Gear Break: American Classic Tires, Muc-Off, Selle Italia, Festka, Lezyne & Ombraz

More great kit!

Gear Break: American Classic launches road and gravel tire line, Muc-Off Ludicrous AF the world’s fastest race lube, Selle Italia Model X Green Comfort+ Superflow: The environmentally friendly saddle that is now even more comfortable, Festka: Gravel – The new face of cycling, Lezyne: A bottle cage for every rider and Ombraz Classics with no arms.


American Classic Launches Road and Gravel Tire Line

American Classic, the cycling componentry innovator, is proud to reenter the cycling world with a diverse line of gravel and road tires. American Classic’s eight unique tires celebrate the brand’s history with an engineering pedigree that delivers every rider the performance they would expect from products bearing the American Classic name.

The American Classic gravel tire collection is one of the most versatile on the market with five models that deliver traction on every type and style of gravel terrain. Using American Classic’s Rubberforce G tire compound and Stage 5S Flat Protection, the gravel tires in the American Classic collection is engineered to surpass the demands of today’s gravel riders and are handmade in our own production facility.

Using two different Flat Protection technologies, but sharing the same Rubberforce S tire compound, the Timekeeper and Torchbearer road tires are specifically optimized for the road racer and the road fondo rider, respectively.

The lone city tire, the Lamplighter may not be the fastest or the burliest model in the American Classic line, but it still shares many of the American Classic key technologies, including American Classic’s Road Hazard Replacement Policy, which is a key feature of every American Classic tire. American Classic riders can be offered a tire at 50% off MSRP should the unfortunate happen and a puncture or tear occurs while riding (product registration required).

American Classic founder Bill Shook offered his thoughts on the new product range, “when I founded American Classic in 1982, I sought to engineer the lightest components for road racers. It was important to me that American Classic’s new owners shared that same sense of innovation. I look forward to seeing the American Classic name on tires everywhere.”

The American Classic tire collection will initially be made available in the USA only with a direct-to-consumer model through the brand’s Amazon marketplace store and AmClassic.com. Thanks to American Classic’s abilities to efficiently produce its tires in-house and its consumer-direct model, the American Classic Tubeless Ready tires will be competitively priced across the range of models.

Chuck Peña PEZ sez: If you told me a year ago that I’d be riding 700×32 road tires, I would’ve said (pardon my French), “WTF?” I mean, those are balloon size tires! But here I am now riding the new American Classic 700×32 Torchbearer road tires and saying, “OMG.” They are smooth riding. In a word … comfortable. Or another word … plush. I live and do a lot of my riding in a more urban environment. That means stuff like (just to name a few) cracked/uneven pavement, manhole and other infrastructure covers, sewage grates, shallow dips and little bumps, drainage channels, speed bumps, and roads that have been scraped for re-paving. The 700×32 Torchbearer tires (inflated to 70 psi rear and 68 psi front — max pressure per American Classic is 75 psi) soak up these imperfections and take the edge off such that the bumps are much less harsh. And even though the tires I have are tubeless (American Classic also makes a tube version), I’m riding them with tubes because it was easier/faster to set them up that way, i.e., I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of sealant. So I would expect the ride to be even softer if I was tubeless (and I may eventually get around to doing that).


Not quite 32mm wide on my 20.3mm internal width e11even wheels

Besides the ride quality, I really like that the Torchbearer has bead-to-bead flat protection. Which makes it a great all-season tire (and more inclement riding conditions aren’t too far off the horizon here in Babylon on the Potomac). Is it a “go fast” tire? I have no way to measure rolling resistance, but it certainly didn’t feel “slow” (although I readily admit I’m now old and slow). That said, it’s really more of a training tire than race tire (if for no other reason because of it’s weight). But if you were racing on cobbles where flat protection is just as (if not more) important than rolling resistance, it would be a good choice. Or if your road riding occasionally takes you onto stretches of gravel.


Actually 25 grams less than spec, but still not a lightweight tire


Of course, the most important thing is that the logos and valve stem are lined up properly

If 32mm wide tires aren’t your thing (or your bike doesn’t have clearance for tires that wide), the Torchbearer is also available in 700×25 and 700×28, both tube and tubeless.


The black (actually more of a really dark brown to my eyes) sidewalls make for both a classic and badass look IMHO


Muc-Off Ludicrous AF the World’s Fastest Race Lube
Muc-Off, the global leaders in bicycle and motorcycle care and performance, proudly introduce the new ‘world’s fastest race lube’, Ludicrous AF.

A marriage of speed and sustainability, this stripped back performance lube uses ingredients derived from renewable sources and is readily biodegradable.

