Tech of the Week: 12-speed gears, disc brake Venge, the world’s first ‘smart’ bike, and more

The biggest tech stories from the last seven days

How long till we turn it up to 12?

sram eagle 12-speed mountain bike groupset cassette

The world of mountain biking welcomed SRAM’s new Eagle drivetrains, which added a 12th sprocket to its XX1 and X01 groupsets. There’s no official word on whether this innovation will make its way across to the company’s road bike groupsets, but you have to think that such a move can’t be a million miles away.

>>> Groupset rumours: what will Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo release in 2016?

SRAM has form in taking its mountain bike technologies and applying them to its road groupsets, as with its 1x single ring groupsets, so could well take the 12th sprocket across in the not too distance future. Shimano has also told us that it has explored the possibility of a 12-speed groupset, although it looks like the upcoming new Dura-Ace groupset will only be 11-speed.

New Venge ViAS Discs in time for the cobbles?

specialized s-works venge vias disc spy shot

Look closely at Fernando Gaviria’s Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS and there are a couple of things missing compared to the one Peter Sagan and others are riding this season: the brakes. Look even closer and you’ll also spot that the Roval wheels have no brake track and the levers are Shimano R785 hydraulic disc brake levers.

>>> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

What this must be then, is a new disc brake version of the Venge ViAS which we could see in action this spring. Apart from the brakes, things seem pretty similar to the original bike that was released last summer that claimed to save you two minutes over a 40km time trial comparted to a standard Specialized Tarmac.

Introducing the world’s fast ‘smart’ bike


If electronic gears aren’t enough for you, then how about a bike with a built in cycling computer that will coach you as you ride? That dream is now a reality with the SpeedX Leopard bike, which also comes with plenty of other bells and whistles including integrated front and rear lights that turn off and on when required, and fully integrated cabling like the Venge ViAS mentioned above and the Trek Madone.

>>> Should you buy a smart turbo trainer?

However, unlike the Venge ViAS or Madone, you won’t have to remortgage your house or sell an organ to afford one with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 version available for the very reasonable sum of £1800, while the Shimano 105 version costs just £1000. You can buy one by supporting SpeedX’s Kickstarter campaign.

Halford’s bargain bike

cinelli mash parallax

How would you like to buy an £800 frame for a penny? Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well yes, unfortunately it is, although that didn’t stop a number of punters trying their luck after a pricing mistake saw the Cinelli Mash Parallax track frame showing up on the Halfords website at a bargain price.

>>> Bradley Wiggins unveils range of children’s bikes with Halfords

The bad news came when the company realised its mistake and issued an email to its customers saying that it would be cancelling all orders on the bike. Better luck next time, guys!

New rubber from Michelin

michelin tyres

Michelin has been working hard over the winter, and has released its new Power tyre to replace the Pro4 Service Course, which it claims gives 25 per cent decrease in rolling resistance for a 25mm tyre, and an energy saving equivalent to 10 watts.

>>> Are wider tyres really faster?

But not only are they faster, but Michelin claims that puncture resistance is increased by 13 per cent and lateral grip is also up by 35 per cent. Not bad, eh?