BikeRoar met with with 8 more companies on the second day of an exclusive and up-close event in Southern California — PressCamp Road. Here are highlights of the brands and products from day two.
Benefits of training with a power meter are clear, and with prices coming down to make them more accessible — Pioneer's start at under $500 — more cyclists can get onboard and start using power data.
Pioneer delved into cycling power meters in 2007, putting to use its world class consumer electronics abilities. So yes, it's that Pioneer, more well known as for its audio equipment, but power meters are much in line with what Pioneer does technically for other consumer electronics, explained Russ Johnston, executive vice president of marketing and corporate communications. That, and a passion for cycling from Pioneer's engineering staff, leads us to today's new High Definition Power Meter Systems that are now available.
The Pioneer system starts with where the data is collected, a robust dual-leg crank power meter that measures force in all directions at 16 points around, 24 times per rotation, 384 total points in real time. ANT+ compatible, the crankset can be paired with any ANT+ compatible computer or watch, but to see the full range of "HDPower Metrics" data (force vectors, torque vector, and more) in real time requires pairing with the Pioneer Cycle Computer.
On the Pioneer computer, data from each leg is displayed as clock-like readings. From this, a rider can identify the unique characteristics of his pedal stroke and pedaling efficiency and make adjustment while on the bike.
All of the measurements taken by the Pioneer crank hardware, including GPS location data, can be sent automatically from the computer's built in WiFi to Pioneer's Cyclo-Sphere, a powerful cloud-based analysis tool that's included with the hardware. The same data can also be pushed to Training Peaks, Strava, and the like.
Pioneer also puts your historic and real-time data to use with "Training Assist," a free set of downloadable programs that give training prompts and instructions targeting power numbers — a sort-of virtual personal coach.
Clearly best as a complete system, Pioneer understands jumping all-in might be tough, so they lower the bar to power meter entry by offering their single leg power meter to start, available in many brands and models such as those from Shimano, FSA, Campagnolo, and Cannondale. Riders can grow into the system by adding the computer and second leg later.
We met with Ridley at last year's event, where we rode Noah, the affordable aero bike, and subsequently gave it an Editor's Review. This year, Ridley was keen to share with us their X-Trail all-road/gravel bikes and their new "La Ridley" women's program.
Ridley's all-road/gravel X-Trail Adventure bikes are now available in alloy and carbon versions. They showed us a speedy-looking yellow carbon and a fully loaded copper alloy, but no matter the frame material, they both have the same geometry, increased tire clearance (700x42c or 650B 55mm), rack and fender mounts, and disc brakes with thru axles.
Lotto-Soudal pro rider Isabelle Beckers introduced La Ridley, the new community designed to support women in cycling and get more of them on bikes. Beckers, the "Curator of La Ridley Experience," explained it's a platform to share knowledge and experience, from the basics to help a recreational rider just starting out, to female riders who are progressing to bigger rides and competition and need perspective and advice from other women. There might be some skepticism as to whether Ridley is pandering to women with this program, but the credentials of Beckers and La Ridley's welcoming, encouraging messaging on its website and social media (that includes "#BeTOUGH"), signals a genuine interest and effort to grow women into the sport.
Richard Bryne and wife Sharon Worman, the founders or Speedplay, proudly talked me through the creation and growth of the company, from the initial invention and adoption of their dual-sided, lollipop pedals, to two of their latest innovations, Speedplay Zero Aero and the SYZR Pedal System.
In Syzr, Speedplay gives off-road riders a system that clicks in and out easier, has more stability, gives 10-degrees of user-customizable float, and transfers more power. On top of those features, Speedplay makes Syzr pedals available in different spindle lengths and stack height to adjust for leg length differences, making for "a lot of control over the interface" and many positioning and customization options.
Speedplay's Zero Aero Pedal System is a walkable, aerodynamic system that slashes wind resistance. It's designed to be and looks quite aero, sure, but the proof is in two events: 1) Bradley Wiggins used them to capture the world hour record in 2015, and 2) recent testing at the San Diego Air & Space Low Speed Wind Tunnel credits the system with reduced wind drag that converted to 33 seconds saved per hour!
ABUS is a security products company and a market leader in Europe. Well known for their locks, they offer an extensive range of bike locks and security levels: cable locks, U-locks, chain locks, and even folding locks.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bordo folding locks line, ABUS introduced a limited edition Bordo Black, a special color edition with the same features as the Bordo 6500 and ABUS' highest security rating, 15 out of 15. The Bordo Black comes in a premium presentation box, in matching black, with an LED-lighted key and bonus neck warmer.
