Cycle Vision 2015: new gear from Giro, Altura, Panaracer, CatEye and Tifosi

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Cycle Vision 2015: new gear from Giro, Altura, Panaracer, CatEye and Tifosi

Shoes, clothing, sunglasses, computers, tyres and more

Darlington-based Zyro act as UK distributor for a host of top brands, including Giro, Altura, Panaracer, CatEye, Tifosi and Torq.

We stopped by London’s Vinopolis, where the wine cellars made way for bike kit, to drop in on Zyro’s Cycle Vision show and see what’s new for 2016 from each of them.

Giro have new clothing, shoes and helmets, Altura will introduce a fresh flagship clothing range in 2016 as well as an expanded luggage range, Panaracer have gone tubeless, CatEye have a new top-of-the-range computer and a revamped line-up of lights, Tifosi’s latest Escalate glasses caught our eye and Torq are experimenting with new nutrition products.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Giro’s reflective version of the Empire ACC takes on a matte grey finish by day…

Giro Empire ACC shoes go reflective

There’s been something of a shift over the past 12 months, with a trend developing for stylish yet safety conscious clothing, and apparel brands realising that you don’t have to be lit up like a Christmas tree to be seen out on the road.

The result of that is more apparel at the top-end of the market – not just at the entry-level – with reflective features. And not just a little bit of detailing here, or piping there, either, but rather full-blown reflectivity. Rapha’s updated Club jersey and Rain jacket both have a reflective stripe across the chest, ProViz have introduced a performance-focused PixElite softshell jacket, Stolen Goat’s Climb and Conquer jacket has fully reflective rear pockets, Pactimo’s new Alpine RFLX jersey impregnates refractive particles directly into the fabric, and so on.

But  if the shoes are hit by a car’s headlights then they’re impossible to miss!

Giro have joined the party by introducing a reflective version of both the Empire ACC (£229.99) and Republic LX (£149.99) shoes. We love the Empires, as they combine an old-school, lace-up aesthetic with first-class performance and a stiff, carbon fibre sole. With a coating added to the microfibre upper, the reflective pair take on a matte grey finish by day but they positively pop with light if you it by the light from a car’s headlights – or, in this case, a camera flash.

The Republic LX shoes, meanwhile, are also lace-ups but have a leather upper and, with a recessed cleat, are aimed at commuters who want a smart shoe for on the bike in which they can walk around town, too.

Giro have moved into technical road clothing

Giro launch Chrono technical clothing collection

Giro have also been busy expanding their clothing range. Off the back of the New Road line of casual bike wear, the Californian firm have launched the Chrono range of technical road clothing.

The Chrono line is made up of three collections, with Chrono Sport aimed at the entry-level, Chrono Expert at the mid-range and Chrono Pro at the top-end.

Smart styling underpins the range and, based on our first impressions anyway, we think it’s great-looking kit. The Sport and Expert collections include waist shorts, bib shorts and a jersey, and the Pro collection includes bib shorts and a jersey.

The Pro clothing caught our eye and Giro say the bib shorts are the result of more than two years of design, research and testing. Giro have used a custom chamois and a lumbar support panel and in a bid to improve comfort on the £189 shorts. The jersey, meanwhile, combines lightweight and breathable fabrics with features including a tapered collar and secure, water resistant zipped valuables pocket. That’ll cost £139.

There Chrono line-up also includes a base layer £49), wind jacket (£99), gilet (£79), arm warmers (£24) and knee warmers (£24).

If you’re wandering why we’re talking about summer clothing as we head into winter, the Chrono collection is part of Giro’s spring/summer 2016 range, so consider this an early heads up.

Giro now offer the MIPS system on a wide range of road helmets, including the Synthe

Giro expand choice of MIPS helmets

Finally, as far as Giro are concerned, there’s now a MIPS option on almost every road helmet in the range, including the Synthe.

MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), if you’re not familiar, is a secondary safety structure within the helmet which allows the outside of the lid to rotate independently around your head, redirecting impact energy. Essentially, the MIPS system is made up of three parts:

Essentially, the MIPS system is made up of three parts: the EPS liner, a ‘Low Friction Liner’ and an elastomeric attachment system which connects them and allows the EPS liner to rotate independently around the head.

Giro say that brain damage is most commonly caused in an accident by your brain moving rotating within your skull, and not necessarily from a direct impact, and so while the MIPS system only moves a few millimeters, it’s designed to stop some of that crash energy transferring to your brain.

The Synthe is Giro’s aero road helmet, combining low weight (232g), with a subtle aerodynamic profile and excellent cooling. Here’s our review. The non-MIPS version costs £199.99, while the MIPS lid is expected to carry a £20-£30 premium.

Altura’s new range of Podium Elite clothing looks to incorporate top-end features in clothing which won’t break the bank

Altura introduce top-end Podium Elite clothing and expand luggage range

Altura have developed a reputation for well-priced, entry-level clothing aimed at everyday riders but they’ve also quietly been developing some excellent kit at the other end of their range.

