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TECH NEWS

Priced at £800, is this “the best mechanical derailleur possible”? Plus more tech news from Bianchi, Brooks Wahoo & more

Check out all of the week's top cycling tech news, including an electric pump that weighs just 97g

This week, we have brand new products to show you from Lusso, Brooks and Bianchi, and updates from Wahoo, Orbea and UDOG, but we're going to start with a really interesting – and really expensive – new derailleur from Rene Herse...

Is this “the best mechanical derailleur possible”? At £800, it certainly should be

Rene Herse Cycles has unveiled a new Nivex mechanical rear derailleur that costs $729, doesn’t mount on a conventional hanger, can only handle a 30-tooth cassette, and uses a $249 down tube shifter. Oh, and there’s a good chance you’ll need a new frame to take it. Obvious question: why?

2022 Rene Herse Nivex rear derailleur - 1

“Because we want a different derailleur,” says Rene Herse’s Jan Heine. “For lack of a better word, modern derailleurs are digital: You push a button, and they shift. That’s why the best derailleurs use electric motors, which are more consistent than a human pushing a lever that pulls a cable. Modern electronic derailleurs are very, very good, and yet…

“I love analogue experiences… When I ride my bike, I enjoy feeling the shift happen. I pull the lever and feel the chain mesh with the new cog as a result of my hand movement. It doesn’t make me faster, but it makes riding more fun.”

With that in mind, Rene Herse has spent four years developing a derailleur with no return spring. Instead, the derailleur is pulled by cable in both directions, the idea being to provide a consistent action that’s also light and immediate.

Rene Herse has moved the derailleur mounting point from a mech hanger at the dropout to the chainstay too.

“This allows for open cable to run all the way from the shift lever to the derailleur,” says Jan Heine. “Less friction, less flex, more direct action are the result.”

The location is also said to make the derailleur impervious to mud and protect it from damage although, Rene Herse concedes, it does make wheel removal more difficult. Oh, and of course, your bike doesn't currently have a derailleur mount on the chainstay so you'll need to have one brazed on – that's not going to be possible on a lot of frames, including carbon ones, of course – or buy a new frame. 

A ‘smart compensator arm’ keeps the spring tension constant as the derailleur cage rotates and “eliminates chainslap on all but the roughest terrain”.

The Nivex is optimised for 11-30 cassettes because, Rene Herse says, “with modern sub-compact cranks, a 30-tooth large cog is sufficient for most riders and most terrain.”

Weighing a claimed 176g, the Rene Herse rear derailleur is among the lightest out there, while the shift lever is 54g. The first lever to be available is indexed 11-speed for Shimano cassettes although 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-speed are on the way. If you want to go even more retro, friction (non-indexed) shifters are coming too. 

The shifter attaches to a standard shifter boss on the down tube, although these haven't been a feature of most bikes for many years so you're going to need a vintage bike or to have a custom frame built.

“We are under no illusion that the Nivex will take over the cycling world,” says Jan Heine. “The idea is that if you’re building a no-holds-barred custom bike, there’s now an alternative for riders who are looking for an analogue shifting experience that you simply can’t find anywhere else.”

The Nivex rear derailleur is $729 (£597) with the shifter $249 (£204), the cable tensioner $39 (£32), and the extra long cable $10 (£8)... plus the cost of a new frame, or at very least the cost of having the hanger retro-fitted onto an existing frame.

Mass market it ain't, but what do you think? Admirable ingenuity or tech for tech's sake?

Find out more here

Wahoo updates features on Wahoo RIVAL

Wahoo is offering new features on its RIVAL watch that you can access via the ELEMNT companion app. They include Sleep Beta, Target Plan, Lap Swimming Drill Mode, STYRD integration, and Colour Zones to be used in training or competition. 

2021 Wahoo Rival 2

The features offer the ability to track your sleep so you can "optimise recovery and performance", the capability to set a target pace, power, heart rate, or cadence and get on-watch feedback and Colour Zones to ensure you're in the right training zone at a glance. 

