At the end of a crazy-busy week in the cycling world, we've got updated bikes from Pinarello, 3T and Trek, 2024 stuff to show you from the likes of Sidi and Rudy Project, and the poshest derailleur hanger you’ve ever seen, but we’re starting with the tyres that promise to make punctures a thing of the past…
Airless tyres that use an inner skeleton made from a shape-memory alloy – designed to consign punctures to history – are looking for crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with a delivery date pencilled in for next year.
We’ve covered the Metl tyres from The Smart Tire Company on road.cc a couple of times before, but now is the first time you’ve been able to put your money down for them. They also appeared on Shark Tank, a US version of Dragons’ Den, but they failed to secure investment there.
The technology ultimately derives from NASA – it was used for Mars rovers where fixing a flat isn’t an option – and we all know that NASA tech, like anything from F1, is guaranteed to get cyclists excited.
The Metl tyres feature a shape-memory alloy (SMA) called Nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium, that’s coiled up inside like a stretched-out Slinky spring. The idea is that the Nitinol allows the tyre to deform and then recover its shape perfectly.
The Smart Tire Company says, “It’s a lightweight, highly flexible ‘superelastic’ metal that stretches like rubber, but is strong like titanium and will always instantly snap back into its original shape.”
The company claims that Nitinol provides the highest energy return of any material used for tyres and leads to low rolling resistance. It also says that Nitinol offers impressive shock absorption and elasticity for a smooth ride, it is lightweight and it’s extremely durable.
The Smart Tire Company says, “Save time and money with zero flats, no air pressure to check, no sealants, no inserts, no foams, no patches, no spares, no expensive replacements, and no more being stuck in the middle of nowhere carrying or walking your bike. No more worries. Just ride.
“That’s the key: new materials unlock our ability to make tyres that are practically indestructible (we even shot a bullet through it and kept riding), more energy efficient, with a smooth ride comparable to any conventional, air-filled tyre. [This is] the first high-performance, non-pneumatic (airless) tyre for cycling that is sure to be a game-changer within the industry.”
Of course, having the metal in contact with the ground wouldn’t work in terms of traction so a “special poly-rubber material” is used over the top. The Smart Tire Company says that this provides “the longest-lasting tread and grip, for all weather conditions” and that the tyre is re-treadable (at estimated costs starting at $10/£8). The translucent sidewalls allow you to see the Nitinol coil inside.
The Smart Tire Company is also keen to shout about the ecological benefits of switching to Metl tyres.
“We are building smarter, more sustainable tyres for the circular economy,” it says. “Many major problems with pneumatic tyres are addressable by our technology, including lower weight, less rubber, fuel efficiency, zero flats, and a significant reduction in waste.
“Developing a longer-lasting tyre that uses 50% less rubber is a critical step in developing a circular economy for transportation.”
The Smart Tire Company is kicking off with a 700C road/gravel tyre that’s available in 32mm, 35mm, and 38mm widths. The 35mm version has a claimed weight of 450g. For comparison, the 700C x 35mm Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC tyre that we reviewed on road.cc weighed 353g – although with a pneumatic tyre you have to consider the weight of a tubeless valve and sealant or an inner tube too. The Smart Tire Company reckons the tread will last 5,000-8,000km (3,100-5,000 miles).
You need to pledge $500 (about £400) to be in line to receive two Metl tyres with delivery expected in June next year. That’s much more than a standard set of tyres although The Smart Tire Company reckons that, with re-treading, they could last the lifetime of your bike.
Pledging $1,300 (about £1,040) puts you in line for an aluminium wheelset fitted with Metl tyres, while you need to pledge $2,300 (about £1,840) for a carbon wheelset complete with Metl tyres. As we always point out, pledging money on a crowdfunding site isn’t the same as buying through a retailer.
What do you think, cool new tech or a lot of nonsense? Let us know in the comments.
Silca – known for producing premium-made and often premium-priced components and tools – has announced new 3D-printed titanium derailleur hangers. There's an upgrade you've never considered before.
Silca says the titanium hangers are five to seven times stiffer than conventional aluminium hangers and 2-6g lighter. These hangers have already been used successfully in the Tour de France, maintaining derailleur alignment even after crashes, the brand claims.
There are 10 models currently in production to suit different frames, and prices start at €85 (about £73) apiece. Would you consider it?
Everyone has a fleet of Pinarello Dogma Fs kicking about in the shed, right? If any of yours are looking a bit jaded, you can now get a new one in a 2024 finish.
There are three new styles with three colour options in each of them. This is the funkiest: Nebula. It’s described as “a beautiful tonal two-colour fade on a matt black base”.
There are more conservative options too.
Speaking of finishes, Trek is offering a new one called Real Smoke Heather Fog as an option in its Project One custom scheme, and this is it…
Looks cool, huh? Any downsides? Well, the paint scheme costs £1,650 before you even start thinking about the bike you’re going to put it on.
Rudy Project has announced its 2024 range and here are a couple of the items that caught the road.cc beady eye…
First up are the new Astral sunglasses. Rudy Project says that these are comfortable, sustainable, and affordable. Those are three of our favourite things. How did they know?
The Astral frame is made of Rilsan Clear, described as “a bio-plastic derived from 45% castor oil grown by certified farmers in Gujarat, India”, and you get an adjustable Ergonose nose pad.
