This edition of Tech of the Week is chock-full of new cycling stuff from the likes of Jack Wolfskin, Squire and Mavic, and we have an intriguing little device that’s designed to help you ride faster, but we're starting with some ultra-high tech head-up display glasses that provide navigational assistance and shoot video...
Lawk One AR glasses – which can display typical bike computer data, connect with a heart rate monitor and pedal sensor, and provide both a navigation system and a sports camera – have hit Kickstarter and already doubled their crowdfunding target.
There’s no way we can run through all of the Lawk One AR functions here. It’s quickest and easiest if you spend a couple of minutes checking out Lawk’s video that demonstrates the key features...
We’ve covered a few head-up display systems on road.cc in the past but the Lawk One goes further than most in offering 4K HD video capability and voice-controlled AI assistance.
“Powered by ChatGPT, Lawk One comprehends your voice commands, providing not only visual displays on your glasses but also delivering audible responses for your convenience,” says Lawk.
The Lawk One glasses have a claimed weight of 80g – compared with about 30g for a standard pair of cycling specs.
You need to pledge $299 (about £246) to be in line to receive a pair of Lawk Ones with delivery estimated for December. As we always point out, pledging money on a crowdfunding site isn’t the same as buying through a retailer; rewards aren’t guaranteed.
Head-up display glasses might be a mainstay on our list of where cycling products go to die, but can these ones buck the trend? We'll be following with interest...
The cycling world is awash with products that promise to add speed... but how about this £120 on this EZ Aero Front Derailleur Guard to reduce drag!
British company EZ Gains says that its Aero Front Derailleur Guard has two purposes. First, the product is designed to protect an electronic front derailleur and connector – Shimano Di2 11-speed and 12-speed versions are available – from rain. This, it says, is particularly important for triathletes who sometimes have to rack their bike the day before an event.
On top of that, there’s the claimed aero benefit.
“The front derailleur housing is generally not an aerodynamic shape, particularly in Shimano Di2 models,” says EZ Gains’ Ben Redman.
“The 3D shape of an item can massively influence the drag coefficient. Unsurprisingly a cube is not aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of 1.04. A teardrop, is very, very aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of 0.04.”
Does the EZ Aero Front Derailleur Guard really reduce drag significantly, though?
EZ Gains says that it tested the device at the Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub wind-tunnel, with an independent engineer present running the tunnel. You can read all about the testing here, and see the raw data.
EZ Gains says that the EZ Aero Front Derailleur Guard will save you 1.4 watts at 30km/h (18.6mph) with a straight-on wind, 4.1 watts at 40km/h (24.9mph), and 5.9 watts at 50km/h (31.1mph). EZ Gains also provides data for 5°, 10° and 15° yaw angles on both sides of the bike. At 18 of the 21 wind speed/ yaw angle combinations, the data suggests that the device provides a benefit. The results are generally better with the wind either straight on and from the drive-side.
Okay, so who would use an EZ Aero Front Derailleur Guard? EZ Gains have time trialists and triathletes in mind. Obviously, anyone who uses a 1x (single chainring) setup is out. We contacted Cycling Time Trials (CTT) to get their take.
Steward Smith, National Secretary (Competitions and Development), said, “This item is against the CTT regulations as quite clearly it’s a fairing.”
UCI time trials? The UCI are really strict when it comes to fairings and most riders would be running a single chainring anyway.
Ironman rules prohibit the use of fairings. We’ve approached the organisation for comment on the EZ Aero Front Derailleur Guard specifically, but have yet to hear back.
EZ Gains points out, though, that British Triathlon and World Triathlon rules only prohibit fairings for Elite (Senior, U23, Junior and Youth) draft-legal races, so maybe there’s a potential market there.
Outdoorsy clothing/equipment brand Jack Wolfskin has introduced its latest bike commuting range for autumn and winter.
The range still includes the Bike Commute Mono Jkt jacket that we reviewed earlier in the year, now priced at £319 – which is a hefty mark-up from the £270 it was charging back in May. We rated the jacket highly for weatherproofing and breathability, though.
“The Bike Commute Mono Jacket stands out for its aesthetic but most importantly for its mono material construction,” says Jack Wolfskin. “And when the zippers and reflective elements are removed, the entire jacket may be recycled.”
The Bike Commute Ins Vest (£135), which is also available in both men’s and women’s versions, is made with recycled content and is lightly insulated on the front.
The Bike Commute WI Pants (£115) – trousers, to us in the UK – are described as “warm and weather protective with a slim casual cut”. They’re also made with reused and recycled materials. We’ll see if Jack Wolfskin will send us a pair to try out.
The range also includes a Mainkai handlebar storage and shoulder bag, high vis socks, and a cap
There was a time when Classified got a mention in pretty much every Tech of the Week, so we’re pleased to see the return of an old friend for the first time in a while with news that the Belgian company says it has proof that its Powershift hub system is over 99% efficient. Think of efficiency as the amount of useful energy that comes out of a system compared with the amount you put in, a certain amount being lost as a result of friction, and so on.
“Drawing on our experience in the automotive industry, Classified has tested the Powershift hub to the highest standards, using a test rig specifically designed to measure power loss with a maximum error of 0.1%,” says Classified Chief Technical Officer Roëll van Druten.
“The results of these tests show that the hub is 99.8% efficient in the 1:1 ratio, the same as a DT Swiss 240 hub measured on the same test rig, and 99.2% efficient in the 0.7 ratio, making Classified’s hub the most efficient internal gear hub ever created.”
Classified’s Powershift hub replaces the front derailleur and the smaller chainring of a 2x drivetrain, incorporating a two-speed transmission into the rear hub.
