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TECH NEWS

Could this new budget electronic shift system shake up the road bike market? Plus the rest of the week’s tech news from Rapha, Specialized, Fjallraven, POC, and loads more

Check out Canyon’s limited edition Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad, glasses made from recovered titanium, new stuff from CeramicSpeed, and a secret new design from SRAM

We have loads of cool new stuff to tell you about this week, including clothing from Rapha and Snow Peak, a limited edition Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR from Canyon, and the latest collab between Specialized and Fjallraven, but we’re kicking off with news that a new budget electronic shift system is about to hit the road bike market…

Could new budget electronic shift system shake up the road bike market?

Chinese brand WheelTop is set to launch a budget electronic shift system into the mountain bike market that can be configured to work with almost any cassette from 7-speed to 13-speed, and it promises that a design for road bikes will follow, probably later this year, which could shake things up for the likes of Shimano and SRAM. We thank Bike Europe for the lead on this story

2023 WheelTop EDS OX rear derailleur - 1

Now before you dismiss the credibility of WheelTop, the company has been around since 1951 and has produced parts for major brands. At the Taipei Cycle bike show in Taiwan, it showed a prototype mountain bike system comprising an electronic rear derailleur and a wireless shifter.

The WheelTop EDS (Electronic Derailleur System) OX design communicates via Bluetooth and  ANT+. The rear derailleur uses sealed bearings and has a clutch to reduce unwanted chain movement.

2023 WheelTop EDS OX shifter - 1

The EDS controller has an IP67 rating which means that it’s impervious to dust and is waterproof in most circumstances (it can be immersed in water up to a metre deep for 30mins).

One interesting feature is that you can tell the system – via its smartphone app – how many sprockets are on your cassette. The rear derailleur will work with anything from 7-speed to 13-speed, which covers pretty much anything you’re likely to be running.

The rear derailleur will take a maximum sprocket size of 52T and is very lightweight – a claimed 351g.

2023 WheelTop EDS OX system - 1

According to Bike Europe, WheelTop says that the next step will be the integration of both AI and cloud control. It also plans to allow EDS OX to work with an e-bike battery.

As for the price, the WheelTop EDS OX rear derailleur, thumb-operated controller, batteries and charger cost just £325 (you’ll have to pay import duty too). For comparison, that’s similar to the price of a SRAM Force eTap AXS rear derailleur on its own.

From a roadie perspective, the really interesting thing is that WheelTop says it plans to take its technology to the road bike market next, probably before the end of 2023. We’ve contacted WheelTop for more details and will fill you in on exactly what those plans look like.

We reported recently on the release of the the new electronic eRX road groupset from Chinese groupset manufacturer L-Twoo.

> Is this budget electronic groupset a Shimano and SRAM killer? 

Do you think that we’re at the start of a new era with electronic groupsets from Chinese brands or would you steer well clear?

Find out more here 

Rapha debuts limited edition collection with Snow Peak – and the titanium spork is back

Rapha has teamed up with Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak on a new collection of off-road clothing and accessories, the second collab between the two.

> Check out the original Rapha x Snow Peak collab here 

2023 Rapha Snow Peak Spork - 1 (1)

The collection includes a down jacket, merino T-shirt, overshorts, and various other items of clothing, plus a vacuum bottle, mug, and titanium spork (spoon/fork hybrid).

2023 Rapha Snow Peak Down jacket - 1

The Rapha + Snow Peak Down Jacket (£300), for example, features a ripstop shell with water-repellent treatment and is packed with goose down.

2023 Rapha Snow Peak Merino T-shirt - 1

The Rapha + Snow Peak Explore Merino T-shirt (£80) is 52% merino and 48% nylon and is designed for multi-day use.

Find out more here 

Canyon launches limited edition Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR

Canyon has unveiled a limited edition Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR road bike.

2023 Canyon Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR - 4

“With a colourway designed in collaboration with MVDP himself – and which he raced while storming to victory at Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo 2023 – the special-edition Aeroad CFR Disc MVDP is an aero race bike fit for a champion,” says Canyon.

The bike features a 3D MVDP logo on the front of the head tube, and also the words 'Poetry in Motion’ around another logo tucked away on the underside of the down tube just in front of the bottom bracket. That’s one of MVDP’s favourite mantras, according to Canyon.