Developed in secret over a number of years by Muc-Off’s in-house R&D Team, alongside INEOS Grenadiers, EF Education-NIPPO, BMC Pro-Triathlon, Canyon//SRAM, and many other teams and athletes, Ludicrous AF is built to tackle the demands of professional cycling. With results supported by independent testing data from high accuracy, multi-torque transmission efficiency testers, New Motion Labs; and pro-race testing data from top teams, this ground-breaking lube has already powered INEOS Grenadiers to win the 2021 Giro d’Italia, plus multiple podium finishes, at some of the world’s biggest races.

“Since partnering with Muc-Off we have enjoyed seven very successful years together marked by wins on the road and an ever-growing range of innovative products. They share our ethos of continuous improvement, and this latest launch is a great example of this and working collaboratively. The partnership is an excellent case study, not only for how we operate as a team, but also for how they operate as a company.” Carsten Jeppesen, Technical Director at INEOS Grenadiers.

This isn’t Muc-Off’s first rodeo when it comes to bike lubricant innovation. Their partnership with Team Sky (now INEOS) goes back many years, with whom they developed Hydrodynamic Lube. Since then, the drivetrain optimization program and performance focussed lube development has helped contribute to 10 grand tour wins.

“It’s awesome to be launching Ludicrous AF. The challenge has been huge to create a Grand Tour winning lube that combines both speed and sustainability. I couldn’t be more stoked with the results; the world’s fastest race lube, which shows that being green can be fast. Developed with our pro teams at our in-house R&D facility and supported by independent testing means we have ticked the box of hardcore lab and real-world testing as part of our chain optimization and lube development programs. I can’t wait for more riders to feel the speed – there’s simply nothing else out there like it!”Alex Trimnell, CEO at Muc-Off.

Ludicrous AF is a race focussed lubricant. When applied to the chain, it penetrates deep into chain links. As the chain is used, the molecules within the formula react with the surface of the chain, leading to the creation of a fluid sheer plane which helps to reduce friction and thus power loss.

The top-secret proprietary formula has self-lubricating capabilities and synthetic polymers, which aid durability and deliver long-lasting and repeatable performance. This means riders can enjoy optimum results mile after mile, in both wet and damp or dry and dusty conditions at a range of temperatures.

The launch of Ludicrous AF coincides with Muc-Off’s unveiling of their new Performance Hub. The hub is a celebration of the ground-breaking innovation that happens behind the doors of their UK-based super lab. The site features product development stories, along with a multi-chapter series, detailing the work that goes into developing a lubricant like Ludicrous AF. From the equipment used to environmental factors, it describes the extreme lengths that Muc-Off go to in the pursuit of performance. The Performance Hub also details a number of incredible advancements within drivetrain performance, such as Muc-Off’s state-of-the-art oversized pulley wheel system – L.O.P.S; along with their Ultrasonic Tanks, which are used to optimize chains for the world’s best professional teams and athletes.

  • Priced at £49.99 / €64.99 / $64.99 for a 50ml bottle, Ludicrous AF is now available for riders to get the full pro experience, from the Muc-Off global dealer network, select e-retailers and direct from www.muc-off.com.

Selle Italia Model X Green Comfort+ Superflow: The Environmentally Friendly Saddle that is Now Even More Comfortable
After the success of the Model X Green Superflow saddle, Selle Italia launches the “Comfort+” version with improved padding designed to provide the greatest comfort when pedaling. A saddle, also dedicated to the e-bike world and to those looking, above all, for comfort, that comes from the eco-sustainable Green-Tech production process.

Last March, Selle Italia launched the first model – the Model X Green Superflow – to emerge from the Green-Tech production process, a process for products with a low environmental impact, which are eco-sustainable and quick to produce at competitive prices. This process has been created entirely by Selle Italia, which has always invested in research and development, and is completely Made in Italy: Green-Tech is an automated process that makes it possible to obtain high-end saddles without the use of glues and polyurethanes – both of which are known to have a significant environmental impact – and with reduced CO2 emissions.

After the launch of the Model X Green Superflow, the first saddle produced with this process, Selle Italia introduces Model X Green Comfort+ Superflow thus marking a further evolutionary step, both in terms of production technology and in reconfirming the Company’s values. A saddle, with rail in Fec Alloy ∅7mm, that has a low environmental impact and is 100% sustainable, but which also guarantees the greatest comfort and performance. This product maintains the advantages of the Superflow technology and the Waved shape of the Model X Green Superflow, which, together with the Flex Control technology, are able to improve resistance over time and offer the right flexibility, ensuring a superior level of stability on the saddle. The Model X Green Comfort+ Superflow has improved padding, in Total Gel, which delivers better shock absorption in all conditions and makes the saddle extremely comfortable.

