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TECH NEWS

Does the SuperWheel REALLY offer power assistance without a battery? Plus Hunt’s new lightweight alloy wheels, prototype Cadex superbike, Black Inc’s fastest ever disc wheel + more

Catch up with all of this week’s big – and not so big – bike and equipment news

Here are this week’s tech highlights including a deeper look at a wheel that's said to turn your weight in the saddle into forward movement, news about Hunt’s lightweight Alloy SL Disc wheels, Colnago’s TT1 speed weapon that’s also sporting some prototype Campagnolo components, La Passione’s jerseys, Koo’s sunnies, and more. As always, there are some stunning custom finishes to check out too…

“Pedal assistance without a battery” – but does the SuperWheel REALLY work?

The SuperWheel – which we reported on the road.cc Live Blog months ago – has been doing the rounds in the media again, which prompted us to get a scientist involved to check out the claims surrounding it.

“Can this spring-powered bicycle ‘SuperWheel’ work on cars to save gas?” MotorBiscuit asked earlier in the week, while Designboom reported that “Spring-powered ‘SuperWheel’ prototype converts cyclist's weight into propulsion”.

If you’re not up to speed with SuperWheel, the idea is that you can “transform your bike to a high-performance bicycle... and experience the freedom of Easy Cycling without the range and speed limit of an electric bike”, according to the claims. 

Wow!

“This is the new way of pedal assistance without a battery,” says the inventor. “SuperWheel is the practical and convenient alternative to the electric power assistance. Whether you are a city commuter or simply for recreational use, the SuperWheel provides you with the additional power for easy cycling and allows you to enjoy cycling without the hard work.

“Superwheel is a bicycle wheel with a built-in power assistance system, using our patent-pending (WTECT) weight (mass) to energy conversion technology [to] transform the user’s weight to turning power during rotation to improve cycling efficiency.”

The patent does now exist

SuperWheel claims an efficiency improvement of more than 30% compared with a standard wheel.

This video explains how it’s said to work:

Rather than relying on our own assessment, we asked Dr Robert Kelly, a science teacher at Okehampton College with a PhD in physics, what he thought.

“There’s nothing of merit in this,” he said. “My initial scepticism is only heightened by the lack of any proper explanation. 

“Essentially, it looks like they’re saying that due to compression of the springs at the top of the wheel due to the rider’s weight, followed by a decompression as the wheel undergoes its first revolution, there is an extra force that is converted to forward motion. 

“That’s fine on first push off if you got the technique right, but once the wheel is in motion there simply cannot be any continuous gain. 

“If a rider was to then effectively reduce his/her weight on the bike, effectively doing a little jump to lift off the pedals and back down again, you could benefit from the push effect again, but in stable, level riding there’s no gain here. 

“It may be that on riding over hills there is a little ‘bounce’ that happens as you push down on the pedals, so there could be some small continuous gain uphill – but probably only for riders who pedal inefficiently. 

“The 30% energy recovery or equivalent to an e-bike claims must just be wildly exaggerated.”

Find out more

Chapter 2 has begun collaborating with artists for stunning finishes...

Chapter 2 has kicked off its new Artist Edition Collection with this absolutely stunning Caitlin Fielder Artist Edition TOA that pays tribute to the brand’s and artist’s New Zealand roots with the use of the symbol of the native silver fern. 

Chapter 2 Caitlin Fielder Artist Edition TOA 1

Caitlin has been painting for many years and recently turned her attention to doing fully customised cycling shoe painting for some of the world’s top pros, including New Zealand's UAE Team Emirates rider George Bennett. Other custom projects have included shoes for Michael "Bling" Matthews, Daryl Impey, Luke Durbridge and Esteban Chaves. You can check out Caitlin's work over here...

“Caitlin sourced real ferns in the Abel Tasman National Park, cutting them out and applying them to a 3-dimensional collage on the frameset,” Chapter 2 explains.

Chapter 2 Caitlin Fielder Artist Edition TOA 2

Only 50 will be made available worldwide with each frameset coming with a personalised signed certificate of authentication, and gold detailed matching thru-axles, top cap and carbon bottle cages. 

The frameset is being sold for £3,599. 

