It was a decidedly Italian day for our firest day on the show floor at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany, finished off by pizza with prosciutto… but it started with some great new goods made in the good ‘ol U.S .of A and Canada.
We also ran into the above couple: Dutch Kona hopeful Yvonne Van Vlerken and her boyfriend, fellow pro Per Bittner from Germany, out at the expo to say hi to their sponsors before the business of Kona commences. Us? We checked out the new gear…
It wasn’t long ago that Campagnolo debuted 11-speed drivetrain narrowing the chain and cassette. For 2015, Campy’s mechanical groupsets—Super Record, Record and Chorus—receive an update that makes an already silky smooth, super crisp shifting groupset, and made it better. The chain remains the same as before, as does the brakeset.
But the rear derailleur and front derailleur get a major overhaul. The front derailleur gets a much longer cable pull arm, making for a mechanical front derailleur shift with less throw, but more torque. In the back it’s the tighter cage size and tighter chain wrap on the pulleys that makes the shifts tighter. By tightening tolerances. Campagnolo shortened the cable throw and action of the rear derailleur across the cassette range. That tightened the arc of the chain on the pulleys, narrowing the tolerance for a tighter, sharper shift.
Of keen interest to triathletes is the fact that Campy is finally joining the “wider is better” train. Campagnolo debuted the new Bora Ultra 1 and Bora Ultra 2 tubulars and carbon clinchers (shown below). The new rims, available in 25mm and 50mm depth options (50mm shown here) now move to 24.2mm wide, improving ride quality and aerodynamics.
The rim’s braking surface also features a proprietary treatment that it calls 3Diamant; diamonds score the rim’s braking surface after it comes out of the mold. This scoring removes excess resin from the braking surface creating a uniform braking surface on par with aluminum in terms of linear braking; a rider is truly braking on the carbon, instead of the resin.
Pricing and availability dates are yet to be announced on both the new 11+ gruppos and the new Bora wheelsets.
K-Edge Aero Combo Mount
This one personally makes me happy; I’m a big fan of K-Edge Garmin mounts (and camera mounts) for one reason: security. The other plastic-based options out there are fine, but I beat on my gear; I recently crashed my mountain bike at Breck Epic and the leading edge that drove into the ground was my Garmin, affixed to my Aero Computer Mount. The replaceable bracket for the K-Edge snapped and broke, but the alloy itself only got scratched; I’ll replace the plastic screw-down insert and I’ll be good to go. Had I used a plastic bracket, the unit would have broken completely, requiring purchase of a whole new computer mount.
Also, with my GoPro, I want a truly fixed perch for my camera, and a CNC’d alloy bracket offers that secure anchor, reducing the vibration shake that plastic brackets tend to deliver.
Today, we got the first look at the K-Edge Combo Mount. The fully Idaho-made bracket does everything your standard Garmin mount does (or Garmin XL for those owning one of the new Garmin 1000 computers that require a slightly longer platform arm). And it does everything the K-Edge computer bracket does. But it does it together, in one singular piece.
The top of the mount is a standard computer mount, but the bottom integrates the three-slot bracket for a Garmin to mount onto the underside of the. It will also mount the new Garmin Virb or Shimano camer. In K-Edge’s work with the Sky team, the team wanted a more beveled, frontally aero shape, so K-Edge sculped the bracket’s underside. It may be fractional on the aero scale, but hey, Sky’s the team known for incremental advances.
Price for the standard Combo Mount, which will be available at the end of the year, will be $55, while the Combo Mount XL (with the longer arm for Garmin q000)
Already have a K-Edge Aero Computer mount, but missing out on the integrated GoPro or Virb bracket? Not to worry: K-Edge will offer a retrofit adaptor that will mount to the bottom of your existing computer bracket, allowing you the same features. It is expected to price around $20.
Kona-Ready for Van Lierde and Kienle: Prologo Tri One
Prologo debuted a new triathlon saddle that we will likely be seeing either or both reigning Hawaii Ironman World Champ Frederick Van Lierde and reigning Ironman 70.3 World Champ (and top Kona favorite) Sebastian Kienle run in Kona this October: the Zero Tri.
The Zero Tri, which was tested by and co-developed with Van Lierde, takes on a traditional tri saddle shape in terms of nose length, but also features for the first time a full-length relief channel and a fairly wide nose.
