Bontrager debuts new saddles and shoes

By Warren Rossiter in Frankfurt, Germany | Friday, July 20, 2012 9.44pm

On Friday in Frankfurt, Germany, Trek launched a wide range of new parts and gear from their Bontrager brand. Highlights include an adjustable saddle, tubeless tyres and some ultralight shoes.

Hilo Saddles

With the increasing popularity of ‘noseless’ saddles for triathlon and time trials with the likes of Adamo and SMP, Bontrager’s new Hilo RXL Speed Dial takes this shape to a more adaptable arena.

The Hilo RXL Speed dial is longer than some at 265mm, claimed to offer an ideal balance of ‘off-the-front’ riding position and a more traditional seated style, with an extra 20mm of fore-aft adjustment

The real story is the nose section, and the broad, twin-body, channelled design is adjustable with a hex key at the nose, enabling you to ‘tune’ the front end width by 16mm. The heavily padded hull uses a multitude of density foams, and a hooked rear lets triathletes hang their bikes in the transition area for a fast getaway. 

The fully featured Speed-Dial model tips the scales at 340g, but there is also a 255g RXL model without the adjustable nose and hollow ti rails.

For road riding, Bontrager’s new flagship Paradigm comes in three widths (128,138,148mm). The contoured shape is size specific, and the deep central channel becomes a hole at the rear third. With a wide fore-aft span, the oversized carbon rails allow for a huge amount of flex in the carbon-reinforced polymer hull.

The Paradigm tips the scales at a remarkably light 145g-155g, depending on width. The RXXXL will be available for £179/$279 with a RL version with hollow ti rails and a weight between 175-185g for a more affordable £89/$139.

The team issue saddle, as seen on Fabian Cancellara’s bike this season, has a similar profile to Fizik’s Aliante with a twin cutaway rear shape. It continues into 2013, and its standard 270mm by 135mm with solid ti rails weighs in at 215g and a price tag under £100/$156.

Team issue: The range topping Paradigm RXXXL saddle tips the scales at just 145g for the 128mm width

Spectra Helmet

Bontrager’s top-of-the-range Oracle helmet has a carbon skeleton, which adds strength whilst allowing for big vents. The rear retention is vertically and horizontally adjustable with one hand. The only downside to all this tech is the price; at £139/$217 it’s a little too premium for most of us. That’s where the Spectra comes in, utilising the same design features as the oracle – large vents, deep internal channels and a structural skeleton, but with glass fibre instead of carbon. The rear retention system is simplified but still uses a rotating adjuster. It has three vertical and two horizontal adjustment settings. Priced at a penny under £100/$156 and weighing in at a decent 300g (M 54-60cm) it looks promising. An XR version is also available with a removable peak for £109/$170.

The new spectra: Bontrager’s affordable take on the Pro level Oracle, the new Spectra helmet

TLR Tubeless System

Bontrager are committed to road tubeless tyres. Whilst the technology has been around for awhile from Shimano and Campagnolo/Fulcrum, limited tire choice and high prices have kept many riders away. Bontrager’s new TLR system comes on all their aluminium low profile wheels, from the entry level Race’s (£220/$343) up to the superlight Race X Lite TLR (642g fr, 798g r).

The TLR system comprises of the compatible wheel, a rim strip with a beadlock and TLR sealed valve, a choice of R2 or R3 tyre in 23c or 25c, and TLR sealant. Bontrager’s newly developed sealant uses a blend of traditional sealant infused with particles of mica. This speeds up the bonding at the puncture point, sealing the hole before too much pressure is lost, Bontrager claim.

Both tyres feature a puncture protection strip. The premium R3 version uses a supple 120tpi casing and the R2 a 60tpi. Trek were keen to point out that this is the first wave of the tubeless system and they’re in the process of developing it throughout the whole wheel line.

Bontrager recently launched their 2013 wheel line in Belgium.

The r2 tubeless tire: The tubeless tyre is available in R3 and R2

R4 Aero Tyre

With the R4 Aero tyre and its ‘wing’ above the bead, Bontrager are claiming to have the “world’s fastest” aero-specific tyre — a claim we’ve heard recently from Continental and Specialized. The new R4 features a super supple 220tpi casing, weighs a low 175g whilst still retaining a puncture protection strip. The tyre isn’t intended for daily use.

The r4 aero tire has a ''wingThe R4 Aero Bontrager claim is the worlds fastest tyre

RXXXL Shoes

With the new RXXXL, Bontrager aimed at paring down a race road shoe to a bare minimum, while still retaining a highly adjustable mechanical closure. Every key element was put on the strictest of diets. The formed heelcup on a standard shoe is usually lined inside and covered by material on the outside too. These however bond the heel core section directly to the sole and the outer material. The exposed heelcup has been shaped and lightened with a mesh-like construction.

The heel’s rear is lined with a sharkskin-textured material to prevent your heel from lifting. The main body of the shoe is a complete mesh, as opposed to the traditional method of mesh panels providing ventilation.

The coloured graphic finish appears at first glance to be like a traditional shoe but its actually a polymer bonded to the mesh.

Bontrager’s new Platinum series carbon sole has internal ribs and ridges for rigidity. The straps and mechanical closure are bonded to the inseam side of the shoe with a tongue-less design underneath – the tongue actually being a continuation of the shoe’s main body. With a 1.5mm increment mechanical main closure matched to two offset Velcro straps, the fit is highly adjustable. At just 225g it’s amongst the lightest shoes available.

The XXXLs are available now for £279/$435.

The main body of the shoe is a complete mesh, with graphics bonded on: The RXXXL Shoe is a full mesh outer with the solid sections ‘printed’ directly to the mesh

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