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Tech Roundup: Featuring Fulcrum, Buff, Koga, Swiss Side and, um, Cath Kidston, plus video

Our collection of product news stories including bikes for young and old, and lots of wheels

This week's roundup of product news includes bikes, Buffs and lots of wheels. Speaking of which...


Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite wheels

i-ride, Fulcrum’s UK distributor, came visiting the other day and brought a pair of new Racing Zero Nite wheels along to show us. We did give you some info on these last year but this is the first time we’ve seen them in the flesh.

The Racing Zero Nites are aluminium clinchers – 25mm-deep front, 30mm-deep rear – with a totally black look. The Nite finish isn’t just an appearance thing, though, the 'Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation' surface treatment is said to create an extremely hard, wear-resistant surface.

Fulcrum have also milled the braking surface, the idea being to provide better braking in wet conditions thanks to water draining away in the grooves.

That all sounds a little like the Exalith 2 technology that Mavic use on some of their aluminium rims.

The front hub has also been modified too. It’s now smaller and slimmer than before.

The Racing Zero Nite featured Fulcrum’s USB ceramic bearings and has been developed for use with Fulcrum carbon-specific red brake pads, so you can race with carbon wheels and train with aluminium without swapping the pads.

The total weight is a claimed 1,420g and the price is £1,049.99 for the pair.

Sadly, i-ride weren’t able to leave the Racing Zero Nites with us so don’t hold your breath for a review. Get more info at


Republic Kids Cargo bike

If you’ve got children you might as well make them earn their keep, right? This Kids Cargo bike from US brand Republic comes with a 30cm x 40cm (12 x 16in) wooden crate at the front that allows four to six-year olds to make themselves useful by carrying loads of up to 4.5kg (10lb). Maybe get them to shift stuff around the garden or something in return for their food, shelter and that.

The bike is priced at US$349, which is about £225.

For more info go to


Koga introduces two new e-bikes

Dutch brand Koga is introducing two new electric bikes, the E-Tour and the E-Special. Both have been developed around new frame designs with the battery integrated in the down tube. The battery pack can be easily removed for recharging.

The E-Special is built around a smooth-welded 6061 aluminium frame and you have the choice between three different batteries: 317Wh, 417Wh and 490Wh. It is powered by an Ultra Torque ION rear engine (50 Nm). The bike uses a Shimano Deore LX gear system, Shimano LX hydraulic disc brakes and a Hollowtech II chainset.

It has internal cable routing, a Racktime carrier, a Koga suspension front fork and a headlight. It weighs 26.4kg (58lb) and will be available in both men’s and women’s models from June, although we don’t yet have a price.

The E-Tour is also 6061 aluminium and has the same choice of batteries but it is powered by a 40Nm Ultra Torque ION rear engine. It comes with a Truvativ chainset, Shimano Deore gear system and Shimano V-brakes. This model weighs 24.8kg (54.6kg) and will also be available in men’s and women’s versions. It’ll be priced at €2,999 (with the 317 Wh battery) when it goes on sale in June.

For more info go to


Loopwheel shortlisted for Designs of the Year 2015

The Loopwheel, designed by Nottinghamshire engineer Sam Pearce, has been nominated for the Designs of the Year 2015, the Design Museum's exhibition of ‘the most innovative, interesting and forward-looking design of all kinds, from around the world’. The Loopwheel is one of six nominees in the Transport category, alongside the Google self-driving car and BMW's i8 electric smart car.

Loopwheels are designed to absorb shock via integral suspension. We ran a story on them here on a couple of years ago when the designer was looking for funding on Kickstarter. 

Springs made from a carbon composite material replace traditional spokes, the idea being to provide extra power to get up or down kerbs, to offer comfort and to absorb vibration.

You can buy 20in Loopwheels for commuter bikes and trikes from the Loopwheels webshop, complete wheelsets costing from £659.

Double O lights have made it onto the shortlist in the Product category.

An exhibition of all the nominations for Designs of the Year 2015 will open at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD on 25 March and run until 23 August.


New Buffs for Le Tour de France 2015

Buff will be offering a new collection for the Tour de France 2015. They’re getting in early, obviously.

The collection includes high UV protection Buffs, neckwarmer windproof Buffs, headband Buffs, and helmet liner Buffs.

They'll go on sale on Monday at various prices.

For more info go to


Swiss Side developing two new Hadron aero wheels

Swiss Side are developing two new Hadron aero wheelsets that will be released later in the year. Over the next few weeks, they promise to publish technical reports detailing the design and development of these new wheels.

“With the expansion of the Hadron Line, our target has been to develop a lower profile aero wheelset [the current wheels are 62.5mm deep] with zero crosswind sensitivity but still very low drag, intended for high wind or gusty conditions and a deep section wheelset for ultimate low drag for medium to low wind conditions,” said Swiss Side technical director Jean-Paul Ballard.

“Our aerodynamics team are using extensive CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and mathematical prediction optimisation techniques to develop the wheel prototypes, followed by an exhaustive wind tunnel testing and analysis programme.”

Swiss Side say that the results for the new models show the best aerodynamic performances in their profile depth categories.

Check out the entire Hadron Project development process at


Put Some Fun Between Your Legs

Want a T-shirt with ‘Put some fun between your legs’ written on the front? You’re in luck. These are available in men’s and women’s versions at 15 quid a throw. You can get leather patches too.


Cath Kidston collaborates with Kingston Bicycles

British designer Cath Kidston has collaborated with Kingston Bicycles to produce a Neon Spot shopper bike.

It comes with a 7-speed Shimano twist shift gearing , full-length metal mudguards and a chainguard. It’x also fitted with a rear rack, a basket on the front, and a kickstand. It is said to weigh 17kg (37.4lb).

Those silver spots on the pink finish are reflective. Being Cath Kidston, it has to have a floral aspect to the design, the saddle and grips coming in a Kingswood Rose print.

The bike is priced £399.99 and is available from

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 technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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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eschelar | 9 years ago

lol. loopwheels are the best innovation of the year? Must be a ridiculously dry year.
#1 - only suitable for a front wheel - unless you like riding with overcooked spaghetti *before* you put power to the ground... or enjoy riding your full-travel DH bike on road rides...
#2 - much heavier construction than conventional spokes
#3 - much more expensive construction than conventional spokes.

Spokes are good because they put the wheel in tension, which is the primary direction of strength for most metals (and carbon fiber), thus making most of the strength of the wheel aligned with the strongest characteristic. This allows the weight to be reduced as much as possible.

Changing that to a suspension design goes the opposite way, adding a HUGE amount of material and weight.

So this is the best design how?????

3cylinder | 9 years ago

It bugs me that the Double O light is on a design list: the concept might have been an interesting design, but the final product that discarded magnetic attachment and rechargability is no better than a bog standard £10 LED, and for the rear light worse than most since there is no facility to adjust the angle.

Perils of kickstarter....

mrmo | 9 years ago

is the exalith treatment simply an improved ceramic coating as per mavic/bontrager c1990ish?

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