Tech Roundup: Knog, Polaris, Ergon, Feedback, Bionicon, Rainlegs, UCI plus more…
It's accessories season with CORE Bike launches and news from Australia's premier bike lighting company...
Knog's new Blinder lights for front and rear are a step up in apparent build quality with a metal and rubber clip and a cute design that the style media will love. The lights with their inbuilt USB plugs somehow look very at home on recharge nestling in the back of an iMac.
A veritable snowstorm of new season product starting to build up here, what with the CORE Bike show just over about which Our Dave fills us in on a few choice items below and the postman arriving with a nice little parcel from Australia. Yes, a care package from Knog means we have our next-winter lights already and they're due to be in the shops for April.
The Knog Blinder comes in front and rear flavours in an unusual four-lens design quite unlike any bike light you will have seen. But then we're used to unusual designs from Knog. The positive clip for the handlebars or seat post seems to be a marked improvement over the previous rubbery Boomer and Frog. Price will be £34.99 each when they're in the shops.
Rain Legs have new UK distribution
We've met the Dutch Rainlegs folks at trade shows before where they like to wear the distinctive waterproof thigh protectors as a very effective conversation-opener. For £24.99, the idea is that you wear them on the worst rainy days where the fronts of the legs really do get the worst of it, assuming upper bodies and arms are usually tucked up in a rain jacket. But, being just fronts, they don't give the constricted feel of complete trousers. When not in use, they can either be folded up small or clipped around the waist. There are five sizes and two colours; black or hi-viz yellow.
And bags from Polaris, too
Polaris had this prototype of a very fancy hard case pannier at the show. With space in the rear section for a full sized laptop and plenty of room for your work shirt and smoked salmon sandwiches, this is one for the well-heeled commuter about town. It's waterproof, lockable and attaches to the bike via Polaris' in house fixing system. Made from durable polypropylene with a carbon-effect finish, it should be hardy as well as looking quite flash. Prices are TBC, but don't expect it to be cheap. It should launch for real at the Eurobike show in September.
Also a bit of a departure for Polaris are these £45 retro jerseys coming in the Spring.
Updated cyclists' backpacks from Ergon
Ergon 24 have been revamping their backpack range and they have a new range of bags that'll appeal to commuters as well as MTBers. The BX range consists of three bags, the smallest of which is a waterproof race-type pack, the BX-1, and the other two are larger day packs. The BX-2 and BX-3 both have expansion systems, with the capacity of the smaller BX-2 quoted as 10 + 1.5 litres and the larger BX-3 as 13 + 3 litres.
They're constructed from hardy ripstop nylon and feature an 'adaptive carrier system', where the hip belt attaches to the outside face of the bag to pull the load closer to the body. The larger two bags also have velcro-adjustable harnesses to fit all body shapes; when the green flash on the strap is over your collar bone, it's the right height. All three bags have a mouldable alloy strip at the bottom of the bag so you can tweak the fit on your back.
The BX-1 is fully waterproof with taped seams and waterproof zips, and the larger two are showerproof with a rain cover included. They'll retail for £60, £70 and £80 respectively.
Corporate saddle covers from onyerbikeseat.com
Anyone need batches of printed saddle covers? What onyerbikeseat.com describe as "Advertising by the seat of your pants" is available for anyone wanting to get their message across on cyclists' saddles while providing a useful giveaway. Who wouldn't want a waterproof saddle cover? There are backpack covers, too. Very enterprising.
Feedback Sports from Colorado make bike stands and this nice wall bracket
Feedback Sports were at the recent CORE Bike show demonstrating their new wall rack, which is definitely worth a look if you struggle for storage space. It consists of two pressed steel arms mounted on an alloy back plate, and the arms are individually adjustable so you can keep your pride and joy level whatever the geometry. The whole thing mounts on to the wall via two fixing holes; currently it's supplied with screws, as 'everything's made of wood in the US', but a couple of wall anchors will sort you out in the garage or the cloakroom. The rubber-coated jaws are designed to hold any tube profile.
Bionicon clothing gets a facelift for the new cycling season
Bionicon have redesigned their ride wear range and they're going for functional materials mixed with a bit of urban style. Our pick of the threads is this Merino Hybrid Hoody, which has a Sportwool-esque Merino inner layer and a polyester outer. The synthetic makes the fabric more robust and windproof, and also gives a bit of elasticity for a snug fit. Design wise it's understated and sporty but not hugely cycle-specific so it's ideal for on- and off-bike use; the cut is long in the arms with thumb loops and there's a drawstring in the neck to keep the chills out on the downhills. Looks like it'd be a great commuting and pub riding layer; Roger from Bionicon told us he wears his for running, MTBing, shopping and pretty much everything else.
And finally… horizontal saddles and the UCI
In case you missed all the hooha at last year's Tour de France, cycle sport's governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale - the UCI - has been cracking down on what they call the 'horizontality' of racing saddles; the theory being that WorldTour professionals riders being pitched forward too far and down onto their handlebars will have them crashing on corners like triathletes, or something. Anyway, as of March 1st, they've written to all the national governing bodies including our own dear British Cycling to put out the warning that race commissaires will be wielding a new tool to ensure that the highest and lowest points of saddles are no more than 3° from horizontal. Yes, it's a digital spirit level on a board.