This edition of Tech of the Week is crammed with juicy goodness, including collabs between 3T and Crankbrothers and also between Look and Café du Cycliste, new saddles from Fizik and Selle Italia, and some very cool-looking shoes from Ekoi – we really do spoil you – but we’re kicking off with what Parcours calls “the world’s first coloured carbon fibre bike wheels” and asking whether this is a glimpse of the future…
With Parcours introducing “the world’s first coloured carbon fibre bike wheels” – with the colour embedded within the composite rather than being added afterwards – could we be about to see a whole lot of brighter bikes out there?
If you went to the Cycle Show in London last weekend, you'll doubtless have seen Parcours’ new gold wheels displayed on a Handsling A1R0evo aero road bike. Parcours has just developed these wheels with materials expert Hypetex.
“The Hypetex carbon that’s used on these rims has the colour embedded into the composite itself, meaning it’s a completely paint-free finish,” says Parcours’ Dov Tate. “As a result, it’s lighter than a fully-painted rim, whilst the finish is also far more durable.”
In other words, this isn’t a case of colouring the rims once they come out of the mould – which you might have seen before. The colour is already in the composite.
Hypetex says, “Combining water-based eco-resins with a sustainable curing process, Hypetex materials are made with bold, colourful aesthetics as well as technical and cost-saving benefits – a perfect fit for any quality brand in need of lightweight and high-performance products.”
Hypetex already offers a large range of colour options and in theory could provide many more.
“The biggest practical hurdle is the logistics chain,” says Parcours’ Dov Tate. “The material is produced by Hypetex, but then has to be sent to a separate prepreg facility to be injected with the correct resin used in our rims. From there it then has a limited shelf life before the resin goes off, during which we have to manufacture into rims (hence the need to pre-order for our limited edition run).”
Parcours is offering a limited edition of just 10 gold wheelsets with a gold carbon finish. Most (not all) of Parcours’ disc brake wheelsets are available in the gold option. The wheelsets have a lead time of 10 weeks with prices ranging from £1,799 for a gold Alta wheelset up to £2,499 for the Chrono / Disc and Chrono Max / Disc.
Those prices are considerably higher than standard Parcours wheelsets.
“The limited edition wheels will all have a full custom hub upgrade (RRP £400) including the ceramic bearing option,” says Dov Tate. “The remaining price uplift reflects the increase in material costs of the Hypetex carbon, increased manufacturing costs from lower volume prepreg process, increased logistics costs and also an element reflecting the limited edition nature of the product.
“We went with the gold because it’s the most attention-grabbing, but there’s absolutely scope to use a different colour in future. I wouldn’t see it becoming a permanent addition to the product range in the near future though, mainly because a new colour would effectively double the number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) we stock. More likely we’d do another limited run.”
What do you think, though? Would you be up for coloured wheels if the tech becomes more widespread? Or do you think black is where it’s at?
Look Cycle and apparel brand Café du Cycliste have launched two limited edition collections that are designed to “celebrate French style and performance”. The collections – one aimed at the road and the other at gravel riding – combine Café du Cycliste’s shoes and socks with Look’s pedals.
The Look x Café du Cycliste Road Pack features Café du Cycliste’s carbon sole road shoes and custom tie-dye patterned socks with a set of coordinating Look Kéo Blade Carbon Ceramic pedals.
We like the fact that the blade on the bottom of the pedal has a tie-dye finish too.
The Look x Café du Cycliste Gravel Pack features Café du Cycliste’s gravel shoes and Look’s X-Track Race Carbon Ti pedals. Oh, and the tie-dye patterned socks too.
Each pack is priced at £410 and is available via lookcycle.com and cafeducycliste.com.
Speaking of collabs, 3T has joined up with Crankbrothers to launch the 3T Exploro Ultra Crankbrothers Edition gravel bike, based around the existing Exploro Ultra frameset. With 2.1in tyres and a dropper post, it’s aimed at the gnarlier, more technical end of the gravel spectrum.
The two brands have teamed up before, but 3T says the latest collaboration came about during the development of Crankbrothers' new gravel wheels.
“Crankbrothers Synthesis Gravel wheels are being introduced to the market in conjunction with this launch, and with these mounted on the Exploro Ultra, riders can expect a smooth and comfortable ride, even on rough and unpredictable terrain,” says 3T.
This is the only bike in the 3T range that comes equipped with a dropper post – the Crankbrothers Highline XC/Gravel. It also features a 12-speed SRAM Force/Eagle groupset and 3T’s own Torno Team chainset.
The 3T Exploro Ultra Crankbrothers edition will be available for shipping in June. The price is £8,199.
Fizik has unveiled new Tempo Aliante saddles that have been given an ergonomic cut-out and double-density foam designed to offer long-ride comfort.
“Key aspects of the Tempo Aliante have been built upon to further improve rider comfort, including an overall flatter saddle surface offering a more even distribution of pressure and Wing Flex in the nylon shell to adapt to the rider’s inner thigh for improved comfort,” says Fizik.
“Double-density foam offers additional support for riders over longer distances with firmer padding at the back of the saddle offering ischial bone comfort and support, and softer padding at the nose.”
