What's Cool In Road Cycling

2014 Interbike: Silca, 3T, Vittoria, Assos and Elastic Interface

More top line gear from Interbike’14 with Silca’s best-in-show winning floor pump, Assos’ latest kit, the best-in-class chamois makers Elastic Interface, new wheels from Vittoria and 3T’s latest cockpit gear.

This year’s Interbike was a better show in most measures. The floor seemed more packed, the people seemed happier, the booths more full and I might guess the reason was that there were more and better products launching. It was a nice contrast to the last few shows where Fluo color paint seemed to be the extent of several companies R&D.

My favorite new introduction turned out to be most other folks’ favorite product as well, as Silca’s new SuperPista Ultimate floor pump came away with the “Best in Show” award. It was popular enough that getting a good view of it in Silca’s conservatively proportioned display space was a chore…


The swarm parted though and I eventually got to hold the precious…


Seeing it live (no pictures really do it justice) gives you an immediate impression… There’s a gravitas to it that is not common for a pump.

Then there’s the literal gravi”ty” that strikes you when you pick up a pump that weighs enough that one of your primary concerns becomes foot and leg safety… This is substantial.

There’s the rosewood handle to catch your eye of course. And then you might note that they’re using the same red urethane wrapped, stainless steel braided brake line that graces road racing motorcycles on TV.


This hose is rated at 12,000 PSI… So, slightly overkill for filling a bike tire. But the benefits are not really just about pressure holding (and the fact that this puts all your effort into filling the tire versus expanding and contracting like cheaper rubber hose). It’s also about durability as the exterior and interior liners do their job.

The base is a PVD dipped zinc casting that weighs more than the entire pump I am using at home now.


It’s shaped and surfaced to help prevent slipping while standing in bike shoes and cleats…

The chucks are US made stainless steel. They’re replaceable, which is only really a concern for people under genuine threat of having it run over by a steam roller. (The guts/seals that typically wear are also easily replaceable).


The main pressure tube is 6066-t6 Alu with a precision ground ID and the plunger rod is Teflon impregnated and hard anodized, 7005 Alu…


And of course that’s Silca’s classic replaceable leather washer

The pressure gauge is also top kit made for the long haul.


Bottom line here is that this should be the last pump you ever buy – it’s more a piece of legacy hardware. I’ve gone through 4 “good” pumps in the last 8 years or so, so this one is pretty high on the list.

The SuperPista is also likely going to be at the top of the price range at $450 which is what one might expect when there are $250 pumps on the market now that are a fraction of the quality. You can see em at: SILCA.CC and they’re available now (though they’re also selling faster than the couple of guys assembling them can put them together).

Vittoria were on hand with a load of top kit tires that you would expect…


What was definitely not expected would be their full line of new wheels.

Vittoria will run everything from deep aero Carbon to economical Alu and it seems like they’ve been paying attention to the things their top line tires are strapped to…


Their deep section carbon hoops get Graphene tech (which if done correctly could mean a very durable set up) and they’ll run the Quarano (pic above) 46 in an aptly named 46mm rear with a slightly shallower 42mm front.

The carbon wheels will come in assorted depths.

The Hubs will feature a tool-free freehub swap that will make gear ratio (or Campy/Shimano) swaps pretty simple.

It’s not all high end though as Vittoria will offer “Alusion” and “Elusion” Aluminum versions. The latter featuring a “Nero” version with a slick stealth look.


The rim gets a ceramic coating that should go beyond looks to add a harder finish than anodizing.

The range will release in increments starting very shortly.
You can catch more info at Vittoria.com

Across the hall from Vittoria were a few new bits from the folks at 3T.

They were quietly displaying their new EYE monitor as it was tucked away on the standard stem display.


The Eye is small display-repeater that will monitor smart phone info, like GPS output AND at the same time give you the data from things like heart monitors or power meters. Compatible smart phone screens can power down as well, which is a pretty nice feature on battery savings.


It’s a slick little unit that also has a mount that integrates into the stem faceplate and the mount can be used for other brands of computer.


3T have also upgraded their “Limited” wheels. They’re now called “Orbis” and will come in 40-60-80 depth Tubular and 40-60 depth clincher versions.


There have been so many running changes/improvements to the wheel line formerly known as Mercurio and Accelero that 3T felt the wheels were effectively new models.

It’s easy to spot a much more refined spoke slot / molding process for sure and


The brake tracks have a different surface and use a different fiber as well as a new resin (note that bit of red tint).


3T are also now offering their own seatpost using their “Comfort module”.


