By Lennard Zinn
The 17th annual Taipei International Cycle Show is in full swing in Taiwan this week, and VeloNews technical writer Lennard Zinn is there plying the aisles to catch a glimpse of some of the product we can expect to hit the shelves at our local bike shops in the coming year.
ITM wraps it up
ITM has discovered that wrapping the center section of an aluminum bar with carbon saves weight, increases strength, stiffness and fatigue life, and is way cheaper than an entire carbon bar. Same goes for a carbon-wrapped seat post. This does not apply to the carbon-wrapped stem, however, since this is a preformed, snap-on piece of carbon that is popped over the stem shaft and glued on (rather than wrapped on wet and molded at high temperature and pressure like the seatpost and handlebar). It does not improve the mechanical characteristics of the stem, but does improve shock damping.
ITM’s monocoque stems and seat posts share an expanding binder wedge system to hold the seat post head or handlebar and steerer clamp in position. That way, the monocoque design is very light, strong and stiff, there is the security of knowing that the handlebar can never pop out of the stem or the saddle clamp come off of the post, and it distributes stress better over a carbon steerer or handlebar. The seat post also has an internal Kevlar layer to prevent cutting of the fibers by pinching in the seat binder.
On the Beam
SDG’s new “Beam” saddle base offers stiffness, strength and low weight at a much lower price than titanium rails. It is a way to cut a lot of weight out of a freeride saddle as well. The current downside is that the seat posts to fit them are few.
World champ’s saddle is a seller
Fizik’s Arione saddle, used by world champ Igor Astarloa, has been selling like hotcakes in the United States. Bike Mine, the company’s U.S. distributor, reports selling 600 of the saddles in three days.
Selle Italia has it soft
Selle Italia’s Mike Kalmbach says that only four of the company’s 20 bestselling saddles are not “soft tissue” saddles (without an opening in the center). And, for only the second time since 1990, a saddle other than the Flite was its best seller. The new sales leader is the SLR Gelflow, which has a slot with gel surrounding it.
Tektro steps it up a notch
Tektro has really changed its image as a low-end brake producer. It has some gorgeous road brakes, including a set with a single-pivot rear and dual-pivot front, a la Campagnolo. This carbon brake is light and seems to be quite stiff.