Here’s The Week in Tech, our round-up of all the gear news with all the info you need and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t want.
New Zipp Firecrest and NSW disc-brake wheels
Zipp expands its NSW and Firecrest wheel line-ups with new disc brake wheels featuring a redesigned aerodynamic rim shape and tubeless compatibility. Without constraints of rim brake caliper compatibility or brake-track requirements, Zipp extends its ABLS Sawtooth dimple design all the way to the edge of the rim, which, the company says, aids in crosswind stability.
The NSW and Firecrest 202s and 303s disc brake wheels have a 21mm internal rim width. Zipp says they tested fastest when paired with 28mm tires. The 404s and 808s have a narrower 19mm internal width and are better for smoother pavement with 25mm tires. Both the new NSW and Firecrest lines of wheels are tubeless compatible and have a rim beads made with internal ridges to lock the tire’s bead in place.
The NSW wheels are built with Zipp’s Cognition disc-brake hubs that reduce mechanical drag while coasting. Firecrest wheels include 77D/177D hubs with swappable end caps that work with quick release and thru axles.
Zipp’s Firecrest wheels will retail for $2,500 for the 202s and 404s while the 808s are priced at $2,800. The NSW wheels with Cognition hubs cost $3,200 for the 202s, 303s, and 404s. The 808s are $3,500.
Tons of new Shimano shoes for 2018
Shimano revealed a range of new cycling shoes across several platforms including the Road Performance, Mountain Enduro, Explorer, and Multi-Surface collections. The company’s RP9 endurance cycling shoes fuse construction and performance features from Shimano’s Road Competition line with a more comfortable carbon composite sole and seamless one-piece upper. They use a Boa IP1 closure system and a curved external heel cup to hold the foot in place and will retail for $300. A women’s RP7 model ($200) is also available. It has a narrower heel cup and lower-volume toe box. The more budget-friendly RP5 and RP5W shoes offer a more relaxed and roomy fit for $150 while the price point RP1 cost just $80.
The Mountain-Enduro ME3 and ME3W off road shoes are designed for all-around performance and have Shimano’s Torbal midsole for on- and off-bike performance. The entry-level ME2 and ME2W are also new to the ME series, borrowing design and technology cues from the more expensive shoes while keeping the price to $90.
Shimano’s new XC5 and XC5W shoes are designed for gravel riding or cyclocross racing. The lace-up design has a synthetic leather upper and carbon reinforced midsole with a Michelin outsole and reinforced spike mounts.
Shimano expands its line of Explorer footwear with the introduction of three new models across City and Mountain Touring categories. The CT5 and CT5W commuter shoes are SPD compatible but are disguised as urban sneakers with a casual aesthetic. The MT7 mountain-touring shoe features a Boa closure system and an upper constructed from synthetic leather and rip-stop mesh for balanced durability and breathability.
Dandelion tires from Apollo Vredestein
Apollo Vredestein, a manufacturer of automotive tires, showcased a prototype of its Vredestein Fortezza Flower Power road tire that is made of rubber extracted from the roots of dandelions. The initiative was a combined effort between Appolo Vredestein and Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands and was co-financed by the European Union. The tire is claimed to provide better grip than traditional compounds thanks to the higher concentration of natural resin in this particular variant of natural rubber. Studies are currently exploring whether this tire can be mass-produced in the future.
Two new wheel options from Reynolds
Reynolds launched two new wheelsets including the All Terrain Adventure (ATR) and Blacklabel mountain bike wheels. The ATR wheels are available in both 700c and 650b sizes and are build on a wide-profile carbon rim to fit bigger all-terrain tires. They have 23mm internal rim widths and are center-lock disc rotor capable. The 700c wheels weigh a claimed 1,620 grams while the 650b model weighs 1,550 grams.
Reynolds’s Blacklabel XC 29 carbon wheels are designed for cross-country and trail riders who favor more modestly sized tires. They have a narrow 25mm internal rim width along with Industry Nine center lock hubs and a 25mm asymmetric rim profile that provides more even spoke tension according to Reynolds.
