Updated: New kit from Look, Tacx and more

Shiny new products now available in the UK

by Mat Brett   February 21, 2012  

Look's Kéo Power pedal is now available to buy in the UK as is their new cyclocross bike, and that seems like a good enough reason to take a good look at them.

Fisher Outdoor Leisure, one of Britain's biggest bike and components distributors, are currently running an expo for dealers and journalists, giving us the chance to take a look at many of the new products that have recently become available or are just around the corner.

First up, the Look Kéo Power pedal... How does it work? There are eight stress gauges in the axle of each pedal that measure the deflection of the axle. That deflection indicates how much force you are putting in – the more deflection, the greater the force. It’s a simple enough concept even if the actual measurement is a tricky process. Look reckon they have it nailed, though, claiming the force measurement is accurate to within 2%.

The system also measures your cadence (crank revolutions per minute) to give a power reading that you display on a Polar computer mounted to your bars. It’s compatible with CS600X and CS500 computers.

Fitment is really simple. You just fix the pedals to your bike and then add a little transmitter to the end of the pedal axle on the inside of the crank arm. Each transmitter slots in place and is then held there with a good old zip tie. It seems perfectly secure. As well as your power and cadence, the system tells you how much of your power is coming from each leg.

One of the key benefits of the Look system is that it’s so easily transferable between bikes. How long does it take to move a pair of pedals and a wireless computer? A few minutes.

You can buy the pedals and the transmitters for £1,499.99 or you can go for a set-up with a Polar CS600X computer to provide the readout for £1,699.99.

We showed you Look’s X85 before when we covered the Cycle Show at Birmingham NEC last September. Maybe we showed you it at Eurobike too… it’s all a bit hazy now. Either way, the X85 is available to buy…

This is clearly a high-end machine designed for racing rather than for urban adventures. This isn’t a bike that comes with eyelets for fitting a rack; it’s not that sort of thing at all.

The frame is made from high modulus carbon fibre and Look reckon it weighs in at just 1,150g. As you can see, the chainstays are flattened slightly in the middle which Look call their DCSC design – Dual Comfort and Stiffness Concept. The idea is to dampen out vibration while improving the transfer of pedalling energy – or, to put it another way, to make the back end laterally stiff and vertically compliant. The seatpost is a skinny 27.2mm in diameter to allow a little flex and soften the ride too.

As you can see, the X85 Is disc-brake compatible with the rear brake cable running along the upper edge of the top tube so it doesn’t get in the way when you shoulder the bike. That top tube is flattened to make carrying it more comfortable.

That fork is 100% carbon and, to us, the overall bike looks ridiculously cool. It’ll cost you, though. The frameset will set you back £2,499.99.

This track version of the Look 596 is the one that Colin Lynch of Ireland rode in the kilo (1km time trial) at the recent Paracycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles. 

The 596 is another beautiful-looking piece of work, made from VHM (Very High Modulus) carbon fibre – even the dropouts are carbon. The aero fork hides the leading edge of the frame while that unusual stem comes with indexed carbon arms.

That’s the head unit for the SRM Power Meter chainset tucked away underneath the saddle, by the way. There’s no need to see it in a four-lap event but it’ll record the data for use later on.

The Tacx Genius Multiplayer is now available in the UK too, taking over at the top of the Tacx virtual reality trainer line-up. 

We’ve covered it before so won’t go into too much depth here, but the Genius is completely wireless - it uses ANT+ technology to link the resistance unit and your PC (it’s not officially Mac compatible although we’ve heard tell that it can be done).

The wireless motor brake provides super-strong power to simulate climbs and it’ll generate speed on the rear wheel for steep descents.

The BlackTrack base incorporates a steering pad so when you turn the bars, you move yourself on the screen. It’s pretty darn clever. You can’t really see in the pics but that base folds up into four bits so it’s really easy to store in a corner.

Of course, technology like this doesn’t come cheap. The Genius Multiplayer – the all singing, all dancing version including software and the ability to race other people on the internet – costs £1,349.99.

Tacx’s other big area of expertise is water bottles. That’s an odd combination - indoor trainers and water bottles. Anyway, Tacx, supply screw top bottles to some of the big teams and they’ll do the same for your club or team if you like. The 750ml team replica bottles are £6.99 a go.

Tacx have just brought out the Starlite Bottle Crate that’ll take eight bottles. You can push that central handle down into the body of the crate to stack them on top of one another. Those are £19.99.

