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TECH NEWS

Have we reached peak gravel? Shimano offers gravel-specific eyewear lenses, plus more tech news from Zwift, FSA, Lezyne, CHPT3 & more

Could this cheap hack help save you from punctures? Plus a new saddle from Selle Italia and a space-saving way to store multiple bikes...

We have loads of news for you this week, including Zwift's new Scottish world, a 13-speed wireless groupset being developed by FSA, cool new shoes from CHPT3 and Cafe du Cycliste, and a cheapo hack for avoiding punctures, but we're starting off by wondering if we've finally reached peak gravel. No, really this time...

Shimano offers gravel-specific eyewear lenses

The world has already been introduced to gravel-specific handlebar tapeshorts and floor pumps – and we wondered whether we'd hit peak gravel when Silca introduced a gravel-specific mini pump last September – but Shimano has upped the ante in offering its updated S-Phyre glasses with a lens designed especially for gravel riding.

2023 Shimano S-Phyre Ridescape GR lens - 1

Shimano has introduced its second-generation S-Phyre and Aerolite eyewear models this week with Ridescape lens technology “that emphasises colours and highlights surfaces across different types of terrain”.

> 11 gravel-specific products you never knew you needed 

The S-Phyre glasses are available with four different lenses: ES for bright conditions, RD for road riding, OR for trails, and GR for gravel.

2023 Shimano S-Phyre Ridescape GR lens - 2

“Gravel-tuned lenses boost the contrast of a wide range of surfaces to highlight subtle transitions between gravel, dirt, and asphalt,” says Shimano.

2023 Shimano Aerolite GR lens - 1

Whichever option you go for, you get a spare clear CL lens for cloudy days.

2023 Shimano S-Phyre 2 eyewear - 1

The updated S-Phyre eyewear features a straight upper rim – frames are available in a range of colours – and a new magnetic lens system that’s said to make changes faster and easier than previously. The price is £199.99.

2023 Shimano Aerolite 2 eyewear - 1

Shimano has also revamped its Aerolite eyewear which comes with a half-rim frame and the choice of either a Ridescape HC lens for daylight vision (£69.99), or a Photochromic Gray lens (£99.99) for changeable conditions.

2023 Shimano Aerolite 2 eyewear - 1 (1)

“The Aerolite frame was codeveloped with RX-Cli, making it easy to add a prescription lens to the frame,” says Shimano.

2023 Shimano Aerolite 2 eyewear - 1 (2)

“The RX-Clip attaches quickly and securely over the adjustable nose piece for a clear view of the road ahead.”

Find out more here 

Is FSA planning a 13-speed wireless groupset?

FSA’s WE12 groupset, announced last summer, was ridden to its first victory by Miguel Ángel Fernández of UCI ProTeam Burgos-BH on the 5th stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo 2023 in Gabon last week, but because we’re incredibly nosey we happen to know that FSA has been working on a 13-speed wireless system (as the name implies, WE12 is 12-speed).

> FSA updates K-Force electronic groupset: 12-speed and disc brake-only 

2023 FSA 13-speed cassette - 1

FSA is owned by Taiwanese company Tien Hsin, a company that has recently been granted a patent for a “transmission assembly of a bicycle” (US 11,529,827 B2), which is a cassette. Fans of counting and owners of magnifying glasses will see that it’s 13-speed. Everyone else can take our word for it.

2023 FSA 13-speed cassette - 2

The largest sprocket pictured is 48-tooth so this could be destined for the mountain bike world. 

Tien Hsin also has a new patent for a rear derailleur (US 11,560,200 B2) that features “a rechargeable battery [marked 82 on the picture below] for providing electrical energy required for the motor, a coil, and a wireless charging circuit for receiving an electric power of the coil for charging the rechargeable battery”.

Earlier this week, we told you about a Shimano patent for the wireless recharging of electric components

2023 FSA rear derailleur battery - 1

The existing FSA WE12 groupset uses an internal battery to power the front and rear derailleurs, although the shifters are standalone and communicate with the control unit mounted on the front derailleur via ANT+.

We contacted FSA about this, of course, and the brand didn’t deny any of it... in the sense that it didn’t reply at all.

Get your tartan kit on - ZWIFT launches Scotland World ahead of the World Championships

Zwift Scotland World Glasgow

We’re pretty much bang on half a year away from the 2023 Cycling World Championships, and ahead of those, the virtual cycling platform Zwift has published its Scotland World. 

The new virtual indoor cycling world includes five routes, and three of them will also be used as courses for the 2023 Cycling Esports World Championships that are kicking off very soon. 

Before anyone starts to type a comment about the Giant’s Causeway not being in Scotland, or the real-life George Square never looking so lush and green (I wish it did) - get your fingers off the keyboard. This world is inspired by “Glasgow and Scottish landscapes” so we can't expect totally factual accuracy… Nor would we necessarily want it. 

