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TECH NEWS

Why is Strava telling me how much CO2 I’ve saved by cycling? Plus more tech news from Specialized, Cadex, Kickstarter & loads more

Check out all of the week's tech news, including spy shots of Specialized's unreleased Tarmac SL8, a mini battery-powered pump, new lighweight saddles, and the camper you can tow behind your bike

We have loads of tech news to cram in this week, including new saddles from Specialized and Cadex, a battery-powered pump that’ll easily fit in your pocket, and the bike that’s leading the way in the Transcontinental Race, but we’re starting with a new feature from Strava that’s dividing opinions…

Why is Strava telling me how much CO2 I’ve saved by cycling?

Many Strava users have recently noticed a new “carbon saved” metric appearing alongside existing ride details – a weight of carbon dioxide given in kilograms – some applauding the feature and others labelling it “virtue signalling”. What’s going on and is this a useful addition?

2023 Strava CO2 saved - 1 (1)

The obvious course of action: ask Strava… so we did. However, Strava says that the CO2 metric is “still in trial mode, currently available to a small group of users in the community”. A full announcement may not be made for a few weeks. Being both impatient and nosey, we decided to investigate for ourselves.

The idea was user-generated. Back in March, TamZam said on Strava’s Community Hub:

“I’d love to see the amount of carbon dioxide emissions prevented from commuting by bicycle, walking, etc. It could be displayed on your activity just like calories burned (but only when “commute” is chosen). Not only could this encourage more people to choose active transportation, but I read on your Commutes on Strava page that ‘we hope to make the commuting experience on Strava more rewarding and exciting in the future.’ A win-win!”

TamZam pointed to a calculation used by CommuteSmart New Hampshire, an organisation that encourages “hopping in a carpool, jumping on a bus, biking the scenic route or walking to work”:

Gallons of gas [petrol] you saved x 19.6lbs CO2 per gallon = lbs of CO2 emissions prevented

We’re not entirely sure how Strava derives its figure – because it’s being no fun and not telling us – but it must be doing something similar based on distance. We don’t know exactly what mode of transport Strava assumes you’d have used if you hadn’t cycled.

> Check out our Strava Premium review here 

“I think this is a great idea,” said Strava user Creaky Crank. “Everybody knows that we have become a car-dependent society in most of the 'western' world (Europe less so), and if we can encourage people to take alternative modes of transport (vs a single person in a multi-thousand pound vehicle), we'll all be better off for it, both from the carbon footprint, as well as the wear/tear on infrastructure, and the hazards presented to cyclists and pedestrians by excess vehicular traffic.”

2023 Strava CO2 saved - 2

Eee_Jay_Jay said, “Very cool. As a follow-up suggestion, it would be great to see a total, all years, roll-up of carbon saved and commuting kilometres.”

However, the introduction of the CO2 metric hasn’t been universally welcomed.

“These whole CO2-saving calculations are completely ridiculous,” said Jan_Mantau. “If you commute by walk or bicycle you always burn additional CO2 compared to staying at home or comparing to using a vehicle that goes regardless if you use it or not (public transportation). And nobody knows how much you eat additionally if you commute by your own power or what your car would have burned. Can't you just be happy to not use a car without someone applauding you for it by giving you fake numbers?”

> Strava Heatmap could allow identification of user addresses, say researchers 

Stephe said, “How do I turn this off or, at a minimum, prevent it from displaying? Looks a little too much like virtue signalling to me, and would prefer not to have it (particularly given that it's fairly arbitrary, with a single nominal comparison to a single-user vehicle).”

2023 Strava CO2 saved - 1 (2)

Moncs said they were ready to cancel their Strava subscription if the feature could not be optional for users while Jimdennison said, “I don't mind having CO2 displayed but Strava seems to have removed the 'calories burned' data at the same time. That I do mind. I want it back!!! I use that... the CO2 data not so much.”

Do you think Strava’s ‘CO2 saved’ feature is interesting and valuable? Let us know in the comments.

Find out more here 

Specialized Tarmac SL8: is a launch just around the corner?