As usual, the cut-out is designed to relieve pressure and facilitate blood flow.
Santini has unveiled a bunch of new clothing for the Tour de France, the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift, and the 2023 UCI World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland. We haven’t got space to tell you about it all so here are a few highlights…
This year’s Tour de France Grand Départ takes place in Bilbao so the colours chosen for this clothing are those of the Basque flag: green, red, and white.
The Puy de Dôme is the key feature of the ninth stage of this year’s Tour, a climb that witnessed the duel between Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor in the 1964 Tour.
“That moment became iconic precisely because of this ‘elbow to elbow' challenge, as documented in the newspapers of the time,” says Santini. “The photo of that moment was on the cover of L'Equipe and it’s the background of the jersey dedicated to the ninth stage of the Tour 2023.”
Men’s jerseys are £90, women’s jerseys are £80. Shorts, baselayers, socks, gloves and caps are available too.
Santini has also created three kits dedicated to the UCI World Champs which take place in Scotland and will be available at the expo areas from 3rd to 13th August.
The Cloudscape kit is designed to “pay tribute to the wonderful Scottish landscapes”...
...while the City Grid kit “captures various shades of blue and green and recalls some of the features of the Glasgow city architecture”. These are both for road riding.
There’s also a Rocky kit that’s specifically designed for mountain biking.
Finally, Santini has created a new Grandi Campioni line comprising five kits celebrating different UCI Road World Championships.
Here’s the one for the 1982 World Champs which were hosted by Goodwood, Sussex, with Giuseppe Saronni beating Greg LeMond and Sean Kelly to gold in the men’s road race. Base layers, bib shorts and T-shirts are available too.
After the introduction of the SLR Boost 3D last year, Selle Italia is extending its 3D-printed range with the Novus Boost Evo 3D saddle.
“This saddle has a waved shape and is, therefore, ideal for riders with a posterior pelvic rotation who need a more stable position on the saddle: the new Novus Boost Evo 3D keeps this characteristic and features the new cover developed with Carbon DLS [Digital Light Synthesis] technology,” says Selle Italia.
The saddle will be available from the middle of May with rails in carbon fibre or TI316.
We don’t yet have prices although, as a guide, the SLR Boost 3D TI 316 Superflow is £329.99 and the SLR Boost 3D Kit Carbonio Superflow is £409.99.
Ekoï releases C-4 shoes with full-carbon soles
France’s Ekoï has released a new flagship shoe in the shape of the C-4, its first model with a “full real carbon” sole. We like the stealthy black finish, which is just as well because that’s the only option.
That sole is ventilated and it’s compatible with three-bolt cleats.
The upper is made from a non-stretch breathable mesh that’s designed to allow good temperature regulation while two Atop metal/carbon buckles take care of closure.
Ekoï claims a weight of 260g per shoe (size 41).
The Ekoï C-4 shoes are available in sizes 39 to 46 currently priced at £222.85.
Ekoï is busy bringing out new products - in addition to the shoes above it has announced three new women’s summer cycling jersey collections, titled the ‘Rainbow’, ‘Competition’ and ‘Blurred’. All of the jerseys feature bold and bright colours and lightweight materials for comfort in warmer temperatures.
All of the tops are priced €99.99 (around £88) and you can check out the various designs on Ekoï's website.
This new multitool from Cube’s Acid brand looks cool, offering 24 different functions and being easy to mount on your bike.
“The Multi Tool Husk 24 is built to last, with a high-quality aluminium frame that is both lightweight and durable,” says Acid. “The tool features 24 different functions, including hex keys, Torx bits, and screwdrivers, as well as a chain tool and a spoke wrench.”
You also get a file, tyre fork, and tyre plug for repairing tubeless flats.
It’s priced at €99.95 (about £88).
Kane Footwear - an American recovery shoe brand - has brought out a new pair of kicks, the Revive - which are intended to aid your recovery.
The futuristic-looking shoe has been designed in collaboration with sports podiatrist Dr. Dan Geller who specialises in Sports Podiatry. What makes it aid recovery, then?
The Revive features a wide toe box that can accommodate post-workout swelling, 31mm of cushioning for a bouncy and soft feel, and a 10mm heel-to-toe drop that reduces strain on the Achilles.
Some of these shoes will also be made from recycled materials… and retail for 75$.
Apidura has expanded its popular Racing Series bag range with a smaller, 3L version. This bag is made of lightweight and waterproof Hexalon material, has a roll-top closure for flexible capacity, and features a light attachment point and reflective details.
The wee bag weighs 170g and you can get one for £115.
Just after the dust has settled with the Paul Smith collection, Rapha has introduced a new L39ION of Los Angeles kit design.
Legion is perhaps best known for its criterium racing and as Rapha puts it, “Since their inception, whatever Legion has done, they’ve looked good doing it”.
This team issue features jerseys and bib shorts in an off-white colour with black accents. The team says it is all about stripping back the kit, reflecting the team’s original mission when the founders, Justin and Cory, had to fight through the noise and against the odds to build their careers and become icons within a sport not set up for their success. The journey was hard but their vision was simple - to change the sport, forever.
And in case you missed some of our other tech stories this week, make sure to check them all out: