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Tech Roundup: Fizik, Van Nicholas, Sabbath, Craft, Stitch-Mi-Lane, MyTask, Brodco DaylightSecure Max shed and more

Ti disc road bike, Spesh tyre amnesty, cunning Van Nich handlebars, wooly hats, super-secure bike shed…

Sabbath September Disc prototype progresses

We reported at the end of last year about the September Disc from titanium specialists Sabbath Bicycles, well it is continuing to evolve and we’ve just been sent the details on the latest changes. 

Prototype number two gets some changes including increased tyre clearance, up from 28 to 35mm. That’s with mudguards fitted as well. Longer chainstays, now 430mm long, help produce this extra clearance.

The rear dropouts have been reinforced with extra thickness added with additional overlap between the dropout and chainstay, this is to better handle the disc brake forces.

The top tube increases in diameter from 31.8 to 34.9mm and is ovalised horizontally at the head tube, to produce extra stiffness in the front half of the frame. Sabbath also say it partners the 40mm down tube as well.

Cable routing is an important detail to get right - bad routing can ruin a bicycle. Sabbath have tidied up the routing, tucking the rear brake cable under the down tube, sandwiched between the two gear cables that also run down the underside of the down tube. Sabbath also say this creates a smoother path to the brake caliper.

“From all our customer interactions we know that our September model is used a lot for commuting and light touring as well as long days in the saddle,” says the company. “In often variable UK weather and poor road conditions, disc brakes on the September start to make a lot of sense.”

No word on when it will finally hit production, but with these changes it is one step closer. More at

Specialized tyre amnesty - trade in old any rubber for new at discounted prices

Specialized are holding a tyre amnesty. They’re offering you the chance to trade in any brand of tyre at a participating Specialized dealer and get a brand new tyre at a reduced price. They’re offering the S-Works Turbo in either 24 or 26mm width in this offer, a tyre that normally retails for £50, but you can get for £30.

Or you can choose the New All Condition Arm Elite 23mm tyre, normally costing £35, but to you for £25 if you hand over some worn old tyres at the same time. Seems like a pretty good offer to us.

You can also get three inner tubes for the price of two at the same time.

The offer is running between 29th March 2014 and 30th April 2014, only at participating dealers. It’s a maximum of two road tyres per transaction. More info here.

Van Nicholas release Rohloff Speedhub-specific drop handlebar

Van Nicholas have a new alloy drop handlebar that has been designed specifically to be compatible with Rohloff Speedhub shifters. The narrow diameter clamp of the Speedhub means it can’t be installed by sliding up the bar from the bar end, as you typically do with a regular STI shifter. Their solution has been to construct a handlebar that can be separated, allowing the Speedhub shifter to slide into place.

Stephan de Wolf, Van Nicholas Head of Design, explained the challenges: “The difficulty in designing this handlebar lies in the small internal diameter of the Rohloff shifter, the need to route a brake cable underneath the shifter and the possibility of dividing the handlebar. By making the handlebar divisible, the Rohloff shifter can be easily mounted by anyone. This solution however demands some specific features from the construction. The middle part needs to be solid enough to cope with daily use on the road, but also remain easily mountable.”

The handlebar ends connect using a sleeve with a single bolt clamping it all securely into place. There are reinforcing ribs in the handlebar to provide a bit more structural rigidity. The handlebar is available now and costs €125.

Scottish clothing company Stitch-Mi-Lane launched

Founded by bicycle enthusiast and designer Stephanie Drake, a recent Fine Art graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Stitch-Mi-Lane produces a range of bicycle inspired apparel and homeware. The company takes it’s name from a road in Lancashire off which Stephanie’s parents live, and as her mother is a textile designer and her father is a cycling fanatic Stitch-Mi-Lane seems the obvious result.

The range combines contemporary patterns with high quality materials resulting in wholesome and original textiles, functioning as practical hardwearing bike wear whilst the subtle quirky designs mean they can be worn casually.

The Bike Twist Snood is knitted from 100% merino wool with a modern Fair Isle pattern that includes little bikes, tiny chevrons and the occasional love heart. The looped snood is designed to keep the cold out by wearing over a jersey or tucked around the collar of a coat. Yours for £35.

The Commuter Cowl is a versatile product that blends the practical and stylish elements that the discerning cyclist about town demands. Designed so that it can be pulled up to the face when riding or tucked under the chin for warmth the £30 cowls are fleece lined to wick sweat and are made with a 50/50 merino/Teflon treated wool mix, making it more resistant to stains and reduced pilling when washed multiple times.

The £32 Snug Spectator Hat is a big hit amongst cycling devotees, the double thickness 100% merino structure with a big merino pom on the top ensures you stay cosy on the chilliest of days. Perfect for wearing when warming up on rollers, watching a cold hill climb or muddy ‘cross race.

