Bontrager have been busy making a whole lot of new stuff, from wheels to shoes to computer mounts. We had a chance to cast our eyes over the new range when we went down to see them recently, and here are some of the highlights.
Can you guess what kind of road wheel Bontrager are adding to their range? If you said "a road disc wheel, of course" then give yourself a slap on the back. Bontrager's is called the Affinity and it comes in three flavours: the Pro (£849.98/pr), the Elite (£549.98/pr) and the Comp (£349.98/pr).
All three share some design similarities: they all use 24 spokes front and rear and a 23mm rim bed, they're all tubeless-ready and they all have a Center-Lock disc mount. As well as that, each of the wheels can be converted from a standard quick release to 15mm/12mm thru-axles with a separate mounting kit. We have a set of the mid-range Elite wheels in, so we'll give them a thrash.
Obviously as you go up the range the components get more swanky and the weight drops. Stated weight for the Comp wheels is 1,750g, compared to 1,655g for the Elite and 1,520g for the Pro. All are Shimano/SRAM 10/11spd compatible
Bontrager's Classique shoe (£199.99) is the latest top-end shoe to use a full lace closure. The styling is pretty classic: it's only available in black, although you get a choice of red, white, black or blue laces. The construction is bang up-to-date, with a carbon sole and a microfibre upper. The heel cup is lined with a cat-tongue material that allows your foot to slide in easily, but grabs it if it tries to slide out.
The XXX Road (£259.99) is Bontrager's first Boa-closure shoe and it's the current team-issue shoe for Trek. The two Boa dials are independent for a better range of adjustment. Bontrager have worked with Boa to supply dials that are shoe-specific, so you turn the dial forward to close on both shoes. It has a Clarino microfibre upper that's meant to replicate kangaroo skin, but without the give that you get with natural leather. It also features Bontrager's lightest carbon sole and an anti-slip heel lining.
The new XXX LE Road is Bontrager's lightest ever shoe. It does away with the Boa closure in favour of Velcro straps, and the microfibre is replaced with a full mesh upper. The outside of the shoe is fluoro yellow and the inside face, though it looks black, is fully reflective for an extra shot at being seen after dark. The XXX LE shoes cost £229.99 a pair.
Blendr is a new system for mounting accessories to the front of your bike. The basis of the system is a new stem, which has a deeper channel at the rear of the bar clamp. The Blendr mount fits in there and you clamp everything together with the clamp bolts as you normally would. The Blendr mount doesn't take up any space on the bars or the body of the stem, so it allows you to fit an extra device if you already have a busy cockpit. If you don't, it's an elegant way to fit a computer/light/iPhone/GPS to the front of your stem in a nice central position. Lots of new Trek Bikes will be coming already fitted with Blendr-compatible stems, and obviously the system will also be available as an aftermarket buy, with prices to be confirmed.
DuoTrap S Bluetooth
DuoTrap isn't new, but if you're not aware of it it's Bontrager's integrated speed and cadence sensor that integrates into a number of Trek framesets. The newer Duotrap S is now Bluetooth enabled, as well as ANT+, meaning that you can send speed and cadence data to a Bluetooth device of your choice. A smartphone, most likely. The new sensor costs £29.99.
Trek Factory Racing have been using the £199.99 Aeolus (like the wheels) TT helmet since the Dauphiné for their time trials. It's been designed to take into account the fact that riders rarely keep their head still, so the idea is that it'll still work well with a bit of head movement. That's a compromise that trades off absolute aero performance against the need to perform in the less-than ideal situations that helmets find themselves in thanks to humans getting a bit tired. It features a magnetic visor that mounts directly to the front of the helmet.
The All-weather version of the excellent Velocis road lid, the Velocis AW, is imminent too, having been used by the Pros on and off for much of the season. It's not an aero lid, Bontrager were keen to point out, just a version of the helmet to use when the weather's not so great. It uses the same in-mold construction, just without holes where the vents are. You can afford a second, cold-weather, helmet, right?
R4 320 tyre
Not much was new in the Bontrager tyre range but we did spot this gumwall clincher, which it turns out is a hand-made 320TPI road and crit racing tyre. It features a sub-tread puncture strip and interestingly only comes in the new pro's favourite width: 25mm. All the racers are on them. Well, except FDJ.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.