A solution aimed at those who are looking for the greatest comfort when cycling and which is particularly suited to use on e-bikes. Finally, the innovative Green-Tech production process reconfirms its objectives of producing mid-high end models at competitive prices, and the Model X Green Comfort+ Superflow confirms the Asolo-based Company’s strategic choice.

Data Sheet:

  • Size: 145mm x 245mm
  • Weight: 415g
  • Rail: FeC Alloy Ø7mm
  • Cover: Green-Tech
  • idmatch size: L3
  • Recommended retail price: €59.90 / $65.99.
  • For more information: www.selleitalia.com

Gravel – The New Face of Cycling
It’s rare for a day to pass when we don’t hear about something becoming affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The problems faced by bicycle component manufacturers have been well documented, but this is not the only shift taking place in the bike industry. According to Michael Moureček, the co-founder of Festka, a composite road bike frame producer and the man who closely follows and analyses everything that’s happening in the world propelled by two pedals, the pandemic significantly accelerated the growth of gravel cycling. We sat down with him to look at this new phenomenon.

Where do you see the shift towards gravel cycling and what do you put it down to? It’s a trend that’s been growing for a while. I expected it to bloom fully in about five years’ time. Nowadays most people can tell apart road, mountain, and city bikes but, at first sight, they would probably not see enough difference between a road and a gravel bike.

BOX
Gravel bikes are road bikes with extra features that make them suitable for riding off-road. They have a lot in common with the machines cyclocross is run on. They have wider tires with a tread, disc brakes and drop bars. The drops of gravel bars, however, tend to be flared to give the rider more control on fast descents. Borrowing recent developments in MTB shifting technology, gravel bikes tend to run one-by gearing systems with a smaller chainring and a large range cassette. Due to their ideal use as expedition bicycles, the frames and forks are fitted with a number of threaded inserts to mount bags and racks onto them.

The growth of gravel has been helped by several factors. First, the popular big amateur races. These are a great experience for the participants. A 150 km route along closed roads or cities such as New York or Rome without traffic is for many a very special opportunity. However, it costs a lot of money to organise an event like this and to raise it you need thousands of riders whose fees will pay for the road closures. I can’t imagine anyone allowing events where such large numbers of people would ride in a bunch. The promoters of these gran fondo type races will have to adjust to the new reality and break it up into a number smaller races. And that is a great opportunity for gravel events that can take place off-road.

Secondly, complications in the tourist industry caused by the pandemic accelerated certain trends that had been budding already earlier. Sales of RVs, tents, outdoor and ski-touring equipment making people less dependent on accommodation and catering services have been growing for a while, but the curve has taken a much sharper gradient in the last eighteen months. At first it was more of a trend than necessity but now the balance has levelled at least. If you want to go and spend a weekend in nature and all the hotels and B’n’B are closed or booked out (as may be the case now that some things have gone back to “normal”), you may not have any other option than to take a tent, mount it on a bike and go.

What’s the status quo as regards equipment availability?
The growth I’m talking about would be even faster had there been enough bikes on the market. The frame makers aren’t doing too badly but it’s the manufacturers of components, especially groupsets (brakes, derailleurs, cranks, chainrings, cassettes), whose lead times are stretching beyond twelve months at the moment and growing. But I believe that in two years’ time we’ll be sitting here talking about what a phenomenon gravel cycling is and about how many brands are jumping on the bandwagon making various accessories, clothing, bags etc. And about how various age groups approach it.

Do you see similarities with the arrival of snowboarding a quarter of a century ago here?
That’s a good analogy. Snowboarding appeared as a new form of fun on the snow but the people who converted to it gradually changed the whole culture of alpine sports. And I believe that the same thing is going to happen here. It will be the biggest shift in our sport since the onslaught of mountain biking.

The early spread of snowboarding, but you could say the same thing about ski-touring, shares one aspect with gravel cycling. The interest is not driven by racing. Racing gravel bikes is basically cyclocross and that’s something people like to watch but mostly don’t actually do. Gravel cycling is all about being in nature, experiencing something different, moving from A to B with a purpose. It’s not about getting somewhere faster than the others. There are extreme endurance events run on gravel bikes but those will never be the mainstream just like snowboarding races aren’t for die-hard snowboarders. For those it’s being in the mountains, in nature’s elements, on their own or with friends that’s the main part of what they enjoy. Not watching acrobats on snowboards on the telly. They would definitely prefer getting dropped from a helicopter in Alaska to being a guest of honour at the X-Games.

