On the clothing front, I’ve found little not to love from Castelli in recent years. They’re a veritable conveyor belt of great new stuff.
For 2013, three things stand out: the Inferno Bibshort, the Climber’s jersey, and the growing line of products available to consumers as custom team wear, the Servizio Corse line.
I’m not going to spend too much time on this though for fear of spoiling the main course, as we’re about to have a full-on review of the Inferno bibshort and Climber’s jersey very soon. We’ll just call this a sneak peek.
Both the Inferno shorts and Climber’s jersey have seen hard work from the Garmin-Sharp team…with a bit of success. Ryder Hesjedal rode both the Climber’s jersey and Inferno shorts to Giro victory – their inaugural race.
The coolest part about kit that debuts on the backs of Garmin-Sharp in 2012? It’ll be available for custom team orders for 2013.
I enjoy Castelli’s products very much, but there’s one place I feel like the Scorpion boys might have met their match, if only for one product. Sportful isn’t a name we hear much of in North America, but they’re a fairly prominent brand in Europe, and they’re also coincidentally housed in the same building as Castelli in Fonzaso, Italy (and owned by the same company, Manifattura Valcismon).
I’m a big fan of summer jerseys, and in my opinion, the archetypal summer jersey has been made by Sportful: the BodyFit Pro Summer Race jersey. The jersey is super light, super aero, wicks moisture extremely well, and fits perfectly.
Alberto Contador rode the Summer Race jersey to victory at the recently completed Vuelta…as well as last year’s notorious Giro.
Sportful also released an astonishingly light jacket at Eurobike – the HotPack Ultralight jacket. Weight? 50 grams. Those 50 grams don’t come cheap, but the jacket is made with yarns that weigh less than one gram per kilometre. Sportful says that two square meters are used for each jacket, which brings the total amount of yarn per jacket to nearly 60km PER jacket!
The jacket folds up to smaller than a handful, and when paired with the Summer Race jersey, you’ve got a combination that weighs 125 grams and is more than sufficient to keep you comfortable in the mountains all summer long. I know a 125 gram jersey/jacket combo isn’t tops on most people’s lists, but it’s still a pretty impressive number.
Louis Garneau was another company to unveil a head turning new clothing product – the Speedzone Vest.
It’s one of those products that make you go – why didn’t I think of that? It’s simple, it’s effective, it’s great, and I want one.
Yep, it’s a vest without the lower half of the back. Developed with Team Europcar, the vest solves the two huge traditional vest problems: access to back pockets and race number visibility.
Last year, all the buzz was about the promising Garmin Vector. It has since hit major delays and now has no projected release date. It lives in a twilight zone of sorts. For the power fanatic, another company has entered the fray, and they look like they’ve got a winner: Rotor. The Spanish crank makers unveiled a new crank-based power meter at Eurobike, and before I say anything else about it – they’re predicting a December/January ship date.
Now, we can continue.
It would be senseless to move on to a second date without future prospects. The new powermeter is housed on Rotor’s 3D cranks. The craziest thing about it? You only take a 30g weight penalty with the powermeter over the normal crankset. 30 grams. There was a time not so long ago when we would have laughed at that thought. Rotor claims just over 550 grams for the cranks – sans rings and bottom bracket – which isn’t much of a measurement. I haven’t ridden too many ring-less, bottom bracketless cranks in my time, but I’ll shrug it off as Showtime anorexia.
Unlike other power meters, Rotor Power measures both left and right power independently with four strain gauges for each crank arm. This opens up a whole new world of power calculations including left/right independent monitoring, torque efficiency, and pedal smoothness (think Computrainer’s SpinScan).
We were coerced into joining in the fun of the top w/kg challenge.
The Rotor power system also can eagerly point to a super high sampling rate of 500 Hz. They claim accuracy of +/- 2%, but they manage much better than that in their own testing, says Rotor’s Christie O’Hara. I can go on for at least another article on the new product, but suffice it to say, at 1600 euros, this is a competitively priced piece of power measuring goodness that will get the well deserved attention of many power geeks…and hopefully some of those that haven’t been converted.
Germany’s Focus Bikes were left out of the Grand Tours this year with Acqua e Sapone getting a big goose egg in the wild card sweepstakes. Focus will be back next year in a big way though with their sponsorship of the French World Tour team, AG2R.
AG2R riders will get a new and improved version of their line topping Izalco – the Izalco Team SL. Focus has long looked askance at the weight wars, but take a huge jump forward with the new SL.
The bike looks exactly the same as the old Izalco Team, but underneath, they’ve used an entirely new carbon lay-up to shave off over 200 grams from the frame to take it down to a much more appropriate sounding weight of 930g.
Let’s Pause For A Beverage And A Look Around
Would you like a spritz from Italy, or perhaps, more fitting, a beer from Germany?
When at an Italian, specifically Veneto, happy hour, drink like the Italians – care for a spritz?
Or if you’re just out and about, drink as the Germans do: beer!
Maybe a coffee pedaled up by Brooks?