For component security, ABUS invented NutFix, a bolt system that you put on only once and is activated by gravity. Once installed, NutFix caps can only be removed when a bike is on its side, protecting the saddle and wheels. Nutfix is available as individual axles or sets to replace quick releases, or as caps for existing solid axles and seat clamps.
Expanding on how they provide security, ABUS continues to innovate and extend their line of urban bike helmets, showing us the five that will all be available in the U.S. by April 2017.
Scraper 2.0 is a skater-style hard cover helmet with the ABUS Retention System and a small removable visor.
Hyban is the next up in the line, still a hardshell with the ABUS Retention System and removable visor, but with more ventilation and styling, a bug blocker inner net, and integrated LED rear light. Both the Scraper 2.0 and Hyban are constructed to withstand the rigors of handling by kids or commuters on the go.
Urban-I 2.0 is an in-mold design - a lighter design with a durable outer shell and the shock absorbing EPS material inside. It has a magnetic buckle for easy on/off with or without gloves, an integrated LED rear light, rear reflectors, bug blocker, and removable visor. While still in ABUS' urban line, this helmet's sportier look also has off-road appeal.
Youn-I Ace also skews towards a mountain bike look, but as Greg Heck, ABUS marketing and PR manager tells it, the helmet is targeted and popular with e-Bike riders because of its ventilation and coverage protection. The Youn-I Ace is an in-mold construction helmet with removable visor and LED rear light. Without the visor, we see hints of POC and Catlike that give the dextrous helmet a roadie look.
Greg explained that Yadd-I (pronounced "Jedi") started out as an aero road helmet, but morphed to be an aggressive road commuter. The minamalist design has just two air vents on front, but uses Forced Air Cooling channels to keep it cool. For more cool, as in style, and a little function, Yadd-I has a built-in, non-removable cap-like visor that flips up or down. For retention, ABUS gives Yadd-I their newly developed Soft Tune System, essentially two elastic bands that stretch and adapt to provide variable tension. And while it doesn't have it now, the helmet will eventually get an LED rear light.
Raleigh Bicycles by Accell North America
Raleigh is one of several brands in Accell Group's collection that also includes DiamondBack, LaPierre, and others. (One of those others is Nishiki, which I remember fondly as the road bike I really got started riding on, to school and beyond.) The focus of the day was Raleigh bikes and Accell brought a fleet of them to show and tell.
Newly added and available is the more rugged Stuntman, featuring a Reynolds 631 chromoly frame, aluminum fork, and "The Fall Guy" TV show inspired paint. (Get the name?) This thru axle, disc brake model has clearance for 700x50c tires and comes with a dropper post, leather bar tape and Brooks-like saddle, and the build kit is SRAM Rival 1x11.
Raleigh does retro cool in its "endurance road" line with the Clubman, Grand Vitesse, and Super Course. On first glimpse, the Clubman appears to merely be a classic rando styled bike with fenders to match. I'll give you a few more seconds to notice the baby blue frame and fork are actualy carbon and the Clubman Carbon is equipped with disc brakes, thru axles, and enough room for up to 32c tires — Clement Strada 700 x 28c gumwalls already included. Retro cool, indeed! For more modest budgets, the Clubman also comes in 6061 alloy and 4130 chromoly versions as priced low as $899 USD.
Grand Vitesse and Super Course are also called "Heritage" bikes, and you can see they both draw their looks from said Raleigh legacy. Grand Vitesse is a Reynolds 853 chromoly frame with monocoque carbon fork, Shimano Ultegra build, and inlaid "Raleigh" handlebars and stem; it's the premium bike of the line. The ladies get a women specific geometry bike and under $1K USD value in the Super Course, with 4130 chromoly frame and alloy fork.
Scicon, Selle SMP, and more from Albabici LLC
Albabici excels at developing and delivering Italian cycling brands to the U.S. market — more than a dozen and counting. It would have been enjoyable to talk with them for hours about all the products they handle, but on hand, direct from Italy, were Selle SMP's Nicolo' Schiavon, and Scicon's sales and marketing manager Christian Pearce.
Selle SMP has been making bicycle saddles since 1947, so 2017 marks its 70th year and they're still crafting 100% Italian saddles in Padua, Italy.
In 2004, SMP presented its SMP4BIKE saddles, the iconic style of split shapes and beak-like nose dips designed to relieve pressure in riders' perineum zones while supporting their pelvic bones and buttocks, making for more comfortable and healthy rides. Today, SMP's saddles come in up to five levels of padding, seven shapes, and numerous colors, for varying body types and tastes. There are sleek, minimalist race models like the Carbon Light, to well-padded and MTB suited models like the Avant (which is also popular with women), to even two junior-specific models, the Chrono and Lite Junior.
