What's Cool In Road Cycling

2012 Interbike Las Vegas: Round Two

For a couple of years now, I’ve mentioned Italy’s Sarto Cycles as one of the brands that North America have seen a lot of without knowing what they’re seeing.

This year’s Vuelta had a Sarto bike under a very prominent GC rider, though you wouldn’t have noted the brand nearly as prominently as what was displayed in Las Vegas…

Part of the reason Sarto manage to supply custom bikes for teams sponsored by large, non-custom carbon manufacturers is down to their ability to spec not only geometry, but to actually produce tubes to specification. And that specification includes not only wall thickness and stiffness, but the bigger difference in being able to play with shape. It’s that shape shifting ability that allows them to produce custom versions of bikes that usually have special shapes that typically come from molds.

And it’s that depth of capacity that allows them to produce bikes that look quite like the more reserved custom carbon you’re used to seeing…

As well as custom carbon in shapes you’re not so used to seeing…

One of the challenges they’ll have as a company is in deciding which tubes to offer through select retailers for North America, as it’s simply impossible to effectively sort through the hundred plus shapes they can provide. Their dealers can literally specify every section of the bike.

If we’re being honest, there are simply too many choices to expect fickle customers to sort through and after all, some of that time also needs to go to parts selection befitting custom Italian work…

…Pretty sure that “fairwheelbikes.com” somehow translates into Italian…

A spy shot of a couple of things rolling around at the factory revealed that Sarto are not satisfied with just tube shapes and bikes but are developing a few other new things as well…

The picture above is a zoom in of leaked picture of what was supposed to be a notable frame, but what stands out is that a clever man inside is working on options to smooth out the road by designing different suspension rails. (word is that this is the hand work of someone whose name rhymes with “Antonio”). New developments make sense as Sarto are in process of a factory upgrade that will have them adding equipment more frequently associated with F-1 teams than bike builders, so we’re staying tuned here.

You can see more at SartoCycles.com

Also by-way of Europe’s big boot come some smaller but really nice boots from Vittoria.

It’s not every day I see a pair of cycling shoes and I want them to come with a quarter inch mid soft leather sole and a bit of the same hide made into a belt…

Yet Vittoria is back with the nicest lace up shoes on the market, and these are not all-show and no “go”… The business ends of the kicks are ready to rip a little tarmac.

And the lineup has a little something for the less fashion-forward.

A great sense of style doesn’t eliminate Vittoria’s performance focus and their latest Hora Evo will hit shelves shortly.

The Evo features an updated buckle, better venting upper and a complete re-do of their heel cup.

The biggest change for Vittoria Shoes this year is the addition of their new helmets. And the one that Pez will be interested in is the top line v700.

This is a carbon fiber reinforced structure with your standard helmet foam, and unlike a few other Italian helmet guys, Vittoria decided to actually look inside their helmet and see if there was a place for the air to go…

Fairly deep channels link up the holes to do the far more important job of moving air over your head rather than just adding “x” number of vents that don’t go anyplace…

Retail on the Hora Evo’s will be $490 and their helmet will settle in at $200. Both will be available in the next 30 days or so.

From the boot of Italy to the Puget Sound we go from high end feet to high end fleet and the new clinchers from Madfiber Wheels.

Yes, you’re seeing that scale correct at 530 grams…

And quite honestly, that’s selling the low weight a bit short as it applies to riding. One Advantage from the Madfiber design has no traditional hardware associated with typical wheel spokes needing to be secured to the rim.

That hardware gone means relatively low weight at the outside of the wheel, so an even lower percentage of that 530 grams is located further from the hub, meaning less of your energy is required to move it…

Speaking of hubs, they’re not the traditional affair either.

These are all hand laid carbon built on a very solid axle and bearings structure and are part of what is effectively a single unit along with the spokes and rim when complete.

The clincher portion of the rim is a relatively short sidewall and rim bed bonded in as a part of the carbon structure.

The carbon section of the rim is very thin but has proven itself as solid and very secure…

All in these weigh just 1300 grams for the pair at a 60mm front and 66mm rear depth. They come with a 4 year warranty and a crash replacement policy and will set you back $2899.

For a look at the tubular hoops and more info hit ‘em at Madfiber.com

A new and fairly exciting power player at this year’s show were Stages Cycling.

And the little big deal that had so many people packed into their booth (taking pictures was almost impossible) is the least expensive wireless strain gauge based power meter on the market. The StageOne…

What we have here is a housing containing a strain gauge power meter, thermometer, accelerometer and Bluetooth and Ant+ compatible transmitter.

That means this one unit, (20 grams, all in) gives you proper power reading and cadence (from the accelerometer) and will mate with damn near every device currently available… phones, Garmin, etc… And the StageOne software comps with Training peaks, Garmin’s training program, Strava and the like.

The one kicker is that this is a one kicker. It is sold pre-mounted directly to the non-drive side crank arm of several Alu cranks. (Very popular models such as DuraAce, Cannondale’s Si, and others)

That means power from the left side of your body only, but very frankly, for training purposes that’s not a bad trade for the price you’re paying (which depends on the crank arm you need). These start at $699, less than half the cost of some other units on the market.

This is a no fuss, super easy install and a unit that’s out of the way of damn near all hard impact and damage areas on a bike and its VERY affordable.

For more info and updates on added cranks for the mix, hit StagesCycling.com.

Drop down the coast line to Northern California and Ritchey are back in this round with a new WCS Carbon Link Flex Logic seat post.

As the name suggests, this post is about compliance and the shape design tells a bit of the story (the little dent and reduced material section at the back, below the seat clamp). The carbon Layup does the business here, using a specific process developed for Scott, Stevens and Canyon bicycles to flex 15% more than a standard layup would have.

The post will also be offered with a clamp compatible with Selle Italia’s Monolink rail seats.

The post will be available and will sell for $259. You can find more info at RitcheyLogic.com.

The last stand in this round of coverage is the bike parking part from ZicTech. It’s a company so new that there isn’t really a place to link to.

At first glance, it seemed like the 32,145th edition of a front tire wedge, frankly no big deal at all…

It was a sideways glance that caught my eye in that a strap held by the base unit clips quickly around your seat post and poof! It’s vertical bike storage on the ground.

A pretty slick design has storage compartments along the side and this unit has a variable width wheel slot that will work with everything from road wheels to larger width MTB rubber.

No retail price was available as this is a prototype unit and a company looking for support at this point, but Alon Kedar, the managing Director at ZicTech is available at [email protected]

That’s it for this go…

More to follow from Las Vegas…

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan

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