Eurobike 2016: RCUK’s product picks from Shimano, PRO, DT Swiss, Sportful, Castelli, Lazer, Elite, Tacx, Schwalbe and Muc-Off
New shoes, components, clothing, turbo trainers, tyres and more from the mammoth Eurobike trade show
Phew! We’re back from Eurobike, the cycling trade’s annual mega-show in Germany, having spent the last week trawling the halls to see what’s new from some of the biggest brands in the sport.
We’ve already told you about the FSA K-Force WE electronic groupset officially unveiled in Friedrichshafen, Canyon's forthcoming Ultimate and Aeroad disc brake bikes, Giro’s new Techlace range of shoes, the Ridley Noah SL Disc and Fenix SL Disc, and the all-new Colnago Concept aero bike.
Now it’s time to reveal more of our product picks from the show. Read on for brand new gear from Shimano, PRO, DT Swiss, Sportful, Castelli, Lazer, Elite, Tacx, Schwalbe and Muc-Off.
Shimano – top-end RC9 and mid-range RC7 shoes come with BOA dials
The big news from Shimano for 2017 is, of course, the launch of the Dura-Ace R9100 groupset, but, there are also new shoes from the Japanese giant. The S-Phyre RC9 has been tested through 2016 by Team Giant-Alpecin, LottoNL-Jumbo and riders including Orica-BikeExchange’s Michael Matthews.
You get two BOA dials - a first for Shimano’s flagship shoes - for a precise, adjustable fit, a lightweight, supple, one-piece upper with mesh panels, and a carbon fibre sole, as you’d expect from any top-end shoe. Claimed weight is 232g and you’ll be able to get them in the UK in black, white or fluoro yellow. Pricing is expected to be similar to the outgoing R321 (£249.99).
If that’s a bit punchy for you, there will also be a more affordable version, the RC7. Here you get a single BOA dial combined with a Velcro strap across the toe box and a carbon composite sole. Claimed weight is 245g and there will be white and red colour options. Again, pricing is yet to be announced.
The RC9 and RC7 are very much racing shoes, but there’s also a new winter boot on the way. The RW5 has a Dryshield membrane with a fleece lining to help keep water out and rain in. The ‘speed lacing’ system is protected by a neoprene flap, while there’s also a neoprene ankle collar to keep water and dirt out. Fluoro detailing and reflective print add low light visibility.
PRO – Di2 integration on new Vibe carbon fibre aero handlebar
Aerodynamics and integration are two of the key buzzwords in cycling right now, and the new PRO Vibe handlebar and stem take care of both.
Developed in conjunction with Team Sky, both the handlebar and stem have an aerodynamic profile. The bar is designed around airfoil tube shaping, while the stem has a low-profile top cap, narrow front profile and reverse titanium bolts to smooth airflow across the front of the bike.
The handlebar also has ports to feed in Shimano Di2 wires or mechanical cables, and there’s also the option to further route both through the stem. It’s a neatly integrated solution which ensures a clean, sleek look and improved aerodynamics (albeit a marginal gain).
The handlebar is also compatible with the new Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 Di2 junction box, which can sit in place of the bar plug at the end of either drop. Both the handlebar and stem are made from carbon fibre, and the ‘bar, which at 220g is the lightest in the PRO line-up, also contains a material called Innegra, which is said to limit crash damage.
DT Swiss – PR 1400 Dicut OXiC wheelset dubbed ‘the pinnacle of aluminium road wheels’
The PR 1400 Dicut OXiC wheels are new from DT Swiss and come with the claim of being ‘the pinnacle of aluminium road wheels’. The key talking point here is the application of a hard-wearing ceramic coating of the rim to improve braking performance in all conditions.
Here’s how DT Swiss describe the OXiC process: “The ceramic layer is achieved similarly to anodizing, by submerging the rim in an electrolyte solution while applying an electrical tension between the rim as one electrode, and the container as the other. The decisive difference between anodizing and OXiC lies in the millions of plasma discharges that occur between the electrolyte and the rim, applying high temperature and pressure on the developing oxide layer. Due to that, the developing oxide layer melts, flows and solidifies again. During this process the amorphous (not aligned) structure of the oxide converts to a crystalline (aligned) one. This is why OXiC is so hard and wear resistant."
The key benefits of OXiC include consistent braking performance in both dry and wet conditions and a rim which is so hard it won’t wear out over the normal lifespan of a wheel. The rim also gains a smart matte black finish and will remain black as OXiC does not contain any inks or dyes and won’t fade or discolour in the sun.
Claimed weight for the PR 1400 Dicut OXiC wheelset is 1,435g, so they’re certainly light, and the rims are also tubeless-ready. However, there is a 110kg rider weight limit. You can get your hands on these for £799.98.
Website: DT Swiss
Sportful – highly breathable Stelvio waterproof jacket on the way for spring/summer 2017
Sportful used Eurobike to preview their spring/summer 2017 clothing collection and, as ever, there are a number of new pieces to watch out for from the Italian firm.