SMP also has a five-model Triathlon time trial/Ironman specific line (TT1 to TT5) featuring a shortened and well padded nose, and an 18 saddle Tourism line for urban, trekking, sport, and e-bike riding, generally made for more comfort and some saddles with strategically placed gel padding.
With all those options for different riding styles and body types, SMP practically insists you try before you buy. They want you to get it right and be happy, so they make their saddles avaialble for no obligation ride testing through their SMP4TEST dealers.
One of Albabici's speed testing crew shared a new SMP prototype designed specifically for criterium racing. No more details yet, but we'll be watching.
Scicon is all about bike transport and protection. You probably known them for their bike bags and cases, and most pros certainly do. What you may not know is how to pronounce Scicon (which seems to have dropped the apostrophe in what was formerly "Sci'con"); a common mispronunciation is "psy-con", but as this video with the pros shows, it's actually "she-con."
If you've never traveled, or more specifically, flown with your bike, the benefits of Scicon's products might be hard to appreciate, but for those who have, you know what a hassle building up and breaking down a bike can be, as well as the risk you take in having it mishandled and damaged along the way. Scicon's range of bike bags and cases includes several, like the Aerocomfort 2.0 and Aerotech Evolution 3.0, that require minimal disassembly of your bicycle; remove wheels, pedals, and the seat and seatpost, but keep your handlebars on.
Scicon's cases are well formed and padded to fit and protect most bikes including frames with integrated seat post extensions. They have versions with fit and features specific for mountain bikes, tandem bikes, and even a tri/Ironman version in which there is no need to remove the handlebars AND aerobars. Cases are made to be as light as possible and come with rollers to make them easier to move about.
Scicon cases and bags are a worthwhile investment to make traveling with a bike easier and more secure, which is why so many pros (like Peter Sagan, Alberto Contador, Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin), mechanics, and teams (like Trek Factory, Cannondale-Garmin, Tinkoff-Saxo, Orica-Scott) use them. Scicon's attention to function and detail is impressive — down to even the miniature scale USB drive media kit.
Assos, the high-end cycling apparel maker, brought the show on the road in their own mobile store / pop-up shop / trailer.
Inside, Christopher Mackay, marketing manager, and Lexie Sarkisian, brand experience representative, talked me through their latest collections. Normally premium quality clothing and gear at premium prices, what stood out was Assos' work to create a more affordable entry point. The Mille S7 comfortFit collection bibs will start at $159, with different fabrics and features, but still made in the same factory and with the same quality Italian chamois as higher up bibs. Also headed out for spring and summer are the Mille Evo7 jersey, a stealthy "freedomFit" ($159), and the Équipe Evo8 jersey, an entry-level race jersey that's a "perfect balance between performance and price point" ($150).
Our last meeting of PressCamp really kept us on our toes by not talking just socks. Instead, the DeFeet team shared with us two new initiatives aimed to engage cycling audiences and give them unique products and better experiences.
Shane Cooper, Founder/President/, Paul Willerton, and Rob Dickerson unwrapped their vision starting with Barnstormers Adventure Cycling Club, a community and athlete ambassador program to encourage riders to take a "flying" spirit to routes less traveled, especially off-road and gravel. While club is in the name, Barnstormers is really a place where DeFeet wants people to share their cycling knowledge and encourage others. Ambassadors are also lured with the prospect of assisting in DeFeet product development, launch previews, and product testing. DeFeet cited some of its enrolled star members including Greg LeMond, Dave Zabriskie, and Johan Museeuw.
DeFeet Bespoke is a new, "world's first" cycling-specific crowdfunding site that DeFeet will use to deliver unique, small-run products directly to consumers. DeFeet will take pre-orders on an item and only produce it if the fundraising goal is met, otherwise customers are refunded. It's a way to solidly gauge interest (with orders in hand) and only move forward when there's enough commitment.
Bespoke is built to offer new products again and again, but not to replace DeFeet's inline sales of socks and apparel. In fact, DeFeet can see a product proving popular enough to develop and scale for traditional retail channels. That can't always be true, in spite of popularity and demand, as DeFeet is looking to "bring to life" products that might be ill-suited to mass production; for example, artisan crafted, natural hand-dyed Woolie Boolie socks by Asheville artist Melanie Wilder of Wild Earth Textiles, or U.S.-made jersey grip-textured pocket bags by L.A. designer YANCO.
That wrapped two days of fully-loaded PressCamp Road 2017. If you haven't already, be sure to catch up on the Day 1 action here, and keeping checking back here at BikeRoar as we bring you more cycling news, product reviews, and features.