This week's tech stories are ripe with cutting-edge innovations, bold claims and some seriously lightweight tech. Read on to find out more about some super secure (and bright) bike lights, chainrings that purportedly improve your efficiency, a special sub-6kg Tarmac SL8 build and more...
Whether you're supposed to think a bike light that is "more secure than most relationships" is actually secure probably depends on your experience of relationships - but assuming Lightbug is referring mostly to the blissfully happy ones and not quick Tinder flings, we'll take its word for it that this new light, soon to hit Kickstarter, has some notable protective credentials.
This is the Bristol-based GPS device maker's first cycling product to our knowledge. The light comes with a very powerful beam, anti-theft measures and advanced tracking technology, all wrapped up in a sleek bike light.
The Guard is supposed to be able to emit a dazzling 4000 lumens of light, courtesy of the use of car headlamp LEDs. While this might seem like an overabundance of power for most, the likes of mountain bikers can definitely benefit from well-lit trails. The brightness is customisable for road commuting and other cycling applications, with settings ranging from 200 to 1500 lumens.
Alongside the obvious light features, Lightbug has equipped the Guard with quite impressive anti-theft capabilities. The light features an electronic locking system and alerts users if their bike is moved, with noise comparable to a car alarm. The Bluetooth connectivity detects any prolonged motion and then pings a notification to the user's phone.
The light also features Strava integration, which means the device can be used to record rides straight to Strava.
Lightbug didn't respond when we asked for the Kickstarter launch date and prices, but we know that the Guard is currently a functioning prototype, has an RRP of £350 and will launch on the platform "in the next few weeks". It will presumably go into full production if the crowdfunder is successful.
Following the much-anticipated Specialized SL8 launch a couple of weeks back, we're now starting to see custom builds making an appearance on forums that are even lighter than the top-of-the-range production versions. All credit goes to Wu Jiaqi on the Specialized Tarmac, Venge and Aethos owner's club Facebook group for this stunning build.
This bike here is claimed to weigh a mere 5.88kg, and is built upon the S-Works Tarmac SL8 "Ready to Paint Frameset". The frame is a size 56cm, and the owner has equipped it with an ELILEE X-Novanta carbon crankset and Trickstuff c22 brakes. The wheels are Lightbicycle AR55 flyweight built with Extralite SPD-3 hubs – the weight of these hoops is 1,278g.
The CeramicSpeed rear derailleur is attached to the frame with a hanger from premium bike accessory specialists Sigeyi and interestingly, the front derailleur is 'just' a Shimano Ultegra one. There have been some guesses on the cost of this build - what's yours?
The prestigious Leadville 100 MTB race took place last weekend, and saw some quite interesting bike choices surfacing on social media. The first one here belongs to Lachlan Morton, a rider known for his work on the road as well as destroying the field at off-road ultra epics like GBDURO. You can perhaps tell the Aussie is very used to riding his bikes slammed, as the Cannondale Scalpel HT Hi-Mod features a whopping 120mm/40-degree stem!
Morton's EF Pro Cycling team described the bike as "light enough to fly up Powerline, responsive enough to send it on the way back down." The overall weight of the bike is 9.8kg.
Another Leadville bike that led to some strong opinions was Dylan Johson's Lando HT frame, that the American racer controversially with 40cm drop bars, paired with a 70mm stem. Is it against the spirit of the MTB race to have drop bars on your bike?
If you are interested in Leadville results and missed them, neither Morton or Johnson took the win with their roadie-influenced setups (they were ninth and 17th respectively), but it was Keegan Swenson who completed the 100-mile race in 5:43:31. The top spot on the women's podium was taken by Sofia Gomez Villafañe in 7:09:48.
Apidura has launched a Packable Visibility Vest, a safety-focused high-vis vest designed to meet the EN 17353 certification standards, targeted at audax, ultra-distance and bikepacking riders.