As with all novelties, the initial wave of interest is driven by plain trendiness. Gravel bikes are all the rage, and they give people the feeling of standing out from the crowd. For many it is their third cycling incarnation. They started on mountain bikes as kids or young adults and later transferred to road cycling because they felt old on MTBs and road cycling was trendy. However, many of them never felt at home on tarmacked roads full of traffic and gravel bikes offered them a solution. And it’s not just where you ride and what your bike looks like but the more casual clothes and shoes that come with it. You can jump on a bike wearing a regular shirt and shoes that you can walk in while wearing your road gear always makes you look a bit odd off the bike.

Who will gravel attract more, roadies or mountain bikers?
The gravel segment will become an interesting point of intersection. The lines will be partially drawn along brand lines. Festka, for instance, is a 100% road brand. We will never make mountain bikes because it’s a completely different ball game. But we can make a gravel bike. An excellent one, in fact. So, our customers will buy a gravel bike and they may end up riding it more often than their road bike. And the situation is similar for orthodox mountain bike brands who could never afford to make a road bike for philosophical reasons but for whom it’s OK to make a gravel bike. The two worlds will meet at this intersection.

If you look at any gravel bike, you can tell if it was made by a road bike manufacturer or an MTB one. But in general, I would say that gravel cycling is driven by the road brands. Road cycling has been experiencing a huge renaissance and gravel bikes will provide a plausible option for many mountain bikers who have been sitting on the fence. It’s a very logical progression.

How is Festka doing in the gravel segment?
Our first gravel bike, Festka Rover, launched in 2018, caught on pretty fast. Last year it accounted for about 15 % of our sales. This year it looks like it’s going to be closer to 20 %. We learned a lot about gravel bikes and the growing gravel crowd thanks to the Rover and we soon realised that in order to cover the whole spectre of gravel we needed two models with the second one positioned further away from the road, more towards the off-road and bikepacking. We intended to launch it last autumn, but in the end it will happen now. The extra time we had on our hands helped us fine tune the details.

Will there be winners and losers in all this?
Gravel will take away from both road and MTB, but I wouldn’t see it as victories and losses. The MTB segment will shift further to full suspension bikes for singletracks that spring up all over the world. They’re great fun but you need a specific machine to enjoy them. You can’t ride them on a regular cross-country mountain bike. People who own a downhill or enduro bicycle are likely to buy a gravel bike as their second machine. It’s a logical development. And gravel will also find new converts among people who have been attracted to road cycling but felt too scared to share the road with cars. Gravel bikes will solve this dilemma for them.

The pandemic did a lot of good for cycling in general. Many people who would normally do their exercise in gyms and swimming pools had no other option than to run or cycle and they realised cycling was great to clear one’s head so you could say that in a way cycling comes out of the pandemic as a major winner.


Lezyne: A Bottle Cage for Every Rider
Show your water bottles some love with our extensive collection of bottle cages.

Offering a firm grip that’s ready to rip, our cages are engineered first and foremost to provide a rock-solid hold on your bottles while also offering sleek aesthetics and innovative functionality.

From carbon fiber to aluminum to Composite Matrix offerings, there’s a cage for every budget and every application, while our cages with integrated storage options offer ride-changing versatility.

VIEW OUR BOTTLE CAGES COMPARISON CHART.


Ombraz Classics with No Arms
It all started with the Classics

Ombraz solve what frustrates you about sunglasses. Ombraz swapped traditional arms for a marine-grade recycled nylon cord, meaning a perfect fit for all head sizes with fewer parts to break. This unique design also assures the glasses won’t slide down your nose or irritate your head. They use German-designed optics which come in a variety of lens tints, including RX options. Ombraz not only offers a lifetime warranty but with every pair of sunglasses sold, Ombraz plants 20 mangrove trees. Ombraz sequesters 1383X more carbon than is emitted to produce and deliver each pair – making a pair of Ombraz the most carbon-negative product currently available on the market.

Features:

  • No arms to break – extremely durable
  • Three frame designs
  • Custom woven marine-grade recycled nylon cord – One size fits all
  • German engineered Optics
  • Polarized, non-polarized, Blue-Blocker, and custom RX Lens Options
  • 100% UVA | UVB protection
  • Hydrophobic | Oleophobic
  • Hand-carved cellulose acetate frame – no hinges or screws
  • MSRP: $140.00
  • More info at: https://ombraz.com/products/classics
  • Here is a “How To” guide to wearing your Ombraz

Note: PEZCyclingNews ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products you see here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper / safe use, handling, maintenance and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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