INTERBIKE 2015 Gear Reviews #3
Our Interbike 2015 gear reviews round #3 features Fabric’s saddle, bottle cage and new tool tech, W Cup’s full Nutrition line up, Cyclologic and Purely Custom’s latest front wheel riser, Redshift’s ShockStop stem, and Tacx Neo Smart trainer.
Belgium’s WCUP Nutrition is a favorite food / drinks of mine and they have been for quite a while. My first taste of the product was in the form of some smuggled goods that a few Euro-based pros had brought with them while taking the winter in San Diego.
Maybe the most critical thing for bike-food seems to be digestibility and that seems to be WCup’s thing really…
Take one of my favorites for instance, the Banana Energy bar.
The list of ingredients is very basic.
Dried Bananas, Marzipan, Candied Papaya, Dried Figs , Banana Juice Concentrate; Wafers (Wheat Flour, Potato Starch, Palm Oil), Wheat Germs, Rice Flour, Flavorings, Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid; Vitamins B6, B2, B1; Folate, Biotin, Vitamin B12.
Eating it is simple, the little wafer on top and bottom is almost paper thin and just aids in keeping things together. There is a Banana flavor to it but it’s light and mixed with the fig flavor. It chews relatively easy (no place like trying to swallow a lump of power bar) and that’s that. It’s very simple food that gives you 111 calories that break down easily.
The Sport Fruit is a similar idea…
This is a 50-50 fruit flesh and dextrose that gives you 259 calories in a whack and it’s easy to chew.
The Sport Cake in Banana is my other on bike favorite (along with the Banana Energy bar). It’s a bit thicker in the pocket but double the calories (286) of the energy bar (and you can fit 3-4+ in most pockets for loner days).
The cakes also come in Toffee.
The calorie breakdown is similar for both Banana and Toffee cakes… 286 calories, with a solid 39 Grams of carbs (14g from sugar), 11 grams of fat and 4g protein (there some fiber and sodium as well).
Again the theme is good tasting and easily edible… The list of ingredients here is comically simple: Oats, Inverted Sugar Syrup , Dehydrated Banana, Vegetable Oils, Wheat flour, Peanuts, Natural flavorings.
These are much lighter / softer texture than most things on the market and both easier to chew and, at least for me a lot easier on the stomach than lots of other products. One of the closest product types that you might be familiar with would be Clif bars, but the texture here is softer and I find these easier to digest (though I like Clif bars a lot).
WCup have several other products on offer, including a lot of the more common performance supplements.
A full slate of protein shakes, recovery drinks, a carb loading drink (Carbomax), carb and electrolyte drink (Sports Drink) and a great low-carb Hydration focused drink (ORS Drink) that is fantastic for me in Arizona and loads of other places where you’re burning huge amounts of fluid and need to stay hydrated at a level that doesn’t necessarily require the extra calories…
They have a few more bars and another on bike favorite, the Energy drink concentrate packs which are PH neutral and super easy to drink (or add to a water bottle mid ride)…
One of the Energy Drink packs gives you 160 Calories with 40 grams of Carbs and 200 mg Sodium with a bit of B1.
And in the case you just need a blast… There are the wake up shots which do nothing at all to wrap 300 mg of caffeine and 600mg of taurine in a few grams of sugar…
There are loads of other products available and thankfully WCup now have a US base and the product is rolling.
You can see the US line up at: WCUPUSA.COM
Somerset UK’s “Fabric” are a slick brand that have really taken a hard look at the function of a few cycling products as well as the way they’re manufactured. The results are products that are not only a clean aesthetic but also a fairly clean / straight forward manufacturing process…
The “Line” saddle is a single piece upper pad that is bonded to waterproof microfiber.
The base is solid Nylon and they’ll offer Chromo or Ti rail options… The Line’s padding is firm enough for very good support (ensuring the channel functions as a pressure relief zone) but is also soft enough to work with a chamois to offer vibe damping and comfort. Manufacturing a saddle this way is quite a bit less fuss than typical leather wrapping around foam and the retails for a saddle that I would have guessed based on feel to cost some place nearer $200 cost just $89 in Chromo and the upgrade to Ti is $109…
Of course they’ll make you a more costly saddle if you like and the proof would be in the ALM Carbon saddle (above right)…
This is a one piece Carbon base that was designed in cooperation with Airbus and with carbon layup that is designed to act as a leaf spring with quite a bit of flex.
At 140 grams, this is a featherweight and as always seems to be the case, superlight weight and high performance equals money… $359.
One of the more interesting saddle designs is the Cell.
Fabric wanted to create a very simple manufacturing process for an all day comfort saddle with a reasonable weight despite deep cushioning.
The key to the function here takes a nod toward the design of running shoes and uses a hex cell air cushion layer…
These are individual cells that are quite soft to the touch but when they’re sandwiched in between the TPU rubber upper and the Nylon base. The group of cells work together to evenly spread the load and support the rider…
Fabric rolled out their very clever bottle design a while back and I’ve seen a few people sporting them now with good results…
These are just $20 (which is a heck of a deal for a bottle and cage combination) and the teeny nubs just screw to your frame in normal fashion…
According to friends riding with them, the bottles seem to do a reasonable job of holding on (my only concern with the design). They’re a pretty damn light weight set up and with multiple colors (including your basic black), these seem to disappear on your bike and look quite clean when a bottle is or is not mounted.
