This edition of Tech of the Week is packed to the rafters with new clothing from Bianchi and Santini, a just-released road bike from Cinelli, and POC’s latest helmet that’s designed for both bike and snow, but we’re starting with a bike that totally ignores UCI rules and ditches the seat tube…
And the prize for the most unusual-looking road bike of 2023 goes to… Baldiso and CarbonWorks for the Baldiso One.
Ditching the seat tube isn’t an entirely new idea but German brands Baldiso and CarbonWorks reckon they’re “on the verge of an exciting revolution” with their new design.
“Our mission was to rethink the conventional UCI-restricted frame shape and present a completely different design; a road bike that not only stands out from the crowd but is completely unique,” says Sebastian Baldauf, founder and owner of Baldiso. “It should be visible from 500 metres away and attract attention.”
The Baldiso One (or B1 for short) will doubtless do that. With no seat tube, it’s bound to attract a second glance.
CarbonWorks founder and owner Simon Bühler says, “Fibre composite materials offer enormous possibilities in component design, but when the material was discovered in racing cycling, design freedom was nipped in the bud by regulations, and racing was hardly allowed to differ from the tried and tested classic geometry of steel diamond frames.”
He’s referring to UCI rules saying that a bike’s frame must be of a traditional pattern – built around a main triangle – for road (and track and cyclocross) competition. You must have a seat tube and “bicycles with extravagant shapes that do not represent bicycles as understood by the UCI” are out, according to the sport’s governing body.
“I started the sketches without any ‘design role model’ and just tried to connect the direct lines of forces between the basic structural elements of a frame,” says Simon. “The idea was to think: which lines would nature choose to connect these elements? How would plants – maybe the branches or roots of a tree – find their way to each other? Where should be thicker and where is reinforcement needed?
“Sebastian and I believe that there should not only be bikes made for racing but also road bikes that please the eye of the rider. Bikes that are just fun to ride. This might motivate the rider to train more than just knowing that the bike is maybe 2% more aerodynamic or 90g lighter.
“We’re also hoping for a slightly different riding experience without the seat tube – which remains to be proven.”
That’s because the B1 frame doesn’t yet exist. Right now, Baldiso and CarbonWorks are building a full-size 3D-printed model of the bike to check the final details, before the expensive process of making a first mould and then the final prototype for stiffness testing.
“We can use the material we save from the seat tube to strengthen the other tubes, but weight may be slightly higher for this frame,” says Simon. “We calculate it’ll weigh between 920g and 1,070g. The first test rides should be possible in about March/April next year.”
Specially adapted components have been developed for the B1, including a handlebar/stem unit and tri-spoke wheels (not pictured). Other wheelsets will also be available.
The B1 will come with a 9g bottle cage while a new holder for two bottles is said to be in the final design phase. A special adapter allows you to mount a front derailleur if you’d prefer a double chainset to a 1x system.
As mentioned, bikes without seat tubes have certainly
been developed before. We showed you an Urwahn Bikes X Vagabund Studfuchs commuting bike in 2019, for example, and then there was the Superstrata that was launched with a big song and dance back in 2020. The well-publicised issues with that bike were largely down to supply.
The Baldiso One will go live on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site in the coming week. You can also pre-order a frameset online for €5,540, which converts to about £4,850. Complete bikes start at €9,770 (about £8,550). That’s for a Shimano 105 Di2 build. Delivery is expected to begin in March 2024.
A cool innovation or change for change’s sake? Let us know what you think.
If you’re the adventurous type who likes to mix things up a bit, POC says that the new Calyx is its first helmet that’s certified for skiing and mountaineering as well as cycling. You weren’t expecting that, were you? Okay, this is more likely to be a bonus in POC’s Swedish homeland than it is in the usually snowless UK, but you never know.
“Thanks to its development and design approach, the Calyx is a helmet that will shine in skiing/snowboarding, mountaineering, and cycling environments, and can easily be used to cycle to the lift area, and from there to the back country,” says POC. “Equally it can be used solely for skiing laps, playing in the park at a ski resort, taking a day to focus on climbing skills, or on the daily commute in the city to and from the office.”
POC says that certification for mountaineering requires a very different testing and development process than for cycling and skiing because the helmet “must be able to withstand significant falling and penetrative forces which could occur during a rock fall”.
The linear channels inside the Calyx are said to have been inspired by POC’s road and mountain bike helmets, while a “three-stage integrated ventilation adjustment” allows you to fine-tune the performance. You get a Mips Evolve safety system and fit adjustment is via a rear wheel.
The Calyx (with an ABS thermoplastic shell) is priced at £220 while the Calyx Carbon (with a carbon shell) is £380.
The Bianchi Milano clothing brand has unveiled new autumn/winter clothing featuring the iconic Italian Bianchi design. The collection includes road cycling lines called Icon 999 and Remastered, which are designed to cater to performance-oriented and comfort-focused riders, respectively. The Icon 999 clothing is said to offer aerodynamic thermal garments (bib-tights, jacket and jersey) with 'Sling Shield' technology which provides protection from cold, water, and wind.
The Remastered capsule is a more relaxed one but doesn't still skimp on high-performance fabrics, water-repellent membranes, and ergonomic fits. There are also two off-road collections for the gravel riders in the Italian brands lineup, now.
The new collection is available from 20th November.
