As road bike riding diversifies towards multiple road surfaces such as adventure and off-road riding Shimano introduces Ultegra RX, an off-shoot of Ultegra, with a rear clutch derailleur (RD-RX800/RX805) for mechanical and Di2 drivetrains.
Riders have been pushing the limits of what a road bike is capable of riding for many years, evolving the sport from racing to encompass greater adventure. In recent years we’ve seen a broader definition of what a drop handlebar bike can look like; road wheels followed that by accommodating wider tyres. Now in a natural evolutionary step, it’s time for drivetrains to evolve too.
The new RX800/805 rear derailleurs share many characteristics with the Ultegra R8000/R8050 derailleur, such as precise accurate shifting and SHIMANO SHADOW RD derailleur positioning, but with the added chain stabilizing switch (known as SHIMANO SHADOW RD+ technology) to control the drivetrain over rough/uneven ground or off-road surfaces. Much like Shimano’s MTB derailleurs, the On/Off switch can be found next to the upper pulley. When activated the rear derailleur pivot takes a firm hold to reduce excessive movement, noise and general ‘chain chatter’.
The RX800/RX805 rear derailleurs are compatible with road dual control levers (mechanical or Di2) and will accommodate cassettes with low gears from 28T to 34T, making them a very necessary addition for all types of adventure and off-road riding including cyclocross and compact styles with 46T-36T up to 50T-34T chainrings.
Alongside the Ultegra RX rear derailleur comes a new wider rim 700c, E-Thru axle, tubeless-ready, disc-specific, WH-RS370-TL aluminium wheelset for 28-38c tyres (weight 1900/pair).
You can expect the new components to be available in stores from mid-June 2018 onwards.
Review: SunGod PaceBreaker sunglasses – Look Cool While Dropping Watt Bombs
SunGod sunglasses are a relatively new player to the market, a successful, UK based, crowd-funded business who’s appeal is focused on the ability to customise the glasses online at an affordable price.
SunGod was founded in 2013 and developed from a frustration that to get quality lenses that would be able to withstand a sports/adventure lifestyle.
They launched their first product, SunGod Classic, as their first complete custom online build, with polycarbonate polarised lenses and TR90 memory polymer frames. This campaign exploded, with SunGods being shipped to 93 countries and making 10x the initial funding target and becoming the largest crowdfunded project of its kind in the UK.
Jumping on to the website is simple enough, and you get to choose from a variety of frames and styles. The Classics and Renegades focus more on traditional streetwear, extreme sports etc., while the Revolts are focused on snow sports. All of the range bears the funky looking Limited editions, are fully customizable. As triathletes wouldn’t be seen dead wearing non-race specific gear, we’re going to focus the review on the PaceBreakers – wraparounds focused on riding and running (swimming not tested!)
What design do you ask?
I was lucky enough to get to design a pair of sunglasses via the simple to understand interface. Simple enough in fact that my five-year-old daughter created my first pair below.
Going through the interface, you get to choose the frame colour, lens type (4KO Polarised or not – more on that later), icons on the side and ear sock colour (the tips of your glasses). If your creativity is failing you, you can also choose from a set series of best sellers.
The whole process takes around 30 seconds of effort with 20 minutes of procrastination around the right colours to match with your complexion and handbag.
My second pair was a much more straightforward affair focusing on the traditional grey look.
The glasses ship from the UK and for me, turned up in 3 days, a surprising and welcome change.
What’s in the box?
SunGod indeed go above and beyond with the packaging and its contents
As you would expect you get a box with the sunglasses included, but you also get a spare nose clip, a case which also doubles as a cleaning rag and a truckload of stickers to stick around the place. Its quite a few freebies given the low cost of the product.
4KO pace lens with triple scratch resistance
SunGod claims that the polarised lens is both triple scratch resistant and will enhance both visibility and field of view in both low light and bright conditions. We obviously couldn’t test them in a lab with serious equipment, but we took the glasses out on a treacherous, wet and windy early morning Melbourne ride around the Dandenong mountains in peak hour traffic.
