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Dial closure bottle cages? Plus Vittoria’s new ‘Gatorskin killer’ tyres for the toughest conditions, Shimano’s special new shoes, Finish Line’s faff-free hot wax system + more

We also saw the most comprehensive toolbox you’ve ever seen from Park Tool, Lazer’s sleekest helmet, very cool new clothing, and a smart tracker from Knog at iceBike 2024

Last week we spent a day at iceBike, the in-house trade show of Madison (one of the UK’s biggest bike component and accessories distributors), and here are our highlights, with some freshly updated info on those promising-looking reinforced tyres from Vittoria now the embargo is no more...

Shimano shows off S-Phyre RC903 PWR shoes

Shimano recently added three new shoe models to its top-level S-Phyre range, including this S-Phyre RC903 PWR, which the brand’s sponsored athletes are using in 2024.

2024 Shimano S-Phyre 903PWR - 1

Shimano isn’t saying a whole lot about the shoes other than that the RC903 PWR is “tuned for road racing and high-power efforts” and that the range “delivers upgraded performance features, added durability, and next-level stiffness to support riders during their most important races and fiercest competitions”.

> Check out our review of Shimano S-Phyre RC9 (RC903) Shoes

Chances are that we’ll hear more between now and the Olympics.

Gatorskin killer: Vittoria sets sights on Continental with new RideArmor tyre

Vittoria has launched a new RideArmor tyre that’s designed to take on Continental’s Gatorskin in terms of durability and protection against punctures.

2024 Vittoria Ride Armor - 1

Vittoria calls the RideArmor “the toughest road tyre available for the harshest road conditions”. It comes with a bead-to-bead puncture protection belt, additional sidewall layers and bead-shield layers, and “a focus on comfort and grip across all asphalt and weather conditions”.

Vittoria says, "The ArmorSkin sidewall layer ensures ultimate cut and abrasion protection. This high-quality polyamide fabric, distinguished by its copper colouring, provides extra protection on any road surface and in any weather condition.

“When developing RideArmor, our engineers’ aim was to design a tyre to be used all year long for training and commuting purposes, on any tarmac and in any weather condition. The result is a true armour able to defend cyclists from the most hateful enemy: punctures."

2024 Vittoria RideArmor - 1

The ArmorSkin uses Vittoria’s Graphene + Silca command that was first developed for its top-of-the-range Corsa PRO and Corsa N.Ext road tyres. Although intended to provide long wear-life, Vittoria says that “the slick tread design minimises rolling resistance and maximises speed”.

The tubeless-ready RideArmor has a 100TPI (threads per inch) nylon casing and comes in widths from 26mm (with a claimed weight of 355g) to 38mm (with a claimed weight of 475g) priced at £59.99.

Find out more here 

Lazer’s Z1 helmet is sleek and lightweight

We told you about Lazer’s new Z1 helmet in a Tech of the Week last month, and iceBike was our first opportunity to see it in person.

2024 Lazer Z1 - 1

Lazer markets the Z1 as the “lightest helmet with rotational impact protection” on the market, coming in at a claimed 220g. Rather than Mips, Lazer uses its KinetiCore tech that, it says, “protects against both direct and rotational impact thanks to unique EPS foam blocks called controlled crumple zones”. The idea is that these “crumple under impact and absorb the energy that otherwise would have reached the cyclist’s brain”.

2024 Lazer Z1 - 3

The new version of the Z1 is noticeably sleeker and lower profile than previously – there’s less EPS (expanded polystyrene) used in the construction – and Lazer says that it has better ventilation too. 

2024 Lazer Z1 - 2

You adjust the fit via Lazer’s RollSys retention system with a wheel towards the back of the helmet. You also get an integrated LED port back there which Lazer previously only offered lower down the range.

The Lazer Z1 KinetiCore is priced at £229.99 and stock will be arriving next week.

Find out more here 

Finish Line introduces Halo hot wax system and lubes

If you’ve ever fancied getting into hot waxing your chain but thought it was too much of a faff, Finish Line has introduced a new system that’s designed to make the process a whole lot easier. 