The Zero Tri will be made available in two versions: a standard cover, and a CPC (Connect Power Control) cover. While the UCI shut down the use of grip covers on saddles, there’s nothing that says they can’t be used in triathlon. As such, the patented Zero Tri CPC features a very tacky rubber cover which features a patented 3D polymer (cylinders that, when looked at closely, resemble a close-knit collection of silos or octopus suckers.
These little rubber silos not only provides traction when seated on a wet saddle with a wet tri kit, but also provides a bit of vibration and shock absorption. It’s used in Prologo’s glove line as well (and, surprisingly, is touch-screen sensitive.)
As you can see in the photo of the white saddle, Prologo applies the CPC treatment throughout the length of the nose to keep the rider locked into position. Prologo says the Zero Tri will make its debut with either (or both) Van Lierde and Kienle in Kona in October, and will be available in both CPC and standard versions with a carbon NACK rail ($285 with CPC, $195 standard) and in Tirox alloy ($230 CPC, $145 standard) after October.
Targeting Aero-road: KASK Infinity & Protone
In speaking with Kask’s American marketing directors, former endurance mountain bike pro Nat Ross and former road pro racer Liz Hatch, there is one untouched category in its growth directive: triathlon.
Which works out nicely, since Kask has quite a few offerings that suit the sport very well. The semi-aero short-tailed Bambino has seen action in long-course racing in athletes from sponsored pro Michelle Vesterby to Aussie swim/bike gun Clayton Fettell.
Today, they’ve expanded their tri-related offerings with two new helmets (along with a new logo): the Infinity and—debuted this past July—the Protone.
The Infinity is pretty basic on its face, with low vent count. But slide the central channel slot up, and it opens a trio of open ports, making for an on-the-fly convertible Ross notes that while the helmets we saw here at Eurobike are CE versions and feature three open front vents, these vents will be filled with a honeycomb-style structure in order to meet U.S.-based CPSC testing standards. The 260g helmet, featuring a leather chin strap cover price of the $369.
The other new helmet that will serve as a do-it-all is the same helmet that debuted with the Sky team at the Tour de France: the Protone. On its face (or more pointedly, from the front), it is a typical vented helmet. But it has functional features including sunglass portage.
But what made it a Sky exclusive through the Tour was its co-development of the helmet on the aerodynamic front. The sides and back are tapered and feature few vents for clean air flow. Sky claims the 210-gram helmet to have one of the lowest drag coefficients of any vented helmet on the market, along with one of the fastest rates of head dissipation.
Kask says the Protone will be available after the turn of the year at a price of $299, while the Infinity is currently available. And if Kask is backing up their claims, we may see more action in tri, from pros to tri shops to expos making Kask available to the greater tri market.
Argon 18 Redesigns E-118 Aerobar
The Argon 118 was one of the first “superbikesâ€ with an integrated aerobar and fork several years ago. For 2016, Argon 18 worked with its pros including Aussie Leon Griffin to update the cockpit of the E-118 with a whole new aerobar, the AHB7750. While the frame remains the same, the front end undergoes a major overhaul, and comes out much more functional for the end user, and much, much cleaner aerodynamically.
It didn’t take much to see; much less bolts, no exposed cables and much greater adjustment; independent pitch angle adjust, easy aerobar extension reach adjust. Further instead of having the front brake cable port out in a j-bend from the fork, the cable runs through the crown of the bike’s new fork (you can see the housing tucked within the fork crown in the above photo).
On the whole, Argon 18 engineers told us that wind tunnel testing of the aerobar alone (executed at both A2 Wind Tunnel and University of Washington) compared to the previous aerobar yielded about a six percent drag decrease across a yaw range, and about a two percent increase when tested on complete bikes. The decrease of bolts also cut about 100 grams from the aerobar as well.
Further, the aerobar extension clamps will be standard 22.2mm diameter, so consumers can choose their own extension if the wrist relief style extensions provided on the E-118 don’t fit your style.
Now, the Montreal brand has a faster new aerobar with less parts, greater pitch and reach adjust. In the process, Argon 18 cut 100 grams on the aerobar. All features that are going to make consumer super happy from a packing standpoint, from an aero standpoint. Nicely, done, Argon 18.