 

Fishers’s own in-house Vavert range provides many everyday essentials. This Gel Sports saddle, for example, comes in at £27.99...

...while these ergonomic lock-on grips (above) are just £9.99.

Vavert are also doing a range of bike racks. This one, for example, is the Voyager adjustabe rack with a disc brake fitting. That’s £29.99.

Hamburger bell, anyone? £5.99. No? Okay. Perhaps I can tempt you with a Yepp Mini childseat (£84.99)?

The rabbit is part of the sleeping support that you can get for £24.99 extra. She’s called Miffy and she’s Dutch. That’s all I know.

For more info go to www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk.

24 user comments

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Can someone please explain to me where the money goes when you buy a power meter...£1500???

Benjamin Hall's picture

posted by Benjamin Hall [64 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:21

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a bag and a half on something you need to fasten on using a zip tie!

posted by andyp [633 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:32

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^This.

I'd be interested in one for under £200. £1500 is obscene.

rrrrrrrrr.

posted by kaptnkrunch [57 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:36

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The white 586 must be the classiest looking new bike I've seen in the last few years. Any info on the frame?

posted by belgravedave [156 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:43

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Ha! I must have been born yesterday, with my foolish thinking that the next-gen approaches to power measurement (I've seen focus on pedals, shoes etc) was going to bring it down to us mere mortals. Either that or Look _think_ I was born yesterday...

Keo Pedals (let's be generous and say the Carbon Ti model) £179 according to a quick google-shop

Data transmitter - it's not like Polar are new to this bit - say £21

Let's be really generous and say that the 8-axis measurement thingy costs £300. £500 total. That's still a grand left. Don't get me wrong, I realise that R'n'D costs £££, but this still feels steep.

Maybe they just need to drain the pockets of the rich before the lower-cost version comes along.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:46

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£1500 is a ridiculously high price for a power meter that you have to use their head unit with. You can get a top-of-the-range Powertap SLC+ hub for £1260, more accurate and has ANT+

Avonlea-Treasure Race Team
http://www.altrt.com
twitter:@davidcwhitfield

roadracedave's picture

posted by roadracedave [75 posts]
21st February 2012 - 14:50

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Can someone correct me if I'm reading this wrong?

Its £1499.99 for the sensor and transmitter but an extra £200 if you want to be able to see the data on the bike.

Someones gone nucking futs!

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
21st February 2012 - 15:42

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I think look and fishers have lost the plot,this is greedy.

posted by Cervelo12 [77 posts]
21st February 2012 - 16:05

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Agree that this is super expensive. I'm waiting more news on the Garmin Vector units, as they're going to be ANT+ compatible.

I'm a firm believer in measuring training, and it's only the price that's stopped me investing in power based measurement so far.

In common with a lot of folk, I've got bikes with both Campagnolo and Shimano running gear, so can't measure power at the hub as one wheel doesn't suit all purposes. Can't use a PowerTap. Also want a training wheel, race wheel and disc wheel...expensive!

Measuring at the crank - time trial bike, road race, track and club run bikes have very different chainrings. Can't see how I can run a SRM or Quarq.

Only thing left that has my requirements all met is a pedal or shoe based solution. Don't like the Look solution as it's too expensive, and the proprietary connection to the polar head unit.

Hopefully the Garmin Vector unit will be impressive. Latest availability seems to be Summer 2012 (delayed from March 2012) and a price point of £1,149. Still expensive...

Hopefully prices will fall once the early adoptors have paid for the R&D

Bring me sunshine, and dry roads

MalcolmBinns's picture

posted by MalcolmBinns [107 posts]
21st February 2012 - 16:26

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looking at these comments, I hope Look/Fisher marketing people are reading this site...

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
21st February 2012 - 16:55

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notfastenough wrote:
looking at these comments, I hope Look/Fisher marketing people are reading this site...

If they are then i'm sure they will be paying far closer attention to the big stack of preorders im sure they have for the pedals..

Benjamin Hall's picture

posted by Benjamin Hall [64 posts]
21st February 2012 - 17:14

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I, like a vast number of the people here would love to be able to measure power at a reasonable cost. Granted, the R and D that goes into this sort of thing is costly and they need to recoup some of that expenditure but £1500 is prohibitively expensive. Perhaps some Chinese expert could come in and make a cheaper alternative. They'd flog loads on Dealextreme.

posted by petejuk [25 posts]
21st February 2012 - 18:48

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Quote:
She’s called Miffy and she’s Dutch. That’s all I know

Dear Grandma Bunny is about the most poignant book there is...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7033 posts]
21st February 2012 - 20:39

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So, no one has a problem with a crankset that costs upwards of £2000 or a hub that is close to £1000 for measuring power, but because it's a set of pedals it's a rip-off?

