The world of cycling tech never stops evolving, and we're here for it! This week's tech stories are full of new designs, products and campaigns - utilising technologies that are already around such as SRAM Force AXS, Hunt wheels and indoor cycling apps - but taking those a little further in the pursuit of making them (you guessed it) a little better.
But, let's start off with some statistics about punctures and riders' thoughts about whether switching to a tubeless system makes sense...
How often do you get a puncture? Muc-Off says every eight months is the average
Road cyclists have averaged 4.45 punctures over the past three years, or about 1.5 a year, according to a survey by Muc-Off. In other words, this data suggests that roadies typically puncture about once every eight months. Does that ring true to you? Of course, we all know that they're never spread out neatly, preferring to strike in batches.
Muc-Off’s puncture data is based on 5,000 respondents from 50 countries. One in three riders say they have experienced a ‘ride-ending’ puncture in the last three years, while just 10% of road riders say they’ve had no punctures during that period.
> Buyer's guide to tubeless tyres — find out all about new technology rubber
Muc-Off’s survey aimed to gain insight into its customers’ approaches to tubeless and puncture repair with questions around puncture frequency, techniques for fixing and preventing punctures, and inner tube vs tubeless setups.
Gravel riders have more punctures than mountain bike and road riders, with an average of 4.52 punctures over the last three years. As mentioned, roadies aren’t far behind with 4.45 punctures, with mountain bikers faring best with 3.82.
Three in four riders take a set of tyre levers along on the ride, and over half of the respondents said they carry a spare inner tube, a pump, a puncture repair kit, and/or a CO2 cartridge with them, with non-tubeless riders carrying significantly more items with them on rides that those running a tubeless setup.
> Should you get tubeless tyres? Are they your best option?
Most surprisingly, to us at least, is that 5.8% of riders take no puncture repair tools or spares with them when riding, not even a pump.
According to Muc-Off’s survey, slightly more roadies are still running inner tubes than those who have switched to tubeless tyres (which you run with sealant inside to fix punctures automatically), although the majority of mountain bike and gravel bike riders who responded said they’ve already ditched tubes.
The most common reason tubeless riders liked running tubeless was that they got fewer punctures, followed closely by it providing increased comfort (72%). Some (42%) said they liked the ‘improved traction’ and ‘improved rolling resistance’ (35%) as well as the ‘weight saving’ (35%) tubeless provides.
> Fitting tubeless tyres – learn how with this simple guide
The most common reason given by inner tube users for not swapping to tubeless was that they didn’t have tubeless-ready wheels and/or tyres. About 25% of respondents said they either don’t understand what’s involved with setting up tubeless, or that they feel the set-up would be too complicated.
Muc-Off has set up what it calls a Tubeless & Puncture Protection Hub where it shows you its range of products along with instructional videos.
What do you think of tubeless on the road? Is it a step forward or do you think it's too much of a faff for you?
Find out more here
Orbea introduces three bikes with new SRAM Force AXS
Orbea has introduced three new models featuring the updated SRAM Force AXS groupset that was launched last week: two Orca models and an Orca Aero. Any Orbea dealer or online customer who is waiting to receive one of the three models will automatically receive it with the new Force AXS components.
> New SRAM Force AXS first ride review — is it any good?
The Orca range sees SRAM Force AXS added to the M21eLTD PWR (£8,299) model with OMX carbon and its M21eTEAM PWR model (£5,999) with OMR carbon.
The Orca Aero range gets the new SRAM groupset on the M21eLTD model (£6,499).
Find out more here
Lotus to develop new Team GB track bike for Paris 2024
Lotus has announced its collaboration with British Cycling will continue with the development of a new track bike for Team GB riders to use at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Lotus Engineering’s partnership with British Cycling already resulted in the co-development of the track bike used by Team GB riders for Tokyo 2020, with the event of course eventually taking place in 2021 due to Covid-19.