Seriously, Brooks had a pedal powered bean grinder. It was entertaining and produced some delicious espresso.
It wouldn’t be Eurobike without painted mostly naked women.
Each evening, BMC ensured an entire hall smelled of pungent raclette…just like they do it back home in Switzerland, right?
e-bikes: they might never catch on in a major way in North America, but they’re serious business in Europe.
A few moments outside to enjoy.
I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but helmets were one of the more impressive products to grace the halls of Eurobike this year.
Giro’s Air Attack has been called a heinous deformity of a helmet. At first glance, I agreed, but the more I see it, and the more I get acquainted with its track sprinter looks, the more I’m ok with it, the more I like it. More importantly, I’m into a helmet that tries to do something different, tries to make a rider more efficient, and pursues the three important things a rider must deal with – aerodynamics, temperature, and weight – in a different fashion.
The Air Attack doesn’t photograph all that well on a table, so we’ll use Theo Bos as our model.
I give Giro a big thumbs up for pushing the envelope in a business, which has begun to look really watered down and similar across the board. Look around at helmets – how much have they changed in in recent years? Not all that much.
Poc, a Swedish company, has taken the skiing helmet world by storm in recent years. For 2013, they’re turning their attention to the road and debuted a new, bright orange TT helmet at the Olympics. The helmet is an interesting design, but takes into account what they claim is a previously less than focused on aspect of frontal aerodynamics – the shoulders.
The wider helmet accounts for the rider’s shoulders far more than any other helmet, and one has to think that’s a good thing. We’ll have to wait for some aero testing to see just how much of a difference it makes, but the idea certainly looks promising.
If you haven’t tried Lizard Skins bartape yet, give them a try the next time you’re in the market for some new bartape. They’re not your normal bartape, and there’s no questioning – they’re different, and they’re worth a feel, because it’s lovely.
Lizard Skins hit the World Tour ranks this year aboard Lotto-Belisol’s bikes. They’ve gotten bucketloads of wins and a lot of praise from the team. This year, they’re debuting a bartape that Lotto used at Paris-Roubaix – it’s a 3.2mm Durasoft Polymer tape, and it’s luxurious.
Along with helmets, I never thought I’d be touting seatposts as a place for innovation. Specialized and Canyon have defied boring seatpost tradition with two intriguing new posts, which arrive to more or less the same effect (pure vertical compliance) in two very different designs – the the Big S’s Cobl Gobl-R and the Canyon’s VCLS Flat.
Canyon first gave us a look at the VCLS Flat Spring Post at Eurobike last year, but the post will finally make its debut in the latter part of 2012. The post is two semicircular carbon fiber shafts, which can move independently of each other courtesy a pivoting head at the top. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to explain, because I’m technically hindered, but when you see how it works, it’s perfect – yet another, why didn’t I think of that moment. Well, I never would have thought of THAT one, but the idea of adding vertical compliance in the seatpost makes sense.
The amusingly named Cobl Gobl-R is a carbon leaf spring-style seat post, which, according to Specialized, gives pure vertical compliance with no drawbacks to the ride in any other way. Paired with Specialized’s newly released, Roubaix winning, Roubaix SL4, it should make for a sweet ride, but then again, these new seat posts beg the question – what about putting them on any bike? Do they really work? If they’re as good as the marketing people say they are, sign me up.
Another unexpected one: a bag?
Along with having a fetish with gloves, I am obsessed with finding the perfect bag. Whether it’s for cameras, traveling, computers, whatever, I’m always on the lookout for my next favorite.
Endura stepped up with a great new product that seems to have everything – a section for clothes, shoes, helmet, and even a little piece of pull-out synthetic material a dressing rider can stand on, so their feet don’t get wet.
It’s a world changer, but it’s a well thought out product that deserves a mention.
A company I love to look at: Brooks
No, I’m not a huge fan of Brooks saddles. They’re just not for me. I know many who swear up and down by them, but I’m not one of them. That does not mean I’m not absolutely head over heels in love with LOOKING at their products. They’re just beautiful. I had no reason to walk into the Brooks area at Eurobike, but I did, and I ended up spending 15 minutes touching the beautifulness. Of course, this is a hateful place to go if you’re not into leather products. I’m personally not a huge fan of it, but if you’re going to kill cows, you damn well better make something good out of it. Brooks does just that.
It wouldn’t be a Eurobike piece without some bike racing royalty, so here are a couple we bumped into along the way…
…and my favorite bike rider ever: Danny MacAskill. This is why.
He’s not exactly a living, breathing person, but Cervelo’s ‘Foam Dave’ got a lot of attention. Foam Dave is David Zabriskie, but without Zabriskie’s annoying human trait of not being perfectly still.
He wasn’t there, but there were bits and pieces of Bradley Wiggins’ winning Tour ride all over the place…
With the recently completed USA Pro Cycling Challenge, George Hincapie called an end to a lengthy, successful career. BMC had George’s Tour bike out on display – the one commemorating his 17th(!!) Tour de France.