Find out more here

Lusso releases jacket and bib tights "capable of handling the British winter"

Lusso have launched two "key all-weather garments" - the Perform Winter Jacket and Gravel Bib Tights.

2022 Lusso Perform Winter Jacket blue

This Jacket is a “soft shell” said to feel more like a jersey than a rain cape
but uses a 3-ply construction providing "insulation, breathability, and waterproofing".

2022 Lusso Perform Winter Jacket orange

It’s available in both mens and womens fits, in orange or blue, priced at £150. 

> Check out the best winter cycling jackets 2022

Secondly, they’re releasing their "all-weather, all-terrain insulated and water repellent bib tights". They feature DWR-treated cargo pockets on the thighs and built-in stowage in the mesh upper of the bib. 

Find out more here

Brooks introduces ergonomic leather grips

Brooks is launching Ergonomic Leather Grips that feature a hard-wearing rubber body with vegetable-tanned leather panels up top to provide softness and style.

2022 Brooks Ergo leather grips

Available in a range of colours, the new Ergonomic Grips are available in two size options: 130/130mm or the asymmetrical 130/100mm. They’re said to be easy to install via a secure aluminium clamp and come with Brooks rivet-style bar ends.

They’ll be available from 20th December at a price of £75.

Find out more here 

UDOG asks users to choose new shoe colour 

UDOG presents three exclusive variations of their CIMA shoe for its community to choose a favourite colour to be included in the range next year. 

2023 UDOG cycling shoes salt white/octane

The three variations are Octane/Black, Salt White/Octane, and Pure White/Blue. Only 100 pairs are available to purchase on the UDOG website and the most appreciated will be included in their range next year. 

> Read our review of the Udog Cima Pure Black

UDOG says the CIMA shoe is "the perfect blend between comfort and high performance, stiffness and softness", with a claimed weight of 240g (size 42). 

> Check out the best road cycling shoes 2022

They are available in 11 sizes, from 38 to 48 and cost £220. Order before Monday 19th December for delivery guaranteed before Christmas. 

Find out more here

CYCPLUS CUBE e-pump smashes Indiegogo target in 12 hours 

The portable, electric bike pump from CYCPLUS that we wrote about a few weeks ago, has gone live on Indiegogo and was fully funded in 12 hours.

The CUBE weighs 97g and has a maximum pumping pressure of about 100 psi. It is compatible with Presta and Schrader valves and it takes 20 minutes to charge fully. 

You can be inline for one by pledging £57. 

Find out more here

Orbea debuts new colours in 2023 range

Orbea debuts new colours and updated components within the Orca road range and announces new features in its 2023 Avant range.

Orca range

2023 Orbea Orca full bike

There are five new colours in the Orca range - Shark Gray (Matte), Sulfur Yellow (Gloss) – Night Black (Matte), Carbon Raw – Iridescent, Blue Carbon View – Titan (Gloss Matte), and Cosmic Carbon View (Matte Gloss).

It features 12 models ranging from £2,499 to £11,499 with SRAM or Shimano assemblies. 

New Avant range 

2023 Orbea Avant full bike beauty

 Orbea’s endurance range, Avant, consists of two models with three new colours - Metallic Green Artichoke (Matte), Moondust Blue (Gloss) – Titan (Matte), and Orange Candy (Matte) – Cosmic Bronze (Gloss).

Avant pricing ranges from £1,499 for the H40 model to £1,699 for the H60 model.

Orbea says the Avant is an ideal bike for those starting out on the road but are looking for high-quality details and some racing bike features.

> Check out the best road bikes 2022

Find out more here

Bianchi releases limited-edition collector's book 

Bianchi launches a new coffee table book to tell stories of people, bicycles, and events through "inspiring" images.

2022 Bianchi Case Bianchi book

“Casa Bianchi" includes never-before-seen images and photographs. It's not cheap though! You're looking at €75.00 (around £65). 

