It was merely months ago when 3T announced their partnership with UCI Pro Continental Team Aqua Blue Sport and their plan to supply the team with the Strada, 3T’s dedicated single-chain ring, disc-brake only machine which we covered quite a bit since summer.
We were quietly told during InterBike to be on the lookout for the team paint job and now the young Irish team just lifted the cover off their team steed.
We must admit that we are smitten with the clean blue and gold theme with the minimal logos (thank you).
Besides working with 3T, Aqua Blue also announced their partnership with SRAM where the team will be equipped with SRAM’s native Force 1 drivetrain with hydraulic HRD disc-brakes to handle the braking department. A sponsorship they’re so jazzed about that they made a video for it:
It’ll be interesting to see a team racing with only one ring and hydraulic disc brake while the rest of the peloton continues to ride with two rings and caliper brakes for the most part.
Now that one of our other writers has waxed on and on about InterBike leaving Las Vegas (see what I did there?), I am not going to bring up the glorious days of yesteryear.
I wasn’t there at the beginning because the show actually predates my existence. And because I’ve only actually attended a handful of times, three to be exact.
But what I will say is that there were still plenty of neat things to be found scattered all over the show floor inside Mandalay Convention Center. I am going to split the coverage into a three-part series with the first installment being all about the bikes.
Perhaps the first eBike that I really really really want to try and man, does this bike look good. Focus was mum on the exact specs of this prototype, but certain is that the bike can be ridden without its one-piece removable motor and battery unit as a regular road bike. The bike comes in at about 26 lbs total with the 250W power unit installed and 8 lbs less without it, essentially making it one of the lighter eBikes out there. The flat mount disc-only carbon frame also comes packed with design cues from the German firm’s lineup such as a 148x12mm Boost thru-axle out back and 110x12mm up front with its proprietary Rapid Axles Technology (RAT), plus full internal cable routing to keep it clean. Please hurry up and release it already.
Pivot Cycles has been on a roll lately and their latest offering, the Mach 5.5 10th Anniversary Edition, is as good as putting the cherry on the cake. At its core, the 140mm DW-link equipped frame is the same as the regular Mach 5.5 which was updated earlier this year. The only difference is its bitchin’ blue paint job plus color-coordinated parts top to bottom from its blue-railed WTB Volt saddle all the way to matching Industry Nine hubs laced to Reynolds rims with of course, custom graphics for what many feel is one of the best trail/do-it-all bikes currently on the market. Only 300 of these will be available so better jump on it.
With the GSD, Tern proves that one doesn’t have to juggle between mobility and load capacity. Despite it’s lanky looks, the GSD’s wheelbase is comparable to many full size eBikes. I was able to do a very short spin inside the convention center (don’t tell Mandalay Bay) and it felt lively, even with a full-grown rep sitting on the cargo rack. The disc-brake equipped GSD is designed to carry two Thule Yepp Maxi child seats with room to spare, up to 400lbs of cargo, and the Bosch powered drivetrain with dual-battery will provide enough juice up to 150 miles in one charge. The compact step-thru frame also allows multiple riders between 4′ 8″ to 6’4″ to operate the bike. Furthermore, true to Tern’s reputation as a folding bike company, the GSD’s telescoping seatpost and steer can be folded which effectively reduces its volume to half and it can also be placed vertically (like in an elevator) thanks to the built-in stand on the rack. Even the German-made Hebie kickstand is designed to support up to 80kg. Could this be the X5 of cargo eBikes?
With many of the large companies abandoning InterBike, it was great to see the boutique builders such as Denver’s Alchemy on the floor. The Atlas disc isn’t new but that sparkly orange on black paint job with matching graphics on pretty much every place imaginable goes to show how good their paint work is and what it’s capable of. Still trying to find out why it doesn’t have a rear fender though.
While the Alchemy Atlas got me all like ‘damn, that’s nice,’ I had to backtrack to take this one in. Bianchi has been offering their race-proven Specialissima for a few years now with its 780-gram frame and a proprietary Countervail vibration reduction system to soak up the unpleasantries. The bigger story is that the bike is painted to the classy Bianchi celeste and Mercatone Uno yellow identical to the one Marco Pantani used to dominate the 1998 Giro AND Tour. If there’s any paint that automatically connects to a Bianchi, this paint job has to be it. Much like how people associate Colnago C40s with Mapei (and Johan Museeuw). Also happy to know Bianchi didn’t carry over any of their structural foam injections from the Il Pirata days.
Look at those curves. I mean, look at them. The Van Dessel Country Road Bob, last produced in 2005 is back in the Van Dessel lineup. This aluminum single-speed adventure machine comes with TRP Hylex S hydraulic RS brakes/levers, plus 650b WTB’s fast-rolling Byway tires straight of the box. It’s $1,499.99…for the complete bike that I had to do a double take on to make sure that’s not the price for just the frameset. The Country Road Bob is compatible with a rear derailleur and a 700c wheelset should you decide you need a change of pace.
