2009 Orbea Orca
The 2009 Orbea Orca builds on the performance of the previous generation with a more aggressive 70/30 blend of high-modulus/high-strength carbons, new carbon fibre frame components that once were aluminum, a svelte magnesium seat collar and lighter and stiffer one-piece aluminum dropouts. All in all, Orbea says the changes yield a substantial 20 percent increase in stiffness and 90g lighter weight. What haven’t changed, though, are the Orca’s curvaceous Size Specific Nerve design theme and its mouth-watering lines.
The moderate weight loss might prove harder to notice underfoot but we have high hopes for the jump in rigidity which should make the new Orca snappier under power and more precise-handling at speed. Our 51cm tester comes equipped with a SRAM Red group, Reynolds’ new 47mm-deep Assault carbon clinchers and Orbea’s house-brand Zeus stem, bar and seatpost capped with a Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow saddle. Total weight without pedals is an encouraging 6.78kg (14.9lb).
Price: US$6485 (as built)
HED Ardennes road wheelset
Clincher wheelset has no carbon fibre but is fantastically light at 1350g per pair without skewers.: clincher wheelset has no carbon fibre but is fantastically light at 1350g per pair without skewers. James Huang
In spite of what your instincts might suggest, HED says the 23mm-wide clincher rim on its new Ardennes wheelset makes for lower rolling resistance and better aerodynamics than traditional 19mm-wide road hoops thanks to reduced sidewall deflection and a smoother transition between tire and rim. In addition, the wider rim makes for shorter and wider tire profile that has more surface area for improved grip and HED even insists this new ‘C2’ rim extrusion produces a ride quality comparable to tubulars.
Whether or not you believe HED’s claims, the Ardennes wheelset is certainly light: our clincher test set is just 1350g per pair (590g front, 760g rear, plus 104g for skewers) thanks to the shallow 25mm-deep scandium-enhanced aluminum rims and HED-designed Sonic hubs. The low 18/24h spoke count with premium Sapim bladed CX-Ray spokes and alloy nipples don’t exactly hurt, either. Heavier or stronger riders can also opt for HED’s ‘Stallion’ build for improved durability and stiffness. Let’s see how they do!
Shimano SH-R220 road shoes
Shimano brings its heat moldable shoe technology down in price with its sh-r220 road shoes.: shimano brings its heat moldable shoe technology down in price with its sh-r220 road shoes. James Huang
Road riders on a tighter budget that still want to take advantage of Shimano’s new custom-moldable shoes have a less expensive option in the R220. Rather than use heat-moldable material throughout the upper as on the top-end R300, the R220 only uses it around the heel (where it’s needed most) for a better hold under power. Even more hold is provided by the anti-slip ‘cat’s tongue’ heel lining.
Shimano also substitutes a less advanced carbon fibre outsole for the R220 but retains the R300’s excellent offset strap design and heat-moldable insoles. Wider-footed riders have the option of E-width models. Our US size 43.5 testers weigh 698g per pair with insoles.
Capoforma summer clothing
The jersey utilises resistex carbon main panels which claim to offer physiological benefits.: the jersey utilises resistex carbon main panels which claim to offer physiological benefits. James Huang
Capoforma is one of the latest cycling apparel makers to integrate carbon-infused fabrics into its lineup in the hope of capitalising on their lofty claimed physiological benefits of improved temperature control, decreased oxygen consumption, lower heart rates, and reduced lactic acid buildup.
The new CSS (Capoforma Signature Series) Diavolo Jersey features Resistex Carbon main panels coupled with mesh arm and side panels for ventilation in hot weather. In contrast, the matching bib shorts are built with a supportive Power Lycra body, a mesh upper section and a multi-thickness EIT (Elastic Interface Technology) chamois by Cytech. Both pieces are assembled with flat-lock seams and incorporate comfortable silicone grippers at the waist and leg openings.
