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SQLab custom saddles
German saddle company SQLab has a unique system for determining saddle width — sitting on sharp things! The “sit and fit bench” has sharp, plastic nubs on the seat; they poke through a piece of paper placed on them when the customer sits on it. This not only shows the spacing between the ischial tuberosities (sit bones), but it also shows very clearly if one sit bone is offset forward relative to the other one.
SQ Lab offers a wide variety of saddles, ranging from big, soft, wide ones (up to 240mm wide) for comfort bikes to triathlon versions that are only 130mm wide in the back. For racing purposes, the new 611 ErgoWave MTB saddle and 612 ErgoWave road saddle have a depression in the center for perineal pressure relief and a rear section that is flat at the back and slopes a bit to the front from the widest point. They come in a variety of widths, in 10mm increments. To clarify the model numbers, 613 means triathlon, 611 indicates an MTB race saddle incorporating a wider nose than the 612 (road racing) saddles, as well as corners protected with Kevlar panels and greater overall length.
Carbon, titanium, and cro-moly rails are available on all performance saddles, and the rail attachment points differ between Active and Classic models. Active saddles have the ability to tip up to 7 degrees in either direction along with pelvic movement; this is accomplished by attaching the rails to an inverted T-shaped projection extending from the shell under the rear of the saddle. The ease of tipping is adjustable by inserting elastomers of differing durometer between the shell and the T.
Meld custom saddles
Ethan Ee of one-year-old Meld Solutions LLC makes a custom saddle for you based off an impression of your butt you make in soft foam. Meld sends you a foam “crush box” of the same type used by shoe insole makers. You sit on it and send it back to Meld, which makes a 3D scan of it. You also select colors, logos, and other customizations. Based on the 3D scan of your butt’s shape, your weight, and your tendencies toward moving around on the saddle or not, Meld makes a carbon-fiber shell and mates it to a set of rails. Even after padding and a cover are added, it is extremely light.
The saddle is made in California, and it is molded without a cosmetic gel coat, so the underside looks dull, rather than shiny, and it consequently retains as much shell flexibility and low weight as possible. It is completely custom, including the width, shape, and central channel or not, and the price is $325 with carbon rails, or $250 with metal rails. If you’re not happy with the saddle, Meld will re-make it with the changes you desire for no charge.
In addition to the bike stands that originally made the company famous, Feedback has expanded to trainers and tool kits. With the same tube shapes and red anodization as its bike stands, Feedback’s $429 Omnium trainer is lightweight (14 pounds) and minimal, and it folds up and fits into a tiny carry-on bag. It has magnetic resistance inside the rollers, and it accepts quick-release forks as well as those made for 12 X 100, 15 X 100mm, or 15 X 110mm through axles.
The $130 Ride Prep tool kit has all the tools you need to keep your ride going on the road and trail. Keep it in your car, and you’ll always be prepared.
Reached the limits or your truing stand with some of the huge, wide tires and long axles out there? Enter the Park TS-4, whose feeler arms can reach around even the fattest of tires. It accepts axle widths from 75mm to 215mm and wheel sizes from 16-inch to 29+. It has built-in thru-axle adaptors and holds Park’s dial indicator as well as its rotor-truing gauges. Made in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The PRS-22 Team Issue repair stand has independently-adjustable bottom-bracket supports and clamps front forks or rear ends, no matter what type of axle they are built for. If you can’t clamp your frame or seatpost due to shape or fragility, this could be your answer.
Ever used threadlocker on a press-fit bottom bracket and had it lock in so tightly that you tore carbon out of the shell when removing it? That’s because methacrylate-based threadlock and retaining compounds can combine with some carbon resins to form superglue. Park now offers not only its own line of threadlock and retaining compounds but also a brush-on primer that donates valence electrons to the methacrylate so that it doesn’t try to scavenge them from the frame’s carbon matrix and thus form superglue with it.
The IR-1.2 internal cable-routing kit now includes a fourth wire with a connector for a Shimano E-tube Di2 wire that easily pulls through a 6mm frame hole. The IR-1.2, like the IR-1 before it, greatly speeds and simplifies internally routing electric wires, shift and brake cables and housings, and hydraulic brake hoses through frames.
With all of the different thru-axles out there, somebody had to make taps for all of the different thread diameters and pitches, so Park stepped up and did it.
Who has a 16mm hex key anyway? You need one to remove a SRAM or RaceFace cap over the bolt assembly for 24mm integrated spindles. Instead of having to buy a giant hex key for this one purpose, how about getting the elegant little wing-nut style Park BBT-16 Crank Cap Tool?
To support riders in events on narrow roads or on open roads where support cars can’t pass the peloton filling the right lane due to oncoming traffic, PrestaCycle has teamed up with Count’s Kustoms to make a race-support bike that’s a lot faster than a scooter to quickly get to those in need of service. The PrestaCycle motorcycle is completely outfitted with all of the tools a race mechanic needs, as well as a spare bike. It has an integrated bike stand, compressed-air (nitrogen) tank with a Prestaflate Mini air chuck pre-set to a chosen air pressure, tool boxes on both sides, and a first aid kit.
PrestaCycle now also offers a smartphone app to determine optimum air pressure depending on tire size, rider weight, and riding surface.