In its shape, Selle San Marco’s Aspide Carbon FX saddle is a direct descendant of the Aspide Superleggera, their high-end super-light racing perch. As it’s a little further down the scale, it makes a small compromise in terms of weight. But at just 132g, this is still a very light piece of kit.
The extra 20g over the Superleggera is mainly down to slightly more generous padding (foam, with gel inserts) – something that’ll likely suit the amateur racers it’s aimed at. Weight is kept down by the carbon fibre rails and slimline shape. The saddle is covered with breathable Micro Feel fabric. It’s available now for £149.99, via Madison in the UK.
Miche Supertype 358 RS wheels
Component makers Miche are approaching a century in the cycling industry, designing and producing all their products at home in Treviso, Italy. Here we have their Supertype 358 RS, an all-carbon tubular road wheelset updated for 2012.
The front rim is shallower than the rear (38mm vs 58mm) to improve handling on descents. They’re laced via stainless steel spokes (18 front, 24 rear) with aluminium nipples to Miche’s own-brand hubs, which have a carbon body and alloy flange, with titanium hardware to keep weight down.
Weight for the complete wheelset is 1,247g (512g front, 735g rear) which Miche reckon is a 55g reduction on the old model. A version with less subtle white decals is also available, but we prefer these. The wheels are available in the UK via Company Z for £1,661.54 and come with wheel bags, block, skewers and lockring.
Zipp SL Speed stem
Sticking with the lightweight theme, we should mention Zipp’s SL Speed stem. Made from a combination of carbon and titanium, the 90mm version pictured here weighs just 105g. It has a +/-6 degree rise and is available, for now, in 80/90/100/110mm lengths for £275/$325. UK distributors Fisher Outdoor Leisure say 120mm and 130mm stems will be on sale from February 2012.
Gore Bike Wear Oxygen GT AS jacket
Gore Bike Wear’s Oxygen range sits just below their race-fit Xenon line, but buyers should still think about sizing up as this Oxygen GT AS Jacket (£179.99) has a slim cut. Its low weight (249g including bag), high front/long back and minimalist look make it ideal for racing. We particularly like the tight, elasticated fit around the wrists. It’s designed for all-weather riding, so add a base layer and it should be fine to use all year round. It packs away quickly into its own bag when the rain relents.
Scott Vanish-R helmet
Scott’s new Vanish-R (£99.99) race helmet weighs 249g on our scales (large size; claimed weight is 210g for a medium), so it’s not up there with the latest ultra-lightweight lids like the Giro Aeon (189g for a small). However, it’s half the price. Twenty-four vents should mean decent airflow – the frontal ones are particularly large – and it’s available in white, black/white and red/white. Visit Scott for more details.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. RD II shoe
Pearl Izumi’s latest road shoe, the P.R.O. RD II (648g per pair), sits second in their range, just below the Octane SL II. Features include an adjustable-length buckle closure and a longitudinal arch built into the carbon sole for extra support and comfort. They’re available for $249.99 in the US; UK pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet.