This month we have cut-price Ridley frames, new Shimano shoes spotted in the wild and Tim Wellens' curious new handlebar hack. We go into the details on the most recent developments regarding the snapped handlebars of the Australian pursuit team in the Tokyo Olympics and bring you up to speed on Wahoo's launch of its Powrlink Zero and Wahoo Kickr Rollr trainer.
Finally, we round things out with a look at this edition's Bike of the Month, the Pearson Summon the Blood – a titanium gravel bike sporting Classified's innovative two-speed hub.
More affordable Ridley aero and climbing bikes
Ridley is bringing out more affordable models of its Noah and Helium bikes, respectively the brand's aero and lightweight product lines.
The new frames are said to retain the same ride quality and characteristics as their more expensive counterparts – increased weight from change in carbon will be the trade off for the lower list price.
That said, the new Helium frames are said to weigh less than 1,000 grams, which is still very respectable, although of course not at the bleeding edge of lightweight frames. The Helium SLX Disc has a claimed weight of 780g, for context.
Pricing starts at £2,909 / €3,199 / $4,229 for the Ridley Helium, while the Noah starts from £3,369 / €3,699 / $4,929. You can find more details on Ridley's website over here.
New Shimano road shoes spotted
Cladding the feet of Mathieu van der Poel, we've spotted what appears to be an update to Shimano's Range topping S-Phyre 902 road shoes – which we'll take a punt and suggest will be called the S-Phyre 903.
The differences appear to be pretty subtle, with more perforations for ventilation on the new model and a more circuitous lace routing – presumably to help spread the tension more evenly.
We look set for a number of shoe releases this year, with a potential new S-Works model having been spotted earlier at the Saudi Tour
Tim Wellens' handlebars hack
Since the UCI ban on the “puppy paws” or “invisible aero bars” position, where a rider rests their forearms on the tops of their bars, Tim Wellens – a long time proponent of the position – has had to go back to the drawing board.
The solution Wellens appears to have come up with is placing a couple of inserts underneath his bar tape to help the “aero hoods” position – where a rider holds the hoods with their arms parallel to the ground – more easily.
It makes for an unusual look, but it seems to be working for him. Perhaps more pertinently, it doesn't seem to be contravening any UCI rules – for now at least.
For the full story on Wellens’ bike set up and all the details, you can find that over here.
AusCycling apologises for snapped handlebar horror
Sadly, some of the most enduring images from the Tokyo Olympics will be those of Alex Porter crashing heavily after his handlebars snapped at 60 km/h in the qualifying rounds of the Team Pursuit.
After releasing a report into the incident, AusCycling has apologised to "Alex and his fellow riders, to the broader Australian Olympic team and to the Australian public, all of whom were entitled to expect better.” It was also acknowledged that a "lack of adequate processes and policies meant that the issues weren’t detected and rectified before the team raced at the Games."
14 recommendations have been put forward by mechanical and aeronautical engineer John Baker, who conducted the report, along with specific takeaways: that the national track cycling team provided “inadequate specification for custom-built handlebars” as well as failing to “conduct adequate fatigue testing.”
The manufacturer of the bars, Melbourne-based Bastion Cycles, were also cited in the report and received five recommendations, among them a call to review design and production quality assurance procedures. The equipment in question was its CA-06 base bar, which unsurprisingly is no longer available.
Our full story on the report can be found over here.
Wahoo Powrlink Zero and Wahoo Kickr Rollr
Wahoo has come out with two big product launches, the first being a power meter version of its Speedplay pedals. This has been expected for some time now – and has been on the wishlist for even longer.
They use a rechargeable lithium Ion battery and have a claimed battery life of 75 hours, while the accuracy is claimed to be +/-1% with no calibration necessary. The stack height has been increased from 11.5mm to 13mm to accommodate the pods, making it taller than both Favero Assioma (10.5mm) and Garmin Rally (12.2mm).
A longer spindle length for the Powrlink Zero – 55mm compared to 53mm for the standard Speedplay Zero – increases Q factor slightly over the competition, too. Garmin pedals stick with 53mm while Assioma measures 54mm.
The claimed weight is 276g dual sided and 250g single sided, while the pricing stands at £849.99 / $999.99 dual sided and £549.99 / $649.99 single sided.
Wahoo says it has taken a traditional design and imagined it for the Kickr Rollr providing an option for those wishing to combine the "convenience and natural ride feel of rollers with the benefits of controlled resistance and connectivity.”
Given that Wahoo is also a manufacturer of direct drive smart trainers it would be unwise to criticise them, but what it does say is that the Kickr Rollr is “designed to accommodate a wide range of frame and tyre sizes via a quick-release adjustable wheelbase clamp…easy to take bikes on and off, making it ideal for those athletes who want to quickly transition from indoor training to riding outside, as well as for households where multiple riders use the same trainer.”
Pricing stands at £699.99 / $799.99 and more information on both can be found in our launch story over here.
Bike of the Month: Summon the Blood
This month for Bike of the Month, we have the Pearson Summon The Blood, a sprightly titanium gravel bike designed for both shorter gravel blasts and more lightly laden bikepacking adventures.
It comes equipped with underside of the downtube mount, toptube mounts and mounts for a rear rack – in addition to the two inside the main triangle. The geometry is a on the snappier side, with short (for a gravel bike) 425mm chainstays and a notably steep 73 degree head angle in a size medium.
It still offers plenty of clearance, though, able to handle 45mm x 700c – and wider still in 650b.
Pearson is one of the growing number of brands offering builds with Classified's two speed hub. We were quite impressed with the system when we had it on test previously, offering a clear improvement over the shifting of a front derailleur.
The high price means it's not a product we'd recommend for everyone, but if you do have the cash to spare – and if you aren't overly attached to one particular set of wheels – it is very much worth a try.
We'll be publishing our review in the coming weeks, in the meantime you can view the bike on Pearson's website over here
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