SRAM Unleashes The Eagle AXS

Also hot on the heels of the SRAM Red eTap AXS is the Eagle AXS groupset. As the AXS nomenclature suggests, the Chicago firm’s premier mountain XX1 and X01 groupsets have been given the wireless treatment, as described in the video below.

It’s much more than just slapping on a motor and wireless controllers. Just like its Red AXS sibling, it’s a complete and arguably disruptive redesign so much so that even the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper seat post is also wireless now. Bye bye wires!

8 Components Worth Looking From InterBike

All the KMC chains for your needs. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Besides rows of beautiful bikes for all to see, one of my favorite things to do at InterBike is to walk (semi) aimlessly around the show floor and see where it leads me to.  Often even the most mundane booth can have something cool out in the open. There’s nothing better than seeing the product in person. I liken it to going on a treasure hunt on nothing but bikes.

Here are eight components that caught my eyes:

White Industries Headsets

Photo: Stephen Lam/

It has been teased over the past year or so, but the White Industries headsets are finally here. Stainless Enduro bearings match the U.S.-made aluminum cups and hardware in six different colors, plus 3 top cup sizes and 3 bottom cups to cover the majority of the popular headset standards. The headset will range from $100-160 depending on sizing and colors. If their hubs are any indication of their performance, then these beauties should work very well for a very long time.

DT Swiss Hubs

Photo: Stephen Lam/

The market is flooded with hubs these days. If you’re curious about all that goes on inside a hub, then this box of DT Swiss cutaways should give you a sense of that. Various freehub bodies, hubcaps, and their upgradable ratchet engagement system in three flavors: 18t/20 degree, 36t/10 degree, and 56t/6.6 degree.

Kenda Nevegal 2 Pro

Photo: Stephen Lam/

Kenda first showed the update to their lauded Nevegal tire under embargo back in July but alas, it’s finally out. While previous generations of Nevegal had a solid rep of being a grippy tire, they also have a good amount of rolling resistance to them. The Nevegal 2 pro is out to change that. Kenda claimed the Nevegal 2 pro by redesigning the tread pattern and incorporating what they call EN-DTC dual rubber compound to reduce rolling resistance by half. Cornering, climbing and braking traction are said to be just as grippy and predictable. The tire casing, dubbed K-ACT, is tubeless ready with an additional layer of K-Armor puncture band that allows it to use less rubber as it adheres better than kevlar, thus resulting in a lighter and more supple casing. We tried the Kenda’s Valkyrie with K-Armor and it proved to be very effective. Also worth noting is that the Nevegal 2 is approved to be used on e-mountain bikes up to 30mph. The Nevegal 2 pro will be available in 27.5 x 2.4/2.6, as well as 29 x 2.4/2.6

Landyachtz Reform Saddle

Photo: Stephen Lam/

There are heat moldable insoles and shoes but now Landyachtz is making moldable saddles. The Canadian longboard company surprised quite a few with the reform that incorporates a USB plug at the underside of the shell to allow the integrated heating unit sandwiched between the carbon shell and high-density foam to warm up, thus making it pliable. Molding is then done with the rider using the saddle atop a stationary trainer and is ready in about twenty minutes time. Landyachtz will offer three different saddle shapes for $299 with molding session available at participating shops.

Stages LR Powermeter

Photo: Stephen Lam/

In short, Stages is finally offering a dual-sided option of their powermeter after years of teases. Existing Stages users will be familiar with the measuring pod on the non-drive side crankarm. What’s new with the LR is the drive-side measuring unit, a mere 20 gram addition that is situated below the crankarm for those who want bilateral power monitoring. Functionality wise, it works just like their original unit with 2% accuracy at 100 watt/90rpm, ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility, updatable firmware, plus 175 hours of use on a user-replacable battery placed within an IPX 7 water resistant pod. It will be available this fall with Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 ($1299) and Ultegra R8000 ($999) cranksets.

TRP TT Hydro levers

TT hydro disc brake with SRAM eTap Blip. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Brake specialist TRP showed off their new TT hydro disc brake system specifically made for time trial/triathlon bikes. The lever is (of course) carbon connected to an asymmetrical body wrapped in a grippy replaceable rubber hood. As TRP is not in the drivetrain business, their engineers have come up with a design that can integrate either SRAM eTap blips or Shimano Di2 remote climbing switch (below). The levers then connect to their Hylex calipers on non-toxic mineral oil with quick connect hoses for ease of maintenance. The brakes will sell for $199 each.

