It's no surprise that as we're in the middle of the cycling world's biggest event, the Tour de France, a lot of road cycling tech news at the moment is somehow linked to the annual spectacle... and those links sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Just look at Mark Cavendish's Call of Duty bike, and Lapierre's Xelius with a design created by AI. The Tour aside, we do also have some cool tech news from Campagnolo, Rapha, Endura and German lightweight carbon manufacturers thrown in here too. And, erm...
Everyone makes mistakes, and we’d like to think we can extend the hand of sympathy when it’s appropriate… but who the hell was responsible for this photo shoot?
We’re going out on a limb here and saying this fella in the listing for a Shinmax Bike Helmet on Amazon didn’t have a bike fit to end up in this position.
Even if you don’t ride a bike, common sense would suggest that the stem should go forwards or things are going to get really interesting when you try to turn.
As for the handlebar angle, well, you’re not going to be riding with your hands on the hoods, are you?
Also, while we're about it, what happened to the section of the top tube that should be just in front of the guy’s right wrist?
Still, £31.99 for the helmet. Bargain.
In a partnership that merges the worlds of professional cycling and gaming, Mark Cavendish and Call of Duty have joined forces to design a one-of-a-kind racing bike inspired by the popular video game franchise. The collaboration aims to celebrate the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone Season 04, and marks Cavendish's final Tour de France before his retirement.
The collaboration might seem like a strange one, but Cavendish, also known as the "Manx Missile," is in fact a proper fan of the Call of Duty game series, so this unique partnership brings together his passion for cycling and gaming. And after his retirement, he'll likely have even more time for the game.
In Call of Duty’s Instagram post, Cavendish shares his thoughts on the common features of the video game and bike racing.
As Cavendish explains, the custom-designed bike takes inspiration from Call of Duty's new Battle Royale map, Vondel, which is featured in the latest season of Call of Duty: Warzone. To ensure authenticity, the Dutch street art collective Kamp Seedorf was enlisted to incorporate graffiti elements into the hand-drawn artwork adorning the bike.
The bike itself is a Wilier Filante SLR, the exact same model that Cavendish is currently racing on in his farewell French bike tour. Cavendish - if you've been living under a rock and somehow missed the memo - is aiming to secure his 35th stage win at this Tour before retiring. The win would bring him the all-time record for stage victories at the Tour de France, surpassing Eddie Merckx.
If you’re interested, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this unique bike design is also available on Instagram.
A patent application told us a while ago that Campagnolo has done at least some work relating to a hub-based electric bike motor, and the Italian company has just had the patent granted.
Most hub-based motors feature a groove in the ‘hub shaft’ through which ‘electrical conductor elements' pass to the inside of the hub body. However, a system of this kind “does not allow the use of hub shafts configured for the quick release of the wheel”, says Campagnolo.
To cut a long story short, Campag’s system allows the use of a motorised hub with some form of quick-release axle. That’s the top and bottom of it.
Does this mean Campagnolo is developing a motorised hub? It’s not impossible, but if this were the case we’d expect to see a couple more patent applications relating to the internal workings kicking around, and there’s nothing of that kind to be found.
We reckon it’s more likely that Campagnolo has patented a design with the intention of licensing further down the line, but your guess is as good as ours.
Rapha’s new women’s clothing collab with Shrimps is definitely a different take on cycling apparel. Rapha says the collection “...bridges the gap between fashion and cycling” in a way we've rarely seen.
The nine-piece capsule collection showcases Shrimps' signature playful patterns and whimsical designs, combined with Rapha's expertise in cycling apparel and off-bike stylings. The result is a sort of fusion of aesthetics, aimed to appeal to individuals who are unafraid to make a statement.
One of the standout pieces in the collection is the Wind Jacket (£190) with cinchable arms (forget aero gains), a skort (really!) and the Ponytail Cap (£38) that features a detachable Shrimps bow, adding a touch of femininity to the traditional cycling accessory.
Hannah Weiland, Shrimps Founder and Creative Director, said: "Working on this Rapha + Shrimps collaboration has been such a unique, exciting experience for me.
"Combining cycling with indulgence is what first appealed to me... stopping off for a glass of wine or a scoop of ice cream while taking in the Italian countryside, all in your Shrimps x Rapha gear."
