Interbike 2008: gear news round-up

Shocks, lights, power meters and more

Limited edition World Championship suspension components from Fox Racing Shox

Fox Racing Shox components have made a stellar showing on the race circuit this year, particularly in the service of the Animal Commencal team and the world’s fastest family – the Athertons. Between Dan, Gee and Rachel, the trio have racked up five World Cup wins, two World Championships and even a World Cup Overall title.

As a way to celebrate this achievement, Fox Racing Shox are making a 200 unit limited run of both their DHX RC4 rear shocks and 40 RC2 forks, each tuned to the Atherton’s preferred specifications.  

The limited-edition 40 RC2 is similar to the stock version, but features increased high and mid-speed compression damping.

The DHX RC4, however, is an all-new design based on the existing DHX. Fox have increased the alloy shaft from half an inch to 5/8 inches, oil volume has also been increased and the new internal dimensions require lower pressures than before. In addition, there are new external adjusters to control high and low-speed compression.

Light & Motion brightens up the night

Light & Motion has gone LED-only for 2009 but, if its new Seca line of high-powered LED lamps is any indication, it’ll be hard to lament the passing-on of HID. 

Light & Motion claims an impressive 700-lumen output for its top Seca 700 (helpfully, each model number represents the claimed lumen output), courtesy of six individually focused LEDs that produce an unusual – but useful – beam pattern. Unlike most beams that yield a bright hot spot in the center with even fall-off on all sides, the Seca’s beam pattern is more like the bottom half of a bull’s eye.

There’s still the bright center, but there’s a sharp cut-off of light up top and a triangularly shaped diffusion pattern that’s designed to illuminate the ground and sides. The thinking here is that the bright center delivers the long-range ‘punch’ and the diffuse flood provides a better ‘big picture’ view of the trail ahead of you.

Run time on the Seca 700 Race model is a lengthy 3.5 hours on the highest setting, while the Seca 700 Ultra is capable of 5 hours of burn thanks to a larger nine-cell battery.

The Seca’s intriguing design themes (and its coloured aluminum sink) also make their way into the revamped Vega range. The battery is still fully integrated, but the body is now distinctly broader and shorter than the previous incarnation. The range consists of the higher powered Vega 200 and the more pocket-friendly Vega 120, both supposedly capable of burning for two hours on the highest setting.

New iSport puts power meter technology costs at more affordable levels

iBike aims to bring power meter technology to the masses with its new iSport model, which retails for just US$199. The iSport doesn’t directly measure power output, instead it measures the forces you work against (gravity, air resistance and so on) and back calculates from there.

Although this simplified setup procedure omits exact baseline calculations such as rider drag, the iSport is still claimed to be accurate to within five percent of its more expensive competitors.

Unfortunately, that bargain price also means that there’s no software included and you can’t download your workouts to a computer for later analysis. However, a $250 upgrade nets users full iBike Pro capabilities, and there are also optional modules for cadence and heart rate.

Whatever option you choose, the unit itself includes a built-in threshold test to establish your current fitness level and recommends workouts to improve your score.

Will it work? We think so, based on our experience with other iBike models. Although the system is not without its quirks, if it even comes close to the claimed accuracy figures then the price tag is incredibly compelling.

Along with the budget iSport model comes the release of the higher-end iBike Aero. This compact unit not only has the full capabilities of the standard iBike Pro, but can provide a ‘snapshot CdA’ that gives some information on your aerodynamic efficiency.

By itself, the iBike Aero can only provide the CdA snapshot when the rider is coasting. However, its ANT+Sport compatibility means that it can be paired with a direct power measurement unit to produce continuous CdA information. According to DLP Racing’s Boyd Johnson, the continuous CdA figures can be particularly useful in competitions when trying to bridge a gap or break away.

At $799, the iBike Aero is substantially more expensive than the iSport, but the wealth of information that it provides may be enough to justify the cost for serious riders.

Park Tool keeps up the pace with heaps of new tools

Park tool has developed 25 new tools for 2009, all to keep up with the relentless onslaught of new bike technology. Among these are a handy press to separate hydraulic disc brake pistons,  new four-sided ‘master mechanic’ all-metal spoke wrenches and a bearing tool for the latest crop of BB30 and BB90 bottom brackets.

They’re also releasing ratchet ‘click-type’ wrenches in two ranges: 3 to 15Nm and 10 to 60Nm. Both include storage cases, a bike-specific accompanying socket and bit set for day-to-day use.

But, shiny new tech aside, one of Park Tool’s most interesting developments isn’t even a tool –  in January 2009 they’ll host a pair of two-day Tech Summit sessions in conjunction with Hayes, Shimano, Campagnolo, Fox, SRAM, Avid and RockShox to provide hands-on training on some of their latest gear.

Session dates are January 12-13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and January 26-27 in Ontario, California. The US$195 registration fee includes all materials, breakfast and lunch on both days and access to special hotel rates for attendees.

Related Articles

Comments

Back to top