We have a ton of news for you this week from big names like 3T, DT Swiss, Chris King and Brooks England, plus wheels with rim depths you can alter in minutes, but we’re starting with a 3D-printed saddle made to the unique contours of your butt. You’re just about to find out what a Smiling Butt Kit is...
If you’re in search of the perfect saddle, Czech tech company Posedla will 3D-print a custom-made Joyseat that’s based on an imprint of your butt.
Before going ahead, they send you what's called a Smiling Butt Kit to measure the width of your sit bones and get the imprint, as well as taking into account things like the type of riding you do and your flexibility.
Posedla describes the Joyseat as “the world’s first fully custom 3D-printed cycling saddle manufactured using the individual parameters of each rider”. You might say that a traditional-style leather saddle will mould to your shape over time, but the Joyseat is designed to fit perfectly right from the off.
First, it uses a web configurator to collect details about you and the riding you do, and then it uses data from the Smiling Butt Kit – we can't get enough of that name – which includes a foam pad that you sit on in order to get the imprint, before photographing the result and uploading the pictures to Posedla’s system.
Posedla’s algorithm then creates a 3D model of the saddle.
“The upper part of the saddle is made of a specially developed patent-pending lattice structure, which we print from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU),” says Posedla’s Ondřej Janků. “It allows us to customise the saddle’s stiffness and individual zones exactly to the cyclist's specific needs. The lower part of the saddle, the rails, and the shell are made of carbon fibre.”
The idea is that you feel the saddle only under your sit bones thanks to the zoned padding.
Posedla says that a Joyseat saddle is 262mm long and between 136mm and 16mm wide, depending on the individual. The weight is from 170g to 210g, which is pretty darn light.
The price is £390. There are cheaper 3D-printed saddles out there, of course, but Fizik’s Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive is £399.99, and that’s not custom.
We’re intrigued so we’re going to get a Posedla Joyseat in for review. We’ll let you know how we get on.
DT Swiss has upgraded its 350 road/gravel hub with a revised star ratchet system and a drop in weight.
Like DT Swiss’s more expensive 180 and 240 hubs, the 350 uses a star ratchet system rather than more traditional pawls. Two rings with angled teeth glide over one another when you’re coasting, and engage – pushed together by springs – when you pedal. Check out the picture if that doesn’t make sense; it’s much easier to understand.
“The reliability of the ratchet System comes from the fact that each tooth engages simultaneously,” says DT Swiss. “In comparison, the pawl system has much smaller engagement surfaces. With the ratchet system, each side engages and therefore distributes the force evenly.”
Whereas the previous DT Swiss 350 hub used 18 teeth, the new one features 36. This means that the freehub engages twice as quickly when you start to pedal – in 10°.
DT Swiss says that the new 350 hub is easier to maintain too.
“The plug-in construction allows maintenance of the freehub system without special tools and conversion to different standards for maximum versatility,” it says.
The new version of the hub is lighter than before too thanks to the use of this ratchet system and a re-engineered hub shell and axle. The 350 Straightpull front hub is said to weigh from 106g with the rear one from 219g.
The rear is available with a Shimano road or a SRAM XRD freehub body while a Campagnolo N3W freehub body is available as a conversion.
As well as the 350 Straightpull, a 350 Classic is available for J-bend spokes. Each is priced at £54.99 (front) and £159.99 (rear)
3T has announced a new version of its Exploro Racemax Italia gravel frame called the XXX with a distinctive finish that shows the carbon fibre construction.
“This frame is lightweight, strong and durable,” says 3T. “The exclusive pattern formed by our proprietary carbon fibre winding technology creates small Xs on the entire frame that will only be covered with a thin layer of clear coat to protect the fibres, without hiding anything.”
“This enhances the visibility of our production process while maintaining the exact same quality and performance level as our Racemax Italia, which offers an excellent weight-to-stiffness ratio combined with flexibility in the areas where comfort is needed.”
The Racemax Italia XXX frame is available to order in the shops and online. It'll be made on demand and priced at €4,999 (around £4,400).
Scottish start-up Streamline Cycling has launched the AIR (Aerodynamic Interchangeable Rim) System, which essentially makes it possible to have a set of wheels that can be transformed into deep-section ones to suit your riding conditions or discipline in a matter of minutes.
The setup includes a 32mm aero base rim – complete with hubs (DT Swiss 240 or Bitex) and spokes (Sapim CX-Ray). These rims can take tyres up to 40mm wide so they can be run as cyclocross wheels as well.
The base rim is said to give an aero benefit without being too twitchy even in high winds, allowed by both the depth and the U-shape trailing edge that is designed to improve stability.
The most interesting part of the AIR system is definitely the deep-section aero covers. The aero covers attach to the base rims using six secure quarter-turn attachments that are integrated into the cover. This allows them to be securely attached and removed in minutes.
They transform your 32mm base wheel to a 64mm deep section wheel and Streamline says that in their wind tunnel and home tests the covers tested faster through a broad range of wind yaw angles than a DT Swiss ARC 1400 DICUT 80mm wheel.