Available via authorised dealers and via Chapter 2’s website, pre-orders for this exclusive arty creation end on 13 June with framesets expected to be delivered in September 2022

Find out more

Hunt unveils lightweight Alloy SL Disc wheels

Hunt has expanded its range with new Alloy SL Disc wheels that are designed to be lightweight and responsive at a reasonable price.

2022 Hunt Alloy SL Disc wheels - 1

The 6061-T6 heat-treated alloy rims are 25mm deep with a 19mm internal width. 

"They're asymmetric and V-shaped in profile, which remains the best option when strength and weight are the priorities," says Hunt.

2022 Hunt Alloy SL Disc wheels - 1 (1)

The rims are tubeless-ready and are laced with triple-butted, straight-pull spokes to Hunt's Sprint SL hubs. The hub shells are made from 6066 heat-treated alloy and the rear wheel engages in 7.5°.

Hunt claims a wheelset weight of 1,443g.

The Hunt Alloy SL Disc wheels are available with various different freehub options at £439.

Find out more 

Check out Colnago’s TT1 speed weapon, complete with prototype Campagnolo components

2022 Colnago TT1 - 1 (1).jpeg

Colnago's prototype TT1 time trial bike certainly looks fast and the Italian brand says that it says offers greater aerodynamic efficiency than the previous K.One. It’ll be raced by UAE Team Emirates in the Giro d’Italia.

The TT1 is the first Colnago time trial bike to use disc brakes. 

“The choice guarantees the best routing of the hydraulic hoses inside the frame with better braking performance and greater rigidity of the entire bicycle thanks to the use of thru-axles on the wheels,” says Colnago. “The weight difference [from the] K.One is minimal while delivering better overall braking performance and safety.”

2022 Colnago TT1 prototype - 1 (1)

The Campagnolo brake lever controls are prototypes, as are the 80mm deep front wheel and rear disc wheel.

The TT1 uses a bayonet fork – the steerer is external – to reduce the frontal impact of the frame, and a monocoque carbon fibre base bar.

2022 Colnago TT1 - 2.jpeg

It also features a bottle holder and bottle kit incorporated into the aerodynamics of the entire frame. The 500ml bottle is still a 3D printed prototype and will be developed in collaboration with Elite.

2022 Colnago TT1 prototype - 2

Colnago has gone for a very short head tube and a tall stack of spacers under each elbow rest to get the correct riding position. It says that this approach offers less drag than “a more voluminous frame”.

2022 Colnago TT1 prototype - 1

The top tube is horizontal, as are the seatstays along half of their length before kinking down towards the dropouts. 

Colnago says that the TT1, designed exclusively for electronic groupsets, will be modified further before going on sale to the public in autumn 2022.

Find out more

Black Inc unveils its fastest ever disc wheel

2022 Black Inc Zero wheel - 1.jpeg

Sticking with time trialling, Black Inc has launched its new carbon fibre Zero disc wheel which is set to make its debut on Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia after the testing of three prototypes over the past year.

Black Inc says that the Zero’s lenticular (curved face) shape is key to its performance. 

2022 Black Inc Zero wheel - 2.jpeg

"The wheel’s drive side utilises a ‘virtual 100mm rim’ design with a striking flat centre section to allow the uninhibited operation of the bike’s rear transmission," says Black Inc. "The non-drive side, meanwhile, pushes the boundaries of wheel aerodynamics with a lenticular disc profile that challenges industry conventions on design and manufacturing."

Black Inc says that the shape "has been proven to generate as much as 20 watts of ‘thrust’ for the rider when fully sailing at yaw".

The Zero has a tubeless-compatible rim with a 21mm inner width and is aerodynamically optimised for a 26.2mm tyre. The claimed weight is 1,188g.

The new Black Inc Zero is available now at £1,883.

Find out more 

What do you reckon to La Passione’s new jerseys?

Italy's La Passione has launched three new jersey collections: Signature, Brick, and Maze.

2022 La Passione Signature P dot jersey - 1.jpeg

Our favourite design from the Signature collection is a "P dot" design that's available in white for men, and in black for both men and women.

2022 La Passione Brick jersey - 1.jpeg

Brick is available in black, dark brown and violet. 

2022 La Passione Maze jersey - 1.jpeg

The Maze collection comes in black, pink and red. £96
 
All are made from fabrics designed to breathe well and they come with ventilated side panels.