Price? The Astral starts at £119.99 – so not exactly bargain basement but way cheaper than some.
We told you about the new Rudy Kelion glasses a couple of months ago. They start at £191.99.
The Nytron Pro helmet joins the existing Nytron in the range. It is designed to be more aerodynamically efficient and has far fewer vents, although Rudy Project reckons that there’s only an 11% reduction in airflow.
The Nytron has an RRP of £199.99 but we don’t have a price for the Nytron Pro yet.
3T has launched a new version of the More stem that it initially introduced over 20 years ago.
“The new More stem is the first full-carbon stem for 3T’s Integrale system,” says 3T. “Integrale stands for full integration without the complexity and bulkiness that usually come with integrated cables. After all, what is the point of hiding your cables from the wind if you make the head tube bigger to fit them in?”
With Integrale, electronic shift cables and brake hoses fit inside the same head tube profile as non-integrated frames. 3T says that this provides an aero benefit.
“With the More cable channel, the cables are integrated while still allowing the stem to be exchanged without a hassle – no disconnecting or hose bleeding required,” says 3T.
The More uses an internal fork clamping system with no external bolts. It also integrates the top cap, while the face plate is a carbon hook design that reduces the number of bolts required.
The More stem is compatible with all 3T Integrale handlebars. It’s priced at £319.20.
At the same time, 3T has made the Racemax Italia its first gravel bike with its Integrale cable routing system.
You can get a complete 3T Racemax with a SRAM Rival XPLR groupset for £7,155, or a SRAM Force d2 AXS model for £8,252.
Sidi has given its range a big overhaul for 2024, updating loads of models and introducing several new ones.
We can't go through all the changes but the new Prima has a very different look from the rest of the range, with the lower closure handled by a hook/loop strap and a dial used up top.
It comes with a lightweight upper and a carbon nylon Aerolite sole. The Prima is priced at £175.
Over on the gravel side of things, the MTB Dust is now available in a laced option.
The upper is microfibre and you get gum-coloured grippers on the sole. The MTB Dust Shoelace is priced at £245.
Chrome Industries has released a new version of its Bravo urban rolltop backpack.
“Doubling down on utility and functionality, this weatherproof pack offers incredible versatility, built smart to deliver whether using on foot or two wheels on the daily commute, or when deploying during travelling and leisure,” says Chrome.
The Bravo 4.0 features a padded sleeve that’ll take a device up to 17in, a moulded back panel, and a zipped front organiser pocket. There’s a quick-access zipped phone pocket too. It’s priced at £210.
We’ll ask Chrome if they’ll lend us one for review.
GripGrab expands its range to year-around cycling wear
Scandinavian cycling brand GripGrab is well known for accessories such as gloves and overshoes, but it has now expanded its collection. The range includes products designed to meet specific functional needs for riding in all conditions. Some of the standout items include:
The collection is available now on GripGrab's website and selected retailers.
Cycling navigating app Ride With GPS (RWGPS) has announced that iOS users can now have real-time RWGPS navigation and recording data at their fingertips without unlocking their phones, thanks to Apple's Live Activity display. In essence, it seems like this display will act much like a cycling computer on your iPhone's lock screen.
This feature comes integrated into the Ride with GPS mobile app and works for users running iOS version 16.1 and above.
With the Live Activity display, riders can track essential metrics and navigate routes while their iPhone remains locked, conserving battery life in the process. RWGPS says this is set to make multitasking during rides easier - whatever else you might want to do other than ride your bike and see your ride data - and more efficient than ever before.
You can customise the metrics and navigation cues to show four metrics, such as speed, distance, elevation, and more. It can also be paired with Bluetooth sensors such as heart rate, power meter and cadence monitors.
Pirelli has added two new models to its range of premium inner tubes.
“The new SmarTUBE Evo features a new TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) formula and offers a performance made of flexibility, smoothness, and comfort that can compete with latex inner tubes, while also guaranteeing up to 50% less weight compared to the latter,” says Pirelli.
The brand says that the SmarTUBE Evo has 5% less rolling resistance than the existing Pirelli SmarTUBE.
It comes in one size for use with 700C x 25mm and 700C x 28mm tyres, and three valve lengths: 42mm, 60mm, and 80mm.
The SmarTUBE X, on the other hand, is said to be three times thicker than the Cinturato SmarTUBE which it is replacing. It “offers robustness and puncture resistance”, according to Pirelli, and “is particularly suitable in city settings or for fast commuting”.
It’s available in several different versions with Presta and Schrader valve options.
We don’t yet have UK prices.
We told you last year that Temple Cycles had introduced its Temple Road four-season frameset, made with Reynolds 853 tubing, and now the Bristol brand has announced that it’ll be available as a complete bike.
Temple Cycles says the Temple Road is intended to be “the classic clubman’s bicycle with the emphasis firmly on clocking up miles and enjoying the ride”, and that using Reynolds 853 allows it to “achieve a perfect balance between performance, comfort and longevity”.
“The Temple Road runs Shimano Ultegra R8150 Di2 (12 speed) and Hunt Four Season All Road wheels, and offers other modern touches in the form of disc brakes and internal routing,” says Temple Cycles. “Nods to the traditional clubman’s bicycle are reflected in details like the lugged forks and curved brake bridge. The Temple Road also features plenty of mounting points for racks and mudguards.”
The complete bike is priced at £5,795.
In case you missed it earlier in the week…