Bike accessories distributor Zyro is holding its annual Open House event in Harrogate at the moment and we’re just back from a couple of days checking out the goodies.
Zyro is one of the biggest UK distributors with brands like Cateye, Prologo, Abus and Altura on the roster, along with new addition Bryton, makers of GPS products. There was tons of interesting new kit to see, and here are the highlights…
The new product that Cateye are shouting loudestis the Inou, which is a GPS-enabled product that combines three functions:
• Route logger
• Stills camera
• Video camera
You mount the Inou to your bike or helmet – it’s about the size of a mobile phone – and it’ll record your route via GPS. When you get home, you download the info to your computer where it’s displayed on a Google map along with the photos and footage that you’ve shot, shown at the relevant parts of the route. You can take the pics and video manually or set the Inou to record at regular time intervals (which you can override).
Inou has its own proprietary website where users can store and share route information, videos and pics. The site is currently only in Japanese. Don't know about you, but our Japanese is a bit rusty, so luckily the English language version will be up and running by the time the product becomes available in April, and you can connect via both PC and Mac applications.
The Inou, which is named after Japanese cartographer Inou Tadataka (what? We're only trying to educate you), runs off two AAA rechargeable or alkaline batteries that Cateye reckon will provide nine hours of continuous GPS logging, or five hours of GPS logging and automatic photo shooting. It comes with 1GB of storage space although you can add a microSD card supporting up to 32GB.
It features a light adjuster so the footage will remain clear if you pass in and out of tree cover, for example, and there are shock absorbers in there to reduce vibration. It looks like it'll stand up to the occasional knock too – although, it must be said, we've not given it a whack. That would have been rude in the circumstances.
Cateye hope the Inou will be used by everyone from racers wanting to recce a course to leisure cyclists who just want a record of their rides. You could also use it off the bike too – for hiking or sailing, for instance. The Inou will cost £199.99.
Cateye are also launching two new heart rate monitors with cycle functions in the shape of their Q-series. You can either wear them either on your wrist or mount them on the handlebar.
The Q3 (£174.99) measures speed and cadence via a chainstay-mounted sensor that transmits using 2.4GHz digital technology to avoid interference. The Q3 A (£224.99) offers the same features, including five heart rate zones, with the addition of a built-in altimeter to provide incline/decline measurements, accumulated ascent and so on
Both are waterproof, so triathletes can use them in the pool without any worries, and they look pretty robust to us. All the data is downloadable to a PC if you buy Cateye’s USB Dongle Kit for an extra £49.99. That allows you to use Cateye’s E-Train software to analyse your training. They’ll be available from April.
Finally, Cateye are offering two new LEDs, although they’re aimed at mountain biking rather than road riding.
The Sumo 2 (£324.99) – the number refers to the number of LEDs used – offers 1,000 lumens according to the manufacturer, and has runtimes that ranges from 1.5hrs in the super-powerful 'Dynamic Mode' to 35hrs in flashing mode.
The Sumo 3 (£399.99) provides a huge 1,600 lumens, with runtimes from 1hr to 35hrs. There's an 'All-night Mode' that lasts 10hrs.
Each light is powered by a chunky 7.4V x 4600mAh Li-Ion battery pack that charges in 5hrs and straps to the underside of your top tube.
Altura have had a brand makeover for 2011, a new website is in the offing, and there are many interesting new products in the clothing range.
The new Classic Race Short Sleeve Jersey, for instance, will be available in both black and red from this spring. Although it has a retro appearance, this £34.99 jersey is made from polyester.
The Classic Short Sleeve Jersey (also £34.99) is another eye-catcher. It was available in black last year but a new blue colour option is added this time around. Altura are introducing some new Classic Bib Shorts (£44.99) in a matt finish to run alongside them.
The Night Vision range of commuter-friendly designs will be extended with the inclusion of a Night Vision Short Sleeve Jersey (£39.99) for riding home on summer evenings. It’s available in red as well as hi-vis yellow, and in both men’s and women’s cuts. You get reflective trim along with a Velcro strip around the back for attaching a Night Vision LED
The shorts you can just about make out in that picture are Metro Baggy Shorts (£49.99) and, as the name suggests, they’re intended for urban riding. A cotton/Spandex mix, they’re designed to be hardwearing and stretchy and they won’t look out of place if you wear them off the bike. Rather than a full-on cushioned seatpad, you get an antibacterial fleece pad to add just a bit of comfort, and those reflective stripes you can see on the legs are actually on the inside of the hem – they only show when you turn them up.
Over on the women’s side of things Altura have added a new Synergy short sleeve jersey (£49.99) in a performance fit. It’s soft-touch and high-wicking, and you can get matching 10-panel shorts (£49.99) with a multi-density seatpad.
Prologo have added extra width options to their saddle range but the biggest news is the introduction of the new Zero lineup. What’s different? The upper is so flat you could eat your dinner off it. No curve. Zero. And, more to the point, it gives you a wide seating area. Prologo reckon it’s the best choice if you want to change your position often.
The Zero saddles come with a carbon fibre injected base, light foam padding (and in the case of the Zero Pas Gel 1.4, um, gel) and a microfibre cover. The top-level model is the carbon-railed Zero Nack at 165g and £139.99, although the range kicks off at £79.99.
There are a couple of new women’s-specific saddles in the Prologo range too, including the Nago Evo Dea TS (£109.99) which comes with titanium rails.
There’s plenty going on at Abus, the German brand that has more Sold Secure rated locks than anyone else.