Find out more here

Porsche is developing e-bike drive systems

Porsche are no strangers to e-bikes, having acquired stakes in several companies in the e-bike market and continuing to work with their long-standing partner Rotwild. 

2022 Porsche e-bike drive system

> Check out the best electric bikes 2022

Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG says, "We see great potential for Porsche in e-bikes. This is why we are consistently expanding our activities in this area". 

Porsche is developing and producing electric drive systems for two-wheelers which include motors, batteries and the necessary software architecture for connectivity solutions, under the Porsche brand name.

These will be distributed to e-bike manufacturers worldwide and powered by Porsche intends to use these drive systems to launch a new generation of Porsche eBikes from the middle of this decade.

Find out more here

In case you missed it earlier in the week...

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Add new comment

26 comments

Avatar
rdaddict | 1 year ago
0 likes

Are Rene Herse going to reinvent the wheel as well?

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to rdaddict | 1 year ago
2 likes

I don't get the aggro. Who claims to have reinvented anything?
It is based on a 1930s original (which itself pioneered the parallelogram) that has been adapted to modern drivetrains.

Avatar
ROADEAGL | 1 year ago
0 likes

The Nivex appears to be a solution in search of a problem.

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to ROADEAGL | 1 year ago
0 likes

It was, and is, the solution to several problems. That's why Tullio Campagnolo copied the parallelogram from it...

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Kim Chee | 1 year ago
0 likes

No thanks-I have cycled since the 80s and find no problem with friction shifting and recall a 38x28 being the lowest gear possible on a road racing bike BUT no retrogrouch!!! Belt driven, internal gear hubs are the future. If only Shimano would offer a 11 Alfine with 120mm OLD for my single speeds that are getting more and more challenging for me to use in my very hilly region-now THAT would be news!!!

Avatar
froze | 1 year ago
0 likes

The Cycplus Cube seems like a cool idea, but just like CO2 you have a limited supply of air.  I would probably consider it if it could inflate four 700c x 23c or 28c tires, but two tires isn't enough, sure the chances of getting two flats on a ride is slim but crap happens sometimes, and there should be a some way to mount it on the bike, and the other negative is that it's made in China and Chinese made rechargeable batteries don't hold their charge as long, nor will they last as long as Japanese made rechargeable batteries no matter what they tell you, so I'll just stay with my Lezyne Road Drive pumps.

Avatar
marmotte27 | 1 year ago
4 likes

Contrary to what the article lead says the Nivex is not a "new design", and no one has ever claimed it was, as it is based on the original Nivex from the 1930s.

Avatar
Mat Brett replied to marmotte27 | 1 year ago
5 likes

The article says, “Rene Herse Cycles has unveiled a new Nivex mechanical rear derailleur…”

Rene Herse says, “The new Nivex is priced at $729 and is in stock now."

Rene Herse also says, “When you make a derailleur that’s not just a copy of what’s already out there, but fundamentally different, you’re starting almost from zero. (The 1930s Nivex provided a wonderful inspiration, but it was never intended for modern drivetrains.) 

“Why would anybody create a new derailleur, when there are already many out there that work very well? The answer is simple: Because we want a different derailleur.”

As Rene Herse says, its rear derailleur is inspired by the 1930s one but it's definitely new.

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to Mat Brett | 1 year ago
0 likes

The article lead has been changed since I quoted the above.
Your citations 1) aren't in the article, and 2)  don't claim that it's a new design. They couldn't as all the fundamental technical choices are there in the 1930's original.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
7 likes

Time for my annual trip to bonkers derailleur land.

https://www.disraeligears.co.uk/site/home.html

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NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
0 likes

Shimano are seemingly thinking of redesigning their derailleur mount too and adding 9 and 10 tooth sprockets to their 12 speed cassette according to another cycling site.

Shimano patent suggests it's about to revolutionise its gearing system

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/patent-suggests-shimano-is-about-to-l...