The vest's focus has been on visibility and packability - as the name suggests - and it offers 360-degree reflective graphics. The garment weighs 106g (in size S/M), meaning it also neatly folds away in your pocket. It's certified to the EN 17353:2020 Type B3 standard, meaning it meets strict requirements for visibility garments.
It also features adjustable straps so it can accommodate a diverse range of body types, and allow space for a bulky layer or hydration vest. The Packable Visibility Vest is available now and retails for £45.
We've just had some very interesting Spreng Reng 2.0 chainrings delivered to the office. These chainrings are designed for improved climbing performance and offer distinct features that set them apart from traditional round – or oval – chainrings. In essence, their inventor says "you’ll experience increased cadence and noticeably faster speeds, thereby allowing you to climb faster with less — or the same — effort".
Developed by Doug Brown over more than five years, we're told these chainrings are not actually oval, but "quasi-hexagonal". This unique shape is supposed to enhance efficiency and power during uphill riding, and Doug has also shared some of his testing stats with us, indicating that the Spreng Reng does indeed offer performance benefits.
Sorry to be a tease, but we're not going to share those results with you just yet as we're putting our own set to the test first! Check back in the coming weeks for a full write-up...
Raceware Components has been producing 3D-printed mounting hardware for cycling enthusiasts since 2012, giving users a made-to-measure solution manufactured to precise tolerances. Many of its products have even been utilised at WorldTour level, such is the quality and custom sophistication of the brand’s offerings, and it’s not just computer mounts the company produces, but a raft of other components, too: rear light mounts, Di2 and EPS hardware, silicone MTB grips and bar ends, stem adaptors, AirTag holders and even phone covers.
With its proprietary seatpost and barstem arrangement, the new Cannondale SuperSix Evo 4 naturally doesn’t have much choice available when it comes to mounting solutions. Thankfully, the wizards at Raceware have created a bespoke mount assembly for the SystemBar R-One handlebar found on the SuperSix Hi-MOD 1 and Lab71 models.
At 25g, it’s 15g lighter than the alloy mount from Cannondale, and it’s sturdier and more supportive with absolutely zero play between the computer and mounting interface.
Owing to the kammtail seatpost design of the Supersix Evo 4, there’s no rear light currently available that works with the post’s unique shape but, as you guessed it, the company has also produced a superlight 18g seatpost light bracket. Various mount combinations are available – the mount pictured here is designed to accommodate the Bontrager Flare and ION lights.
Pricing for the computer mount is £42.50 (Garmin and Wahoo) and £29.99 for the rear mount (£39.99 with the light clip).
We've spotted these Hyphen Aria 'biological earbuds' on Kickstarter, and the page suggests they could make a good cycling headset with their open-air design. The buds fuse together in-ear and bone-conduction features to produce sound that safeguards your hearing.
Apparently, a lot of us are really doing damage to our poor hair cells with traditional in-ear headphones. The biological in the name means that the buds are "designed to emulate the natural way in which people listen to sounds, which is sound originating from an external source and conducted through the air into the ear."
Hyphen Aria's Air Conduction technology should be a wee bit safer for those hearing cells, but deliver "crystal-clear audio". We're told the open-air design allows you to stay somewhat aware of your surroundings, and you can use a touch control interface to adjust volume, tracks, and calls. The buds have 33-hour playtime and charge wirelessly.
The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that closes tomorrow has well exceeded its £17k target, meaning that the first Hyphen Arias should ship sometime in November. You can still chip in to get an early bird-priced pair for £77 (90€).
We knew there was something missing from our essential pre-ride checks feature, and luckily everyone's fave budget supermarket is here to jog our memories...
While these digital vernier calipers are a proper bargain at £9.99, and we assume will do the job of measuring chain wear and other things where you require accurate measurements, we're guessing that checking the width of your cassette sprockets is low on the list of things most home mechanics want or need to know. Still, £9.99 for digital calipers!
And just in case you missed the rest of our tech news stories and features, here they are listed so you can get up to speed with just about everything that's happened in the world of cycling tech this week:
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.