Finally, and for collapsing into post-ride is the Stitch–Mi-Lane’s Bike Wheel Cushion. The cushion features a wheel design screen-printed onto cotton, with a coloured reverse and contrasting piping. Measuring 45cm across the cover encases a plump round hollowfiber cushion pad and fastens on the reverse with a concealed zip. Get your bike on the sofa for £34

MyTask iPhone case with built-in tools launches on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is becoming a fantastic source for innovative and quirky cyclijng products, and an interesting one is MyTask. It’s a case for an Apple iPhone with a set of tools tidily integrated into housing.

They’re offering three versions of the case an urban, stash and a bike model. They’re made from a  polycarbonate material with a soft-touch coating. A sliding tray extends to reveal, on the bike-specific version, an impressive 18 tools including six Allen keys, four box wrenches in common sizes, a pedal spanner, tyre levers and a tube roughner. No decent tool kit is complete without a bottle opener as well, and one is included.

The urban version includes essentials like a USB drive, bottle opener, mirror, rule, LED light, screwdriver and a pair of scissors. The stash model is simply an empty tray that you can use to store anything you want, from USB drives to credit cards and other small objects.

It’s compatible with the iPhone 5 and 5S only. They’re seeking $25,000 funding and currently have reached $4,231, with 25 days to go. A $50 early bird backing will get you the MyTask Bike case in black. More info over at their Kickstarter page 

Pocket Road Bike Maintenance book launched

Written by Rouleur editor Guy Andrews, the Pocket Road Bike Maintenance book is pegged as a clear and compact guide to fixing any mechanical problem on a road bike, covering the basics from fixing a puncture to more complex jobs like changing gear cables.

The page are packed with good advice to help you care for your bike, and keep it in tip-top condition, essential at this time of year as the weather and road conditions take their toll on all those moving parts.

Repairs are clearly explained and accompanied by step-by-step photography and the book is suitable for all levels. Also includes a glossary of key cycling terms. The book costs £9.99.

Craft Elite Weather Jersey launched

Swedish firm Craft have released the new Elite Weather Jersey, a lightweight soft shell costing £120. Craft say it features a membrane that manages to be windproof and waterproof, yet is still breathable. The jacket walked off with the Eurobike Innovation Award last year too.

It’s a short sleeve jersey, but the sleeves are quite long, reaching down almost to the elbows. In that way it’s similarly pitched as the Castelli Gabba, a close-fitting short sleeve top that keeps all weathers out. For this mixed spring weather, where it’s still cold but getting milder during midday, and there’s a high risk of rain and plenty of wind about, this is a really good top layer option. It appeals to anyone wanting a close fitting top that won’t billow in the wind.

Craft have boosted ventilation with body mapped mesh panels using a hexachannel fabric in the armpits. Craft also add loads of reflective details, and this is no exception, with 360 degree reflective prints. There’s three rear pockets and one zipped valuables pocket.

Is this the most secure bike shed you can buy?

The manufacturers certainly seem confident it is.  The Brodco DaylightSecure Max has apparently been approved by the police, which gives a certain amount of reassurance. It’s not cheap though, it costs £1,590. That makes the £525 Asgard Annexe I tested recently look positively cheap. 

Anyway, the DaylightSecure Max is made from Thermo-Polymerised Rock (TPR)(, a building material that is a sustainable alternative to concrete. It uses 68% non-toxic, traceable waste plastic that cannot normally be recycled, which is reduced in size and blended with minerals. It sure looks damn tough in this video

The walls are supported with 70mm thick columns and 25mm centres, 50mm floor panels and a  toughened fibreglass roof. The corners are reinforced with ventilation points. The doors feature multi-point locking bolts at the top, centre and bottom, with a single key action, and the larger door overlaps the smaller door with two-throw bolts.

It's sold in three sizes, 6'x4' up to 6'x8'. It's no lightweight, the smallest model weighs 868kg!

You can learn more about it here

David Millar steps into his latest custom Fizik shoes

Labyrinth, that’s the name for David Millar’s latest shoes, which he is wearing in the first of the Belgian cobbled races, starting today with E3 Harelbeke and Gent–Wevelgem on Sunday.

As you know, if you’ve been keeping track, Millar has embarked on a project with Fizik to mark each and every one of his last races this season with uniquely designed shoes. They’ll then be auctioned off for the  Small Steps Project charity. The first pair sold for £460. 

These shoes for the Belgian classics, is “based on the geometric labyrinth pattern found in many medieval churches and this example is located in the Pacification Hall in Ghent’s Stadhuis or town hall on the site of the signing of the Pacification of Ghent, a treaty between Catholics and Protestants in 1576,” says Millar on the Fizik website. You can read the full story, it’s quite long, here

And did you spot his Milan-Sanremo shoes? They're worth a look. 

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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