2023 Canyon Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR - 3

The bike is built up with a carbon Canyon CP0018 Aerocockpit, Canyon’s SP0046 aero seatpost, and 60mm-deep Shimano Dura-Ace wheels. The groupset is Dura-Ace too while the saddle is a Selle Italia Flite Carbonio Superflow MVDP Edition. 

Mathieu van der Poel has been racing this year on a prototype Aeroad CFR that looks subtly different from the model that’s currently available from Canyon. It's a minor change to the frame that reflects a new position for the seat post wedge bolt.

> Check out the unreleased Canyon Aeroad Mathieu van der Poel rode to Paris-Roubaix victory 

2023 Canyon Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR - 1

The Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR that you can buy here doesn’t seem to be this slightly updated version. Some people might say that after releasing a limited-edition Aeroad CFR in an eye-catching manga finish last week, also not in the new design, Canyon is doing a good impression of a brand that wants to shift some stock sharpish. Not us, though. We wouldn’t say that.

> Canyon launches Tokyo Edition of Aeroad CFR – complete with manga graphics

The Mathieu van der Poel Aeroad CFR is priced at £9,499.

Find out more here 

Check out the new drop of Fjallraven x Specialized bikepacking products

Swedish outdoor brand Fjallraven has again teamed up with Specialized for a new range of bike-packing products covering everything from bags to T-shirts and other clothing and even a sleep poncho.

2023 Fjallraven x Specialized Handlebar Rolltop - 1

The polyamide Handlebar Rolltop (£105), for example, is designed to offer easy access storage. It has a 13L volume although Fjallraven says “it can be overpacked to hold even more”. It doubles as a shoulder bag when you’re off the bike.

2023 Fjallraven x Specialized Expandable Hip Pack - 1

The Expandable Hip Pack (£105) lives up to its name by expanding from its normal 4.5L capacity to become an 11.5L backpack.

2023 Fjallraven x Specialized Sleep Poncho - 1

Fjallraven describes the Sleep Poncho (£215) as a “lightweight sleeping quilt” that you can also wear when you’re not sleeping, so there’s no need to pack an insulating jacket.

Find out more here 

POC launches limited edition glasses made from recovered titanium

POC has unveiled new limited-edition Elicit Ti cycling sunglasses that are made from 6Al/4V titanium recovered from the manufacturing of surgical tools.

2023 Poc Elicit Ti - 1

POC already offers the 23g Elicit in its range. Fans of the most marginal of marginal gains will be pleased to hear that the frameless Elicit Ti, which will be used by the EF Education-EasyPost team at the Giro d’Italia, is claimed to be a gram lighter.

> POC launches Propel — cycling glasses that make your face and ears more aerodynamic 

“The Elicit Ti features a unique titanium truss design along the temples allowing the perfect balance of rigidity and weight,” says POC. “Featuring specially designed slide-in joints, lens changing is effortless and quick, allowing riders to change lenses in seconds. The joints also allow the temples to break away from the lens in a fall, minimising damage.”

2023 Poc Elicit Ti - 2

The POC Elicit Ti comes with a curved dark lens and a spare clear lens. You also get nosepieces in two different sizes and a hard case.

The price? Ah, there is that. The POC Elicit Ti is priced at £350. Still, medical-grade titanium. In another life, your glasses could have grown up to be a scalpel.

Find out more here 

SRAM designs handlebars that integrate gear-changing Blips

US component brand SRAM has made a patent application (US 2023/0135779 A1) for handlebars that feature recesses specifically designed to house its wireless Blip satellite shifters. Both drop bars and mountain bike-style riser bars are included.

2023 SRAM bars integrated Blips patent - 1

On the drop bar, the recesses are located both on the drops and on the tops so you’d be able to shift from different hand positions. On the riser bar, they’re at the point where the grips would end.

2023 SRAM bars integrated Blips patent - 2

The idea is that the Blips sit in the recesses so that they don’t “generate raising surfaces” on the handlebar which, SRAM says, are a “visual defect” and “may be adverse to the bicycle in terms of aerodynamics”. In plain English, the idea is that it looks better and is more aero.

2023 SRAM bars integrated Blips patent - 3

As with everything patent related, the design may never make it to production. If it were to become a reality, SRAM’s Zipp and/or Truvativ brands would be the most likely avenues.