The internet is abuzz with rumours that we’re just about to see a new Specialized Tarmac SL8 road bike, perhaps as early as the World Championships in Glasgow next month.

We’re expecting a new Tarmac this year because the current SL7 was launched in 2020 and Specialized usually works to a three-year product cycle. Recent photos of Soudal Quick-Step riders on a training camp all but confirm that a Specialized release is imminent.

> New Specialized road bike leaked with unique oversized head tube — is this the new Tarmac SL8 or a revamped Roubaix? 

Now more pictures have emerged…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Olivier (@olivierdecoen)

This one, for example, shows the head tube of what is described as the Specialized Tarmac SL8 Project Black.

Project Black?

“Specialized relies on feedback from professional athletes in both developing and testing advanced pre-production products in real-world applications,” the company has explained in the past. “With this top-level feedback, some of these design elements and products eventually show up in future retail product offerings. We call this Project Black.”

Interestingly, that stem is from a now-discontinued Specialized Venge, as used by Peter Sagan on his Tarmac SL7. There are rumours that this is Sagan’s bike for the World Champs.

2023 Specialized Tarmac SL8 framesets - 1

Another picture that’s doing the rounds is this screengrab that apparently shows the various SL8 S-Works finishes that will be available, including the pro team options. It doesn’t tell us a whole lot but ties in with the Soudal QuickStep images in that the frame appears to have a slightly bulbous head tube and skinnier seat stays than the SL7. The pic looks legit, but we couldn't tell you for sure. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled at the World Championships.

AirGo battery-powered pump promises easy tyre inflation

A mini battery-powered pump that aims to get you back on the road fast after a flat has smashed its Kickstarter crowdfunding target.

2023 AirGo Mini Bike Pump - 1 (1)

The AirGo pump weighs just 135g (for comparison, the Topeak Pocket Rocket mini pump that we reviewed weighed 109g) and works on both Presta and Schrader valves.

Its makers claim the AirGo can inflate a road tyre (the size isn’t specified) up to 100 psi (6.9 Bar) in two minutes. They say it can pump up to four bike tyres per charge although, again, a size isn’t mentioned.

The AirGo is powered by a 630mAh lithium battery and recharging – via USB QC 3.0 – is said to take 20 minutes.

It has an aluminium shell and measures 75mm x 46mm x 28mm – so it’s easily small enough to fit in a rear pocket or a saddle bag.

The Kickstarter Super Early Bird and Early Bird offers have already been taken so you now need to pledge at least $69 (around £53) to be in line to receive an AirGo pump. Delivery is scheduled for December 2023.

Find out more here 

What do you think of Fizik’s new colours?

Fizik has introduced a new colour option for its Vento Xerox Carbon gravel/mountain bike/cyclocross shoes. Bold, huh?

2023 Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon - 1

If you want to know how we got on with the shoes – in a different colour – check out our review

Find out more here

Specialized brings 3D-printed Mirror saddle tech to £160 Power Expert

More Specialized news. The US giant has trickled Mirror 3D-printing down its saddle range from the S-Works and Pro models to the Expert level for the first time. No one’s saying the Power Expert With Mirror is going for a song, but at £160 it’s more attainable than other saddles that use 3D-printing tech. The next cheapest in Specialized’s range is £290.

2023 Specialized Power Expert With Mirror saddle - 2

Mirror saddles feature 3D printing of a liquid polymer.

“This revolutionary process creates a complex honeycomb structure that allows us to infinitely tune the material’s density in a way impossible with foam,” says Specialized.

Other brands like Fizik and Selle Italia use similar tech. Unlike Specialized’s more expensive options, the Power Expert With Mirror uses 3D tech only in certain areas.

“The Power Expert With Mirror consists of strategically placed Mirror Technology teardrop inserts to specifically target sit-bone comfort,” says Specialized. “The remainder of the saddle provides support to riders through EVA foam and a 4-way stretch cover that protects the Mirror lattice from getting mud and dirt stuck in it.”

2023 Specialized Power Expert With Mirror saddle - 1 (1)

Specialized says that this cover, plus super durable hollow titanium rails, makes the Power Expert with Mirror a good choice for gravel and mountain bike riders, although it’s equally targeted at the road.