It’s for sure a collection that will not appeal to everyone, but it’s very cool to see brands like Rapha introduce a lifestyle collaboration like this because not every cyclist is all about aero gains, or even wearing padded shorts.
As Agata Jasinska, Rapha Womenswear Designer, puts it: “By merging Shrimps' feminine and playful style with Rapha's expertise in on-bike performance, we have created something truly unexpected.”
I agree with Jasinska - this collection definitely tops my list of unexpected cycling apparel.
The entire collection is available for purchase on Rapha’s website.
Lapierre unveils Xelius SL 10.0 with AI-created colourway
Lapierre has revealed a special edition of its Xelius SL 10.0 bike, created in collaboration with Obvious, a trio of artists known for their use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their works.
The new bike, called Xelius SL 10.0 Symbiosis Edition, will be the official bike of Team Groupama-FDJ and FDJ-SUEZ for this year’s Tour de France. With this design, Lapierre becomes the first bicycle brand known to incorporate AI-derived design into a bike, effectively combining art, science, and cycling.
The design features concentric circles representing points of rotation in cycling, mechanical gears, and a colour scheme differentiating between the human and mechanical aspects of cycling.
The special edition Xelius SL 10.0 frame is constructed from lightweight UD SLI Team carbon fibre, and the complete bikes raced by the pros are equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed groupsets and Dura-Ace C36 wheels.
The bike will be on sale from 29 June, giving enthusiasts the chance to own a genuine replica of the pro team bike.
Rudy Project releases new Kelion sunglasses
Rudy Project has unveiled its latest innovation, the Kelion sunglasses, in a special pearlescent livery dedicated to the athletes of Team Bahrain Victorious. The exclusive edition celebrates Tour de France, which kicked off on July 1 in Bilbao of course.
The special livery - which will also characterise the brand’s Nytron, Egos, and Wing helmets - is called 'Pearl-Inspired' by Rudy Project. It celebrates the region known as the pearl of the Arab Gulf, and the golden lenses used for this limited edition further embellish the design, creating a unique and distinctive look.
The glasses boast a design with cylindrical lenses, that should offer “superior coverage and a wide panoramic view”. These shades also feature a new lens change system and the frames are made from Rilsan Clear, an eco-friendly bio-plastic derived from castor oil.
Although the Kelion is visible at the Tour, it will be available for us mere mortals in various configurations in September, with prices starting at €219.90.
The French cycling equipment brand Ekoi has unveiled a brand new Aerodinamica helmet, made in collaboration with the prestigious design house Pininfarina.
Pininfarina is renowned for its automotive designs, and the company has loaned Ekoi its wind tunnel to help develop the aero qualities of this helmet. According to Ekoi the collaboration “made no concessions between elegance and performance”.
The lid was designed with a focus on safety and aerodynamics, and will be put to the test by four WorldTour teams during Tour de France: Israel-Premier Tech, Lotto-Dstny, Arkéa-Samsic and Cofidis.
The key among the helmet's features is the incorporation of Koroyd technology. This system consists of a lightweight honeycomb structure, composed primarily of air, that collapses upon impact. It's purported to enhance safety, but also facilitates air circulation, giving riders a refreshing sensation and a “feeling of weightlessness”, Ekoi claims.
You also get a Fidlock magnetic buckle and ATOP wheel for “micrometric adjustment” on the head. The helmet should be available soon in two colourways (white-red and black) and retails for €250.
Pirelli has launched an updated version of its gravel racing-orientated Cinturato RC tyre, adding an ‘X’ (which stands for extreme) to the name. Read all the details on our sister site off.road.cc…
Scottish brand Endura is set to revive the forgotten legacy of Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the inventor of the first-ever pedal cycle, with an ambitious project to recreate his invention - the first ever pedal cycle created and ridden for the first time in 1842.
The project’s main aim is to honour Macmillan's contribution to cycling history and preserve the authenticity of his invention. The revived contraption will traverse Scotland, tracing the path of Macmillan's original 70-mile journey from Thornhill to Glasgow in 1842. Endura athlete Mikayla Parton will lead the lineup of participating athletes and personalities.
