Tech Talk

Professional cyclist Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez rocking all the newest time trial gear in the 2013 Tour de France.     Photo: Razvan/Getty Images

Cutting-Edge Cycling Tech

The coolest, newest toys for the road and the trail

Many cycling innovations debut in autumn at Interbike, a massive cycling trade show orgy in Las Vegas. But sometimes manufacturers can’t wait to show off their new stuff. So we visited the Sea Otter Classic in California earlier this month to get the scoop on major launches from companies including SRAM, Shimano, and Cannondale. Here are the highlights.

Shimano XTR M9000

There are too many parts in the new Shimano XTR M9000 to detail the awesomeness of every one here. Suffice it to say the 1x11-, 2x11-, or 3x11-speed drivetrain gives you smooth pedaling thanks to meticulously-selected, close-step gearing configurations of the cassette and crank. Single and double chainrings—made from titanium, carbon, and aluminum—can be used on the same crank arm. Plus, the compatible chain sheds mud much better than its competitors. Available this August. $TBD, shimano.com

RockShox RS1 Inverted Fork

Most inverted forks are too heavy and too flexy. Not so with the RockShox RS1, which uses a creative new dropout-wheel interface. Called “predictive steering,” the hub has a stock 15mm Maxle Ultimate mated with a solid oversized axle (the “torque tube”). When the system clamps shut, the torque tube essentially becomes a structural part of the fork, thus minimizing flex. The fork isn’t much heavier than existing options, and its inverted design keeps seals constantly bathed in oil, making for awesome small-bump compliance. Available this June. $1,865, rockshox.com


SRAM Guide Brakes

Historically, the weakest link in SRAM’s line has been its brakes. But that’s about to change. SRAM’s new Guide Brakes give you more braking power, and the new shape also allows for excellent feathering. The mountain bike calipers are lightweight, while the centerline rotor is designed to cut down on vibrations. The brakes come in 140, 160, 170, 180, and 200mm sizes. Available this June. $TBD, sram.com

SRAM RED 22 XG-1190 11-speed Cassette

SRAM says its RED 22 XG-1190 11-speed cassette for the road is the most advanced cassette ever made. It’s machined from a single block of high-grade steel to increase stiffness without adding weight. Plus, cutouts on the rear cog help reduce weight and noise, and add stiffness. 185g (11-30), 196g (11-32). Available this June. $374, sram.com

Cannondale Jekyll Team

Cannondale’s new 27.5 carbon DYAD 160/95 adjustable-travel shock was made for fast climbing and all-mountain descending. Switch the shock from long travel to short travel with a handlebar-mounted switch. Those modes change the bike’s geometry from slacker for descending to steeper for climbing. Available now. $7,580, cannondale.com

Raleigh Cyclocross Bikes

Raleigh just launched two impressive carbon ‘cross bikes—the MY15 RXC and the RXC Pro. The RXC Pro’s redesigned head tube, down tube, seat tube, and chain stays make the bike powerful and stiff, and it has 50 percent more vertical compliance than its predecessor. The bike has thru axles to stiffen up the front end for precise tracking in tight corners. Available this July. $TBD, raleighusa.com

Diamondback Mission Pro 27.5

Meet Diamondback’s first flirtation with 27.5-inch wheels. The 160mm-travel bike has FOX front and rear suspension. But the big breakthrough is the migrated knucklebox, which makes this bike a more efficient climber without compromising small-bump compliance. Diamondback moved the suspension components, lowering the bike’s center of gravity for better tracking and cornering. Available now. $6,000, diamondback.com

Wahoo TickrX

This next generation heart-rate monitor has a chest strap that stores data such as your average time spent exercising and heart rate. It also has an accelerometer and GPS to record the motion of your body as you run. Because the chest strap is a recording unit, it’s a great heart-rate monitor for swimmers. Available this July. $99, wahoofitness.com

Felt F2x

Cyclocross bikes have to be stiff for sprinting, forgiving for rough terrain, and nimble for tight corners. Felt’s new UHC Performance carbon F2X—one of the most blinged-out bikes in the category—should fit the bill. With a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, Shimano R785 Di2 hydraulic disc brakes, and DT Swiss R23 DB Tubeless Ready wheelset, it boasts some of the nicest components on the market. Available this August. Starting at $5,499, feltbicycles.com

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