Ortlieb – the German manufacturer of waterproof backpacks, panniers, and travel bags – has announced the return of its Repair Week, the aim being to reduce waste.
Ortlieb says that all of its products come with replaceable parts and are designed to be patched in order to extend service life.
From 20-25th November, Ortlieb customers from the UK can email Lyon Equipment on Ortlieb [at] lyon.co.uk for free repairs.
Santini and Polartec have collaborated in creating the Adapt Multi Jacket. This jacket features Polartec Power Shield bio-based membrane, which is made from 48 percent plant-based materials. The brand hopes that this membrane, making a nod to its eco-friendly commitment, is going to be an even more prominent part of its 24/25 collection.
The jersey-like jacket is designed for temperatures from 0°C to +10°C and offers thermal balance and breathability. Prices stand at 250€ for men and 240€ for women's version and there are multiple colour options available.
Muc-Off has introduced the Silicon Infused (Si) Ceramic Protection Kit, a new product in its Technical Series. The finishing products claim to offer "up to two years of unmatched protection", minimising scratches, reducing UV-induced paint fade, and repelling water and dirt.
Priced at £55, the kit includes Surface Preparation Spray, Ceramic Coating, Microfibre Applicator Pad, and Luxury Microfibre Polishing Cloths, all in recyclable packaging.
Cinelli has announced the launch of its latest road bike, the Pressure ADR, based on its existing Pressure.
“The Pressure ADR combines an aggressive riding position (the same stack and reach found on our aero racing Pressure platform) with increased comfort and more predictable handling characteristics thanks above all to increased rake and wheelbase, round seat tube, 27.2mm seatpost and lowered seatstays,” says Cinelli.
The Pressure ADR has a Columbus carbon monocoque frame that weighs a claimed 990g (size medium), while the fork is 420g. It comes in five sizes and takes tyres up to 30mm wide.
You’re looking at £1,999 for the frame kit with complete bikes starting at £3,199. That’s for a Shimano 105 (mechanical) build. A Shimano 105 Di2 bike is £3,799.00, and a Pressure ADR with Ultegra Di2 is £4,399.
Whoa! We’ll run those figures past you again: each bottle cage is sub-15g (14.7g, to be precise). And a pair is priced at £330 (€380, to be precise). We’re talking about the new Superleggero Ti bottle cage from Italy’s Alpitude – based in the Alps, you see – billed as “the lightest 3D-printed titanium cage in the world”.
“We use SLM [selective laser melting] technology to produce this special version of our best-selling Superleggero carbon cage,” says Alpitude’s Andrea Sega.
“We started from our carbon cage design and we adapted it with a ‘Drillium’ design and the new additive manufacturing material,” says Andrea (Drillium being the word used to describe a product that’s full of holes to save weight).
“Titanium is the best material for this kind of use, and for the first time we offer customers the chance to get a unique kind of product in the cycling market. It is designed to get lower weights while keeping the bidon [water bottle] as tight as the carbon model.”
Alpitude made 99 pairs of these bottle cages, each numbered and presented in a wooden box. The ones made available on Alpitude's website sold out almost immediately. Some others will be available through Alpitude dealers around the globe in the first week of December. Due to the high demand, it's possible that another version of the Superleggero Ti will be produced in the near future.
You can also buy Alpitude’s Superleggero carbon cages with an even lighter claimed weight of just 9.5g (+/-5%) without screws. These are priced €79.90 to €99.90 each, depending on the finish. Bargain!
Princeton – or Princeton CarbonWorks if you want to be formal about it – has updated its Wake 6560 wheels with a new shape and a whole load of new colour options. They were already amongst the most distinctive wheels out there courtesy of their wavy rim profile; the new colours push that on a level or two.
The most important bit, though, is the performance and the headline here is that Princeton claims the Wake 6560 Evolution wheelset offers a 3.88W saving over the previous Wake 6560 Strada at 30mph (48km/h) – (tested in the A2 Wind Tunnel using 25mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR tyres). Princeton also claims a 7.68W saving over Zipp’s 454 NSW wheels, and 7.77W savings over Shimano C60s.
“Our new Evolution profile matches alternating deep and shallow rim sections with alternating spoke sides,” says Princeton. “Mechanically, this allows the steeper, high tension spokes (drive side rear spokes and disc side front spokes) to connect to a deeper rim section, thereby flattening those spoke angles. The change in bracing angle helps balance spoke tensions, creating a stiffer, more uniform wheel.”
The rim is wider than previously (21mm internal, 28.2mm max external; it is said to be optimised for 25mm tyres) yet 10g lighter thanks to the overall shorter cord length of the inner edge.
The rims remain hooked because Princeton believes this is “the safest and fastest solution for road riding and racing”.
Princeton is offering the wheels in various colours although UK distributor Ison says it’ll only offer black decals as standard, with colours available as special order. Pricing has yet to be confirmed but it’s expected to be about £3,900 per wheelset.
Indonesia-based ACA Miniature is creating some rather impressive miniature versions of bikes – and they could make one of yours, too. With Christmas around the corner, these could make a good present for someone, although the lead times are about seven to eight weeks at the moment so you might not get one in time for Christmas Day.
There is worldwide shipping available. We're told that one miniature piece costs $60 (about £48), comes with a black and acrylic box, and the shipping cost is $20 from Indonesia to the UK.