Lastly, Fabric rolled out their new “Chamber” multi tool.
13 bits and you can have a fixed wrench for $50 or a ratchet function for $60… This is a Steel base and Aluminum body and the bits are thankfully long enough to do the job with minimal fuss. The whole thing weighs 162 grams.
You can see more of these products as well as the host of color selections for the saddles and more at FABRIC.CC
Tacx new Neo Smart trainer is a slick effort in design as well as a heck of a training tool with loads of entertainment built into multiple software drivers.
A very slim design here and no tire wear with the Direct drive mount eliminating the rear wheel.
There are also no belts or rollers inside and the flywheel rotates 1-1 with the cassette meaning there is very little power reading loss.
The electronics package inside that controls resistance makes roughly 1000 calculations per second (thank you motorsports industry…) making for fairly smooth transitions over virtual terrain.
The unit can be connected to PC, Tablets and Phones and uses some industry staples as Zwift, Trainer Road, Kinomap and Bkool. Tack also have their own set of products that make this a fairly entertaining choice.
There are great graphics that will run alongside a lot of critical power and heart data…
And there are loads of route setting options that work along with Google street view to bring the world into your pain cave…
The unit will simulate slopes to roughly 25% and has a brake power (resistance) Max at 2200 watts (time limited).
Communication is both Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart.
Set up and take down are very quick and the storage footprint is teeny especially relative to what you’re getting.
$1600 gets you the Neo Smart in North America and there are too many options and functions to list in an Interbike preview…
Best bet is to stop in and take a look at this and loads of other gear at TACX.COM
Something I would suggest a look at regardless of what trainer you own is a slick new piece of kit from Purely Custom working with some of the best Fitter /Educators in the business at Cyclologic.
The riser can be adjusted with a rider on bike and the wheels on the bottom allow the unit to move as the wheel base gets shorter as the front wheel moves away from the ground.
This works with 650, 29er and 700 size wheels to simulate up to a 20% grade and is designed for constant, hard core pro fitting, training, rehab center use. It also happens to be a fantastic training tool for the well to do home user ($395).
Purely Custom have some of the best machining capability and are a part of a far larger company than most folks in cycling probably realize. The bike kit they make is some of the best around but it’s a fraction of their design and manufacturing capacity as a part of Seastrom Manufacturing.
Of course the Cyclologic guys need no introduction to anyone in the custom bike and fitting world. Their founder helped define and professionalized Serotta’s pioneering fit programs that basically laid the foundation for virtually all of today’s modern fitting programs and they’re now working to create fitting programs for several major manufacturers including Trek’s exceptionally in depth “Precision Fit” program.
With that, the list of top caliber athletes (from any manufacturer) that call on Cyclologic’s crew is a who’s who. In fact, it wasn’t a media bomb event but rather a stop in after Cross Vegas that saw a Katie Compton on the floor getting a follow up physio and fit session with coach Curtis Cramblett and Cyclologic’s founder (and arguably the best fitter on the planet) Paraic McGlynn as a part of just recently getting back on the bike.
Katie’s been off the bike for quite a while and, with virtually no miles in her legs yet and no “serious” training, was able to make a big move to the lead group before settling in and grabbing solid world cup points.
This was a just a quick pop in, right on the show floor for general feel ahead of flying out, just to go over how her body was reacting and to make micro adjustments and plan for “really working”.
For anyone from the athlete looking for a fit, to a shop looking for the education to work with your customer, to a manufacturer looking for a training program for your dealers, you should visit CYCLOLOGIC.COM.
For great fit tools and slick parts and pieces (or in the case you have a great idea and want to partner with someone to turn it into reality), hit PURELYCUCTOM.COM.
Redshift Sports are one of those “kickstarter” crews… But there’s a twist in that they’ve already made a couple things work and tend to have both clean manufacturing and great design.
They created what amounts to a “dropper post” for Tri people in their Switch Aero seat post…
This lets people go from a standard road to a forward aero position with zero tools by just manipulating the saddle.
Their latest product is something that lots of us have seen a few companies fail miserably at…
The oft dreaded shock stem…
Redshift’s “ShockStop” seems to be quite a bit nicer than several past efforts (many of which were in Redshifts booth to make sure people understood that these guys know about what hasn’t worked out in the past…). It’s a fairly straight forward design that should provide very good torsional stiffness versus past designs but provide consistent vibe and small to medium hit damping. It will have @ 2cm of travel and be made from 6061-t6 Alu (quite a bit lighter than all past efforts at stem dampers at some place near @230 grams).
There will be several tunable durometer dampers that can be tuned to suite a rider’s desired movement.
The pivot system should have a fairly long life as it moves on simple sealed cartridge bearings.
The stems will ship with +/- 6 degree rise and 90, 100, 110 and 120 lengths. 31.8 bars and 1-1/8 steer tubes will fit…
Redshift exceeded their goal by quite a bit for this unit and were in final testing phase with pretty well refined units on hand. The product should be on bikes shortly and I’m looking forward to this being the next addition to my commuter and, if it passes muster, probably finding its way on to the go fast bikes as well given my past neck injuries.
You can see more about the ShockStop, Aero seat post and a slick quick aerobar system at: REDSHIFTSPORTS.COM
More to follow from Interbike 15’ in a bit…
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