June 21, 2014. I’ll clearly remember the day. The day my very first power meter arrived on my doorstep. Man, was I stoked. I was really into racing at this point in my life and I finally owned the tool I needed to make me fast. I had been lusting after a power meter for so long and here it was. And I was only months away from first contribution to this website, Element.ly.
It was a Stages mated to a Cannondale Si crank arm. Granted, it wasn’t a matching SiSL2 arm that I had hoped for, but I didn’t mind those few extra grams. Since this is not a long-term review story, I’ll spare you all the technical details other than the fact that it works, and I’ve been a happy user.
I noticed intermittent loss of signal starting this past summer but I didn’t think much of it. I knew my battery was getting old, and the signal loss problem was largely gone after a new battery was installed. The problem eventually came back in October and I thought it was the battery door not being tight enough, as the plastic tabs on the doors can be finiky to deal with. Over the years, I ordered extra doors and o-ring seals just so I can have fresh o-rings whenever I switch the battery, but I’ve finally run out so I hit up Stages hoping to buy a few more of those damn doors.
After the usual email exchanges, I woke up one morning to a really nice tech informing me that based on the photos I sent over, the housing latches were damaged. Yup, cue the “oh no uh oh.” Instead of a sorry it’s out of warranty you are SOL I was surprised to hear options. Yes, plural
I was told 1) I could get new battery doors with no promises that it’ll securely work or 2) a fully repaired and rebuilt to the newest generation 3 spec, or 3) trade mine in for a whole new crank arm/powermeter unit.
Mind you I was also dealing with a warranty issue with my Benz that was going nowhere so the offer from Stages was an unexpected breath of fresh air. I didn’t expect that response. I opted for the rebuild and the turnaround was much shorter than what I was told.
Now that’s quality service. Good job Stages. I am stoked to have my power meter of quasi sentimental value fixed and ready to ride again. Though it’s been a while since I last pinned a number on at any race whatsoever and that my watts number game is comparatively whack, I still very much appreciate the data and science-based training, an extra tool to help and motivate me to stay in shape, or crudely speaking, to go measurably faster than my ride buddies.
Besides a convention center full of bikes to look at, One cannot leave Interbike without components and accessories that accompany our beloved sport. From husband and wife booth to tricked out CES-esque affairs, here are ten items that we wouldn’t think twice to take home straight off the show floor.
As robust as the original Pioneer system was, the computer head-unit was more or less its Achilles heel. Sure, it worked and looked all business like a SRM, but it was comparatively rudimentary when pitted against refined offerings from rivals Garmin and Wahoo which have faster product cycles. The new, $360, 85-gram SGX-CA600 computer aims to change that. It now has a 2.2″ color screen surrounded by six buttons, improved resistance to water and dust, turn-by-turn navigation, and a much needed Bluetooth Low Energy compatibility which pairs with your phone to receive calls, emails and texts. The power and training metrics, arguably the heart and soul of the Pioneer ecosystem, remain the same, however. In addition, given that the computer can “talk” to your phone, there’s a companion app in both Android and iOS that enables users to set up their computers directly from their phones.
White Industries jumped into the headset game last year and this year’s highlight from the family-owned business based out of Petaluma is their new Micro Spline-compatible freehub body for the new, yet available Shimano XTR 12-speed group. Instead of the 22-spline found on the original Shimano design, White Industries went with 12 splines for the same effect. Word on the street was that Shimano was so interested they spent a good amount of time looking at it and taking plenty of pictures. But the best part about these 6/4 titanium goodies? They are backward compatible with older White hubs.
Thomson had a small booth near a quiet corner at the convention center and though they didn’t exactly have any new products to showcase, the biggest news was the new finish on some of their bomb-proof parts. You see, Thomson’s components have only been offered in either black or silver for as long as I can remember, but the Macon, Georgia-based firm will offer stems and seatposts covered in jungle-colored Cerakote, an extremely hard and durable ceramic coating commonly found in firearms, for $124.95, a $25 premium over the standard Thomson offerings. I was told more limited edition colors are also a possibility, depending on the consumer response to the jungle color. Frankly, the earthy, greenish hue gave me a flashback to those Easton MG60 magnesium stems that have been been long discontinued. Unlike the MG60 that easily corrodes and is stupid expensive, these Thomson parts and the Cerakote coating might just outlive your bike.
