CORE Bike 2013 - more great kit from Brooks, Topeak, Fizik, DT Swiss, BBB and more
Bags, lights, helmets, wheels, saddles... there was plenty to see at CORE this year
Brooks had a few new bits and bobs on show at CORE bike, not least the spangly and very expensive John Boultbee Elder Street jacket that we'll be covering separately. They've been busy with the dyes: the popular Challenge tool bag (£70, above) is now available in a wider range of finsihes, as are the popular saddles including the B17 and Team Pro pictured above.
New bags include the Pickwick and Picadilly backpacks. The Pickwick is a canvas roll-top closure bag available in five colours (the four show here plus tangerine). It has a 24 litre capacity and two separate zipped pockets on the rear, with a cotton webbing harness. It's made in Italy and will set you back £195.
The Picadilly is made in England from leather, and it's a bit smaller than its sibling at 18 litres - plus the hard leather won't accommodate odd-shaped stuff so easily. It looks mighty classy though, with a long flap closure fastened by a simple leather loop. There's simple cotton webbing straps for the carrying of, and you'll not get much change out of £250. Three pounds, to be precise.
Brooks have been making the Oxford rain cape – in duck cotton and reflective tweed – for a while now; the cape folds up on itself and fastens to your saddle loops. Now they're doing a Cambridge rain cape which is made from polyester and will cost less than half of the £200 you'll pay for the Oxford one. Again, you can carry it on the back of your saddle.
If you read Mat's account of riding l'Eroica last year then you'll probably recognise this jersey. Brooks originally made it just for the ride, but they've decided to produce a slightly-less-limited run with De Marchi, who make the jersey for them, to make available to you the punter. They'll still be pretty rare though. Not least because they're £150 a pop. The jersey is a 50/50 wool/acrylic mix with embroidered detailing.
We've had some discussion in recent months about whether there's any really good mounting options for your smartphone if you want to use it as a bike computer. Well, Topeak's range has a few options and the Ridecase II for iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 looks like a well-thought out bit of kit.
It doesn't rely on a flimsy mount on your bars: instead you get an alloy mounting arm which screws through your topcap into your headset tenstioner. So that's not going anywhere. If you can't do that for any reason then mounting it with zip ties is an option. The case clips into that, and it's rotatable on the mount so you can go landscape or portrait. It's lightweight too. RRP is £32.99.
Other brands of smartphone are available, of course, and Topeak cater for them with the £19.99 DryBag series; there's 4" and 5" versions, as well as DryBags specifically for iPhones. The mounting system isn't as neat – a sort of jubilee clip affair, rather than the natty headset mount – but you get welded seams for keeping your phone dry and a full-length window thay obeys touch commands.
Topeak had some new lights too. The Redlite Race and Whitelite Race are not a million miles removed from Blackburn's Mars clicky units which are very popular. They're simple to fit and have good side visibility.
If you're looking at those lights and thinking they might disrupt the airflow round your seatpost a bit much then what you need is the Redlite Aero, which sits flush behind your 'post and features angled LEDs so that they're pointing the right way.
Also new and quite aero-looking is the Redlite UFO Mini, which features 330° visibility and a pretty impressive output for such a small unit.
For those with a more touring bent there's the Aura light set: front and rear lights which have an integral reflector. The rear one will mount directly to a standard rack plate and both have a bright 3-LED emitter inside that dishes out enough light to be seen by. They're plenty visible from the side too.
Fizik have expanded their range of Arione saddles with three new models. The R3 (£130) features a Microtex cover, K:ium rails (that's Fizik's own special alloy) and a composite base; it weighs in at 185g. Above that sits the R1 (£210), with a full carbon base and carbon rails which drop the weight to just 145g. That might still be a bit heavy for you in which case you'll be needing the super-slinky, 135g Arione 00 with a one-piece rail and super-light padding. Three hundred sovs, that one.
The Kurve saddle is a tenner less than prevously at £189.99 and now available in white in the three Fizik shapes – snake, chameleon and bull – for different rider types. The Kurve design extends the rails to the very rear of the saddle to give better flexibility in the sit bone area and a comfier ride.
There's some limited edition fluorescent saddles. Yellow, of course, for the road saddles – who hasn't got some yellow in their range this year – but also green, orange and pink across MTB and Womens ranges.