All of these jerseys are priced at £96.

Find out more

Check out this Urwahn 3D bikes x Alberto label special edition bike 

Urwahn 3D bikes x Alberto label 2

Image: Urwahn Engineering GmbH

We're off to Germany next where Magdeburg-based bike manufacturer Urwahn has collaborated with Mönchengladbach (great name, Mönchengladbach) trouser label Alberto for a beautifully shaped special edition gravel e-bike that’s made of steel.

Mahle’s ebikemotion with 250 Wh battery provides a claimed range of up to 80 kilometres, and thanks to 3D printing technology this electric adventurer weighs just 14.8kg. A Lauf leaf spring fork is also included for additional riding comfort.

Urwahn 3D bikes x Alberto label 1

The asphalt-black matt finish features a graphic of the topography of Mönchengladbach, as well as Alberto’s founding date and location coordinates. What d'you think of this look?

Find out more

Koo announces Supernova Energy eyewear

2022 Koo Supernova Energy glasses - 2

Koo Eyewear has introduced its Supernova Energy collection, adding four new colours to the Supernova range. 

Check out our review of Koo’s Supernova sunglasses 

2022 Koo Supernova Energy glasses - 3

When we reviewed them, we found the Supernova glasses to be good looking, effective, and extremely light. They offer 100% UV Protection. 

2022 Koo Supernova Energy glasses - 4

The new colours are Light Blue, Orange Fluo, Kask Lime, and Fuchsia.

2022 Koo Supernova Energy glasses - 1

The glasses are priced £169.

Find out more

Check out Kristian Blummenfelt’s top tube-less Cadex 

This unconventionally designed bike is missing a top tube, has a unique seat stay design and features a wide triple-crown fork system.

Triathlete took some shots on the ground of the tri bike Norwegian triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt has been riding which features this interesting-looking prototype frame from Cadex, which is Giant’s in-house wheel, handlebar, saddle and tyre brand. 

The front wheel is Cadex’s prototype four-spoke wheel and the brand also supplies the disc on the back. 

We’ll bring you more details on Cadex’s innovative design when we have it…

Cannondale WorldTeams shift to compostable bottles

Do you know how many times pro cycling teams use each water bottle? Once.

2022 Cannondale compostable bottle - 1

Whenever we’ve asked them why they’ve said that washing and reusing water bottles adds the possibility of passing germs around the team. Plus, giving the bottles away is a form of promotion.

This means that EF Pro Cycling uses 34,000 bottles per year. The pro peloton as a whole uses 630,000.

2022 Cannondale compostable bottle - 2

From now onwards, the Cannondale professional World Tour teams will be using a 100% compostable water bottle. It’s made from plant-derived materials and is free from plasticisers, heavy metals and BPAs (the industrial chemical bisphenol A).

The bottle will disintegrate within three months in an industrial compost system, or 10-12 months in home compost systems.

Find out more

Limar’s new Air Atlas helmet debuts at Giro

2022 Limar Air Atlas - 1

Limar’s aero Air Atlas helmet is making its first appearance with Astana-Qazaqstan Team riders at the Giro d’Italia. 

“New amazing and unique features will soon be revealed,” according to Limar, but it isn't giving out any details yet.

2022 Limar Air Atlas - 2

The Limar Air Atlas will be presented to international distributors at the beginning of June so we’ll have more news then. 

SunGod is investing in grassroots cycling with Tekkerz CC partnership

Performance eyewear brand SunGod has partnered with London-based cycling team Tekkerz CC to help grow cycling participation. 

Tekkerz SunGod

Founded by former elite crit cyclist, Alec Briggs, Tekkerz CC aims to combine top talent with the best up-and-coming younger riders to create a part-elite/part-development team that races in the Crit scene all over Europe.

A South Londoner born and bred, one of Alec's main aims with Tekkerz CC is to provide a pathway into racing for a younger generation that wouldn't normally have an entrance into the sport. Alec, alongside the team's sponsors, funds coaching, equipment and travel to help bring down some of the more expensive barriers that can stand in the way of bike-racing.