2024 Halo Hot Wax - 1

> If you'd like to check out another wax system, here is Silca’s new chain waxing system 

Rather than having a dedicated pot or slow cooker that you keep for the wax, with Finish Line’s system you boil up a pan of water with the bag of wax inside. It melts inside the bag, then you dip your chain in using the immersion tool provided.

2024 Halo Hot Wax - 1 (1)

The bag is resealable, and Finish Line reckons you get enough wax for up to 25 applications.

Finish Line is also introducing a new Wet Lube and Wax Lube. We're told that both contain spherical tungsten which is designed to reduce vibrational and sliding friction, and ceramic boron nitride platelets that are intended to form a protective non-stick coating to reduce wear and help extend the life of your drivetrain components.

2024 Halo Wet Lube - 1

The Wet Lube includes a hydrodynamic fluid film, made from natural gas, that aims to minimise drivetrain noise, reduce friction, repel water, and maintain its stickiness in extreme temperatures.

2024 Halo Wax Lube - 1

The main point of the Wax Lube is to improve drivetrain performance by reducing friction and wear caused by abrasive contaminants. 

Each lube comes with a Smartluber – a head that’s designed to put the right amount of product where it needs to go.

Park Tool: whoa! That’s a lot of tools

If you’re really, really into maintenance, Park Tool has introduced a new BRK-1 (Big Rolling Kit) that includes 100 bike tools. It’s aimed at pro mechanics, really.

2024 Park Tool BRK-1 - 1

Park Tool describes it as “a comprehensive offering of the tools you’ll need to adjust, replace, diagnose, and repair most components on a bicycle”.

The tools come in the brand’s BX-3 rolling box. Price: are you sure you want to know? We don’t have a UK price yet but it’ll be about $2,000 (which converts to around (£1,575).

Elite introduces bottle cage with dial closure

A dial closure on a bottle cage: what’s the point? Elite says that its new Struka (£22.99) is useful for securing non-standard bottles ranging in diameter from 65mm to 80mm, or even, in this case, cans of Coke. 

2024 Elite Struka bottle cage - 2

Elite also says that it allows you to lock a bottle in place so that it won’t come out over challenging off-road terrain.

2024 Elite Struka bottle cage - 1

The Fitgo mechanism is similar to designs you’ll see on many shoes. You twist it clockwise to tighten a steel wire, and anticlockwise to loosen. 

2024 Elite Ambo bottle cage - 1

Elite is also offering a new Ambo (£14.99) side-entry bottle cage which is handy if you use frame bags that restrict access. It’s a reversible design so you can insert your bottle from either the right or left side.

Find out more here

Sneak peek: Madison clothing looks really neat

Madison has been massively busy updating its clothing range over the past few months and there’s plenty more to come, including this Roam waterproof jacket for autumn/winter 2024.

2024 Madison Roam jacket autumn 2024 - 2

It looks like a lot of other grey jackets in normal daylight, but get some car headlights on it – or, in our case, a camera flash – and it shines.

2024 Madison Roam jacket autumn 2024 - 1

Reflective camouflage might be a contradiction in terms but it looks pretty cool.

2024 Madison Flux Jersey summer 2024 - 1

Before that, Madison has a whole load of new clothing coming for the spring and summer, including this new Flux Jersey that’s priced at just £39.99. 

2024 Madison Flux Jersey summer 2024 - 3

It comes with a printed gripper inside the hem and raw sleeves.

2024 Madison Roam gilet - 1

The Roam gilet looks interesting too. It comes with low-profile Primaloft insulation on the front panels yet is still highly packable when you don’t need it. This one is aimed mainly at gravel and adventure riders.

2024 Madison Roam Packable Gilet 2024 - 2

Madison is also starting to work with Brighton-based Circular Inc to repair and recycle clothing, the idea being to improve sustainability.