TT hydro disc brake with Shimano Di2. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Ergon ST Core Ultra Saddle

Ergon ST Core Ultra Saddle
Looks plush! hoto: Stephen Lam/

When I first saw the Ergon ST Core Ultra Saddle I immediately thought that foam layer looked awfully similar to some popular German running shoe. Turns out my suspicion was correct. It is a layer of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane called Infinergy. It’s a lightweight closed-cell elastic foam developed by chemical giant BASF which has been made mainstream by the Adidas Boost series of shoes. To implement into the saddle, Ergon employs a layer of Infinergy foam as a damper between two hard shells (instead of one) where the rigid bottom shell bears the load and connects to the rails while the flexible upper shell supports the padding which allows the foam beneath to better respond to pressure.  The ST Core Ultra will be available for $149.99 this coming Spring.

Phil Wood 1×13-speed concept

1×13! Photo: Stephen Lam/

The idea of a 1×13 drivetrain isn’t new as it’s been floating around since 1×9 grew to 1×12. There isn’t anyone making production runs of 1×13 (yet) but the 1×13 drivetrain at the Phil Wood booth is sure cool to gawk at. It’s a bit of a hodge podge mixture consisting of a Shimano 11-40 11-speed cassette added with OneUp 46t and 50t cogs which are then mounted to a custom freehub body on a 150mm wide hub. The drivetrain is driven with a modified XTR mechanical derailleur with an upgraded OneUp Shark cage mounted to an offset adapter to accommodate the extra required cable pull. No word on pricing or whether it’ll ever make its way to production.

OMG, the New Shimano Dura-Ace Is Here


The all-new Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 Hydraulic group. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace FC-R9100 crankset. You'll have the chainring choices of 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39 while crank arms will be offered from 165 to 180mm in 2.5mm increments. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace FC-R9100-P powermeter crankset. Notice the small black module near the top center of the crank arm. photo: Shimano

The Di2 electronic front derailleur. photo: Shimano

The Di2 electronic front derailleur. photo: Shimano

The Di2 electronic rear derailleur. photo: Shimano

The Di2 electronic rear derailleur. photo: Shimano


The mechanical front derailleur, notice the lack of the long cable arm and much more compact design compared to the previous iteration. photo: Shimano

The mechanical rear derailleur. photo: Shimano

The mechanical rear derailleur. photo: Shimano


Redesigned standard rim brake caliper, notice the quick-release assembly is now tucked in into the arm. Clean. photo: Shimano

Redesigned Direct Mount rim brake caliper. photo: Shimano

Redesigned Direct Mount rim brake caliper. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace R91000 Shift/brake lever for standard brake caliper and mechanical shifting. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace R9120 Shift/brake lever for hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical shifting. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace R91050 Shift/brake lever for standard caliper brakes and Di2 shifting. photo: Shimano


Dura-Ace R91070 Shift/brake lever for hydraulic disc brakes and Di2 shifting. photo: Shimano

The new textured STI lever hood. photo: Shimano

The new textured STI lever hood. photo: Shimano

Flat Mount Dura-Ace hydraulic brake calipers. photo: Shimano

Flat Mount Dura-Ace hydraulic brake calipers. photo: Shimano

SM-RT900 Ice-Tech Freeza disc brake rotor. photo: Shimano

SM-RT900 Ice-Tech Freeza disc brake rotor. photo: Shimano


Updated Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedal. Gone is the replaceable top plate and addition of hollow channels on both sides, presumed to shave more grams. photo: Shimano

And it’s a doozy.

You’ve seen spy shots, heard rumors, and might have even seen the official teaser (which more or less gave it away with the site aptly named

But yes, Shimano announced their new flagship road drivetrain group. The Dura-Ace R9100 series.

It’s still 11-speed driven with a metal chain, but the devil is in the detail, so let’s see what’s up with this grouppo.


At first glance, it’s easy to point out that the FC-R9100 crankset has an (even) bigger crankarms, a darker finish (instead of the two tone silver/black) than the previous generation, but there’s much more under the hood. Returning are the four-bolt, Hollowtech II crankarm construction, but the chainrings profile has been reworked with a slightly wider spacing to accommodate frames with disc brakes and shorter chainstays. It’s also seven grams lighter and thank goodness the spindle remained the same at 24mm that we’ve come to love, or loathe, depending on who you talk to.