I'd like to have smaller cogs if it ever trickles down to 8sp.

Avatar
Kim Chee replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
0 likes

Shimano's 9S Capreo 9-25 tooth cassette and specific hub were like 25 years ago-the extreme chain wrap was very inefficient; and they wore out rather quickly. BUT if you had a 20" Bike Friday, paired with a 44x56 TT crankset, they were a compromise one had to make to keep great shifting (I tried a 48x60 combo and got awful shifting). 

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Secret_squirrel replied to Kim Chee | 1 year ago
0 likes

The wear or the inefficiencies are not particularly true in my experience.  Also the capreo cassettes and bodies are still made under license by Sunrace. Or at least were until recently. 
SunRace even expanded them to 10 and 11speed models. 
Were standard fitment on the Birdy Folder for a while. 

Avatar
ktache replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
1 like

Thank you.

I'm more interested in the derailleur. The new Shimano one in this instance.

Avatar
levestane | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'd go for this if I had the money. To add to the cost you could add a cheap (sic) plastic shroud to 'aero' the Nivex in an already turbulent airflow. Even better, add a cheap (sic) two-speed hub gear and ditch that expensive front changer.

Power to alt-RDs from JH and GP.

 

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Barraob1 replied to levestane | 1 year ago
2 likes

Not as nice as a suntour gpx

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froze replied to Barraob1 | 1 year ago
0 likes

I bet it won't shift better than the old Suntour Superbe stuff did; a lot cheaper to find a NOS Suntour Superbe, Cyclone, or Sprint on Ebay.

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Spangly Shiny | 1 year ago
1 like

I seem to remember that the old Cyclo RD was also a springless design with two cables so nothing new to see here.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Spangly Shiny | 1 year ago
1 like

And the White Industries one in MTB land.  Which was cyclo inspired. 
https://www.disraeligears.co.uk/site/white_industries_lmds_derailleur.html

 

Avatar
adamrice | 1 year ago
1 like

I'm not going to get a new bike just so I can install a new derailleur, and I'll admit I don't want to go back to downtube shifters. I can see how it would be difficult to adapt any other kind of shifter to the straight-run dual-cable design.

But I love the concept, love the fact that he's doing something interesting, love the aesthetic.

Avatar
ktache | 1 year ago
2 likes

Innovative, beautiful and incredibly niche.  What's not to like.

Oh, and they are out of stock...

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Losd | 1 year ago
2 likes

£800 will apparently get you something that looks like it's been thrown together from scrap parts in a garage.

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lesterama replied to Losd | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'd rather have a couple of NOS Super Record derailleurs for that analogue feel

Avatar
froze replied to lesterama | 1 year ago
1 like
lesterama wrote:

I'd rather have a couple of NOS Super Record derailleurs for that analogue feel

Having had a Super Record, and currently have an old Nuova Record, neither shift as well as Suntour Superbe, Cyclone, or the Sprint, but the Nuova Record sure looks nice but if shifts pretty good, it's just the Suntour stuff is as fast as todays indexed stuff they have...assuming you don't screw up when moving the lever to make a shift!

Avatar
mike the bike replied to Losd | 1 year ago
9 likes
Losd wrote:

£800 will apparently get you something that looks like it's been thrown together from scrap parts in a garage.

Nay lad, not so.  It's a thing of rare beauty, shining out from a torrent of computer designed mediocrity. 

Good job we are not all alike.

Avatar
Xenophon2 replied to mike the bike | 1 year ago
1 like

You're taking a bit of a shortcut there:  it's not because it looks artisanal that it'll also perform on the level of a modern, computer developed, mass produced  mechanical derailleur.  Heine is a good marketeer but some of the stuff he pushes is simply below par (I'm thinking about some extralight tires that had an unfortunate tendency to blow off rims).

I like quality and am willing to pay for it, but performance and reliability trumps all.  And I can certainly live with wireless shifting.

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