Classified reckons that when you’re using climbing gears “the efficiency gain of a drivetrain equipped with the Classified hub [is] dependent on the efficiency of the planetary gear, which is remarkably high, so a total system efficiency gain of up to 1% can be expected” over a 2x 52/36-tooth setup.
When using sprinting gears, Classified says, “In addition to the aero benefits gained by the absence of a front derailleur, the rider can use even larger chainrings and sprockets. Therefore, using a 60T chainring and a 12T smallest cog setup, instead of 50T/10T [giving the same 5:1 gear ratio], adds a further 1% efficiency benefit due to even lower chain forces and less chain articulation.”
Of course, the chances of Classified publishing only figures that show its Powershift hub in a good light are also over 99%, so if you’d like to know more about the testing process and results, check out the white paper or the more user-friendly summary.
The Rapha + Paul Smith all-black jersey that you could previously buy only through Paul Smith is now available at rapha.cc in time for autumn.
The jersey is said to have been inspired by “maillots monochromes of old”, as seen in “grainy black and white on sports pages and television screens”. You know, back in the days before colour was invented.
The Rapha + Paul Smith Classic LS Jersey is made using a merino wool blend – 36% merino, 64% recycled polyester – that’s intended to provide “insulation against the cold and softness against the skin”.
Unlike the standard Rapha Classic Long Sleeve Jersey, this one comes with added rabbits. The fabric is bunny-embossed and there’s a Paul Smith Rabbit logo embroidered on the sleeve
Following the introduction of Straplok 35/850 earlier this year, Squire has expanded its wearable cycle security range with the launch of Chainlok 10. The new lock offers the toughest Sold Secure level for bicycles, achieving Pedal Cycle (formerly Bicycle) Diamond approval.
“Constructed from a 10mm hardened square alloy steel chain, this ultra-tough wearable bike chain lock features a stylish and protective neoprene cover that is both comfortable to wear and kind to your bike frame,” says Squire.
“An adjustable extender strap is included, enabling users to wear the Chainlok safely without the product being locked to the body when cycling.”
The Chainlok 10 features a patented linear pin tumbler locking mechanism, it’s 850mm long and weighs a claimed 2.3kg. It’s priced at £89.99.
There’s also a Chainlok 8 model (£79.99) with an 8mm hardened square alloy steel chain. This one weighs a claimed 1.8kg and comes with a Sold Secure Pedal Cycle Silver accreditation.
Ortlieb has joined forces with Rider Resilience to introduce the Velocity Design cycling backpack. This partnership was born from a deeply personal journey of Nils Amelinckx, who faced a life-limiting cancer diagnosis at the age of 30 and discovered solace and resilience through cycling and photography, refusing to let cancer dictate his life.
He founded Rider Resilience with the aim of inspiring others to find strength in two-wheeled adventures. He has now unveiled a limited-edition Ortlieb backpack that is a "symbolic testament to the healing powers of two-wheeled adventures and the camaraderie of the bicycle community".
The bag is designed by Scotsman Graeme Stewart, better known as “Stormstatic”, and attempts to visualise the concept of a dawn raid analeptic, a drug that restores a person’s strength yet one that is solely derived by bottling the endorphin-charged euphoric feeling of having ridden to the top of a mountain in time for sunrise.
Bell Bike Helmets is introducing a special 100% Crash Replacement Scheme for all cycling helmets purchased in the UK during October and November. This initiative, surpassing the standard 40% scheme, aims to provide riders with comprehensive support in case of accidents.
Bell's 100% Crash Replacement Scheme ensures a full replacement at no cost to the rider for helmets damaged during accidents. The scheme applies to helmets bought from approved Bell Bike Helmet retailers in the UK or online between 1 October 2023 and 30 November 2023, with claims made within the first 12 months.
Mavic has introduced not only one, but three new products designed to enhance your cycling experience.
Starting with the wheels, Mavic has released the Allroad S, which has been designed for unpredictable roads. The aluminium wheels feature a 25mm internal width rim which is compatible with tyres from 30 to 64mm wide. The rims are hookless and tubeless-ready, and come with Mavic's Infinity hub technology. A pair is said to weigh 1,790g and the wheels retail for £470.
The Mavic Allroad SL wheels also use 25mm-wide hookless UST rims and will take tyres up to 64mm. Mavic claims that the Black Shield rim finish doubles the amount of protection against rock impacts and scratches.
The Allroad SL wheelset has a claimed weight of 1,655g and a price of £790.
The first pair of new cycling shoes Mavic has announced is the Cosmic Boa SPD, which it says are perfect for road touring enthusiasts, as the shoe offers efficient pedalling performance with an SPD cleat setup and walking-friendly sole. These are available in sizes ranging from 3.5 to 13 and retail for £155.
Mavic has also updated the Crossmax Boa for improved comfort. The shoe features a lightweight Italian synthetic leather upper, BOA Fit System for precise adjustments, and a Velcro strap for closure. It offers a comfortable, wider toe box and a stiff sole for efficiency. They come in sizes from 3.5 to 13 and retail for £149.
Back to Kickstarter and a new Cycling Legends board game is on there touting for business.
The Belgian game – available in various languages – is described as “an exciting strategic racing game that puts you in the manager’s chair”. The idea is that you lead your team of four riders to victory by collecting the most points.
“Use your Team Management Board to protect your cyclists from incidents, improve your team leader’s skills and carefully manage your team’s energy status,” say the game’s inventors.
“Take on the challenge of nine predefined stages that will keep you busy for hours. But that’s not all: you can even create your own custom stages for endless excitement.”
You need to pledge at least €49 (about £43) to be in line for a Cycling Legends game. You can forget about playing it at Christmas, though, because shipping is pencilled in for March 2024.
In case you missed anything earlier, here is everything we've covered in our cycling tech news this week: