams. There are slight differences in the ingredients used, and the women’s is marketed as “pH balanced” and the men’s as “skin conditioning.”
The weather defence cream is said to be a “lightweight yet highly effective facial cream that protects the skin when exposed to wind, cold and harsh weather conditions”. I can’t say with any certainty how effective it’s been in this regard, but I certainly don’t have any complaints. Meanwhile the warm-up cream is a light embrocation designed to “protect the skin from the rain, wind and cold”, for “warmth and weather defence”. I’ve found it offers quite mild warming, and needs a bit of working in to take effect, but it smells great which is a positive.
Price: Chamois cream AU$39 for 200 ml; anti-friction balm AU$33 for 50g; SPF50+ sunscreen AU$15 for 50 ml; warm-up cream: AU$35 for 100 g; weather defence cream AU$34 for 50 ml.
More information: premax.co/au
Words by James Huang
Do I look skeptical?
“Airofit is a respiratory muscle training system that can boost athletes’ physical performance by up to 8% within just eight weeks.”
Wait, what? This thing is what exactly? A “breathing trainer”?
I’ve toyed with similar ideas once or twice in the past, and they all operate on the same principle. Whereas you normally think of building endurance and strength in your legs and cardiovascular system when you head out for a ride, the idea here is to more specifically train your diaphragm and intercostal muscles — the ones connecting your ribs together — so that you can breathe more efficiently.
The Airofit device features adjustable ports that allow for independent inhalation and exhalation resistance, just like some other widgets on the market that have promised similar results in the past. However, Airofit also combines that physical device with onboard pressure sensors and a Bluetooth-connected smartphone app that monitors your progress in real-time and guides you through each “workout”. All of this is powered by a tiny USB-rechargeable battery.
Does it work? Your guess is as good as mine right now since I’ve only been dabbling with it from time to time over the last few weeks and haven’t sufficiently committed to the program to glean any conclusions. And, given current COVID restrictions, I unfortunately can’t comfortably subject myself to before-and-after lab tests for objective data.
But let’s just see what happens, anyway.
Price: US$299 (pricing for other regions is TBC)
More information: us.airofit.com
Airofit certainly makes some heady claims as to the efficacy of its breathing trainer.
Both the intake and exhaust ports have adjustable resistance so the device can grow with you as your breathing efficacy supposedly improves. If you get one, hopefully your dog doesn’t also think it’s a chew toy (bad dog!).
The entire gadget is powered by a small USB-rechargeable battery. Two mouthpieces are included should you decide to share the Airofit with your partner.
The associated app is very easy to use with straightforward guidance and a number of different training plans.
I have no idea if these numbers are any good, but seeing as how I’m a pretty mediocre rider, my guess is that they’re not.
From Sydney-based apparel brand Attaquer come these gloves, which aim for the coveted compromise of a cosy glove without excess bulk. The ‘Mid-Winter’ is a hint at the Australian origins of the brand – they’ve struck a nice balance for Melbourne mornings, which hover between zero and 8ºC (32-46ºF), and stay pretty cosy even when it’s wet and windy.
That temperature range will be cold comfort for northern European and American riders; for proper winters, the brand’s much thicker Deep Winter model provides more protection, at the expense of a fair bit of dexterity.
The palm of the Mid-Winter gloves features thin gel padding, with grippy silicone on the surface to improve grip. There’s a similar treatment applied to the fingertips, which is nicely tacky on brake levers. The cuff keeps things snug, but isn’t the easiest to get on and off on the go.
These gloves are available in black or navy blue in both the F@ck Yeah variant (pictured) or a more sedate PC version that loses the text across the knuckles. Either way, I’ve been pretty impressed – they’re as good as any I’ve used for temperatures in the low-to-mid single-digits — comfortable, close-fitting and unobtrusive.
Price: US$58.30 / AU$79.95 / €49.45 / £45.10
More information: www.attaquercycling.com
Attaquer’s Mid-Winter gloves are quite minimal, but cosy and comfortable.
The palm is lightly padded, and grippy…
…with sections on the thumb and forefinger designed to allow you to use your smartphone.