The covers feature a blunted V shape and hide the spoke nipples for an added aero benefit (while keeping the wheel easily serviceable as the covers come off quickly).
The current covers can take a maximum of 29mm tyres and the brand says they’re working on ones that could take 32mm wide tyres, as well. A set of covers (front or rear) weighs 200g and costs £224.
The base wheels weigh ~1,400g (standard model) and ~1,300g (lightweight) and cost £898. The first 50 buyers will also get a 10% discount.
The Streamline full disc covers for time trialists and triathletes weigh 250g and cost £249.
Streamline is also selling custom covers that fit the rear of any bike wheel or any trike wheel. All of the products are available on Streamline's website.
Chris King unveils AeroSet 3 headset with internal cable integration
Headset doyen Chris King has released a new AeroSet 3 design that offers fully internal cable integration, although the design has limited compatibility.
The AeroSet 3 is a 44mm headset with external cups equipped with Chris King’s built-in-house bearings.
“This precision headset option is the perfect fit for any custom bike utilising the ENVE In-Route System [with a 44mm straight head tube and a 1-1/8in to 1-1/2in tapered steerer tube], although CKPC [Chris King Precision Components] is currently seeking partners to create a unified standard for cockpit integration,” says Chris King
A unified standard? In the bike industry? Hmm, we could be waiting a while.
The cables run through the handlebar and stem and then into the head tube between the bearing and the fork steerer.
The Chris King AeroSet 3 headset is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. It is priced at $375 (around £300).
Ere Research revealed all-new Genus wheels at the Velofollies 2023 exhibition in Belgium last week. The wheels are intended for competition “and will not disappoint in terms of weight, stiffness, aerodynamics and design”, according to the Dutch brand.
The Genus wheels are available in three rim heights – 30, 45 and 65mm – and have a 21mm inner rim width
“Our brand new 2:1 spoke ratio Panama hubs come with a 36-star ratchet freehub body, ready for Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM.”
What is it with 36-tooth star ratchet freehubs this week? There must be something in the air. The hubs are fitted with SKF bearings and are said to weigh 131g (front) and 264g (rear).
Spokes are either Sapim CX Ray or Ere’s own Aeris full carbon spokes. The carbon option saves you 25g per wheel, but adds to the price (see below).
Ere says the lines on the full carbon rims are inspired by the guitar of Eddy van Halen. If you’re not familiar with Mr Van Halen’s guitar, Google it and you’ll see where they’re coming from.
Ere claims that wheelset weights start at 1,188g for the Genus SL30-R (with carbon spokes), going up to 1,599g for the Genus AE65 II with Sapim CX Ray spokes.
Prices are €1,499 (around £1,300) for wheelsets in all depths with the Sapim spokes, and €1,899 (around £1,670) for the ones with Ere Carbon Aeris spokes.
Brooks England has teamed up with artist US artist Jeremy Collins for a limited-edition B17 Special saddle with a laser-etched leather upper.
The snake-themed design was “created by Collins at the 2022 Bicycle Adventure Meeting in Mantova, following his epic bikepacking adventure through the Italian Dolomites”, according to Brooks.
The saddle also features hand-hammered copper rivets and pared side panels, and is priced at £250.
British bike security brand Hiplok has launched its first folding lock, called Switch. It uses hardened steel bars and has a Sold Secure Bronze rating.
“With a locking length of up to 85cm, Switch offers the rider greater choice on locking location than the standard D lock but can also be folded down into a compact portable package,” says Hiplok
“But what makes Switch truly unique is its carrying options. The Hiplok Switch system allows you to seamlessly swap between carrying a lock or a water bottle on your bike without having to change the holder or use a tool. Every Hiplok Switch comes with a bottle mount bracket and Switch plate included."
You get three coded replaceable keys and a lifetime warranty
The Hiplok Switch is priced at £74.99 and is available now.
According to reports from Taiwan, Giant is looking to invest $20 million (about £16 million) in Stages Cycling, best known for its power meters and indoor bikes (this news comes from Endurance.Biz).
“Of the $20 million investment, $6.5 million is being used to acquire 32.5% of the common stock of Stages Cycling, with $13.5 million to acquire the company’s convertible corporate bonds,” reports Endurance.Biz.
“A strategic investment in Stages would help in its development of a wider bicycle ecosystem, encompassing indoor training bikes, power meters and other accessories.”
If true, this is an interesting development because Giant is recognised as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer. It already offers its own power meters so we’d guess it’s the indoor market that holds the most interest here.
In yet more wheel news, British brand Parcours is the latest to team up with Classified to provide aero options with the Powershift technology.
If you’re late to the party, Powershift is a planetary 2x hub gear system that operates wirelessly and is powered by contactless energy transfer from the thru-axle. Essentially, the idea is that it makes front shifting redundant, allowing you to shift gears instantly and under full load.
“Parcours wheels are now available with Classified Powershift technology for the full road and gravel range with more exciting announcements and partnership developments planned for later this year,” says Parcours.
Wheels are available with a Classified rear hub shell, ready to fit a Powershift hub.
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.