As the end of 2015 approaches there have been plenty of great new products to get excited about. Here are 11 of our favourites…
Scott ProTec Clothing
If you’ve ever experienced the pain of road rash, keep reading. Scott ProTec technology is a new fabric from Scott-Sports which promises to provide protection against the inevitable road rash that comes with most high speed crashes.
Developed in conjunction with Swiss textile company Schoeller, the new fabric is composed of a blend of carbon and ceramic prints which is claimed to offer a much greater abrasion resistance than your traditional lycra. The video below shows the fabric being pressed against a belt sander. Impressive stuff.
Strava Live enables you to see segments in real time on your Garmin computer. As soon as you approach one of your starred segments, it flashes up on your screen, giving you advanced warning usually 200-300m out.
>>> Garmin Edge: Complete buyer’s guide
To use the update you will need to update your Garmin. While Strava is not for everyone it is however great fun and very useful for taking KOM/QOMs. It can also be used to give you the added motivation or incentive to push a little bit further than you normally would when doing intervals. For those of you that love Strava, it’s awesome.
With winter closing in, many of us will be dusting down the turbo trainer and trying not to get too bored as we rack up the indoor miles. Zwift is an online multiplayer cycling game that aims to revolutionise indoor training. Paired with your turbo trainer, it replicates your efforts in a virtual world where you can take on challenges and race against other riders around the world.
Having spent most of 2015 as beta version, Zwift has just gone live and will cost £8 a month, should you wish to subscribe. Having played it, we are hugely impressed and can attest that it is far more engaging than staring at the wall of your ‘pain cave.’
Essax Shark saddle
Believe it or not, but one of the most popular pages on the Cycling Weekly website has been a saddle review. However this is not just any old saddle, it’s the legendary Essax Shark saddle. The “innovative design” claims to evenly distribute weight between the rider’s sit bones, with the fin helping to achieve better alignment of the knees and prevent rocking and rolling.
We tested the saddle back in January and found it to be surprisingly comfortable, while also being impressively lightweight for the price, although we had doubts over its durability.
Visit the nrg4 website for more details.
SRAM 1x Road groupset
We think the SRAM 1x Road groupset could be a real game changer. With front chainrings available in anything between 38t and 54t, and rear cassettes coming with huge ranges of up to 11-42, the single chainring setup will be able to offer a similar range of gears to a traditional setup while shedding weight and easing maintenance.
However perhaps the most exciting thing about 1x Road is the options it opens up in frame design. Without having to build seat tubes in a certain way to accommodate a front derailleur, we hope to see manufacturers experiment with seat tubes which prioritise ride quality rather than just being a place to hang a few pieces of metal.
Limits power meter
Power meters have certainly been getting more affordable over the last few years, and we were really excited to see the £350 4iii Precision power meter at the Bike Place show back in February. However this has been eclipsed by the £260 ($385) Limits power meter.
The Limits system effectively consists of two tiny cylinders which are fitted between the pedal and the crank arm, and measures power, cadence and torque, with data transmitted using either ANT+ or Bluetooth. The company has raised money through its Indiegogo page, with a plan to release the system in full early next year.
Visit the Limits website for more details.
Tannus solid tyres
Ok, so solid tyres aren’t exactly a new product for 2015 with the idea itself being older than the bicycle itself. However we’ve seen a real resurgence in interest in the UK as Korean company Tannus has released a range of products aimed at commuters and leisure riders.
The tyres, available on Wiggle, are completely puncture-proof and should be good for around 9,000km of riding. What’s more, at 380g, the Aither 1.1 model comes pretty close to matching the weight of some heavier winter tyres, and also claims to only have a small negative effect on rolling resistance. We’ve got a pair in to test at the moment, so look out for a full review shortly.
Visit the Tannus website for more details.
Kask Protone helmet
Along with the likes of the Giro Synthe, the Kask Protone is one of a new cast of semi-aero helmets that have risen to prominence in the last few months. Designed to bridge the gap between fully aerodynamic and fully ventilated helmets, the Protone sits midway between the company’s Infinity and Vertigo lids.
The Protone certainly comes packed with features for its £195 price-tag, with eight vents on the front, and five on the rear, while the dial adjustment system is the same seen on the Infinity.
Check out the Kask website for more details.
Like the Limits power meter, the D-Fix Freehub is another Indiegogo star. This revolutionary freehub design uses a different system to attach the cassette to the hub, meaning that you can remove the rear wheel from your bike while your cassette remains firmly in place.
While the traditional freehub design works perfectly well, the D-Fix freehub certainly has numerous benefits, allowing you to remove your rear wheel easily without the chain and cassette bashing against the paintwork on your pride and joy, and eliminating the need to transfer the cassette when swapping wheels.
D-Fix is now in production and we have got hold of one for testing. Stay tuned for a review.
There were plenty of shiny pieces of kit on display at iceBike back in March, but the most exciting, and certainly the cleverest, product was this new locking solution from Kryptonite. The WheelNutz are essentially a pair of wheel nuts which attach to your front skewer and contain a gravity locking system, meaning that your front wheel can only be removed if the bike is turned upside down – not something that’s easily done if it’s also locked to some railings.
Priced at £24.99, the cost certainly seems reasonable, especially for a product which you can just attach to your bike and then forget about, although of course you will need a decent D-Lock or chain lock to go with it.
Head over to the Madison website for more details.
SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset
After months of speculation and extensive testing by Ag2r-La Mondiale in 2015, SRAM finally unveiled its new wireless groupset. SRAM Red eTap is the world’s first groupset to come without wires, with SRAM also moving away from the DoubleTap system that it has previously used on its road groupsets.
Video – SRAM Red eTap
The new groupset, which will be available from spring 2016, will be priced at £2,059 for the complete setup, with SRAM claiming that the shifting is not only better than other electronic groupsets, but the system as a whole is also lighter. In fact it is claimed to be 137g lighter than the mechanical version of SRAM Red.
We see this groupset as a real game changer. It has the potential to be a bike mechanics dream allowing for very simple set up and maintenance, with no fidly internal routing. The system will only initially be available with rim brakes, although SRAM’s engineers had a glint in their eyes when responding to enquiries about a disc brake version
For more information on SRAM eTap, click here.