In making the bike, Endura has partnered with woodwork craftsman Tim Loftus and frame manufacturer Steven Shand, and the aim is to recreate Macmillan's invention while incorporating modern engineering capabilities for contemporary riding. The historic ride will coincide with Scotland hosting the 2023 Cycling World Championships (dubbed the 'Super World Championships', because for the first time it's a mega multi-discipline UCI event) , highlighting the country's role as the sport's foundation.
To ensure historical accuracy, Endura has enlisted the expertise of David Hurdle, a distant relative of Macmillan and author of "The Life of Kirkpatrick Macmillan." Hurdle will provide valuable insights and consultation on the event's historical aspects.
The brand is also collaborating with Dumfries Museum, known for exhibiting a replica of Macmillan's invention created for the 1896 Crystal Palace exhibition. The museum's curatorial team will support the event, and Endura will donate the bicycle to "The First Bicycle" exhibition in August.
Shokz (formerly known as AfterShokz) has announced OpenFit true wireless earbuds that come in an open-ear design that’s intended to allow you to hear what’s going on in the world around you – including traffic – while you listen to music.
We’ve reviewed several Shokz headphones on road.cc in the past and we’ve always been impressed. The concept here remains the same as before.
“Unlike other headphones that block out ambient sound, Shokz OpenFit allows you to hear conversations around you, remain aware of your surroundings and stay connected to your environment,” says Shokz.
“OpenFit utilises DirectPitch technology sending sound waves into the ear without having to push in an earbud or cover the outer ear.”
While previous Shokz headphones have had the two sides connected by a band that runs around the back of your head, here they’re totally separate.
Shokz says that OpenFit comes with an IP54 rating – meaning that it’s dust protected and can handle splashes of water – and provides up to seven hours of listening on a full charge. The charging case takes the listening time up to 28 hours.
They’re available in black or beige, retailing for £179. We’ve requested a set for a review here on road.cc.
Carbovation buys lightweight component brand Tune
German company Carbovation has acquired Tune, a manufacturer of ultra-lightweight cycling technology. Carbovation is part of the Murtfeldt Group, and the acquisition is part of the company’s expansion in the performance-oriented cycling product segment, which already includes the brand Lightweight.
Tune is known for its somewhat groundbreaking innovations in lightweight components - for example, the Skyracer saddle - and has been operating since 1989.
The Tour de France is a spectacle on every level, and each year we're waiting in anticipation to see the new team kits. As the Tour goes on, we get snippets of the stories behind the designs, and here we can have a look at a couple of them. This year, Bora Hansgrohe's Le Col Tour kit celebrates 10 years at the Tour.
The team's special edition Le Col jersey takes all of the riders who have ridden for the team in the Tour over the last 10 years, and uses their name and year they rode, to form the design of the jersey. It's really something you won't spot from afar, as the riders' names become merged across the jersey and “further solidify the team’s ‘Band of Brother’s’ mantra”.
The jersey is made from a premium lightweight high-speed fabric, promotes breathability and has a dialled-in fit for further aerodynamic advantage. And of course, you get all of the team logos above the special print.
For Astana Qazaqstan, the new kit design for this year's tour is on their LIMAR Air Atlas helmets and Giordana jerseys. Designed together with AlbertDesign, the kit features a "Believe in Turquoise" graphic.
The graphic reproduces the effect of turquoise, a mineral stone Kazakhstan is rich in. It’s also an amulet that is said to bring protection, strength, courage, happiness and good luck. Maybe enough luck to break world records, even…
You might recall us mentioning this helmet before, but we've now got our hands on one! The helmet in question is the POC Ventral Air Mips helmet outfitted in the official EF Education-EasyPost livery.
The helmet is not a replica but rather an exact version of the lids used by the WorldTour team. As a result, it gets the same four-tone magenta colour scheme complete with matching straps and sponsor-correct logos.
In terms of specs, the Ventral Air comes fitted with a Mips Integra protection system and TwICEme NFC Digital Medical ID chip, the latter of which makes it possible to access vital information in emergency situations. It weighs 254g (size medium).
As expected, numbers are limited. The POC Ventral EF Education-EasyPost helmet will set you back £270.
In case you missed our other tech stories of the week, here's a full round-up for you!
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.