Long before that, Lotus developed the Type 108 – the LotusSport Pursuit Bicycle – a revolutionary concept that showcased a ground-breaking monocoque design, advanced carbon composite construction, and, a pioneering approach to aerodynamics. The Type 108 helped British rider Chris Boardman win gold at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
> Check out Chris Boardman’s Olympic-winning Lotus Type 108
Its success sparked the genesis of the Lotus Type 110, a time trial bike boasting many of the same innovations. Boardman rode it to victory in the Prologue of the 1994 Tour de France.
Richard Hill, Chief Aerodynamicist for Lotus, said, “Back then, it was simply about developing an aerodynamic bike that would go fast. But really there are two separate elements – the bike and the rider – which come together as one to move through the air. That was the approach we took with the Tokyo bike and is continuing for Paris 2024.”
Mavic announces collab with artist Jerome Masi
Mavic has unveiled striking wheels and jerseys that are the results of a collaboration with illustrator Jerome Masi.
“Transposing my work onto other media than paper or canvas became obvious little by little,” said Jérôme Masi. “With Mavic, I had to learn about a new world with its own culture, technical aspects and constraints.
“When Mavic offered me this collaboration, I immediately accepted, as it was obvious, Mavic is an emblematic French brand.”
The Jérôme Masi x Mavic men’s and women’s jerseys are available for £75 each.
Mavic Cosmic SL wheels will be available at a suggested retail price of £1,440, and Cosmic SLR wheels at £2,090.
Find out more here
Ritchey releases Skyline handlebar
Ritchey has unveiled a brand-new Skyline handlebar that “offers progressive drop and reach along with an anatomical bend to make it the most ergonomic Ritchey road bar on offer”.
Ritchey says, “The astounding comfort and confidence of the Skyline starts with the ergonomic tops, which allow plenty of surface area to wrap your hands around and to disperse road vibrations. The anatomical drops double down on the bar’s ergonomics by offering multiple hand positions when riding in the drops.”
“However, the recipe for the special sauce of these bars is the progressive mix of reach and drop with the bar’s width. This combination offers true ergonomic consistency across all sizes.”
The Skyline was designed with road riders in mind, although Ritchey expects it to win fans in the cyclocross world too.
The WCS version of the Skyline (£92.90) is made with triple-butted 7050-T6 alloy while the Comp model (£46.90) is double-butted 6061 alloy.
Find out more here
Bont adds new Vaypor shoe design for 2023
Bont is introducing a new Vaypor for 2023 that’s a completely different offering to the rest of the Vaypor Series. The Vaypor has been one of the most distinctive shoes out there for years thanks to a shape that’s designed to match that of the foot more accurately than most; although, at first sight, the new model looks a little more conventional.
“Featuring a revamped design and all-new construction method, the Vaypor 2023 is powerfully efficient, super light (just 200g for a size 42 shoe) and designed to be comfortable across rides of any distance and under the harshest of environments,” says Bont.
> Best road cycling shoes 2023 — get faster with light, stiff shoes
“Harnessing a reimagined low-profile forefoot cradle, arch profile and refined heel cup and opening, the Vaypor 2023 is built to accommodate an improved range of foot shapes, types and widths.”
Like other high-end Bonts, the shoe is heat mouldable. The dials are Boa Li2.
> Check out the best cycling shoes with the Li2 BOA Fit System
We have a pair on the way to the road.cc offices, so stay tuned for our review.
Find out more here
Prologo releases its first-ever ergonomic women’s saddle, the ‘Scratch EVA’
Prologo has already sponsored women’s WorldTour and Continental teams for years - and because of this, it has gathered quite a lot of information on female anatomy. With the release of the new women-specific Scratch EVA saddle, Prologo wanted to perfect a women's saddle that fits women cyclists.
Best women's bike saddles 2023 — get the right support for your riding
The shape of the new women’s saddle resembles the T-shape of the unisex model, Scratch M5, which has been already seen winning races on both road and off-road. Prologo has taken advice from pro rider Marta Cavalli (FDJ SUEZ Futuroscope) in designing this saddle and even made a wee video about the saddle with her.
What has Prologo identified works best, then? The anatomical shape of the new Scratch EVA has been redesigned to better fit the female body by moving the saddle’s "anatomical centre" 5mm forward. This should allow the saddle to be moved forward, thus increasing the support surface for the pelvis, which is often wider on women than men.