As a member of 1% For the Planet and aspiring B-Corp, SunGod’s says its mission is to “See Better; through their products, through their actions, and through doing business better”, as well as increase accessibility to the cycling world. 

A limited-edition SunGod X Tekkerz product release is on the way this summer, so stay tuned for that.

In case you missed it earlier this week...

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32 comments

Avatar
theslowcyclistxx | 2 years ago
0 likes

While the super wheel doesn't make much sense, I don't understand why nobody has invented a regenerative wheel for commuting (my Stromer uses it, but it is part of an entire electrical ecosystem) - which would use any speed above for example 40kmt to charge a battery which could then be auto-activated on everything steeper than for example 5%. It doesn't make much sense in entirely flat areas, but everywhere else it would be pretty smart?

 

Avatar
Griff500 replied to theslowcyclistxx | 2 years ago
0 likes
theslowcyclistxx wrote:

While the super wheel doesn't make much sense, I don't understand why nobody has invented a regenerative wheel for commuting (my Stromer uses it, but it is part of an entire electrical ecosystem) - which would use any speed above for example 40kmt to charge a battery which could then be auto-activated on everything steeper than for example 5%. It doesn't make much sense in entirely flat areas, but everywhere else it would be pretty smart?

 

I had this discussion with a friend a year ago and eventually we dug up a paper with a mathematical analysis of why it wouldn't work. The paper came from an ebike manufacturer. Don't seem to be able to locate the paper now, but from memory, the analysis showed that on a bike, the aero to weight ratio doesn't lend itself to collecting a useful amount of energy. Simply put, above your 40kph, aero dominates and you are not heavy enough to provide enough excess energy to convert.

Avatar
IanMSpencer replied to theslowcyclistxx | 2 years ago
0 likes

The trouble is that although that speed is "expensive" it is still useful. To regenerate using downhill speed, you are trading time for potential assistance.

The only time downhill speed isn't useful is when you need to brake. The reality is that those times are few and far between on typical riding. I've been riding out by Llangollen this weekend and I've used more braking than I normally do by many times. However, the really serious braking was when we were gravel biking - including cooking the brakes on a silly descent down the Chute - which the extra weight of an e-bike would not have been conducive to survival!

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wtjs replied to theslowcyclistxx | 2 years ago
1 like

The Superwheel is obvious bollocks, as is the regenerative wheel for any vehicle with even a distant relationship to a bike. The reference to 'over 40kph' confirms this. Carrying all that weight around in order to inefficiently store and re-use some energy might conceivably make sense for e-biking but it's still going to be only a marginal contribution

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ribena replied to theslowcyclistxx | 2 years ago
0 likes

This vid from Tom Stanton might be interesting.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suxSqrP_X4

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Griff500 | 2 years ago
2 likes

Shocking incompetence here from the Cannondale marketeers responsible for the press release. The press release (https://www.cannondale.com/en-la/blog/no-more-plastic-bottles) claims  "This is certified by European Compost Standards EN13242.", however EN 13242 is actually a standard for aggregates used in the construction industry, nothing to do with composting. When will companies learn that if you are going to make a claim to be green, you need to get it right (EN 13432).

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capedcrusader | 2 years ago
1 like

Re Hunt wheels - said it before and I'll say it again Cycling Divisions's Cero wheels AR30D disc are 30cm Deep  22cm  Wide and weigh in at1400g +/- 2%. 

So they're deeper, wider, lighter, faster and £160 cheaper to boot. Best alloy wheelset I've riden their carbon alterntaives are not half bad either.

The equivalent wheelset to the Hunt by CD is the AR24 24 cm deep 22 cm wide are at £199 is 50 g heavier but for a saving of £240 !!!!

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like

"washing and reusing water bottles adds the possibility of passing germs around the team. Plus, giving the bottles away is a form of promotion."

So the germs are only a problem if the teams wash and reuse the bottles themselves, but not if it's a member of the public? How do the germs know the difference?

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marmotte27 | 2 years ago
1 like

Urwahn, wow... A new definition of ugly. The Colnago does come close though.

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
3 likes

SuperWheel : perpetual motion perpetually raising it's mythical head, and perpetually wrong.

Not only that, the extra weight reduces acceleration and hill climbing.