The Stelvio jacket, in particular, caught our eye. It replaces the Survival jacket in the Sportful range and has been used by the Tinkoff team this year. The jacket is made from a Japanese-sourced, four-way stretch fabric, but the key here is breathability, with the Stelvio coming with a 50,000mm breathability rating - that’s extremely high and should, combined with the waterproof properties of the seam-taped material, help keep rain out, while letting moisture escape. The Stelvio jacket will cost £240.
Meanwhile, the Cima bib shorts and short-sleeve jersey are new to Sportful’s cutting-edge R&D line for 2017. The shorts are particularly interesting, and use a mesh fabric on much of the legs to improve ventilation and moisture transfer – Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan has used these through the 2016 WorldTour season. They’ll set you back £95, with the super-light Cima jersey, also designed for use in warm conditions, coming in at £90.
Finally, moving away from Sportful’s pro-inspired kit, the Giara collection is new for 2017. Giara roughly translates to gravel in the Veneto dialect of northern Italy, where Sportful are based, and that gives a clue as to the inspiration behind the range. The styling is more casual than Sportful’s race-focused kit and the cut a little looser, but there are still lightweight, breathable fabrics used throughout. We think this kit will equally be at home on the commute or for riders who want technical clothing which doesn’t necessarily scream ‘cyclist’ the moment you step off the bike. The initial Giara range will be made up of a short sleeve jersey and baggy shorts, both coming in at £75.
Castelli – Premio bib shorts and Vela vest new for 2017
Castelli have two key pieces in the works for 2017: the Premio bib shorts and Vela vest.
Let’s start with the Premio shorts. These are designed with comfort in mind and Castelli have gone to town with the details to ensure the Premio bib shorts are your first pick out of the kit drawer ahead of a long ride.
The shorts are designed to fit like a second skin, made from a super-soft fabric with a snug cut and minimal seams. Castelli have placed a mesh lumber support band around the back of the shorts, with a mesh fabric also used between the bib straps to improve breathability. The bib straps are notably wide and made from a seamless, bonded fabric to sit flat again the skin.
The leg endings, meanwhile, are raw cut to ensure a smooth transition from short to leg, and are lined with vertical silicone grippers (as opposed to horizontal, as on every other short) to hold the shorts in place without limiting stretch. Castelli say the Progetto X2 Air chamois 'straddles the line between giving plenty of support and padding while being soft enough that you almost don’t feel it'.
The Vela vest is interesting in that it is predominantly made from a wind and waterproof fabric called Dyneema, which is typically used to make sails. That ensures the fabric is extremely lightweight: claimed weight is 59g for a large and the Vela vest can comfortably fit in a jersey pocket with room to spare, but is also very strong.
However, while Dyneema may be windproof, waterproof and, in Castelli’s words, indestructible, it doesn’t offer any stretch, so a breathable, stretch-woven fabric has been used on either side of the rear, and at the bottom of the front of the gilet. That’s also been given a DWR finish to add some water repellency.
Both the Premio shorts and Vela vest will be available from spring 2017, priced at €199.95 and €169.95 respectively.
Otherwise, the Superleggera jacket (€99.95) and Superleggera vest (€89.95) are also new from Castelli. They’re made from a Pertex Quantum fabric which is windproof and incredibly light. Unlike Dyneema, the Pertex fabric doesn’t offer any significant waterproofing, though both do have a waterproof fabric insert on the back to offer some protection from rain and, more significantly, wheel spray. Still, think of the Superleggera range as kit to wear on a mountain descent or when there’s a morning chill in the air, but otherwise is likely to be stuffed in a pocket meaning low weight is important.
Lazer – dedicated aero helmet, the Bullet, brakes cover
Whereas Lazer’s aero offering used to consist of a snap-on cover for their regular range of road helmets, the Belgian firm now has a dedicated aero road helmet having launched the Bullet.
The helmet has a slimmer frontal area than Lazer’s existing road helmets, all in the name of aerodynamics, and has an elongated shape derived through computer modelling and wind tunnel testing.
The Bullet’s not all about aerodynamics, however, and the helmet has a sliding cover on the front to open and close a series of vents which run up the middle of the lid. The helmet will also come with a solid piece to swap in if the rider wants to cover the vents. In a time trial, for example.
Elite – Drivo and Kura direct drive turbo trainers come with built-in power meter
The turbo trainer market has evolved hand-in-hand with the power market in recent years, with indoor trainers becoming ever more sophisticated as riders want even more data at their fingertips.
Off the back of that, Elite have introduced two new direct drive turbo trainers, each with a built-in power meter. Elite say the flagship Drivo and mid-range Kura are accurate to within +/- one per cent, which, if that’s true, makes both trainers more accurate than the Tacx Neo Smart (+/- two per cent) and the Wahoo Kickr (+/- three per cent).