Fizik's bar tape is now available in two thicknesses. The original tape is renamed as Superlight and it's 2mm thick; there's a new Performance tape that's 1mm deeper for extra padding. There's a range of colours, and the tape is also available in a high-grip finish in black and white that put us in mind of Lizard Skins' DSP tape. The high-grip is £24.99, versus £16 for standard performance tape.
Fizik's seatpack, the Take, comes in at £29.99 or £49.99 with an adapted Cateye Rapid 3 light with a bracket designed specifically for the pack. It's a two-piece hard shell construction with a rubberised seal between the two sections to keep the weather out. It's big enough for the bare essentials and mounts directly into Fizik saddles.
Those of you that follow our news from the shows will recognise Ergon's CF3 seatpost as something that Canyon have been working on for a while; we first saw it back in 2011 at Eurobike. Ergon and Canyon stem from the same company – they're run by two brothers – so there's a certain amount of trickle-across and clearly it's been decided this would make a good Ergon product.
Essentially it's a suspension seatpost for road bikes. the circular bit of the 'post is split into two halves and these flatten to carbon leaf springs at the top where they meet the clamp, which is free to pivot. You set the angle of the seat by sliding the two halves against one another and then clamping them together at the bottom. All in all the CF3 provides about 20mm of movement.
It's a simple and elegant way to get a bit more comfort and we can't wait to try one. If you fancy a go, you'll need to save up £250 for yours. There's a 100kg rider limit and it's not designed for offroad, before you fit it to your 'crosser…
Wipperman have a new chain - the Connex Black Edition. The black is a special coating; we're not sure exactly what the coating does but it's so special that there isn't a word for it in English. Honestly, that's what they said. Okay, actually they said they hadn't translated it yet. It's magic plated, anyway. Essentially it makes the chain super durable and as easy to clean and corrosion-resistant as stainless steel. The pins and rollers are all brass coated, So it'll look just the ticket on your Lotus pursuit bike. There's nine- and ten-speed versions and they're £42.99 and £44.99 respectively.
DT Swiss have been pushing Tricon wheels for a while now; we've tried some (http://road.cc/content/review/16222-dt-swiss-tricon-1450-wheelset) and we like them. They have a new hub now, though, based on a straight pull spoke in a more traditional configuration. The first road wheel to get it is the RC38T tubular.
More interesting than the spoke lacing (which is similar to other straight pull designs) is the freehub mechanism. Instead of using pawls which locate into a toothed ring – the tradtional approach – the new DT Swiss hub has two toothed discs that are held against each other with a spring in the freehub. There's 20 teeth on each (a 36-tooth version is also available) and the main benefit is that there's no tiny moving parts like in a pawl system, just the two discs and a big spring. The teeth are angled so they slide against each other in one direction and lock in the other; when they lock they do so all around the ring, so the load is transferred equally.
It's a very neat system, similar to the RingDrive that Chris King use in the R45 hub, and the whole assembly is push-fit so it's simple to strip down and rebuild. The RC38T wheelset retails at £1100 and the claimed weight is 1,350g.
Here's the eclipse inner tube, weighing in at just 36g. This was 'a heavy one' too… We can't believe that clear plastic really expands like butyl to fill a tyre, but apparently it does. If you get a flat you'll need Eclipse's instant patch kit, as normal patches won't work. The lengths we go to for a bit of weight saving, eh? They're not cheap either at £45 a pop, but if you must have the lightest, this is where you need to go.
When we reviewed BBB's Select glasses we liked 'em a lot. "Impressive value for money" was our Dave's take. Well prepare to be even more impressed: you can now have a BBB Select giftbox with the glasses, seven – count 'em – lenses and seven different colours of ear tip, all for just £99.99. You will never be uncoordinated or have the wrong lenses ever again.
BBB were also showing off the new Icarus helmet, which is the one that Vacansoleil will be riding this year. It's a pleasingly angular-looking thing with an enclosed sub-frame and a new retention system. Initial on-the-head testing at the show revealed that it was a good fit on my bonce too; it feels quite deep and well supported. You can have it plain or in Vacansoleil colours; if you choose the team version the Vacansoleil decals are separate stickers so you can choose whether you want to add them or not.