Walking down the Italian isle of InterBike is always something to look forward to every year. There are usually a few booths that show nothing but chamois and so many colored fabrics you’d swear they have the whole RGB color model covered. Then, there are bright Italian shoes, helmets… and of course, bikes. Not to be outdone, Wilier Triestina teamed up with Chef Matthew Accarrino of San Francisco’s SPQR restaurant to give out proscuitto-wrapped breadsticks with truffle butter in the middle of the booth next to some especially shiny rigs. The Cento10NDR combines the aerodynamic quantity of the Cento10AIR, but with a more forgiving endurance geometry and what Wilier calls ACTIFLEX. ACTIFLEX employs a small elastomer and a tiny aluminum linkage between the seattube and the seatstay to absorb vibration from the road. The frame and fork are designed with interchangeable dropouts to accommodate either traditional quick release or thru-axles. You can even choose to run direct-mount caliper rim brakes (with up to 28mm tires) or flat-mount hydraulic brakes (with up to 32mm tires). The choice is yours.
Speaking of the Cento10AIR, The metallic burnt orange finish on the Cento10AIR IS SO FREAKING SHINY. Turns out the finish is electroplated and will come standard for 2018.
We first reported the Strada during PressCamp in July when it was just a black, unmarked machine. 3T’s idea of building a dedicated single-chainring road bike has remained the same since and we now know the two dedicated 9-32 cassettes called the Bailout and the Overdrive with different gear spacing (but keeping the same 356% range) to compliment the sole chain ring. The show bike is coated in a sweet coat of red paint as it prepares to be released to the public. The final red paint job will be less pinkish and closer to the 3T red found on their logos but I actually don’t mind this slight pinkish hue. It’s different. The Strada will be raced by UCI Professional Continental Team Aqua Blue Sport next year so it’ll be interesting to see a pro team race exclusively on a 1X drivetrain.
Ahhh, titanium, the once uber material of the future, only to be now dwarfed by carbon fiber. There isn’t as many titanium bikes at InterBike as there once was when even companies like Mongoose (yes, the very sameMongoose brand available at Target) had a Titanium line (and attended the show). While the Vamoots Disc RSL shown is more or less a carrier to showcase Campagnolo’s H11Super Record EPS groupset, there’s something to be said about a meticulously welded titanium frame with nothing but a brushed finish. See that trick one-piece dropout? It’s 3D printed titanium. So fresh, so clean.
We’re back from the annual PressCamp in Park City, Utah where we lived and breathed nothing but bikes at 7,000+ feet of altitude for a week. It was fun and frankly it’s been a lot digesting all the materials. While more stories will be rolling out shortly, here are 14 items (in no particular order) we saw there that we’re pretty stoked about.
Aero and gravel bikes have been all the rage lately and while many pass on endurance bikes due to the preconceived notion of them being ‘slow,’ the Ridley Fenix SLX disc is anything but that. While the geometry remained identical to the ones Lotto-Soudal used to race in the classics, the 2018 model is 300 grams lighter, down to sub-850 grams in medium and now disc compatible, making it an ideal all-around machine. The disc-specific design utilizes Ridley’s own 60-50-40 ton high modulus unidirectional carbon and complete bikes will be available with Shimano Ultegra Di2, Ultegra mechanical, or the new Campagnolo Potenza 11 hydraulic disc grouppo.
Built around reliability, safety, modulation and better late than never, Campy is alas entering the hydraulic disc brake market. Designed in collaboration with Germany’s Magura but made by Campy in Europe, the disc system is full of sweet little design details: Its flat-mount and rotor-size specific caliper houses two 22mm phenolic resin pistons to combat heat transfer (Campy does not recommend adapter use for safety reasons); its organic brake pads are chamfered with a built-in wear indicator and are separated magnetically (versus metal springs); its centerlock rotors have rounded edges.
On the interface side, while the Ergopower shifter extends 11mm further and the shifter knob is 8mm taller to accommodate the brake’s master cylinders, the contact surface has largely remained the same as the previous generation. With all those design elements on such small real estate, Campy was able to increase the range of adjustments available to fine tune a rider’s preference: the new Adjustable Modulation System to tune the brake feel, adjustable brake lever reach, and adjustable reach on the upshift lever.
The disc system, dubbed the H11, will be available to flagship groups such as Super Record and Record (mechanical and EPS). Mechanical Chorus will be available with disc as well. For a lower-price point, Campy’s Potenza 11 group will share the same rotor and caliper, but with alloy shift levers and a PowerShift drivetrain (instead of Ultra-Shift found on higher end group sets).