Prologo has kept the saddle compact, with measures of 245mm x 140mm and added specific padding to where it is needed. For support, the padding is the thickest at the back, and the middle and front offer thinner padding to minimise pressure points. In the middle, there is a large channel made of very soft material, all to “eliminate numbness, pain, and avoid reduction of blood circulation”.
The nose of the saddle is 10mm wider and also, tilted downwards, to avoid excessive pressure when for example, doing seated climbs.
There are two rail options for the Scratch EVA; Nack (nano carbon fibre) is composed of carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium filaments and results in a saddle weighing a mere 183g. The light alloy steel rail TiroX model weighs 232g and boasts offering less stiffness but superior vibration absorption.
The Nack model retails for £196 and the Scratch EVA with Tirox rail £124.
Jack Wolfskin enters the bikepacking market with a bag and apparel collection
We’ve already seen outdoor equipment giants such as Rab enter the bikepacking market, and now Jack Wolfskin is following suit.
The new collection features both men’s and women’s apparel and also, a whole range of “lightweight carrying systems” aka bikepacking bags.
Jack Wolfskin says the new bike collection is “specifically tailored to cycling combining both lightness and comfort with dependable performance” and has an athletic fit that is ideal for either an afternoon pootle or multi-day outing. In terms of tailoring, you get the usually dropped tail, shorter fronts and easy-to-access pockets.
Jack Wolfskin has also woven in some quite interesting-sounding tech, including ‘brrr’ which the brand explains as “natural minerals provide a triple chill effect through cooling, active moisture transport and fast drying”. Because it’s integrated into the fibres, it cannot be washed away… and there is also the Microban tech, which should reduce odours - which we all want on multi-day bikepacking excursions.
How to pack bikepacking bags - carry everything you need and more
And those bags… they feature a Fidlock magnetic winch system, and the drybags supposedly attach to the bag mounts with a “twist of the wrist”.
Check out the full collection - and keep your eyes peeled for some reviews that might appear on the pages of off.road.cc, our chunkier-tyred sibling.
Hunt announces Classified Powershift-ready wheel options
HUNT Wheels and drivetrain technology company Classified have announced that the two companies have joined forces to create industry-leading wheel systems, making Hunt the latest wheel brand to utilise the Belgian hub tech.
Best road bike wheels 2023 — transform your road bike with some shiny new hoops
We've seen Classified increasingly finding its way to all fields of cycling, even at the WorldTour level - and wheel brands are embracing this by offering the classified hub as an option. You can now get two Hunt wheel models - the 48 Limitless Aero Disc and the 40 Carbon Gravel Disc - with the Classified hub shell. Worth noting that these are "Classified-ready" wheels, which means the prices are really for the shell, you need to add the Classified system to it.
Instead of going more into the details of how the Powershift hub works, we recommend checking out our review of it here. The 48 Limitless Aero Disc and the 40 Carbon Gravel Disc are available for pre-order now, with delivery expected in June. Prices are £1149 and £949 respectively.
Indoor training platform BKOOL announces a price revision for new users
Bkool, the indoor cycling platform and official Giro d’Italia Virtual cycling simulator, has announced new prices and a “family account” which enables users to share one account with one price.
Getting started with BKOOL - Road.cc
The revised BKOOL Premium subscription will cost 11€ on the monthly version and 100€ on the annual version from April onwards, and this should be implemented for existing premium users as well.
The new family plan will cost 129€ annually and allows three different devices to be connected simultaneously in the same household. Up to five devices can be registered, as well, and those can be changed up to three times every year.
ROUVY launches virtual campaign to support women cyclists
ROUVY, another indoor cycling platform, has launched a campaign aimed at encouraging women to ride indoors, calling it ROUVY for Women. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the campaign runs from 6-19 March and is designed to “inspire, motivate and empower women to experience the benefits of indoor cycling and reach their fitness goals”.
Cycling fitness: How to get the most from your indoor training sessions
The brand says that even though cycling’s popularity has grown a lot thanks to advances in technology, it still remains a male-dominated sport. ROUVY for Women is the company's first initiative to close this gender gap.
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