Chrome announces third collaboration with Gay’s Okay Cycling

Chrome Industries has announced a third collaboration with Gay’s Okay, the collection benefitting LGBTIQ+ advocacy organisation Outright International

> Read our review of the Chrome Barrage Freight Backpack

2023 Chrome Cadet Sling Bag Gays Okay

“The mantra behind the new collection is all about celebrating movement and bold self-expression, with Chrome’s design team and Allan Shaw [founder of Gay’s Okay] working together to reinvigorate classic styles with this new objective in mind,” says Chrome.

2023 Chrome DoubleTrack Handlebar Bag Gays Okay - 1

The first launch includes the Kadet Sling Bag (£100)Doubletrack Handlebar Bag (£70), and Tech Accessory Pouch (£45), all in an eye-catching Rainbow Reflective colourway.

2023 Chrome Tech Accessory Pouch Gays Okay - 1

Another launch in August will include Chrome's Citizen Messenger Bag.

Find out more here 

Spotted! New Classified-equipped disc wheel from Parcours

We’ve already reported that Parcours is now making wheels equipped with Classified Powershift hubs but this disc wheel is a new ’un, spotted at last weekend’s PTO European Open triathlon in Ibiza. It’s the first time we’ve seen Classified Powershift incorporated into a disc wheel.

2023 Parcours Classified Disc wheel - 1

> Check out our review of the Classified Powershift system 

One significant benefit that a Classified system offers in triathlon is that the lack of a front derailleur can reduce overall drag.

This wheel hasn’t been released yet but we imagine a launch can’t be too far off. We'll keep our eyes peeled.

Find out more here  

CeramicSpeed introduces indoor-specific chain lube

CeramicSpeed has introduced three new products to its UFO product family, including a lube that’s specifically formulated for indoor riding.

2023 CeramicSpeed UFO Drip indoor - 1

CeramicSpeed says, “Wax chain coatings have multiple benefits, but also tend to shed excess surface wax after initial application. With UFO Drip for Indoor, the balance of wax to friction modifiers has been adjusted to maximise efficiency in clean conditions with minimal surface buildup.”

> Check out the best bike chain lubes 2023

UFO Drip Indoor comes in a 100ml bottle for £19.95.

2023 CeramicSpeed UFO Drip Wet Conditions - 1

UFO Drip Wet Conditions has been “developed to maximise the benefits of a wax chain lubricant, while resisting deterioration through wet riding conditions”, according to CeramicSpeed. Again, a 100ml bottle is £19.95.

2023 CeramicSpeed UFO Bike Wash - 1

UFO Bike Wash (£19.95, 500ml) is described as being eco-friendly and safe for indoor and outdoor use. 

Find out more here 

Prologo adds lightweight models to AGX saddle range

Italy’s Prologo has added new models to its range of AGX saddles designed for adventure, gravel and cyclocross riding. AGX saddles feature a more flexible base than normal and extra padding designed to absorb shock and vibration while riding off-road.

2023 Prologo AGX saddles - 1

The new performance-orientated models are the Scratch M5 AGX (£122) and Dimension AGX (£101), each equipped with Nack rails composed of carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium filaments.

“These versions of the Scratch M5 AGX and Dimension AGX with Nack rails also rest on a new base made of carbon long fibre (long fibre carbon injected nylon), which can provide further weight reduction and increased stiffness to further increase power transfer during pedalling,” says Prologo.

The Scratch M5 AGX has a claimed weight of just 172g while the Dimension AGX is even lighter at 169g.

As well as the standard models, these saddles are available in Space versions which are wider and more padded. Prologo says these are ideal for riders with wide ischial bone spacing, those with a high body mass index, or those just wanting extra comfort.

Both the Scratch M5 AGX Space (£122) and the Dimension AGX Space (£122) are available with TiroX (light steel alloy) rails. The Dimension AGX Space is also available with T4.0 chromoly rails (£101).

Find out more here 


And as usual, don't forget to read our other tech news of the week: 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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3 comments

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Terence the Tractor | 9 months ago
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Would be nice if SRAM got around to making some blips to put on any handlebars instead of coming up with mounting solutions for unavailable components!

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Welsh boy | 9 months ago
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I have always thought that there is a gap in the market for someone who could bring an electronic system to market being able to work across a number of cassette sizes.  After all, how hard can it be to allow you to enter 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 into an app and let the electronics work out har far to move the rear mech between steps?

Avatar
check12 | 9 months ago
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did canyon pull their marketing budget with you? 😂 very Dic move on their behalf if they are painting the old Aeroad as the one vdp was racing in this year 

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