Compared to my Jawbreakers I certainly felt that their visibility in early morning sun up (6am) conditions was improved. The lens also survived being bounced along the road at high speed when I forgot to put them back on during a decent, with no scratches if I may add. So science aside, these sunglasses certainly did the job during a challenging day out.
What differentiates SunGod from the competition
SunGod has a few key differentiated points.
Firstly is the price. For around $110 – $130 dollars you get a solid pair of high-performance sunglasses with features to match and outperform glasses twice their price.
The glasses come with a lifetime warranty so if they break they will replace them free of charge. A lofty claim that I haven’t tested but certainly a welcome one – which some of the major players struggle to offer.
The glasses are made from adventure proof flexible rubber which allows the frames to be flexed, and as above bounced along the road, without damage. Which as a clumsy guy is a great feature.
Simply put, SunGod makes a great pair of sunglasses, both comfortable and high performing, you cannot beat them for value. The customisation feature is excellent and has got my triathlon team all lining up to get the team colours shipped over. I didn’t have anything negative to say about them, to the point where I’m replacing my tried and trusted jawbreakers with these for both racing and training.
Here is a link to the PaceBreakers
Simply a great set of sunglasses and are packed with features and value.
- Well priced
- Great feature set
- Carbon (Triathlete staple) look frame appears out of stock
- Were clutching at straws to find anything wrong aren't we!
A Wearable RFID Fitness & Calorie Tracker that Mounts to Your Teeth
Fitness and calorie monitoring technology is getting interesting. Researchers at the Tufts University Biomedical Engineering Department are experimenting with wearable trackers that mount to your teeth. The tiny monitors use Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technology to track calories, alcohol consumption, multiple types of sugar, and the foods you eat. The researchers also speculate about developing the devices to monitor stress levels from saliva.
The trackers use a square tooth-mounted sensor that is either 4 X 4 or 2 X 2 millimetres. They’re made of titanium and gold and feature detector layers made of either water-based gel or silk fibres.
When testing for the trackers’ ability to detect alcohol and sugar, researchers instructed subjects to swish various liquids. The trackers sent accurate information to tablets and cellphones, distinguishing between liquids such as saliva, water, and alcohols, as well as different types of sugars and their concentrations. Using water-based gel sensors, they were able to track varying temperatures and acidity levels.
These trackers could be a new breakthrough in calorie and fitness tracking. They are not yet available commercially because the researchers are still working out a few kinks and discovering more uses for them.
The Tufts study will be published in the journal, Advanced Materials. For now, you can read it in the Wiley Library below. The paper goes into detail about all the possible uses and the chemicals and nutrients these trackers will likely be able to detect.
Shimano 105 R7000 Offers Race-inspired Performance for Greater Riding Styles
Today’s road riders demand much more than pure on-the-rivet speed. They expect comfort, control and versatility from their bikes, and enjoyment and goal achievement to boot. 105 level riders expect the latest pro-level features but they also want to do more with their bike than racing and training. So step forward the new 105 R7000 generation with customizable disc or rim brakes and wider cassette options to help you remain in comfort and control wherever you’re riding.
Coming with the high-end aesthetic and race characteristics of its Dura-Ace and Ultegra big brothers, the new 105 series also considers that most riders will use their bikes for purposes other than competitive racing. 105 is Shimano’s first level 11-speed groupset for those who are seriously committed to road bike riding, but that definition now becomes broader with the inclusion of superior handling and adaptable control to master different riding situations.
The biggest news for new 105 is the addition of disc brakes to the series line up. New flat-mount BR-R7070 callipers are compatible with ICE TECHNOLOGIES pads and UCI-compliant non-90 degree SM-RT70 rotors (including a new 140mm size) to offer greater cooling efficiencies. Brake operation is handled by new ergonomically shaped Hydraulic dual control levers (ST-R7020), matching the design of Ultegra ST-R8020 levers with a greater range of reach adjustment for different hand sizes. To provide even greater customisability, 105 R7000 offers a version of the dual control brake/gear lever (ST-R7025) to better suit smaller hands by being angled closer to the bar and taking more of an outboard position for better connection and to avoid interference with the handlebar drop during lever operation.