While both the Drivo and Kura offer Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart connectivity, the key difference between the two is that the Drivo offers electronic resistance control, meaning you can pair the trainer with an app (whether that be Elite’s own app or third-party apps like Zwift) and choose a training session or course, with the turbo automatically adjusting resistance.
Otherwise, the Drivo is capable of handling a maximum of 2,000 watts and can simulate a slope up to 24 per cent, while the Kura will accept 700 watts of punishment. The Drivo costs £1,099.99, while the Kura is £649.99.
The Rampa is another new addition to the Elite range for 2017, and while it’s not a direct drive trainer, it does offer resistance control. The benefit of a direct drive trainer is the superb road-like feel, but what the Rampa loses in realistic ride quality, over the Kura, it gains in Ant+ resistance control and compatibility with third party apps. The Rampa will set you back £449.99.
Finally, also new from Elite are the Quick Motion ‘floating rollers’. The floating design is said to provide a more realistic ride quality, while the wheelbase is also adjustable and the rollers can be folded down for storage. Yours for £349.99.
Tacx – Flux Smart direct drive trainer and Magnum treadmill introduced
Continuing on the direct drive turbo trainer theme, Tacx have introduced the Flux Smart as a more affordable alternative to the Neo Smart introduced last year. It will cost €799, though the UK price hasn’t been announced yet.
Like the Neo, the Flux offers built-in power measurement, though claimed accuracy is downgraded from +/- two per cent to +/- five per cent. It’s an electronic unit, so offers resistance control via third-party apps. Maximum resistance is a claimed 1,500 watts, with the Flux Smart also able to simulate a ten per cent slope. The Flux doesn’t fold down like the Neo, but the legs are detachable with an Allen key.
Moving on… if you want the ultimate indoor riding experience - and have extremely deep pockets – then the Tacx Magnum is just about as good as it gets. It’s effectively a treadmill for bikes (but can also be used as a conventional running treadmill), just like the prototype Tacx Klimtrainer we rode back in 2012.
It’s a very clever piece of kit. Light sensors on the sides of the treadmill read where your bike is on the Magnum – if you move too far forward, it will increase the resistance to nudge you back, and if you begin to slip too far towards the rear, it will reduce the resistance to move you back into the middle of the rolling road. Otherwise, the Magnum has a maximum incline of 15 per cent and is Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart compatible, so can be used with any number of training apps.
So how much is it? You’re looking at a cool €8,000.
Schwalbe - X-One Bite cyclo-cross tyre for the muddiest UK conditions
German tyre giants Schwalbe have made a few tweaks across the range. Heading into cyclo-cross season, there’s a new X-One Bite mud tyre which looks like it’ll be a good choice for slick UK conditions.
The X-One Bite joins the regular X-One All-Round in the range and has a coarser, more pronounced tread to provide, as the name suggests, more bite on really muddy days. Like the All-Round, it’s also tubeless-ready.
Speaking of which, Schwalbe are fully behind tubeless technology for road cycling, and in a bid to make life easier for riders wanting to switch, have introduced the Tubeless Easy Kit. Basically, it contains everything you need to convert your wheels to tubeless: rim tape, tubeless valves, sealant, mounting fluid and a set of tyre levers. The kit is available with rim tapes in 21mm, 23mm and 25mm widths, and costs £54.99.
Otherwise, the Schwalbe One now has a subtle tread pattern to match the Pro One tubeless tyre, while the Pro One HT tubular tyre now has additional puncture protection.
Finally, as the gravel market continues to evolve, the existing S-One tyre has been renamed the G-One Speed to sit alongside the G-One All-Round, previously known just as the G-One.
Name aside, both tyres remain unchanged. Both are designed to handle the road and rough stuff, but the Speed has more of a road focus with its slightly raised and dimpled tread (think of events like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, or general riding on rough roads).
The All-Round is better equipped for the farm tracks, bridleways, singletrack and everything else you might encounter on a gravel bike, thanks to the more pronounced tread pattern. Both tyres are tubeless, with the All-Round coming in 35mm and 38mm widths, and the Speed available only as a 30mm tyre.
Muc-Off – 15 new products launched, including shaving cream
Muc-Off have been busy, with 15 new products launched at Eurobike.
The Dorset-based firm may be best known for bike cleaning products but last year they branched out with an ‘athlete protection’ range in 2015, including a chamois cream and embrocation.
Now Muc-Off have made a further five additions to that collection, including a shaving cream designed specifically for cyclists. The cream is designed to stay on when you put your leg under water, so you can see where you have shaved, and has smells like men’s aftershave. You’ll also now find a aftershave balm, SPF moisturiser, massage oil and 100ml chamois cream (it previously only came in a 250ml tub) in the range.
Otherwise, Muc-Off have made ten further additions to the bike care range, with everything from a new drivetrain brush to a tyre and cassette brush. Now there are no excuses for both you and your bike not to be well looked after.