It's been an exciting few weeks in the world of bike tech – if all stories were created equal, it would have been extremely difficult picking out which to run with. Luckily for us, at least, there's been some clear corkers standing up above the rest.
We dig into the performance of Shimano’s Ultegra groupset, take a look at some new top-of-the-range road shoes which are lighter despite being wider, there's Enve’s 2022 SES line up that’s been built for “modern road racing” and Pinarello’s “pure performance” off-roader that’s been adapted to better meet the demands of gravel racing.
But just before we get into all of that, we just wanted to let you know that we've partnered with Garmin to give away a Varia Radar RCT 715 rear light and camera.
It shoots in full HD at 30 frames per second, which is plenty for capturing details such as number plates. It's waterproof for up to 1 metre for 30 minutes, which we'd very much hope covers all your cycling requirements. The radar functionality will also tell you if – and how fast – a vehicle is approaching behind you.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply click this link or fill in the form below. We’ll get in contact with the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you don’t end up being the lucky one – don’t worry, we’ll be running it again next month.
New flagship Specialized road shoes: S-Works Torch
Replacing the S-Works 7, Specialized has just launched the S-Works Torch road shoes which are pitched as wider, lighter and more comfortable.
The Torch has been designed around a wider carbon sole that's 4mm wider than the S-Works 7's and also comes in a wide fitting that's 7mm wider.
The idea behind the Torch's wider plate is that it allows the foot to spread and distribute pressure more evenly and also lets the new Boa routing pull the shoe down onto the foot rather than closing the sides and compressing.
The plates’ new ‘pie crust’ edging shape - two layers of carbon crimped together - is claimed to reduce flex and eliminate bulky material build-up around the perimeter of the for a more streamlined (and lighter) construction.
An internal i-beam is also said to add stiffness and strength, eliminating the need for additional bracing. It’s this that is said to have allowed the sole to drop 20g compared to the S-Works 7's, despite being wider.
The new Torch also has a softer, more comfortable upper with "zonal reinforcement" and an asymmetric heel cup that supplies more targeted foot support.
Find out more about the development, plus our first ride impressions in our coverage of the Specialized S-Work Torch road shoes here.
Enve’s new SES line-up: hookless, tubeless only, and no rim brake models to be seen
The fourth generation of Enve’s Smart Enve System (SES) series that’s been built for the demands of “modern road racing” has just been released and includes two all-new wheels —the SES 2.3 climbing wheels and SES 6.7 aero wheelset—and updates to the SES 3.4 and SES 4.5, which were formerly part of the All Road (AR) line.
Rim shape and depths take into account the differences in airflow at the front of the bike versus the rear as well as crosswinds. Front wheels are shallower than rear wheels, and feature a more rounded profile to maximise crosswind stability and control. The rear wheels have a deeper, sharper profile, and were streamlined to maximise power transmission and drag reduction.
All new SES wheels have been aerodynamically optimised around Enve’s 27mm SES hookless tyres.
The lineup is tubeless-only and features Enve’s patent-pending Wide Hookless Bead which is Enve’s solution to eliminating pinch-flats, and said to be strong enough for road pressures of up to 90 PSI.
For more information and a breakdown of each of the four new models, you can find our launch story on the Enve 2022 SES line-up here.
Shimano Ultegra review
Shimano dropped its new 12-speed Ultegra groupset at the same time as it unveiled the latest iteration of Dura-Ace last year, with much of the tech staying the same between the two systems.
Now that we've ploughed the miles into Ultegra, we're ready to share our verdict: it's great. It's great to the point that it really makes you question why anyone would spend the extra money on Dura-Ace.
The braking, shifting, and most aspects to the groupset are indistinguishable to its top-tier sibling. Aside from the (relatively minor) weight differences, there really isn't much to tell them apart other than the logos.
If money were no object, you might as well go for Dura-Ace. But for anyone who counts price as a pertinent consideration (most of us) it's very hard to look past Ultegra R8100.
Bike of the month: Pinarello Grevil F
Pinarello is targeting those who are looking for marginal gains over long distances with its latest release, the Grevil F.
Pinarello has adopted the Total Internal Cable routing (TiCR) system used on its Dogma road bike and the new ‘flat back’ profile of the downtube is designed to reduce drag. With these upgrades the Italian brand is saying that the Grevil F is 4% more aerodynamic and saves five watts at 40 km/h compared to the previous model.
To better meet the demands of the variety of gravel races, Pinarello has increased tyre clearance on the Grevil F. It now can take tyre sizes up to 700x50mm or 650b x 2.1”, with the higher volume tyres offering improved comfort as well as adaptability for differing terrain.
The duration of gravel races appears to have influenced a change in the geometry choices. The Grevil F combines a shorter reach with a higher stack, which should mean greater extension of the arms. Pinarello says this allows for more flex through the arms, which translates to better cushioning over rough ground as well as more relaxed shoulders.
For more information, you can find our launch story on Pinarello’s Grevil F here. We also have our hands on the racing gravel bike so expect to see our full review soon.
That's all for this month, we wish you the best of late spring riding for the weeks ahead!
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