Whether from the rim brake (ST-R7000) or disc brake (ST-R7020/25) lever, gear shifts have been redesigned to offer faster and lighter shifts with a shorter stroke compared to the 105 5800 series. The front derailleur has a compact toggle (pivot) design, better tyre clearance and an integrated cable tension adjustment port (2-mm hex key) removing the need for an in-cable barrel adjuster. The optional long cage rear derailleur (RD-R7000-GS) can accommodate up to an 11-34T cassette and is designed with a low profile SHIMANO SHADOW RD style to tuck it below the cassette and chainstay.
Updates within the drivetrain include a new mid-compact 52-36T crankset, to add to the 50-34T and 53-39T cranksets, and new 11-30 (CS-R7000) and 10-speed compatible 11-34 cassette (CS-HG700-11) options to better suit gravel, adventure or CX riding. Together with this, the inner crank ring has been positioned to reduce the effects of cross chaining or chain drop, better suiting bikes with disc brake criterium racing bikes.
Tim Gerrits, product manager at Shimano Europe said;
“Increased control and reaction were two points we concentrated developments on, combined with what people have always expected from 105, great versatility and value for riders. With 105’s suitability for a large portion of today’s diverse road bike styles we hope to unlock the potential of where and what it’s possible to ride on a road bike.”
New Shimano 105 R7000 items will be available on the market around June and will be available in an appealing dual tone black colourway and an additional silver option for more classic bike styles.
Ventum is expanding its line of cutting-edge triathlon racing bicycles
Built around the company’s patented Z-shaped frame design, which eliminates the downtube and seat stays while integrating the water bottle into the frame, the expanded Ventum Z line was developed to allow more triathletes to enjoy the aerodynamic advantages of Ventum technology.
“We designed our flagship triathlon bike, the Ventum One, for the toughest races in the sport,” Ventum co-founder Diaa Nour said, “and we based the new Ventum Z models on feedback from triathletes, who told us they want access to the same technology developed for the Ventum One, but with more flexibility to customize the bicycle to fit their needs.”
The new Ventum Z includes Ventum’s patented Z frame plus a proprietary carbon-fibre Z fork and is available for purchase as a standalone frameset for $2,850. The Ventum Z is also available as a complete bicycle with a mechanical component group featuring a combination of Dura Ace, Ultegra, and other Shimano components for $3,500, and as a complete bicycle with Shimano’s electronic Ultegra Di2 component group for $5,500.
“We wind-tunnel and road-tested every component of every version of the Ventum Z to find the perfect balance between aerodynamics, comfort, and cost. Our goal in reimagining the Ventum Z was to make a more affordable ‘superbike’, and to keep it cutting-edge without cutting corners,” Nour said. “To do that, we developed our new, proprietary Z fork, we included a custom set of 3T Vola aero bars for easy positioning and adjustment, and we are offering a choice of carbon-fibre or alloy wheels that are optimal for the bike.”
Ventum was co-founded in 2014 by Diaa Nour and former professional triathlete Jimmy Seear, to build the world’s fastest racing bicycles. Inspired by fighter jets and Formula One race cars, the company’s triathlon bicycles feature a revolutionary frame design that maximizes aerodynamic performance in non-draft-legal races such as IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons. Ventum also served as the Official Bike Sponsor of the 2016 and 2017 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Based in Miami Beach, Florida, Ventum bicycles are available worldwide through the company’s dealer network and from the Ventum online store.
DeFeet to Use Blockchain Technology to Stop Counterfeit Products, Improve Customer Experience
DeFeet International, a manufacturer of socks and other apparel for cycling, running, and outdoors activities, has partnered with blockchain solutions provider, LuxTag.io.
The new technology will accomplish a few goals that help both the company and the customer. When you receive a DeFeet product that is in a blockchain, you’ll be able to scan it with your phone.
Scanning your DeFeet product will:
- Ensure the product is not counterfeit
- Add it to your customer profile
- Help DeFeet suggest products relevant to your individual behavior & taste
- Take some hassle out of the warranty & repair process
- Determine appropriate loyalty rewards
- Help determine distribution logistics
The overall result is a better and safer customer experience.
