This month we take a look over the 2022 World Tour team kits, picking out the gems and the could-do-betters. Following the launch of the new Cannondale Synapse, with its integrated lighting and rear radar, we take a look back at what the reaction has been. And claiming the title of the lightest Brompton ever – although not the first in titanium and sans mudguards – we drill into the details of the London brand's new release.
There's much more besides, so let's get stuck in.
Specialized S-Works 7 Lace
With a total of eight shoes in its flagship S-Works range – four of them being road-specific – it should have been clear there was a glaring omission. Although the bases were all covered for general racing, ultra low weight, ultra high ventilation and specifically for sprinting – where was the option of a traditional set of lace-ups?
Thankfully, they are here now – and offering more than just a touch of fashionably retro chic. They benefit from Specialized's FACT Powerline carbon outsole, which is the lightest and stiffest the brand offers, while the eschewing of Boa dials saves both money and weight.
Coming in at 236 grams per shoe in size 44, the S-Works Ares (sprint shoe) tips the scales at 255g – the regular S-Works 7 (general racing shoe) weighs a little more again. With an RRP of £300/$325 both the Ares (£375/$425) and S-Works 7 (£370/$425) are pretty significantly undercut.
Of course, some people would rather pay a premium and take a hit on the weight for the on-the-fly adjustability Boa dials provide. But if this isn't something that concerns you – perhaps you find the many points of adjustment lace-up systems provide more comfortable – then these look a real steal. At least, for an S-Works model.
You can follow the link to find the full details and our first ride impressions from our launch story. Or, for the very latest on the S-Works range, we spotted an as-yet-unreleased model at the Saudi Tour.
Lightest Brompton ever
Weighing in at just 7.45kg, the lightest build of Brompton's new T Line knocks over two kilos off its previous lightest offering, the 9.65kg P Line. This isn't the first time Brompton has dabbled in titanium, in a collaboration with CHPT3 a few years ago now, the brand had developed a titanium rear end and fork – but this is the first time for Brompton that an entire frame has been built from titanium.
Other weight saving tweaks include carbon cranks, handlebars and a carbon seatpost within a steel sheath – which has been done to help lower the weight without completely forgoing longevity.
The innovations haven't just been limited to merely simply weight saving purposes, new self-aligning hinges have been developed along with a spring-loaded handlebar catch to make this Brompton particularly quick to stow away.
To hit the very lowest weight, the T Line One does without mudguards and multiple gears. But Brompton is offering a more practical T Line Urban model which has both those things and naturally comes in a little bit heavier – although still significantly lighter than your typical Brompton.
For more details, you can find our full launch story on the lightest ever Brompton just over here.
WorldTour team kit
We've got a whole page for all the team kits of the WorldTour, both men's and women's – so check that out for a full run down. Here, we've just picked out our most and least favourite, starting with the least...
In our opinion, the pastel colours and simple fade definitely don't score points for being visually striking – the men's kit unfortunately looks like Israel-Premier Tech's has bled in the wash. The women's kit at least escapes such connotations of a laundry mishap, but to describe the shade as "aubergine" is evocative of something going equally wrong in the fridge.
Canyon-SRAM has built a reputation for delivering stunning kits year in and year out – and these season is no different. The striking swipes of bold colours, combined with meteorological symbols that we'll confess that we aren't really sure on the mean of, make for one of the most visually interesting we've seen.
If you are wondering why there seems to be a convergence of styles in some of the women's team kits, our Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan went in-depth looking for an answer. .
Cannondale Synapse SmartSense
The new Cannondale Synapse SmartSense certainly seems to have split opinion. To give a quick run through, Cannondale's new Synapse endurance bike comes with integrated front and rear lights as well as incorporating Garmin's Varia rear radar system to alert you about upcoming traffic.
All these gadgets are run off a single battery below the downtube bottle cage and can be removed for charging – much like SRAM's AXS batteries for its derailleurs and dropper seatposts.
Of the reception, some people were unimpressed by the battery life and power of the lights. The front puts out 350 lumens and Cannondale quotes a run time of 2h 45min with everything on full. The fact that an adapter is needed to raise up the rear light if you want to carry a saddle bag was another common complaint.
Another point widely made was with reference to the price at £3,200 / $3,300 for a carbon frame with Shimano's 105 groupset, it's over a grand more expensive than a similarly specced Canyon Endurace.
It wasn't all criticism, though, there was marked support for the threaded BB, external cable routing around the headtube and the inclusion of a 27.2mm seatpost.
Nevertheless, we put those points – and more – to Clive Gosling, Cannondale’s director of marketing, you can read his full response in our follow up article on the Synapse launch here
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