The Specialized Power Expert With Mirror saddle is available in various widths with weights starting at a highly reasonable 210g. As mentioned somewhere up there, the price is £160.

Find out more here 

Cadex unveils superlight Amp shorty saddle

Sticking with saddles, Giant-owned Cadex has launched a new model called Amp that’s designed to be a supportive shape while weighing just 129g.

2023 Cadex Amp saddle - 1

“The Amp saddle takes some of the core features of the acclaimed Cadex Boost saddle and matches them with a new design made to fit the needs of more riders,” says Cadex.

We were certainly impressed by the Boost saddle when we reviewed it here on road.cc.

> Read our Cadex Boost saddle review here 

The Amp saddle is made with a composite base and integrated carbon rails and it uses high-density EVA foam alongside Cadex’s Particle Flow padding, meaning there are two ‘pockets’ of thermoplastic particles under the cover. These are designed to mould to your anatomy in order to distribute pressure and increase comfort.

2023 Cadex Amp saddle - 2

“The saddle is shaped with an ergonomic rear curve that improves ischial support and a side curve that offers greater pedalling clearance,” says Cadex. “This shaping helps the rider push back into the saddle to achieve a powerful and aerodynamic riding position. The top of the saddle has a crowned shape that drops away at the wings, and the full-carbon, low-seated base eliminates flex and increases support for efficient pedalling power.”

A central cut-out is designed to relieve pressure on soft tissue areas. The Cadex Amp saddle is short at 245mm, and it’s priced at £275. It’ll be available from late August.

Find out more here

Coros unveils arm-mounted heart rate monitor

Coros has debuted a new heart rate monitor (HRM) that mounts on your arm rather than using a more traditional chest strap, promising comfort and precise data.

2023 Coros heart rate monitor - 1 (1)

Coros says, “A fully elasticated armband and sliding buckle allow for the perfect fit, enabling a higher heart rate accuracy reading by removing interference from external light sources, as well as maximising comfort and convenience for the user across any sport.”

> Read our Coros Apex Pro Multisport watch review

Like other optical heart rate monitors, it uses light to measure blood flow in capillaries beneath the skin. Coros says that the HRM uses its “latest generation multi-channel optical sensor and has five LED lights with four photodetectors for maximum accuracy”.

The Coros HRM automatically powers on and off and broadcasts to up to three other Bluetooth-enabled devices – from any brand – simultaneously.

2023 Coros heart rate monitor - 2 (1)

The built-in rechargeable battery is said to give 38 hours of heart rate recording and 80 days in standby mode on a single charge.

> Best heart rate monitors 2023 — optimise your training with useful fitness data

Although the Coros Heart Rate is available now in the US ($79, which converts to about £61) and in China, it’s scheduled to be launched to the rest of the world in mid-September. We have one on the way for review.

Find out more here

Reckon you could ride the Transcontinental Race on this setup?

The Transcontinental Race from Belgium to Greece started last Sunday and dotwatchers across the globe are glued to screens to see if Christoph Strasser – a six-time winner of the Race Across America – can make it two TCR victories in a row.

At the time of writing (Friday afternoon), the Austrian rider is leading the way, having averaged over 520km (320 miles) a day on this Specialized S-Works Roubaix (this edition of Tech of the Week should have been sponsored by Specialized). Hardcore!

The bike is equipped with Roval wheels, a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, and Syntace C3 aero bars. The bags are from Apidura.

Find out more here 

Miss Grape introduces new handlebar mount and bags

Italian bikepacking specialist Miss Grape has introduced a new handlebar support called Ilcoso that can be used with its own bags as well as products from other brands.

2023 Miss Grape Ilcoso - 4

 “Ilcoso effectively addresses the common issues associated with handlebar bags, such as cable routing, hand space, avoidance of contact with the wheel, and compatibility with carbon handlebars,” says Miss Grape.

“Placing the bag close to the head tube improves steering and, in the case of drop bars, positions the load where there is the most space and least bulk, beneath the stem.