The first roll out will cover the company’s Barnstormer line. They’re focusing on matching their Adventure Cycling Club members with relevant products and promotions based on past purchases and other data. Current promotions reward members who complete missions. They’ll expand the practice to more product lines over time.
What is Blockchain Technology?
If you don’t know what blockchain technology is, you may have some trouble comprehending what DeFeet’s new changes mean for customers. Pay attention here, because you’ll be seeing and hearing the term a lot from now on.
The anonymously-invented technology was created in 2008 for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. It ensures the authenticity of transactions by decentralizing the locations of documents. This helps people verify the transactions publicly and prevents hacking and counterfeit.
The block in blockchain is a record that shows:
- Medical info from your doctor
- The location of your cryptocurrency
- You voted in an election & who received the vote
- You bought or sold Bitcoin or a pair of athletic socks & the transaction value
- You made a bank-free transfer of money or received one
Think Google Docs. Multiple actors can create a document together, and the document is not stored on anyone’s individual computer. In the old days of document collaboration, you had to save it to your computer, edit it, and then email it to another editor. The other editor then had to make edits or comments and send it back to you. In Google Docs, if someone makes an edit, all editors can verify that in real time and even look at the change records. You can set the document to be visible only to certain people, and to allow only one person at a time to edit it.
DeFeet Leads the Way for Retailers Considering Blockchain
Certain sectors of the business world have recently taken an interest in blockchain solutions. Digital ad companies want to distinguish ad views by humans vs bots. Manufacturers want to trace problematic product parts to their sources. Cryptocurrencies want to authenticate transactions and trace the whereabouts of the currencies. Wire money transfer companies want to cut down on costs and pass the savings to users. Voters want to know their votes have been counted.
Retailers have been slow to jump on the blockchain bandwagon. Expect more retailers to follow Defeet’s lead.
ROKA Launches Ultralight Advanced Performance Eyewear with World-Class Roster of Athletes
ROKA Sports Inc., the Austin, TX based performance multisport company, has announced the release of its new Advanced Performance for Extreme Conditions (A.P.EX) line of eyewear. The collection was designed from scratch for the athlete who requires the maximum field of view, protection, ultra-lightweight, and seamless fit and retention. The Advanced Performance collection is incredibly versatile, coming in five styles and up to ten lens tint options, so athletes can completely customize their eyewear to meet their specific needs.
The unique design of ROKA’s Advanced Performance collection is the realization of more than two years of stealth R&D by ROKA’s eyewear division, an all-star team of designers and engineers based in Irvine, California, who were assembled specifically for this mission and were drawn from Apple, Oakley, Under Armour, and other leading brands. Upon formation, ROKA Co-Founders Rob Canales and Kurt Spenser challenged the team, which has over 110 years combined experience making performance eyewear, to design and build the best sport optics on the planet from the inside out, with a primary focus on function in extreme conditions.
“This is truly a breakthrough in performance eyewear,” says ROKA Co-Founder and CEO Rob Canales. “We build products for the most demanding athletes in the world, and through meticulous attention to detail and the aggregation of incremental gains, our team has delivered. While other brands are cutting performance and quality to satisfy their monopolist owners, we’ve gone all in with a truly independent line that is with uncompromising performance.”
The A.P.EX line consists of three different frame options, with multiple lens height configurations: The SL-1, SL-1x, SR-1, SR-1x, and TL-1. Weighing in at only 21 – 25 grams, every style features ultra-lightweight materials and construction without compromising durability. An adjustable titanium core offers a customized fit, and advanced materialization with ROKA’s patented GEKO™ technology on the nose pads and temples ensure a rock-solid fit under the most adverse training and racing conditions.
All five styles feature premium nylon lens options by Carl Zeiss Vision that come standard with market-leading hydrophobic, oleophobic, anti-scratch, anti-fog, and anti-reflectance coatings. Whether riding in the glaring sun or running through rain and snow, athletes will have multiple contrasts and mirror options for the specific demands of the day.