Donnelly makes some of the best cyclocross and gravel tires around, but you already knew that. The update out of Interbike is that tan sidewalls will be an option on the popular X’plor CDG, X’plor MSO, Strada USH, and X’plor USH models in a few weeks’ time. Sure beats a boring black sidewall if you ask me.
Tubeless sealants are pretty much a dime a dozen these days but Muc-Off’s iteration managed to stand out with some clever design elements. Besides being able to patch up punctures up to 6mm while being non-corrosive, biodegradable, washable, and works from 15psi to 120psi and in temperatures from -4°F to +122°F for an estimated six months, the pink No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant has been incorporated with a UV dye similar to some of Muc-Off lubes so users can easily spot any leaks with a UV light. Although the larger 1-liter bottle will appeal to those with multiple bikes , I particularly liked the smaller, 140ml pouch with an opening designed to slip right onto a standard presta valve for a leak-free pour while still being able to precisely measure the amount of sealant by looking at the clear graduation marks on the back of the pouch. The No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant will be available October 5th for $9.99/140ml pouch, $12.99 complete starter kit (140ml of sealant, UV light, a top-up cup plus a valve core remover), and $39.99 for one liter.
Cane Creek’s extraordinary (and extra expensive) titanium eeWings cranks are so darn cool and they’re now even more lust-worthy with the inclusion of a sole Stages powermeter on its driveside. Only the mountain eeWings in 170mm and 175mm are available at the moment for $1,499, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually extends to the new all-road crankarms or even go dual-sided for even more dough.
Let’s face it: If buying the perfectly-shaped handlebar and stem isn’t already hard enough, buying a one-piece bar/stem combo is downright terrifying – one piece means zero room for error, damn it, so you better get it right. Vision has had the 5D Integrated bar/stem in its lineup for some time and its 10° forward arcing wing top has attracted both fans and critics. Vision listened and there is now an alternative to choose from, the 6D Integrated. The 6D shares an identical width (400, 420 440mm), 2° outward bend, 80mm reach and 125mm drop, but its top has been replaced with a straight 0° aero-ergo top. The 6D comes with a claimed weight of 395 grams and is available for $594.99.
The 152-year old British firm first introduced the Cambium line of saddles in 2013 and it was the modernization on what we’ve come to expect as a Brooks saddle. Updated shapes, materials, and construction, but it still retains some of its classy looks. The original Cambiums came with a vulcanized natural rubber and an organic cotton top, but the All-Weather version, with its waterproof nylon top is specifically made to combat against all that mother nature has to offer – which makes it especially enticing for those living in areas like the Pacific Northwest where rain comes often and unannounced. The C13 is available in 145mm and 132mm in width in both the standard shape and with “Carved” cut-out pressure relief window. Thanks to its aluminum rivet, carbon frame and carbon rails, the C13 is also Brook’s lightest ready-to-ride saddle. Available for $220.
Also from the saddle department is an updated Landyachtz Reform saddle we first saw in Vegas last year. The integrated USB thermo-molding system remains, but the MagSafe-like plug has been rotated 90 degrees while the saddle shell is now fully carbon fiber for increased range of adjustments which further trims the weight down to sub-200 grams. There’s also a new chopped-nosed saddle shape to choose from. Available this coming spring for $349.
Say all you want about how suspension stems and seatposts are sooo 90s. Chances are you probably wanted it at some point in your life before realizing those from the history books didn’t work so well. I had my reservations about Redshift’s suspension stem at first but it turned out to work admirably well for all its intended purposes so why not be open-minded about this upcoming ShockStop suspension seatpost with adjustable preload on its steel spring and 35mm of travel from its dual parallelogram design to keep the saddle level at all times. It is available for pre-order now for $159.99 after a very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $430,129.00 and is expected to deliver around Spring 2019.