Much of the new gear on display at this week's Core Bike Show had already been seen at Eurobike or Interbike but a few things caught our eye on the road cycling side of things. Clément tyres are back in the UK after a long absence, Rolf's new wheels look promising, Castelli's all-in-one Thermosuit is an unusual approach to winter clothing and Nectar are hoping to cause a stir in the sports fuel market.
Founded in France in 1878, Clément were owned by Italians for most of the last century and have now assumed their third national identity after being rescued from dormancy by American Donn Kellogg. Since licensing the Clément name in 2010, Kellogg's been busy developing a range of road and cyclo-cross tyres. Already on sale in the US, these will begin appearing in UK shops from the end of February.
The Strada LGG is Clément’s road tyre and is being offered in three different versions. First up is a folding clincher with 60tpi casing and puncture resistant belt. The tread combines a slick centre section with chevron-patterned shoulders for cornering security. Aimed at the training and recreation market, this could make a good off-season tyre for when conditions are changeable. RRP is £27.
Higher performance is promised by the more supple 120tpi casing version. This has a dual-compound tread that combines a slightly textured centre with the same chevron-patterned shoulders, and still includes a puncture protection belt. RRP is £32. Clément say weight of a 23mm tyre shouldn’t exceed 220g. Both clinchers will be available in 23, 25 or 28mm widths.
The tubular version of the Strada LGG uses a similar tread and puncture protection to the 120tpi clincher but on a sewn-up carcass. It'll only be available in 23mm. Prices and availability are yet to be announced.
Clément also have two urban/touring/trekking tyres, available in folding or dual compound folding versions. The X’plor USH and MSO have a wide central ridge with grippy edges so they should roll well but hang on in loose corners. Both come in 700x35 or 700x40 sizes. RRP is £32 for the folder, £50 for the dual compound.
For cyclo-cross riders, there are two tyres, each available in clincher and tubular versions. Bearing acronyms relating to US airport codes, the LAS, which we reviewed last year in clincher form, and the Crusade PDX, which we reviewed in tubular form, are respectively a file-tread semi-slick and mud tyre. The LAS clincher comes in 33mm and the PDX clincher in a UCI-unfriendly 34mm, each at £35.
Both tubulars conform to UCI regulations at 33mm wide, and cost £95. They're made by Tufo using a vulcanised tread and sealed sidewall on a carcass designed to be run without the normal latex tube. Clément offer two tyre sealants, one a preventative solution in the style of Slime and the other a repair agent for fixing perforations.
Rolf Prima wheels
Rolf’s 2012 wheel range contains some notable upgrades and additions. The Vigor Alpha is the pinnacle of Rolf’s alloy wheel range and is claimed to have the lowest spoke count of any alloy clincher, with 14 front and 16 rear paired spokes. The 33mm deep and 22mm wide rim is claimed to save 41 seconds at 23mph over 25 miles when compared to a Mavic Ksyrium SL.
Hubs are Rolf’s TdF4.4s with titanium freehub body for Campagnolo or Shimano, and they come with titanium quick-release skewers. Claimed wheel weight is a competitive 1,480g a pair. A ceramic bearing upgrade is available, or Powertap hub build, which will increase the £999 asking price. Check rider weight advice for limitations before purchasing.
The Ares 6 is a 66mm deep, 21mm wide carbon clincher rim with 16 paired spokes both front and rear. Also using the TdF4.4 hubset with titanium freehub and skewers, these 1,590g wheels are purported to save an extra 32 seconds over the Vigor Alphas in the same test. Also available for Campag or Shimano fit, or with Powertap or ceramic bearings, the standard wheels retail at £2,199 a set.
Rolf’s fastest spoked wheels are the TDF60s, which offer an extraordinary 12 or 16 paired spokes per wheel. The tubular rims are 60mm deep and 23mm wide, the idea being to pair an efficient rim depth with a width deemed to reduce aerodynamic drag while also increasing comfort. Performing 10 seconds faster again than the Ares 6 over Rolf’s benchmark test, and available in all hub options as a pair or individually, the TdF60s should make a great all-round wheelset – as you'd hope for £849 front, £999 rear. Weights for a 12-spoked pair are 1,395g, and 1,435g for 16 spokes.
Castelli San Remo Thermosuit
Italian clothing maestros Castelli teased us by showing off a product that we’ll have to wait until September to get our hands on – it’s so new it doesn’t yet appear on their website. Continuing on from the Speedsuit skinsuit and Crosssuit foul weather one-piece comes the Thermosuit, which combines fleecy thermal tights that should be good down to around 0°C with a Gore Windstopper fronted jacket.
The top is said to keep you warm in temperatures around 5°C, with a thick fleecy lining around the sides and rear to maintain heat in those places which generate less. Base layers can be added if you're heading out in cooler temperatures. The usual complement of three rear pockets keeps the jacket practical, and the addition of a yellow left sleeve is good for visibility – although it would be better to have this on the other side for UK roads. Price is yet to be announced, but the Thermosuit could be the perfect antidote to winter 2012.
Finally, the people behind the extremely tasty For Goodness Shakes! recovery drinks have officially launched their Nectar range of sports fuel, which we were given a preview of in the autumn. Final tweaks have brought an all-black two-litre Fuel Tank that contains a 2:1 mix of glucose and fructose, with electrolytes for hydration and B vitamins to assist energy metabolism.
One push on the pump attachment gives you a 25ml slug of Nectar that, mixed with 500ml of water, gives you a hypotonic drink for fast hydration. Two pumps produces an isotonic drink for general riding, racing or training, and three pumps an energy-boosting hypertonic drink. The £25 tank contains 80 25ml shots, which works out at 31p each. It's definitely less messy and easier to mix into a solution than a powder.
Flavours are Light Orange and Lemon and Lime. All are very palatable, with no unwanted tang or lingering aftertaste. If you’re travelling, or don’t want to plump for the whole two litres immediately, Nectar make 50ml sachets of concentrate for an isotonic mix.
Nectar unveiled their Hydro Tabs at Core Bike – purely isotonic tablets designed to be mixed with water. Coming in Light Orange, Lemon and Lime and Summer Fruits flavours, each tube contains 20 tablets and costs £6.99. Also on show were their new Fuel Cells – 40ml energy gels in the same three flavours. These have a thinner consistency than the competition, which some will find easier to ingest, especially when working hard. The Fuel Cells cost £1.50 each or £36 for 24.
Not forgetting about the product that started it all, For Goodness Shakes! have a new Procovery formula for their powder sachets and ready mixed shakes. Flavours are now Banana, Superberry, Milk Chocolate and Vanilla. One sachet is £1.99, with 12 for £19.99 and a 20-serving tub for £29.99.