Find out more here

Hump to introduce all-new clothing range

Hump is set to debut an all-new apparel range that’ll be landing in June.

This is the Men’s Ultra Reflective Waterproof jacket in normal daylight…

2024 Hump Ultra Reflective Waterproof Jacket - 1

And here it is with added flash…

2024 Hump Ultra Reflective Waterproof Jacket - 2

It really does shine.

Knog adds smart luggage tracker to Scout range

Remember the Knog Scout Bike Alarm and Finder that we reviewed? Essentially, it attaches to your bike and emits an 85-decibel alarm if it’s moved to discourage theft. It also uses Apple’s Find My network to help you locate your bike if it’s taken. Now Knog is offering the Scout Travel Luggage Alarm and Finder using the same technology.

2024 Knog Scout Travel - 2

> Knog Scout Bike Alarm and Finder

Knog says that there’s no Android integration yet, but that’s a work in progress.

The Scout Travel Luggage Alarm and Finder is fitted with a USB-C rechargeable battery and attaches to your bag with a braided stainless steel cable (that requires the use of the supplied Knog anti-tamper tool to fit and remove). 

2024 Knog Scout Travel - 1

Price? It’s £59.99

Find out more here 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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Sriracha | 4 months ago

I like the expandable bottle holder. I cracked my previous (plastic) bottle holder when I was overly optimistic with a bottle of wine. I also like to have a vacuum twin-wall insulated bottle for the South of France (and a bottle of wine...), the choice is limited for standard bottle holders, so I bought a Blackburn cargo type bottle holder to try out this summer. But it's a bit agricultural; this idea looks more refined.

chrisonabike replied to Sriracha | 4 months ago
Sriracha wrote:

I like the expandable bottle holder. I cracked my previous (plastic) bottle holder when I was overly optimistic with a bottle of wine.

Recreating the spirit of the original Tour I expect? 😉

Bmblbzzz replied to Sriracha | 4 months ago

Adjustable bottle cage is a good idea defo. But of course already exists in various guises. This is the first I've seen with a boa though. 

Zebra | 4 months ago

The idea is that these “crumple under impact and absorb the energy that otherwise would have reached the cyclist’s brain”.

Isn't that the way all helmets work? 

OnYerBike replied to Zebra | 4 months ago
1 like

That's how all helmets work for direct impacts; I think the claim here is that the blocks are also designed to absorb rotational forces (instead of using a MIPS-style sliding approach). 

hawkinspeter replied to Zebra | 4 months ago

Zebra wrote:

The idea is that these “crumple under impact and absorb the energy that otherwise would have reached the cyclist’s brain”.

Isn't that the way all helmets work? 

That's debatable as I'm not convinced that they "absorb" much energy, but instead the crumpling/squashing reduces the peak acceleration forces that the head experiences by slightly increasing the time it takes for the head to decelerate to a stop. Ultimately, the head still has to go from cycling speed to a stop, but the rate of change of velocity (i.e. acceleration) can be reduced.

john_smith replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago

Doesn't that amount to the same thing, since the rate of energy transfer to the head at any instant will be directly proportional to the accleration of the head? In the extreme case that the acceleration is reduced to an infinitesmal value, no energy will be transferred to the head; it will all be "absorbed" by the helmet.

Sriracha replied to Zebra | 4 months ago
1 like
Zebra wrote:

The idea is that these “crumple under impact and absorb the energy that otherwise would have reached the cyclist’s brain”.

Isn't that the way all helmets work? 

No, absolutely not. Crumple zones work by extending the distance and time over which your head is brought to rest, thereby reducing the acceleration, hence the forces, experienced by your head. The key is to keep the peak acceleration below whatever the threshold for injury is. Once at rest your head has in any case lost, not gained, kinetic energy. Moreover, the amount is not altered by how quickly that happens.

But the madmen's notion of lethal energy penetrating your brain is far more engaging.

dubwise | 4 months ago

Ah, but will the Vittoria tyre be up to the challenge in the West of Scotland

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