French carbon-fibre frame maker Time is due to launch a new sportive-format model for the forthcoming Eurobike show at the end of August, for delivery in the new year.
Named the VRS Fluidity, its initial publicity blurb appears to embrace the word 'sportive' in a way that many long-established carbon frame makers with a reputation in pure racing have tended to avoid for fear of being seen to offer a 'soft' option. They're hedging their bets by also mentioning 'Audax' which should also prick up the ears of those hardest-of-all riders. No details apart from the brief hints in the video but we do know that it will sell for £3,039.99 in standard guise or £3,499.99 for the Di2-specific version.
Regular cyclists resist the ravages of time better than most but the eyesight does tend to gradually fail on even the fittest specimens. Viewing the displays on modern handlebar-mounted technology becomes a proper pain and changing to reading glasses is a chore that most will heartily resent if their vision is otherwise perfect. A company from Boulder, Colorado has launched a range of sunglasses with bifocal lenses in most common prescriptions designed to position the 'reading' section of the lens in just the right place for cycling. There are three styles of Dual glasses, all with a grey or brown lens and Dual tell us that they're working on an interchangeable clear option for our murky climate. For now, the price is $49.99 + $17.95 shipping which we make a bit less than £42. They're on test now.
Static trainer company Tacx is shipping a new magnetic-resistance model in readiness for the autumn evenings drawing in that is designed to provide the maximum amount of resistance even at average speeds. To highlight the hard-core sporting pretensions of the new Booster, they've had both the Leopard-Trek and Quickstep professional teams warming up on them at the Tour de France. Price will be £289.99.
Details: Tacx at Fisher Outdoor Leisure
USA-made Hawk replacement bottom bracket sets have top-quality Folmer Technology bearings and are available to fit standard, BB30, or BB90 (Trek) for Shimano, FSA and SRAM cranks. Depending on compatibility, the prices range from £56.99 to £82.99 and we like the look of the anodised colours. Distributors Veroli tell us stock is now in the UK. We have a red unit coming to test.
Details: Hawk at Veroli
Cycling and drinking coffee are more or less synonymous and no company has done more to further the art of sitting nonchalantly outside just the right kind of establishment enjoying a fine espresso or cappuccino than the cycling fashion company Rapha. It seems logical, therefore, having researched the provenance of coffee machines for the head office and various pop-up operations that they would offer their favourite in a limited-edition version for like-minded shops and clubs. It's a proper professional but compact model made by Italian company Giotta and should suit situations where the full-on Bar Italia set-up would be overkill. Nevertheless, it's a reassuringly pricey €1,700 which should deter most from buying one for the home kitchen. As ever with Rapha, it doesn't hurt to dream.
You could already order Speedplay's distinctive and light Zero double-sided road pedals in various colours to match your bike. But never in yellow, perhaps because they were waiting for the opportunity when someone went and won that big bike race in France. This year, they've scored the jackpot by equipping not just the winner in Cadel Evans but also second and third in the brothers Schleck for a clean sweep of the podium. They've never been cheap at £160 for a pair with stainless steel axles or £300 for titanium but their fans swear by them and maybe we will too when we've ridden the sample that just arrived. Sadly, they're not in the Limited Edition Yellow that celebrate this year's Tour de France result.
Details: Speedplay at i-ride
Fans of absolutely the lightest kit with no limit on price will have already heard of Ciamillo, a Georgia, USA company that machines and fettles brakes which seem unearthly considering the weight of responsibility bearing on a pair of brake calipers. 120 grams a pair, or half the weight of a pair of Dura-Ace, just to make you pause for a moment before we tell you they also cost £649.99. That's for the top-of-the-range Gravitas models in carbon-fibre but there are also machined alloy variants at hardly greater weight for both road and cyclo-cross. UK Distribution is by Roche Sports, also responsible for Sabbath bikes. They tell us there will be Sabbath and Cannondale models available with the brakes as standard in 2012.
Sometimes a tee doesn't need to say a lot. This one from Shutt VR is understated indeed but talks where it matters; like that the fabric is 200gsm cotton and is mostly seamless other than the double taped shoulder seams. £25.
Brooks, the company that's famous for its saddles but which has recently expanded into all sorts of leather accessories including some lovely luggage, has been having fun with colours lately. Each show we've been to over the last couple of years has featured big-ticket items in limited-edition shades and very nice they are, too. This week we noticed that they're offering something even we can afford; leather-covered, sprung steel trousers bands in colours to suit every cycle-to-work outfit; even purple. £17.50. Our review of the plain old brown ones is here.
Have a good weekend!