All in all, Altura’s road clothing collection is split into four collections: Active, Sportive, Peloton, Podium and, new for spring/summer 2016, Podium Elite.

The Podium Elite collection will replace the current Raceline clothing as Altura’s top-end clothing and the line-up will comprise of bib shorts (£100), jersey (£74.99), gilet (£67.99), jacket (£74.99) and base layer (£34.99), so it’s still all competitively priced kit but using technical fabrics and with some smart details.

The Vortex is Altura’s new seatpost bag, for commuters and tourers who don’t have – or want to use – a pannier rack

Meanwhile, Altura have also expanded their luggage range and two pieces caught our eye at Cycle Vision.

First there’s the Vortex: a waterproof, seam-taped, roll-top seatpost bag which looks a good option for riders whose bike doesn’t have rack eyelets, but who want to commute without a backpack or fancy a couple of days light touring.

Next up is the Sector: a 30-litre backpack with a host of well conceived features, including a large, padded laptop compartment, a huge central compartment for clothes and the like, and a big front pocket for a pump, tools, spares or anything else. That front storage also has a long zip which extends down on either side of the bag, the idea being that once it’s open, it’ll be easier to grab whatever you need on the road. It also has a high-viz lining, again to make it easier to find that spare inner tube when stranded at the roadside.

The bag also has a soft-touch pocket for valuables, a lumber support and – while not waterproof – the fabric has a PU water resistant coating, plus the Sector comes with a high-viz rain cover for when it’s hosing it down.

The Race A EVO 3 Tubeless is Panaracer’s first tubeless road tyre and will be available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm sizes from March/Apriil 2016

Panaracer join add tubeless tyre to road line-up

Road tubeless has been something of a slow burner, with wheel and tyre manufacturers looking at each other to make the first move.

But there is now more choice than ever – even if it’s far from exhaustive – and Panaracer are the latest to jump on board with the Race A EVO 3 Tubeless.

Panaracer’s Jeff Zell told us they’ve focused on creating a tyre which not only rides well, but is easy to install, something that anyone whose had the ‘pleasure’ of getting some tubeless tyres over a rim will appreciate.

Using a proprietary bead material, the tyre is designed to go on by hand and seal without the need for an air compressor, and is said to hold air for longer thanks to the Japanese firm’s unique butyl application.

The dual compound tyre will go into production in January, and is expected to be in the shops in March/April, when it will be available in 23mm (280g), 25mm (300g) and 28mm (weight TBC) sizes. Speaking of which, in 2014 Panaracer sold more 25mm tyres than 23mm tyres, with a 55/45 per cent split, and by the time 2015 is done that’s expected to grow out to roughly 68/32 per cent.

With tubeless tyres capable of being run at lower pressures than conventional clinchers because there’s no tube to pinch, and bringing the benefit of more comfort without necessarily affecting rolling resistance, expect the Race A EVO 3 Tubeless’s bigger sizes to be popular.

While this is Panaracer’s first tubeless road tyre, they’re also looking to make the Gravel King range tubeless-ready. Watch this space.

The CatEye Padrone Smart+ has a fully customisable display with multiple data screens

CatEye launch flagship Padrone Smart+ computer

CatEye have a wide range of bike computers and while they haven’t been tempted to delve into the GPS market and go head-to-head with Garmin, they do have a new top-of-the-range smart computer, the Padrone Smart+.

The idea behind CatEye’s smart computers is that they harness the power of your smartphone, displaying the information captured by a powerful device you’re already carrying in your jersey pocket on a compact handlebar-mounted computer.

The Padrone Smart+ sits above the Strada Smart, launched last year, and the Padrone Smart, which followed in spring 2015, in CatEye’s computer range. It offers the same functionality as the regular Padrone Smart but with the additional benefits of a backlight, altimeter and multiple customisable data screens through the CatEye Cycling app. All the data capable of being displayed by the Padrone Smart+ can be viewed on the CatEye website.

The unit is Bluetooth Smart – that’s what allows it to communicate with your smartphone – so can also record data from compatible heart rate, cadence and power sensors. The computer can also display phone notifications and users can directly upload their ride data to CatEye’s own online Atlas platform directly from their phone, as well as third party platforms like Strava and TrainingPeaks.

The compact unit measures 74x46x20mm and weighs 40g, with battery life a claimed four months. The computer costs £79.99.

The Tifosi Pro Escalate sunglasses have up to three interchangeable frames

Tifosi Pro Escalate sunglasses offer interchangeable frame

Finally, Tifosi have five new models and of those the Pro Escalate sunglasses particularly caught our eye.

While it’s common for sports eyewear to have interchangeable lenses which you can switch depending on the light conditions, the Pro Escalate takes things a step further and has an interchangeable frame.

The sunglasses are sold in either a two-pack or three-pack, in that you can choose between a combination of two frames, or get all three (full frame, half frame, shield). The arms then snap on and off accordingly. The idea is that you have one pair of glasses that you can use for multiple sports and also off the bike. Each frame also comes with an extra set of lenses. Price TBC.

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