The Steel-O-Chain 9100 (from £74.99) is pretty weighty (2,450g in the shortest version) but it comes with a lock body that sits flush with the chain so you can wear it comfortably over a shoulder when you ride around town, and the fabric cover protects your clothes.
There are several new folding Bordo locks, including the Combo Lite 6150 (£74.99) which, though not as strong as the others in the range, is considerably lighter at 650g.
The U-Mini (£49.99) is a diddy little lock that comes with a Sold Secure Silver certificate while the U-Mini 401 (£69.99), which is the same size, is beefed up and gets a Gold rating.
The new Multiloop Cable (£39.99) could be handy too. It’s not the toughest lock out there but it’ll stop an opportunist thief taking your bike off a car rack when you nip into a service station, for instance. You can set the size of each loop by pulling as much cable as you like through the lock.
Abus have new helmets in their range too, including the Metronaut (£79.99). With a fabric cover, integrated visor and light at the back, it’s aimed squarely at the urban/commuting market.
The existing Urban I (£54.99) is available in a couple of new colours for 2011, including this signal hi vis yellow version with a shedload of reflective stickers and a built-in LED.
Panaracer have revamped their race tyres as the Race range, logically enough. The Race A (All round) takes over from the EVO3, the Race D (Duro) takes over from the Duro, and the Race L (Light) takes over from… well, nothing – it’s a new addition.
The Race A is a general racing tyre with more puncture protection than its predecessor and thicker tread for extra durability. You get puncture protection from bead to bead with the Race D, plus beefed up sidewalls, while the Race L weighs in at a superlight 180g in the 23c version. Despite less material, you have to pay the same price though: they’re £34.99 each across the board.
Brake specialists Ashima now offer their ultralight Aero Shoe with their new RPMX technology. RPMX stands for Rubber Plastic Matrix and it involves using a plastic fitting on the back of a rubber pad which, Ashima reckon, provides an easier and more secure fit and higher stiffness for increased braking performance.
You can see the RPMX plastic fitting on the back of this brake block (below).
Ashima are also using a new Pro-G Advanced rubber compound which they say performs up to 70% better than a standard compound under heavy braking. We’ve not had the chance to give them a go so we can’t say if that’s anywhere near the mark or not.
Ashima have been developing a Road Hydraulic brake too. The hydraulics are built into a dedicated stem which attaches to the fork steerer with just one bolt – the one that goes through the headset top cap. It’s a clever design. As well as providing plenty of power, it could end up more aerodynamic than usual, although Ashima think it’s still at least a year away from market.
Zéfal have been busy creating a whole load of new pumps including a mini floor pump called the Profil Mini RG01 (£29.99). A little foot folds out to provide a stable base and the handle flips out too so you get a whole palm-full to push on.
There’s an inline gauge on the hose and Zéfal looked us in the eye and told us it’ll deliver 160psi. A reversible adapter fits both Presta and Shrader valves and you get a mounting clip to fix it to your bike. Tidy!
Zéfal Profil track pumps are a new addition to the lineup. This is the top-of-the-range Profil Max FP70 (£49.99) which comes with a wide aluminium barrel and a giant gauge that’ll please the short sighted.
The Carbon Cage (£34.99) is new too, weighing in at just 30g, while the much cheaper Fibre Glass alternative (£9.99) is a similar shape and just 10g heavier.
Zéfal are now offering the first universal sealant (£8.99 for 125ml, which is enough for two MTB tyres), meaning that it’s suitable for standard inner tubes, tubulars and tubeless tyres. Whack it inside and Zéfal reckon it’ll sort out holes up to 4mm wide. It’s latex-based and you’re good for up to six months.
Oh, one other thing: they offer a custom bottle programme too, so if your club wants to be all posh, you can have your logo printed on your bidons. The minimum order is 250 and they’ll set you back just £1.75 a pop.
Japanese brand Minoura has a bunch of new products for 2011 including a new range of town bike racks made from solid steel tubes and Japanese maple. The front Gamoh King carrier (£89.99) is built to hold a crate of beer and incorporates a bottle opener. Classy touch! But don't drink and ride, kids – it's not big and it's not clever.
A couple of other interesting products are on the way, including a ratcheted smart phone holder that clamps easily to your bars – especially handy if you use your phone for navigation. The price is likely to be around £24.
Minoura also have a new turbo trainer called the Mag Teqs that’ll be available from August. It’s made from steel and aluminium and, as the name suggests, the resistance comes from magnets. Rather than moving the magnets progressively closer together to raise the resistance, the Mag Teqs uses a stair step design to increase the number of resistance levels up to 13. You swap between them via an oversized dial.
The Mag Teqs runs incredibly quietly and can generate 640w at 40kph (25mph). The pricing has yet to be set but it’ll be around £400.
Tifosi Optics have a huge range of sports-specific eyewear, many of the models coming with interchangeable lenses (clear, red, grey) in the box, but what’s new for 2011 is that the photochromic specs get a technology upgrade.
Rather than using a coating, Tifosi’s Fototec lenses use NXT technology whereby they're die cast, the whole lens darkening quicker than before in sunlight – it takes about 15 seconds.
The Fototec lenses come in various different colours. These Tyrants (£69.99), for example, have Light Night lenses that change from clear to smoke.
Most of the lenses are ventilated while the adjustable arms and nosepieces use hydrophilic rubber so they stay put when you get a sweat on.
Folding bike brand Dahon don’t really work to product years so most of the range remains unchanged, but take a look at the Tournado (£1,899.99). It’s has a lugged steel frame, a Shimano Ultegra/Tiagra drivetrain, a Brooks saddle and 700c wheels… and you can split it completely in half and put it in a small suitcase for easy air travel. It impressed us.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.