Tech roundup: Ridley Fenix, Howies, Team Sky, Samsung Galaxy S4 waterproof phone, Fizik pink saddle and more
This week's roundup includes Veleco Kickstarter funding, the making of a Fizik saddle, Rapha Team Sky Supporter's flag, Ridley Fenix Ultegra 11-spd, waterproof Galaxy smartphone and Howies clothing
Ridley rollout Fenix with Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed groupset to the world
It wasn’t that long ago that Shimano announced their new Ultegra 6800 11-speed groupset, with trickle-down features from Dura-Ace 9000. We wondered how long it would be before we’d start to see new bikes coming specced with it, and we didn’t have to wait long: Belgium manufacturer Ridley have just sent us photos of their Fenix (that’s the pave-busting comfort endurance bike in their range) decked out with the new groupset.
They reckon it’s one of the first bikes in the world to come with the new gorupset and, well we can’t think of many other bikes specced with it just yet. We expect to see this being a very popular groupset on the next wave of 2014 model year bikes, and we’d imagine a lot of you will be wanting to upgrade.
Fizik: the making of a Maglia Rosa pink saddle
To celebrate Team Sky’s Salvatore Puccio wearing of the leader’s Maglia Rosa jersey during the recent Giro d’Italia, Fizik produced a special pink saddle to grace his Pinarello. It’s now almost obligatory for a manufacturer sponsoring a pro team to rush out a special edition component in the colour of the whatever jersey they’re celebrating, whether it’s the yellow, white, green or polka dots of the Tour de France leader’s jerseys, or the fetching pink of the Giro’s GC jersey.
Puccio didn’t have long to enjoy his custom saddle though, after clinching it in the stage 2 team time trial, he enjoyed the pink saddle for just stage 3, after which he relinquished the pink jersey.
Anyway, Fizik have produced this short video showing the construction of the pink saddle. If you've ever wondered how a saddle is produced, this is worth a watch. If you haven't, it's still worth a watch. Fizik do everything by hand, and it's a two person job at certain stages in the saddle's construction.
Samsung reveal waterproof Galaxy S4 Active
Over the past few years, smartphones have become so good at offering mapping and GPS capabilities that many cyclists are using them in preference to traditional cycle computers or bicycle-specific GPS computers. Smartphones are expensive bits of kit and don’t much like the rain, so the release of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 raised an eyebrow in the road.cc office. We’re mostly an office of Samsung users you see, and we reckon this has potential for cycling.
It’s fully waterproof with a IP67 water and dust protection rating, and Samsung claim it will survive being immersed in 3ft of water for 30 minutes, so a spot of rain shouldn’t pose it any problems at all. Neither should spilling your mid-ride coffee all over it (no, I’ve never done that...). The waterproofing should also prevent the phone drowning in sweat if you carry it in a jersey pocket when cycling.
The screen is said to be usable when wearing gloves and the headphone socket is even water-resistant. Otherwise it’s business as normal: a 1,920x1,080-pixel five-inch TFT LCD screen (not the the Super Amoled on the regular Galaxy phone), a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and front and rear facing cameras.
Howies launch Epic Cotton Towpath shorts, trousers and Cloudburst jacket
Welsh clothing brand Howies have released three new garments made from Epic cotton, which is a fabric treated with a water-repellent treatment. But rather than just a coating across the top of the material, Epic sees the very fibre treated with a silicone polymer which really boosts their water resistance, and means it won’t wash off like some finishes can.
They’ve used it for the Towpath shorts, which look spot on for a chilled ride down to the river or beach, or ideal for the commute. They have a reinforced crotch so they won’t wear out. They’re cut for cycling as well, and available in men's and women’s cuts. They cost £69.
There’s also the Epic Cotton Towpath Trouser for when it’s a bit chilly for baring your knees. They’re made from the same fabric with a similarly bike-friendly fit and cut, and reinforced in the right areas. Articulated knees should reduced any restriction on freedom of movement. They cost £89.
And to top it off, there’s the smart Cloudburst jacket. It’s a slim-fit design with a Coolmax mesh lining and a couple of pockets, adjustable hem and discreet reflective details on the collar. Eyelets in the armpits aid breathability to prevent you getting too hot. It costs £129 and it’s only available in a men’s cut at the moment.
Rapha Team Sky Supporters Flag
The Tour de France is fast approaching and we know plenty of you lot will be loading the car and heading down there to conquer some mountains, and catch a stage or two of the race. If you’re a Team Sky fan, you can show your devotion with a 1.5 x 1 metre flag in team colours.
It costs £20. You don't get a pole, though, so you’re going to have to get creative. We also suggest some further customisation, with the name(s) of your favourite rider sprayed across it in big bold letters. It's possibly not a good idea to add 'Wiggo' to yours right now. Advanced users might go for Kanstantsin Sivtsov.
Extrawheel Voyager trailer
Increase your luggage capacity for any cycle tours you might have planned this summer with the Extrawheel Voyager, a single-wheel trailer that mounts to any bicycle easily with a quick-release attachment hitch.
Made in Poland, the Extrawheel weighs 4.75kg and has the advantage of improved weight distribution compared to other trailers because the wheel sits much closer to the rear wheel of the bicycle it’s mounted to. The Voyager takes a regular 700c road wheel, and you can purchase the Voyager as a complete system with a wheel or just buy the frame, and supply your own wheel.
The trailer mounts to the rear axle, by replacing the regular quick release with a specific lever what has longer end nuts, which act as the mount. The trailer frame hooks around these mounts and is secured in place with a couple of pinch bolts. This video shows how easily it mounts.
The frame has regular pannier mounts with an optional upper rack, and will support a maximum load of 35kg. The complete system cost £200.
Veleco use Kickstarter to launch new clothing
Kickstarter is all the rage at the moment, and Brighton-based clothing brand Veleco are embracing it to raise £20,000 funding to help launch some new garments, including a softshell jacket, urban cycling shorts and a new range of carbon neutral t-shirts and hoodies.
Veleco aims to be eco-friendly and Fair Trade, striving to use recycled materials wherever possible. The new jacket will be made from recycled polyester sourced from a dozen plastic bottles. It’s a smart looking jacket, with a tailored unisex fit with sizes down to XXS. Inside is a Tricot mesh liner and outside it’s windproof and waterproof courtesy of a Nikwax treatment. It’s claimed to be very breathable and there are plenty of pockets for stashing hands and bits and bobs.
Kickstarter enables them to reach a large audience and for interested people to actively support what they're doing. If you are interested, you’ve got until 4 July. Here’s the webpage.