“The moment I slipped on the ROKA sunglasses, I knew they had set a new standard in the performance eyewear market,” says eight-time triathlon world champion Javier Gómez. “There is nothing else that comes close in terms of weight, security, and optics. ROKA’s technical apparel and goggles have been a secret weapon for me in multiple world championships. I’m thrilled to have that same world-beating standard for my eyewear.”
Gómez is one of more than 40 elite athletes to debut the Advanced Performance eyewear in 2018. Regardless of the arena or challenge, ROKA eyewear is designed for athletes seeking to redefine standards, to break barriers, and to find every advantage possible. Within a few weeks of their release, Carlos Sainz drove them to victory at the Dakar Rally in South America, and Esmee Visser took them to the top of the Olympic podium in speed skating in PyeongChang.
“I first tried ROKA sunglasses in January—about a month before the Olympics,” Visser says. “The sunglasses I used previously were good, but I always had problems with my eyes tearing up. With ROKA’s SR-1 sunglasses, I had better protection and fewer tears, and they weighed less, so it was an easy decision to use them at the Olympics.”
Advanced Performance optics have also helped pro cyclists Bryan Coquard and Magnus Cort Nielsen reach the top of the World Tour podium in 2018, out-sprinting the best cyclists in the world. They will also be the eyewear of choice for Dan Martin this July when he attempts to become the second Irishman ever to win the Tour de France.
“I pride myself on being innovative and finding every little advantage that I can,” says Martin. “When I looked into the ROKA brand, I knew they fit with my philosophy,” Martin says. “From the moment I put on the Advanced Performance eyewear, I knew ROKA had designed something truly better. The weight and fit are unlike anything else I’ve ever tried.”
Remaining true to its DNA as the top endurance sports brand in the world and its roots as the leading high-performance triathlon brand, a large number of triathletes including Ironman Linsey Corbin, the fastest American woman at the Iron distance, have chosen ROKA as their eyewear partner for the hardest single-day endurance event in the world, joining Gómez and original ROKA athlete Jesse Thomas.
The mission to create the most advanced high-performance eyewear on the planet began with the challenge presented by ROKA’s first sponsored athlete, Jesse Thomas, who wanted to blend his classic style of retro aviators with the lightweight fit and protection of high-performance optics.
“We’re passionate about designing the most advanced high-performance products on the market for athletes who seek to redefine the standard. We are a dedicated team of creators, designers, engineers, and athletes who share that mission. We are incredibly proud of the results thus far. Stay tuned.” says ROKA Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Kurt Spenser. “This incredible group of athletes all share a commitment to perform at the highest level in their respective areas and to go beyond what was previously thought possible. We work tirelessly to honour that commitment to delivering the most advanced eyewear in the world.”
Each of the five styles in the Advanced Performance collection has been optimized for specific use cases to accommodate a range of fit and function preferences. With its rimless design, the SL-1 and SL-1x provide athletes with a completely unobstructed field of view and venting, even while in the extreme forward aero position under the hottest conditions. The SR-1 and SR-1x are designed for security, confidence, and speed for the absolutely fastest training and racing days, and they’re equally as comfortable underneath a helmet as they are out on the run. The sleek and stylish TL-1 is a high-performing, twin-lens sports frame that offers versatility, security, and ultralight performance, and is sure to be an instant favourite across a variety of applications.
All five styles feature ROKA’s patented GEKO™ pads on the nose and temples for optimal traction and comfort, as well as titanium core wires in the temples to provide a customized fit for every athlete. The SL-1, SL-1x, SR-1 and SR-1x feature nine interchangeable accessory lens options, so athletes can quickly change the tint to take on the specific conditions of any ride, run or race. The polarized lens options in the TL-1 are cut for superior optics and exceed all industry standards for polarization efficiency. ROKA’s proprietary polarization process minimizes distortion and warpage better than any other eyewear on the market.
“When we debuted our first line of eyewear in 2016, we sought to be the first brand to blend classic optical style with high performance and comfort,” said James Oman, Vice President of Engineering. “With the Advanced Performance line, we are pushing beyond limits to create a new standard of optics, protection and versatility. It’s a bold new category of eyewear that will forever change what athletes expect from a pair of sunglasses.”