> Best turbo trainers 2023 — improve your cycling and get fit indoors

Zwift Scotland World NI

The routes feature castles, fens, lochs, beinns (Gaelic for mountains), sgurrs (rocky peaks), and cityscapes and are available only for events and races until early March. This means that those who simply cannae wait til March can go ride the new courses in the Tour de Zwift, (Feb 3-12), Ride Scotland and Race Scotland events. February ZRacing series will also be held on the Scotland map. 

And the coolest thing? Those who complete a ZRacing or Ride Scotland event on the new map will unlock a Zwift Tartan cycling kit.

Find out more here

Have you ever used this hack to avoid punctures?

Oscar Sevilla of Colombian UCI Continental cycling team Medellin-EPM has been using this old hack to help avoid punctures while racing.

If you think it just looks like some electrical tape stretched between the seat stays, well, that's exactly what it is, the idea is to flick away potential puncture-causing debris – glass, thorns, and so on – before it has the chance to become deeply embedded.

Have you ever tried it?

Lezyne introduces all-in-one tubeless tyre repair system

Lezyne has introduced a Pro Tubeless Kit that’s designed as an all-in-one tubeless tyre repair system for road, gravel and mountain bikes.

2023 Lezyne Pro Tubeless Kit - 1

“It features a compact, lightweight aluminium housing that cleanly integrates a mix of two different-size tyre plugs, a plug insertion tool, a plug retention tool, a valve core remover, a CO2 inflator, and a micro knife,” says Lezyne.

The idea is that you can seal a hole in any tubeless tyre and remove any excess plug that’s sticking out.

2023 Lezyne Pro Tubeless Kit Loaded - 1

The Lezyne Pro Tubeless Kit is £40, with the Pro Tubeless Kit Loaded a tenner more. The Loaded version includes a 20g CO2 cartridge and a mounting bracket and strap.

Find out more here 

CHPT3 launches “world's first cycling shoe engineered for riding in the city”

CHPT 3 urban shoes Transit

 

CHPT3, a cycling apparel brand, has launched what it claims to be “the world's first cycling shoe engineered for riding in the city” (although a couple of other brands might dispute that claim). Titled ‘Transit’, the shoe looks like a regular trainer, but functions as a cycling shoe. 

If you wish to get a pair, the first batch is a limited edition exclusively made for Brompton owners. The first 500 customers that order will get also get early access to the limited edition Brompton x CHPT3 V4 bike, which is said to perfectly colour match these shoes. 

Brompton-CHPT3-Dead-Stock-3-1024x683

The are designed by James Carnes, ex-Adidas, so you might be forgiven for comparing these with some other urban cycling kicks out there… 

The Transit shoes can be used as regular flats or you can bolt on a pair of SPD cleats. Sizes range from EU38 to 44, and the shoes should be available on CHPT 3 website in early February. 

Read more here

Cafe du Cycliste unveils new shoes

Cafe du cycliste gravel shoe 2

 

Continuing with cycling shoes… French brand Cafe du Cycliste has launched two new pairs: one model for off-road and one for the road. The kicks should be available later this month.

Let’s start with the off-road gravel / MTB cycling shoes. Their lace design resembles a hiking boot a lot and they do look like a shoe that would help you power up a hill or two. 

The upper is made of leather, the sole has a carbon 3K plate and the outsoles are SUPtraction to keep the carbon protected and offer grip for the inevitable hike-a-bikes. 

Inside, there is a Solestar insole and Cafe du Cycliste’s Fishgrid technology should minimise heel slip. The lace eyelets are protected by metal and these take two-bolt cleats. 

Claimed weight for size 43 is 370g and they retail for 300€. 

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste shoes - 1 (2)

The road shoe has a microfibre upper and again, a carbon sole, Solestar insoles and Fishgrid heel-slip-preventing technology. This pair comes with laces as well to provide “uniform fastening and a timeless, classic style,” the brand says. 

These take three-bolt cleats and size 43 shoes should weigh 250g. They retail for 290€.

Read more here

Selle Italia introduces special-edition nubuck saddle

Selle Italia has brought out another special Novus Boost Evo model with a nubuck upper. 

2023 Selle Italia Nubuck

The Novus Boost has a “waved” shape, which has made it popular and well-suited to cyclists with a significant posterior pelvic tilt and who want a little more stability. 

> Best bike saddles for 2023 — get more comfortable on your ride

Now, Selle Italia has reinterpreted the saddle with a nubuck leather cover, and says that this saddle, “once installed on your bike, will definitely not go unnoticed” and I can imagine that for sure you won't be sliding off this seat easily.

How well does nubuck fair in the wet UK weather? This is a question that we have to wait for an answer to… 

The saddle is only available for the carbon-railed model in L3 (145mm) width and retails for a very specific £275.14. 

Read more here

Stashed extends SpaceRail bike storage range

Wales-based Stashed has released two new SpaceRail systems for storing multiple bikes in space-efficient ways.

