The Tour de France might be the traditional place to test out new kit, but we spotted plenty of new products and interesting equipment choices at the start of stage two of the Giro d'Italia.
With the Giro peloton’s time trial equipment safely stashed away until the mammoth 59.2km individual time trial on stage 14, it’s time to take a look at some of the kit that the pros will be using on the normal road stages as they make their way around Italy over the next three weeks.
The Rotor INpower power meter may only have launched a month ago, but it is already adorning the Merida Reacto bikes that Lampre-Merida were riding on stage two of the Giro d’Italia. The single-sided power meter places the strain gauges in the bottom bracket spindle, and is compatible with any Rotor chainring or crank.
The system is both lightweight and relatively affordable, apparently hitting the scales at a svelte 55g, and available to purchase for £499 (left crankarm and spindle only).
Like a number of recent component releases such as SRAM Wireless and the new Garmin Vectors, the Rotor INPower power meter eschews rechargeable batteries in favour of more common disposable batteries which can easily be picked up in the high street. According to Rotor, the single double AA battery, which is inserted into the bottom bracket spindle, will provide enough power for 300 hours of use.
A slightly less high-tech new product that we spotted on Lampre’s Merida Reactos were these prototype bottle cages from Elite. These don’t look like superlight carbon-fibre cages, instead possibly being an updated version of Elite’s hugely popular fibreglass Custom Race bottle cages (such as the one in the background of the above photo).
We first spotted the redesigned Mavic wheels at the Spring Classics earlier this year, but have been able to get a closer look on the Italian Riviera. The updated Cosmic Carbone Ultimates were adorning the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod bikes of the Cannondale-Garmin squad, and clearly featured a blunter U-shaped profile compared to the previous generation of Cosmics. However the rear wheels still featured the old V-shaped rim profile.
Aside from the reshaped rims, the spokes and hubs seem to be largely similar to those found on the current design. Using Mavic’s R2R (rim to rim) technology, the carbon spokes run from the rim, through the hub flange, and out the other side to the other rim.
Cannondale-Garmin were also among a number of teams using Fizik‘s K3 saddle. This saddle was designed by Fizik to offer a comfortable perch for triathletes riding Ironman races, but seems to have found a devoted following among a peloton trying to stay comfortable through consecutive long days in the saddle. Indeed our man on the ground reports that this is Richie Porte‘s perch of choice when he’s not relaxing in his motorhome.
Another new set of wheels on show were what looks like a new generation of deep section DiCut wheels from DT Swiss. Seen here adorning the Scott Foil of IAM Cycling‘s Roger Kluge, the new wheels look to be a radical departure from the extremely narrow V-profile rims of the previous generation of DiCuts, indeed looking fairly similar to the U-profile rims of the Mavics above.
The wider rim should better accommodate the trend for wider and wider tyres, with IAM generally running 25mm Schwalbe One tyres at the Giro d’Italia.
While Mark Cavendish has been spotted running a Shimano Dura-Ace chainset, another Etixx-Quick Step rider also seems to be unhappy with the components supplied to the team by equipment sponsor FSA. Tom Boonen has decided to opt for a Zipp SL Sprint Stem on his custom S-Works Venge, complete with an extremely pro 140mm length and 12º drop. However Boonen has at least decided to stick with FSA for the K-Wing bars, wrapped with FSA bar tape.
And finally, while most of the peloton have a name sticker somewhere on their bike, none are quite as unique as this homemade bike sticker adorning Sacha Modolo’s Merida Reacto. We’re not sure whether it was made by Modolo himself, but the Italian sprinter certainly seemed pretty attached to it.