“Moreover, it offers a convenient spot for the cyclist’s instrumentation (GPS, light, phone) without cluttering the handlebars. The bag can be swiftly attached and detached. Last but not least, Ilcoso ensures safety by providing a stable, secure load that does not obstruct the visibility of the front wheel.

Ilcoso is made from PA6 polyamide/nylon while the accessories holder tube is anodised aluminium. Miss Grape says it weighs 320g. Ilcoso accommodates bags up to 19cm in diameter and has a maximum load capacity of 3kg. It can be installed on carbon and aluminium handlebars with a diameter of 31.8mm.

Ilcoso is available now at €128 (around £110).

2023 Miss Grape Ilcoso Trunk 16 - 1

Miss Grape has also introduced Trunk 8 (€59/£51) and Trunk 16 (€66/£57) bags designed for the Ilcoso handlebar support. They feature waterproof protection with two roll-closure entrances for keeping the contents dry.

Find out more here 

Elastic Interface unveils (I’m)Perfect: eco-sustainable seat pads

I'mPerfect - Concept

Elastic Interface - a major cycling shorts pad maker - has announced the launch of its eco-sustainable capsule collection of road cycling chamois. With the new pads, crafted from a patchwork of fabrics, the brand says it is striving to reach its bold “zero waste and a positive social impact” goal.  

Brand's (I’m)Perfect Pad programme aims to achieve zero material waste by using discontinued fabrics, fabrics with aesthetic imperfections, and reintroducing fabrics that were previously unsuitable for the industrial textile supply chain. Elastic Interface said that this approach does not compromise the pad's premium levels of comfort and performance. 

2023 Elastic Interface - 1

The pads are specially designed for long-distance rides and they have a distinctive, eye-catching appearance – not that anyone apart from you is going to see that appearance much. And although these are limited-edition pads, Elastic Interface says they offer top-tier protection. There will also be men’s and women’s designs available.

Elastic Interface supplies pads for brands such as Assos, dhb, Specialized, Scott and Universal Colours, so if the programme gets widely implemented, the impact could be large. 

Find out more here

Kostüme Launches #EDIT002 cycling apparel collection with exclusive artwork by Alice Irwin

Kostume ed2

Kostüme, a boutique cycling apparel brand known for its sustainability focus, has unveiled its second limited-edition capsule collection, #EDIT002. The collection, limited to only 350 pieces worldwide, boasts high-performance recycled fabrics and exclusive artwork designed by London-based Alice Irwin, known for her art rooted in the concept of play.

> Read our Kostüme Men’s Bib Short review 

"Although we are serious about the performance, innovation, and sustainability of our products, it’s also our aim to bring more creativity and fun to cycling," said Ed Bartlett, the founder of Kostüme, about the collaboration.

Kostume ed 1 womens

Kostüme has already gained recognition for its innovative approach to sustainable kit – we’ve rated its bib shorts, arm warmers and jersey highly. Embracing a small-batch made-to-order model, the brand says it aims to achieve the utmost product quality while minimising its environmental impact. By producing only what has been pre-sold, Kostüme aims to eliminate waste and unsold stock.

Pre-orders for the #EDIT002 collection are open on Kostüme's website. Alongside the collection, customers have the opportunity to buy a signed and numbered print edition of Alice Irwin's artwork.

Find out more here

Three enthusiasts release Sherpa, a free route planner

Sherpa

Three cycling enthusiasts led by Eric Semianczuk have launched Sherpa, a free and feature-rich cycling route planner - with the aim of taking on the likes of Komoot and RideWithGPS

Sherpa's standout features include the "Show Gravel Button," projecting non-paved roads based on OpenStreetMap (OSM), aiding route customisation. "Auto Route Generation" allows you to create looped routes on mobile and desktop.

Using real-time satellite imagery, Sherpa says its "AI Surface Type Classification" enhances route planning accuracy. The app also offers "Weather & Tailwind Insight" for weather predictions and tailwind-optimised routes (yes!).

With "Route Profiles" supporting 28 options and "Send to Garmin" functionality, Sherpa is designed to provide a user-friendly experience.

Mapping options include OSM, Google Maps, Mapbox, and cycleOSM and although Sherpa is free to use, you do need to create an account for some of the functions to work. 