Integrated powermeter

Shimano is going to shake up the already crowded powermeter market a bit by offering their own power-measuring crankset, the FC-R9100-P. We haven’t seen much of the actual unit but we were told it’s a waterproof, dual-sided unit (powered by a single rechargeable battery) with an accuracy of +/- 2%. Communication will be done via your typical ANT+ and Bluetooth so you can use whatever head unit you have.

Mechanical system

On the cable-actuated side, the front derailleur (FD-R9100) has been reworked so that gone is the long lever arm. The light shift action remains but the action is much more compact, and cable management is said to be much easier.  Shimano has also integrated the tension adjuster right into the unit, so bye bye barrel adjuster. In the rear, the RD-R9100 borrowed the proven Shadow design from Shimano’s mountain bike derailleurs for a lower profile (no words on the possibility of any aero benefit – yet), direct mount capability, as well as better survivability in case of a crash (because shit happens). The hanger pulleys are also new, with a slightly longer toothing. To control the mechanical drivetrain, two models of STI levers will be offered. the ST-R9100 for standard caliper brakes and the ST-R9120 for hydraulic discs. The overall lever shapes remain more or less the same but with smaller detail upgrades such as textured hood tops (ala Campagnolo), and a claimed 14% shorter lever movement and 24% faster gear shift. It’s all about those marginal gains, dude.


Now that we’re done talking about the mechanical side of things, let’s talk about the Di2 system. Again, borrowing from the XTR Di2 MTB group, synchronized shifting is now available with the new Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 group. Besides the standard synchro mode where the computer shifts the front chainring while the user shifts the rear up and down the cassette, the new “semi” synchro model basically flips it the other way around where the user controls the front chain ring while the computer shifts the rear to keep a consistent cadence. Pretty novel concept, don’t you think? Hardware wise, the new rear derailleur (RD-R9150) will receive the shadow treatment similar to its mechanical brethren while the front derailleur (FD-R9150) remains largely the same.

Ultegra 6870 and Dura-Ace 9070 owners rejoice

New firmware is coming  to your existing 11-speed Di2 groups this November so the synchro shift option is there if you so please.

Two more things on Di2

The lowly but oh so important cable junction box got a makeover and now there’s the option of having it integrated into compatible frames and handlebar ends for a cleaner appearance. Sure beats having a tiny black box at the bottom of your stem. While Shimano didn’t go full wireless like SRAM eTap, Shimano is releasing a wireless junction box, the EW-WU111, made to enable programming of the Di2 system from a tablet or phone (instead of a pc), as well as to those who want to transfer drivetrain data to computers for better visualization.


Unfortunately, the clutched Shadow Plus derailleur did not make it into the group.


As expected, Shimano didn’t stop making caliper brakes while launching their first Dura-Ace disc brake. And as if the previous Dura-Ace brake is not good enough, the new brake calipers have been updated for even more stopping power and clearance (thank you) for 28C tires. For the hydraulic brakes side of things, however, it’s completely new. The hydraulic caliper utilizes the Flat Mount mounting system for a smaller footprint while a wider pad clearance was made to further minimize rubbing. The most visually-striking part of the brake system, though, has got to be the new SM-RT900 Ice-Tech Freeza rotor. While the stainless steel braking surface remains, the rotor’s aluminum inner core now extends out as one continuous piece towards the center for better a 30% heat reduction. And similar to its predecessor, it will only be offer with Centerlock mount in 140mm and 160mm diameter, just big enough to double as a pizza cutter and throwing star (but don’t tell the UCI about that)


It’s the same CN-HG901-11 with the tool-free connecting link. Nothing new here.


Not much different other than the new 11-30 cassette combo. Let’s hope the dreaded cracked cassette syndrome is done and over with.


The overall design is the same as any other SPD-SL pedals but the new PD-R9100 pedals are now 24.5 grams lighter and now shipped with hollow cleat bolts (ProTip: Use good hex keys).


Well, that’s another department deserving of a separate post. But yes, there are redesigned hoops in various materials and forms

Price and availability

The full R9100 mechanical group will be available this September for $2029.92. The R9100/R9120 mechanical/hydro brake group will come at $2354.90; The R9150 Di2 group will $3046.85 whereas the R9150/R9170 Di2 with hydraulic brakes will cost the most at $3137.90. Yea, there’s actually four similar, but different groupsets this time around within the Dura-Ace family.