Those seeking somewhat more conventional fabrics can opt for the Super Corsa or M1 jerseys. Each uses Capoforma’s wicking dual-layer Micro Quattro polyester and siliconized waistbands with the Super Corsa offering a bolder print design. The matching bib shorts both feature a Power Lycra body, mesh uppers and silicone grippers. Multi-thickness antimicrobial Cytech EIT chamois are included on these as well with the Super Corsa featuring a carbon-infused fabric and the M1 a silver ion-enhanced material.
Naturally, no Capoforma outfit would be complete with the matching caps and the company’s superb line of socks. The corresponding Arm Skins don’t look to provide much warmth but might just be the thing in slightly cooler weather or when a bit of UV protection is needed.
Prices: US$150 (CSS Diavolo Jersey); US$200 (CSS Diavolo Bib Short); US$110 (CSS Super Corsa Jersey); US$180 (CSS Super Corsa Bib Short); US$90 (CSS M1 Jersey); US$140 (CSS M1 Bib Short); US$15 (Diavolo Cycling Cap); US$15 (Super Corsa Cycling Cap); US$15 (M1 Cycling Cap); US$13.99 (Euro Web Sock); US$13.99 (Professional Skinlife Sock); US$39.99 (Arm Skin).
Hudz brake hoods
Hudz hoods provide a splash of colour and their modified shapes also promise improved ergonomics.: hudz hoods provide a splash of colour and their modified shapes also promise improved ergonomics. James Huang
Riders seeking replacements for worn-out lever hoods have historically had limited options: either go with the original manufacturer or… that was about it. Those days are gone as Hudz (say “hoods”) offers replacement options for Shimano Dura-Ace 7800 and Campagnolo levers with Ultegra 6600 and SRAM-compatible models on the way within weeks.
Hudz’ impressive eleven-color palette allows for a little bit of personal flair but it’s the enhanced shape that really has us intrigued. Rather than just copy the existing molds, Hudz designers modified the shapes to yield what it claims are better ergonomics. Shimano-compatible hoods have a flatter top and greater girth that yield a more level perch and more substantial grip; Campagnolo-compatible models are fitted with a more gradual bend toward the lever peak; and SRAM-compatible versions will have a more squared-off underside. The Shimano-specific hoods also include moulded-in finger grips.
Motor Tabs fluid replacement system
Motor tabs has expanded its range of effervescent hydration tablets to include grape.: motor tabs has expanded its range of effervescent hydration tablets to include grape. James Huang
Motor Tabs has added a new grape flavor to its existing range of fruit punch, orange and lemon lime just in time for the hot summer season. The effervescent tablets mix in water without stirring or shaking and each tablet contains 16g of carbohydrates (dextrose, sucrose and maltodextrin), 250mg of sodium and 75mg of potassium to replenish lost energy and electrolytes.
Individually wrapped tablets are easy to transport and each box contains 24 tablets. So far we’ve been satisfied with the pleasantly light taste and stomach-friendly composition. Summer is here; drink up!
Price: US$27.99 (box of 24)
Nuun portable electrolyte hydration tablets
Nuun’s tablets self-mix in water but cut out the carbohydrates for riders replacing electrolytes.: nuun’s tablets self-mix in water but cut out the carbohydrates for riders replacing electrolytes. James Huang
On the other hand, Nuun effervescent tablets contain no carbohydrates at all, preferring instead to separate hydration and energy replenishment. Each standard-sized tablet makes 16oz of drink and is heavily packed with electrolytes, including 360mg of sodium, 100mg of potassium, 12.5mg of calcium and 25mg of magnesium plus 37.5mg of vitamin C and 500mcg of vitamin B12. Larger-size Nuun tablets are also available which make 32oz of drink each.
Flavours include orange ginger, lemon lime, citrus fruit, tri-berry and ‘kona cola.’
Price: US$12.95 (‘bigger’ Nuun tube of 12); US$6.50 (standard Nuun tube of 12)