Stan’s NoTubes release two new wheelsets
The 29-inch Podium SRD carbon race wheelset has a new rim shape that features a 23mm internal rim width and lower profile sidewalls. Together with a new carbon layup, the wheels are said to absorb impacts more efficiently. The design is part of Stan’s Radial Impact Absorbing Carbon Technology (RiACT) and reportedly deflects radially 11% more than the company’s Valor wheels.
Stan’s also adds three new aluminum wheel options to its MK3 product line. The Sentry MK3, Baron MK3, and Major MK3 offer wider rim shapes designed for 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch tires. Based on Stan’s WideRight sizing concept that matches rim width to tire width for optimal speed and traction, the wider MK3 rims bring Stan’s Bead Socket tubeless technology to Plus tires.
New 650b wheels from Zipp
Zipp launched its new 303 Firecrest 650b carbon clincher wheels that are optimized for gravel, dirt, or extra comfy road riding. The disc-brake wheels are tubeless-compatible and feature the same technologies and ABLS Sawtooth dimple design as the full line of Firecrest carbon clinchers. They have a 21mm internal rim width and are compatible with quick releases and thru-axles with swappable end caps. The 650b model, however, has a 548mm beat seat diameter versus the 622mm diameter of a standard 700c road rim. The new 303 Firecrest 650b wheelset retails for $2,500.
Open U.P.dates its adventure bike
Open released a lighter version of its U.P. adventure gravel bike. The bike first made waves two years ago with its versatile 650b road-plus or 700c wheel capabilities. The new frame still offers the wide range of tire compatibility up to 2.1-inch and all the way down to 28mm road tires but the frame is lighter by 70 grams. It also features a new U-turn fork that Open says saves another 65 grams. The New U.P. has been further upgraded to accept flat-mount disc brakes. It comes with a new carbon layup, as well as dedicated hardware including carbon-ti axles. The new frameset will be available for $3,200.
Pirelli joins forces with Castelli in apparel launch
Earlier this year, Pirelli jumped back into bicycle tire manufacturing with the P Zero Velo line. Now, it dives into apparel with a new line of high-tech clothing that was developed in partnership with Castelli. The new apparel collection includes jerseys and bib shorts that draw on the company’s aerodynamic research. The Aero Race 5.1 jersey features fabrics on the front and back that are claimed to save 22 watts over a normal cycling jersey. We are not sure what the baseline was for Pirelli’s test, but 22 watts seems like a lot. Three additional jersey designs are also offered along with a single bib short option.
New helmets and glasses from Rudy Project
Rudy Project unveiled its 2018 collection, which includes the new Sintryx and Tralyx Slim sunglasses; Protera, Central, and Boost Pro helmets; and a new polarized lens technology called Polar 3FX HDR. The Sintryx offers high-wrap protection and wide field of vision. A new lens swapping technology that releases the lens out of the lower part of the chassis with a single push of the central logo is also featured on the Sintryx glasses.
The Protera is Rudy Project’s first mountain bike specific helmet design. It uses the company’s Strap Quick-Change system that provides a simple strap removal. The Boost Pro helmet was spotted earlier this year on several Bahrain-Merida riders. The aero design was developed to reduce drag with a removable back cover that can be snapped-in to offer full aero configuration while the front vent covers add custom air management
Rudy Project’s Polar 3FX lens technology protects against UV rays and eliminates glare by selectively filtering non-harmful wavelengths through the lens. It also incorporates Rudy Project’s HDR (high dynamic range) filter to boost color experience and provide an extraordinary visual performance.
New Pearl Izumi apparel and footwear
Pearl Izumi introduced its 2018 spring road and mountain bike collection including three new clothing lines and two footwear updates. The company’s Dirt Collection offers apparel for a broad range of off-pavement riding. The PI/Black Collection is performance-focused and designed in Pearl Izumi’s Speed Shop along with input from professional riders. The third collection, the Pursuit Aero Collection, uses advances in pattern engineering, texture, and shape to optimize airflow over the rider and reduce drag. For footwear, Pearl Izumi debuts the P.R.O. Leader v4 road kicks that are built with an asymmetric seamless upper to minimize pressure points on the foot. The new X-Alp Launch shoes are the company’s first flat pedal shoes. They can also be used with SPD pedals. The X-Alp Elevate are designed for all-mountain riders.