2023 Stashed storage - 1

The original Stashed SpaceRail ceiling-mounted system was described as “a fantastic bike storage solution” in a highly complimentary review by our sister website off.road.cc last year.

> Check out the off.road.cc's Stashed Spacerail Storage System review

2023 Stashed storage - 2

Now Stashed has introduced wall-mounted and angled ceiling SpaceRail systems.

“The SpaceRail system makes it easy to safely stash any type of bike including e-bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids and road bikes, with tyres up to three inches wide,” says Stashed. “Designed for one to 24 bikes, installation is a stress-free zone, for anyone with basic DIY skills.”

You hang each bike on a hook that’s attached to a rail.

“Once weighted, the hook glides effortlessly back and forth and rotates through 360⁰ giving you easy access to your ride of choice,” says Stashed.

A four-bike angled ceiling Stashed SpaceRail kit is £349.99 while a four-bike wall-mounted SpaceRail kit is £449.99. The original ceiling-mounted SpaceRail kit is £299.99 in a four-bike configuration.

Find out more here

In case you missed it earlier in the 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. 

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19 comments

Avatar
marmotte27 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Well Shimano has certainly discontinued their "cross" front derailleur FD-CX 70 that worked for smaller chainrings and a road chainline...
The "gravel" derailleurs have a wider chainline, not sure they work on a road drivetrain (which I prefer for a narrower q-factor).

Avatar
Dicklexic | 1 year ago
0 likes

"Before anyone starts to type a comment about the Giant’s Causeway not being in Scotland, or the real-life George Square never looking so lush and green (I wish it did) - get your fingers off the keyboard. This world is inspired by “Glasgow and Scottish landscapes” so we can't expect totally factual accuracy… Nor would we necessarily want it."

Anyone that comments about Gian't Causeway being in Northern Ireland, not Scotland has forgotten about Fingal's Cave which is absolutely in Scotland. Thankfully Zwift don't appear to have included Edinburgh's now infamous Leith Walk in their virual tour of Scotland's wonders!

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peted76 | 1 year ago
0 likes

As silly as that bit of tape looks/sounds, it'd be interesting to know if that electrical tape shows signs of being snagged at the end of a ride.. e.g. what it's 'caught'... of course, I'm not actually interested enough to try it myself.. 

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matthewn5 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Never used electrical tape, but thorns were a right pain growing up in Oz and we used to make little loose wire straddles to sit next to the brake calipers, to flip out thorns on the first revolution of the wheel, before they could be driven in by riding over them again. You could also buy them as an accessory back in the 1960s. Kevlar belts have probably made them redundant now.

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quiff replied to matthewn5 | 1 year ago
3 likes
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matthewn5 replied to quiff | 1 year ago
0 likes

They're still made! Amazing.

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

I may be thick, but on a typical gravel ride, wouldn't I need to keep changing lenses as you ride? How can you have a gravel specific lens? What about bright gravel days and dull gravel days.

If they are supposedly optimised for particular conditions, it suggests they are suboptimal for other conditions.

I'll pass.

Avatar
ejocs replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
6 likes

I find it easy enough to change my lenses while I'm changing my shoes, socks, helmet, pedals, jersey, bibs, water bottle cages, and handlebar tape at the transition from road to gravel. Don't forget to change back again at the next transition.

Avatar
Rik Mayals unde... replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

I use a single pair when gravelling. They have a rose tinted lens which highlights shadows and makes riding under trees etc easier to see. They are photochromic too so when I am in the sun they darken, and are mirror lens too. Brilliant pair of glasses.

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Hirsute replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
1 like

a snip at £200 !

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Dnnnnnn replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
5 likes

Glasses specially designed to allow the vendor to see you coming...

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peted76 replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
5 likes

Dnnnnnn wrote:

Glasses specially designed to allow the vendor to see you coming...

Methinks you win todays best comment award! 

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chrisonabike replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
6 likes

I had some rose-tinted lenses back in the day.  At the time I thought they were crap but now I remember them fondly.

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peted76 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

I had some rose-tinted lenses back in the day.  At the time I thought they were crap but now I remember them fondly.

Bravo Sir! 

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jimt replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
0 likes

Biker Phil, can you share which ones you have? I love amber/rose tints for riding but have not found any photochromic ones I like.

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Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

At least there's a 25km route in Zwift Scotland.   Would be better if they merged all the "orphan" UCI custom worlds like Innsbruck, France, Scotland and Yorkshire together. 

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ritxis | 1 year ago
0 likes

Did anyone see WE11 and WE12?  If Burgos-BH used/uses more Shimano groups than the FSA........and they are thinking of a group 13?? when? next decade? 

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Mr Grumpy | 1 year ago
1 like

"electrical tape stretched between the chainstays"...? Errr, surely those are the seatstays are they not?

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Suvi Loponen replied to Mr Grumpy | 1 year ago
1 like

You're very right, they are seat stays indeed  1 that's corrected now - thanks for pointing out! 

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