Find out more here

Fancy a camper - on your bike? 

If you'd rather not invest in a proper camper van, it seems that Norwegian company Wide Path Camper has come up with the (near) perfect solution for us cyclists. This mobile Bicycle Camper offers “instant shelter from the weather, a comfortable bed for up to two people, and a convertible space for four adults to dine, relax, and camp in style.” All that said, the dimensions are rather small (the bed measures 90cm wide), so maybe stick with solo trips to start with. 

The trailer attaches to your bike's rear axle and although we definitely have some questions about how the whole system works - and how much it weighs - the concept seems to have been thought through. So much so that these campers are for sale for €4,299.99 (around £3,400). Would you fancy trying one out? 

Read more


Make sure you check out all the other tech stories we've published this week:

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13 comments

Avatar
HoarseMann | 8 months ago
1 like

The next logical step for the Strava CO2 saving, is for them to offer a 'carbon offsetting' product, where polluting companies can get carbon credits by paying for cyclists on Strava to commute by bike. Every cycle commute could earn the Strava member some actual money, with Strava taking a bit of a cut.

Avatar
ktache replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
2 likes

It would make as much sense (and difference) as most carbon offsetting.

Avatar
mark1a | 9 months ago
1 like

The new Strava CO2 "saving" appears if the ride is flagged as a commute, and I noticed it last week when I took my new commuter bike to the office for the first time. It seems a bit half done in my opinion, firstly there's no way of stopping it appearing unless you unflag the commute (and Strava do want to know this as it forms part of their Metro offering). Secondly it's assuming the activity replaces a vehicle journey, which in turn also assumes a very arbitrary 217.5g/km CO2, this is very high these days for non-US road transport (for example my 2017 van is 134g/km). I also note that this arbitrary non-adjustable figure is the same for both ride & ebike ride activities. 

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to mark1a | 9 months ago
2 likes

The 134g/km is just the direct emissions from the engine.

The fuel will have been extracted, refined and transported extensively before it reaches that point so that likely accounts for a large part of the difference.

Avatar
mark1a replied to Rich_cb | 9 months ago
0 likes

OK thanks, that makes sense, but it seems to be 217.5g/km for everyone, so still seems like a blunt object way of representing CO2 "saved", they may as well not bother which was part of my point when I said it appeared half done. 

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to mark1a | 9 months ago
0 likes

I suppose across all their users they may get a reasonably accurate figure by using averages but on an individual level, I agree that it does diminish its usefulness somewhat.

Avatar
HLaB replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
2 likes

Who cares if its not 100% accurate, it gets people to think!

Avatar
mark1a replied to HLaB | 8 months ago
0 likes
HLaB wrote:

Who cares if its not 100% accurate, it gets people to think!

Do you actually believe that anyone who doesn't already consider environmental issues and reducing CO2 emissions will give a monkeys about whether I saved 5kg of CO2 last Wednesday riding a bike to the office? It's not as if climate sceptics have tried to jump on "inaccurate" figures before now is it?

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
2 likes

You do realise it was a requested community feature? So other people who use strava seem to care if on a commute it shows it. 

Avatar
mark1a replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 8 months ago
0 likes

I do, but the community on Strava requested it, because they cared. My point was that if others who don't care so much see it popping on commutes for riders they follow, it's not going to change their mind, particularly if it's easy to see it's inaccurate.

Avatar
jrg_uk replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
0 likes

I'm not even sure who it's meant to influence. The person who already commutes by bike? Their friends following them, who probably already ride too?

The hard-core sports cyclist, who wouldn't dream of riding their bike any time but on the weekend, is not looking at Strava commute rides!

Avatar
HLaB replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
0 likes

If it makes one person think its better than nothing.  Likely it will only have an affect on people who are already on the edge, who are already thinking about the environment; think harder.  From little Acorns and all that!

Avatar
mark1a replied to HLaB | 8 months ago
0 likes

OK, I suppose that's true, you're right. I just wish if they've gone to the trouble of implementing it as it is now, it just could have been less half-arsed and less arbitary.

 

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