The Mach 4 was Pivot’s first model in 2007. Now in its 5th iteration, the bike is as capable and is fast. Designed to be World Cup cross country worthy and trail capable, the Mach 4 seems perfect for those who like a fast ride and eschew bikes with longer travels. The DW-link rear suspension with 115mm travel on a custom tuned FOX Factory DPS shock is now mated to a new rear triangle to accommodate boost 148 spacing while improving stiffness and tire clearance up to 2.6″. Pivot offers both builds oriented for both XC and trail build that goes as light as 22lbs complete and 5 sizes to fit riders from 4’10” to 6’3”. What’s neat about Pivot’s offering is that unlike other companies who use same frame designs but heavier carbon layups, the Mach 4 uses the same frame and shock across the board from its $4,599 race XT build to the top of the line $9,499 Team XTR Di2 build so you can always up your parts game later knowing your frame is as good as it gets.
Started as a quest to remedy chafed and cracked cow udders in Vermont in 1900, Bag Balm sounded just so unrelated to bikes. But perhaps it’s a best kept secret from the ’96 US Olympic track team, as told by team member and world record holder, Sky Christopherson, where the team turned to Bag Balm as their go to chamois cream. They were only able to purchase it from a nearby livestock supply store. Bag Balm is as long-lasting as it is simple. Its formula contains only 4 ingredients: petrolatum, lanolin, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate and paraffin wax. But it’s versatile as I doubt any famers would put anything unproven on their prized cows, or any of us who needs an effective moisturizer to fit our variety of needs from using it as chamois to lip balm to anything in between. We gave it a try while combating the dryness and altitude in Park City and it seemed to work exceptionally well. Bag Balm is available at most drug stores such as CVS, Target and Walgreens so you know where to find it next time when you need some chamois cream and all-around moisturizer.
Originally started in 2007 as an offshoot of Britian’s renowned engineering firm BF1systems, Factor Bikes is no stranger to the limelight thanks to its forward thinking designs over the years: From the £25k Factor ONE-77 hyperbike made in collaboration with Aston Martin (yes, the car company) to the Twin Vane split down tube on the Vis Vires in 2013, Factor has been making, albeit limited stuff for the chosen few. That all changed in 2015 when industry veteran Rob Gitelis and former green jersey winner Baden Cooke purchased Factor from BF1 and went on to sponsor a WorldTour team before a bike was sold to the public.
But the wait is over and the O2 disc, a disc version of the same O2 that is being raced by AG2R La Mondiale (look for it in this year’s Tour De France). The disc version adds about 20 grams to the fork and about 40 grams to the frame, bringing the frame to about 800 grams. The frameset does not use any alloy inserts and will be available as a complete bike, chassis (frame, fork, headset, bottom bracket, bar, stem and seatpost), as well as rolling chassis (chassis plus wheels) with components from in house brand Black Inc. which is said to work as a system together in terms of optimal balance in performance and comfort. Extra Credit: Every Factor comes standard with a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket. Here is our first ride impression.
Alloy wheels are not dead and Boyd’s Altamont Lite is a good example of what one could get from a high-end hand built set of alloy wheels. At $900/set and around 1,450 grams, the 30mm tall welded rim with 19.86mm internal width and tubeless compatible rim, it has all the bells and whistles that one would find on wheels costing much more. Boyd didn’t stop there, though. The Altamont Lite now comes with a durable ceramic coating on the brake track to improve all-weather braking performance. Since all of Boyd’s hoops are hand-built at their family-owned shop in Greenville, South Carolina, you have options regarding spoke counts as well as an upgrade to White Industries hubs. Also new for 2017 is Boyd’s Ready2Ride program where Boyd installs the wheels with axles, tires, cassette and rotors in advance (for a fee) so it will be ready to ride straight out of the box. A small but thoughtful detail perfect for those with a busy schedule.
We love high-performance machines but we didn’t forget about all you parents with kids. This year Thule had a mix of on-bike bike seats and convertible trailers for the little ones. We think the Yepp Nexxt Mini is pretty neat with its quick attach bracket, a slick five-point magnetic harness system on a shock-absorbing seat, plus an integrated handlebar and adjustable foot rests designed for nine month olds to three year olds plus a max 33-lb capacity on a lightweight 6.6-lb chassis. Because admit it, weight does matter.
Gerard Vroomen is no stranger when it comes to designing something different. From his Cervelo days telling everyone about the benefit of 25c tires and the idea of a compact crankset that has now been well-adopted, Gerard does his own thing. Though eagle-eyed readers might see a facade reminiscent of Gerard’s past projects, the Strada is different.