Power measurement isn't cheap - no matter how you do it. Mostly because people are willing to pay for it.

Can't fault Look for the pricing. Either they will sell or they won't - and then prices will come down. And if measuring power effectively at the pedal was so easy - it would have been done a long time ago.

posted by Colin Lynch [17 posts]
21st February 2012 - 23:17

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Colin Lynch wrote:
And if measuring power effectively at the pedal was so easy - it would have been done a long time ago.

Well it has also been done by Garmin with their Vector pedal (also based on a Look Keo pedal) and I think is ANT+ compatible which means it should work with their higher end EDGE Bike computers.
This is not cheap either, they are quoting $1500 on their website, http://sites.garmin.com/vector/#info, whilst that should equate to about £950, you just know it will probably retail for the same amount in £ as it does in dollars.

I don't know you wait for a pedal based power metering system and then two come along at once. Wink

posted by SevenHills [140 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 1:06

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Except Garmin's system isn't out and keeps getting pushed back! Be surprised to see it this year.

posted by Colin Lynch [17 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 14:17

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I already have a power meter that I take from bike to bike without any swapping of bits and pieces.

It's called a watch. That tells me how fast I have been able to go, not just in theory, but in practice.

Binky

posted by davebinks [114 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 18:46

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A watch which tells speed rather than time? Genius invention.

posted by andyp [633 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 19:23

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Garmin are supposed to be releasing the Vector to the public sometime around the end of March, last I heard. I've had a go on it and it's great.

Unless those Polar pedals are ANT+ compatible (which seems to be the current standard), I can't see many people shelling out for them if they can wait a little longer for a Garmin setup.

I'm another one who likes the idea of power metering but thinks the prices are ridiculous at the moment...

posted by Pierre [79 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 19:34

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If this place had the ability to +1 or 'like' a comment, so many would've been saved so much time.

Here's my +1 to all the comments above about how expensive this kit is, and how illogical it is to not have them industry standard compliant (ANT+), but mated to a couple of bike computers (Polar models).

But then, that also makes it their target market clear - someone who's not just willing to spend an entry level carbon bike's worth on a unproven power measurement system but also throw out their current (probably Garmin) bike computer and get a new compatible one from Polar. Who's that? I read - a professional being paid to do that or an insanely rich dude with 3 5K bikes.

I'll wait till they've been milked and the price has come down below 500.

~rbx

rbx's picture

posted by rbx [243 posts]
22nd February 2012 - 22:34

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Fisher are not ripping any one off, £1500 seems to be the going rate for a power meter. Garmin is not even released yet so you don't even know what the price will end up being. My view is if you think they should be cheaper then why don't sigma, ciclo or cateye make something? Maybe because is is more difficult than you think!

As for the ANT, this is a fair point but I work in electronics so can confirm everything new will be low energy bluetooth in two years time.

Well done LOOK for offering an alternative!

posted by Addy TT [6 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 0:11

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hmmm for BLE to take off, there need to be some serious motivation to make it happen... as of now they haven't even standardized the heartrate monitors yet... (Brand X does not necessarily work with brand Y) (eg. Wahoo's BLE HRM only works with iPhone4s, not Motoactv)(http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2012/01/wahoo-fitness-blue-hr-bluetooth-low.html)

furthermore, there's low motivation for garmin (or many other ANT+ adopters) as they would like to sell you the complete set (incl computer), not only the sensor...

but i'll be keeping a lookout for BLE sensors... seems like the right way forward...

posted by xkiller213 [10 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 3:15

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Quote:
Garmin is not even released yet so you don't even know what the price will end up being

£1,150 is the list price for a pair of Vectors.

Be *very* interesting to see how soon BLE gets adopted. considering how cheap standard bluetooth tech has become, and how widely available, it could grow up real fast.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7033 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 9:05

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£1,500 for the power meter you cannot read is just crazy, £24.99 for the rabbit you can rest your head on - now that's value.

posted by DamienB [3 posts]
23rd February 2012 - 11:25

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