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Boopop | 2 years ago
11 likes

SuperWheel...to quote Homer Simpson: "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

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FrankH replied to Boopop | 2 years ago
1 like
Boopop wrote:

SuperWheel...to quote Homer Simpson: "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

Bones from StarTrek wrote:

Ye canna change the laws of physics, Captain

 3

Avatar
ChasP | 2 years ago
15 likes

I think you need to use the Superwheel with L shaped cranks to really see the benefits.

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Jack Sexty replied to ChasP | 2 years ago
8 likes

Expect a feature on that very soon, that we will recycle at least once a month smiley

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mdavidford replied to Jack Sexty | 2 years ago
2 likes
Jack Sexty wrote:

Expect a feature on that very soon, that we will recycle at least once a month smiley

But will it disintegrate after you've done that three times?

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

Plastics generally do "disintegrate" into myriad tiny pieces over time. That's not the same as composting.

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Gimpl replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
2 likes

So what? It's not made from plastic.

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Sriracha replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
0 likes

Oh? What is it made from then?

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Mybike replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

Plant based materials

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Sriracha replied to Mybike | 2 years ago
1 like
Mybike wrote:

Plant based materials

And that's nice. It might give the "materials" (aka plastic) some advantage in terms of CO2 production, but says nothing about biodegradability.

"Whether bioplastics are degradable or non-degradable (durable) depends on their molecular structure, not on the fact that biomass was their raw material."
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic#:

Avatar
Griff500 replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

Plastics generally do "disintegrate" into myriad tiny pieces over time. That's not the same as composting.

EN 13432 composting standard, to which the Cannondale bottle is certified (despite the typo in their press release) clearly makes the point that composting is not the same as breaking bits of stuff into smaller bits of the same stuff, it's about the breakdown of long and complex molecular chains into smaller and simpler molecular chains  under biological action, and it goes on to identify acceptable end products. So what point are you trying to make?

Avatar
mdavidford replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
1 like

Perhaps that the article (which doesn't mention the standard) is a bit vague and unclear on the distinction?

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Griff500 replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes
mdavidford wrote:

Perhaps that the article (which doesn't mention the standard) is a bit vague and unclear on the distinction?

"100% compostable" is neither vague, nor unclear.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
1 like
Griff500 wrote:
mdavidford wrote:

Perhaps that the article (which doesn't mention the standard) is a bit vague and unclear on the distinction?

"100% compostable" is neither vague, nor unclear.

Except that it is. It's used a lot when what people really mean is 'breaks down into itty bitty pieces that then hang around for ever'.

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Sriracha replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
0 likes

The point was not clearly made, since neither the article nor the press release referenced the standard which makes it, so failed to give any credence to their claims. They spoke in terms of "disintegration" of the bottle. Thank you for digging out the correct standard and restoring some clarity. I am wary of greenwashing press releases.

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Griff500 replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes
Sriracha wrote:

The point was not clearly made, since neither the article nor the press release referenced the standard which makes it, so failed to give any credence to their claims. They spoke in terms of "disintegration" of the bottle.

Clearly you missed the phrase "100% compostable".

And the press release does reference the standard albeit with a typo in the reference: right title, wrong reference number.

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Sriracha replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
1 like

Thank you, yes, like most people on this site I can read. And I've read no end of marketing spiel that turns out to be hogwash (or greenwash), so just because they claim "100% compostable" does not mean I'm bound to believe them, especially when they go on to characterise the process as one of "disintegration" and reference an irrelevant standard in support of their claim. Thank you for finding the correct standard of their behalf.

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John Stevenson replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
3 likes

Sriracha wrote:

greenwash

Anything like this that relates to road racing is greenwash.

A large road race is a gert cavalcade of cars, motorcycles, vans, trucks and team buses with a few score folks on bikes in the middle of it, and many of them will have flown halfway across a continent to get there. Environmentally friendly it ain't, and the eventual fate of a few highly-reusable water bottles is neither here nor there.

If Cannondale were really concerned about the environmental impact of road racing, they'd stop participating in it.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago
1 like

Though given that you could apply that to pretty much all human activity, the logical extension of that argument would be antinatalism.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
4 likes
mdavidford wrote:

Though given that you could apply that to pretty much all human activity, the logical extension of that argument would be antinatalism.

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