It’s drawn specifically around wider tires, disc brakes and without the front derailleur in mind. That’s right, a 1×12 drivetrain 3T believes so strongly the bike will be released with its own dedicated cassettes featuring what they could just call the golden ratio of cassettes that has the smooth 1-tooth transition on the first 5 gears, plus a massive 350% range.
Speaking of massive, the tubes are in their own league. Whereas common aero tubing assumes airflow to stay flat as the bike travels into the wind, 3T noticed the airflow actually behaves more like an arc so the tubes were designed accordingly. Its new Fundi fork continues to minimize the frontal area to the wind while being able to accommodate 25-30c tires.
Perhaps the biggest bang for the buck at PressCamp this year had to be the NeilPryde Nazaré SL. Named after the legendary Portuguese wave, the Nazaré SL is the company’s aero offering. You’re probably thinking great, it’s (yet) another aero road bike. NeilPryde may be relatively new to the bike biz, but for those who are unfamiliar with them, NeilPryde has been playing with aerodynamics and composite engineering for about 40 years in water sports, notably windsurfing and sailing.
While other companies’ top aero offering could easy cost upwards of $10k, the top Nazaré SL in Dura-Ace 9100 mechanical transmission with Fulcrum Quattro Carbon hoops for $6,200, followed by a second model with Ultegra 8000 at an equally competitive $3,600. At 960 grams for a large frame, it ain’t no slouch either. Both models include their semi-integrated Aeroblade bar/stem cockpit to slice through the wind.
For those with tighter budgets, NeilPryde will also be offering the Nazaré, which shares the same design cues but is built with slightly heavier fibers. Nazare with Ultegra 8000 will be $2,900 and there will even be a 105-spec’d version, minus the Aeroblade cockpit, for $2,100.
This one got me with its sparkly purple paint. At 1,800 grams for a frame, the Nemo is not going to win any weight weenie contests anytime soon, but this frame is much more than just a pretty face. Under the hood (ok, paint) the Nemo utilizes oversized triple-butted Columbus Spirit niobium steel tubes which are then TIG-welded in Italy before being painted with your choice of five colors. The Nemo is available in six standard sizes from XS (48cm) to XXL (61cm), but Cinelli will make one made to measure if you like this classy-looking machine. Who says weight is everything.
Flexible body armor has been making its way into the body protection scene the last few years and I thank companies for making them so good yet hardly resembling those bulky hard rebadged ones from motocross that were once the only choice. Among them is G-Form. New this year is the Elite line of knee and elbow guards. The Elite continues the usage of G-Form’s own Reactive Protective Technology (RPT) layer to instantly absorb impact while staying flexible. Compared to the previous Pro-X line, the elite has thicker padding, more coverage and updated lycra sleeves that are not only longer in length, but also with a more breathable back panel plus silicone grippers top and bottom. Available now for $99.99. We are putting ours to the test for now so stay tuned for a more in depth look.
Thinking about buying a new crankset for your current mtb but worried about future compatibility? Enter the FSA SL-K BB392EVO modular crankset. For starters, it has the standard option of running direct mount 1x and 2x chainrings while the BB392 axle means you can fit the crank into a variety of frames with different bottom bracket standards (using appropriate bottom brackets obviously). But it doesn’t stop there. The modular crankset also makes nice between the traditional and the newer, wider Boost spacing with its built-in adjustment system (read: a spacer). They’re available in-stores now.
It’s by far the most expensive stem ($650) I’ve ever crossed paths with – so much so one can buy a new iPhone 7. But if money was no object, I’d get my hands on one of these gems ASAP. At 68 grams (100mm), it’s likely to be one of the lightest stems in the market by the THM Carbones of Germany. The Tibia is said to have the world’s best stiffness to weight ratio with its full carbon construction including the faceplate, and titanium fasteners (in torx versus the more traditional hex). What’s special about the Tibia’s design is that the faceplate mounting bolts are reversely mounted in such that the threaded rods extend from the stem and are secured by four t15 torx bolts. THM claims their particular design makes for a stiffer platform. The steer clamp is also mounted on two rotatable shafts to lessen stress. Available now.
Also prohibitively expensive at $4,000 a set but equally fascinating is the Zipp 454 NSW (Nest Speed Weaponry) disc. The rim uses the Zipp’s new variable depth HyperFoil Sawtooth profile that gives the rim its distinctive zig-zag shape as it varies from 53mm to 58mm and is said to be inspired by the tubercles of a humpback whale’s pectoral fin. It’s the fastest and also the most stable wheelset, a point Zipp stresses in terms of aero balance when riding in the wind in the 30 years since Zipp got into the aero wheel business. The 454 also employs Zipp’s own Cognition hubset with Axial Clutch technology that uses magnets instead of the standard pawl design to reduce drag. Enough said about these gems. Just think of the 454 as the AMG of Zipp wheels.