This is a slick little bumper that decouples the saddle and saddle clamp from the main post and eliminates some of the vibration that attacks your butt… You’ve seen this used in Felt’s bikes and it’s available for OEM use to other companies as well.

Variable lead times for all of these parts so get the details at 3Tcycling.com

Assos were not on the show floor but were in the house with a select set of meetings to show a couple of new things… Too many to list, but among the more timely are their first cooler weather S.7 series offering in the new Tiburu bibs (Available now).

Given Assos are far more about substance and performance than hype, the best way to show the new bibs is inside out…


Right off you’ll note that the fabric is a multi-level weave with a pile for insulation. The little dots are holes in the pile (fluffy weave) that help with moisture transfer and breathability. Matched with the S7 Leg warmers, this is a fantastic cool weather product that should see you adjustable and comfortable from the low 50-s into the 70’s (though warmth means different things / temps to different people)…

Looking out back you’ll see the insulated panels will come up your back side a bit.


You’ll also note how flat the chamois is and that it is positioned where your saddle is while in a performance riding position.

This gets the upgraded and incredibly free moving chamois system recently introduced by Assos (and what I believe is the finest Chamois series available from any manufacturer).


The shorts also feature a wind resistant strip right in the center of the crotch that should be a nice addition to preventing genital “shrink” in the cold as well.


Other than the class leading technical features next to your skin, the shorts look like any other quality bibs from the outside…

What doesn’t look like a lot of other bike caps is the incredibly nice FuguHelm (available now)…


I could take 10 pics of this to show the details, but there’s basically more pieces and patterns to this cap than most jerseys (21 separate panels and 4 different fabrics)… A firm but flexible bill, a thin strip of slightly more breathable fabric at the front of the forehead, the little loops are to secure glasses (and they’re in the right spot) a short pile insulating layer inside that wicks sweat and a small swath of grip fabric right on top that keeps your helmet and cap from sliding around and getting misadjusted… It took a LOT of effort not to beg for this little guy…

Assos are actually redefining their climate zones. Instead of 7 different temp range call outs, they realized that serious riders will be performing in a broader range on a single ride. With that, they’re tweaking not just the zones but the designs as well to give a bit broader temp range coverage. (Summer is above 68f / spring-fall is 55 – 70 / early winter is 42 – 55 / winter is @20 – 45f)

They’re releasing new products across the board for this and the one that stood out for me were the SkinFoil base layers (available 2015).


The new range is 1.4 through 4.4 (coldest) and the skinfoil layers are notably different in feel and material but not much different at all in comfort. They’re designed with progressively more insulating capability and a fit that is still conforming but not restrictive at all.

They’re also making adjustments to spring and summer kit with a new (and relatively economical) short sleeved Mille jersey (available 2015) that is exceptionally soft to the touch.


All of this and more (much more) is up now at Assos.com

Speaking of Assos, they’ve been very well known for having what are broadly considered the best pads in the game for a long time. They are meticulous and creative in development and for the past several versions of top line shorts, their manufacturing partners have been the folks at Elastic Interface


Elastic Interface are what I believe the top technical manufacturers of pads in cycling.

It’s very easy to dismiss them while walking around the show because so many booth’s are filled with Chamois that look similar, but there is far more to this product than meets the eye. I’m happy that their PR person sent me a quick invite to meet with Stefano, the owner and it was telling that he was quick to introduce me to Antonio Paoli – M.D. and Associated Professor-Human Movement Science at University of Padova. The tech side really matters at Elastic Interface and the product shows…


I don’t have the room for full review here, but there is a reason for all of us having had a “favorite” pair of shorts and most of the time the thing that matters is how the shorts interact with our genitalia.

There is no “magic” to a great chamois. To a large degree it’s down to hard work on shape research and raw material selection.


Take for instance memory foam mattresses… There are cheap imitations costing a quarter of the better brands, but in a few months you find yourself sleeping in a pool of sweat formed at the bottom of the “U” shape your cheap foam degrades into, while the top line mattresses support you and conform to your shape for years.


Chamois tech is a lot like mattresses (and knock off memory foam pillows) and you won’t see Elastic Interface heat stamping a single layer of cheap foam into what looks like multiple layers of quality product. You’ll find a mix of top flight materials designed to suite many different desires.


That’s part of the reason you’ll see the top line models from Assos, Capo, Gore, DeMarchi, Rapha, She Beest and many more companies featuring their pads.

Catch more info about some of the best pads on the road at ElasticInterface.com

More from Interbike shortly…

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan
[email protected]

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