The Spoke Word: New Rudy Project, Gore RideOn, Sugoi
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PRESS CAMP PART 2
Now in its second year, Press Camp is a four-day gathering of journalists and companies from the bike industry. Mornings are filled with one-on-one informational meetings, while the afternoons are reserved for product testing. This year Press Camp was held in Deer Valley, Utah, which gave us access to high-mountain roads and lift-served singletrack on the slopes of the ski resort. Here and in my next few posts, I’ll highlight some of the best of what I saw. (Read Part 1 here.)
This Italian company is known primarily as an eyewear manufacturer. In fact, their Zyon sunglass won our Gear of the Year Award in 2008. But at Press Camp this year, the push was mostly about the brand’s new top-end helmets.
Much has been made of the race to make the lightest cycling helmet, with the best of the bunch nudging below the 200 gram (seven ounce) mark. At 184 and 185 grams, respectively—slightly more than the weight of an iPhone—the Giro Prolight and Specialized’s new S-Works Prevail are the weight leaders. At about twice that weight, the Rudy Project Sterling is obviously going for something else—comfort. It nails it.
The thing is, while the added heft is noticeable while holding the helmet, it’s much less apparent on the head. The thing is still plenty light. Now, helmet fit is very personal. My head is slightly elongated and doesn’t fit the rounder profile of brands that other people swear by. I can only give my own impressions. But the Sterling is the most comfortable bike helmet I’ve worn in years, possibly ever.
The shell sits perfectly on my head, and the pads are covered in a supple micro-suede and held together in a mesh net that prevents them from drifting and also keeps bees and wasps out of your hair (trust me; it happens).
The Sterling also has an exposed reinforcing skeleton that doubles as a sunglass holder for, say, long climbs or low-light conditions. The helmet retails for $225 and is available now.
Rudy project has also introduced a new aero helmet called for the triathlon/TT market called the Wingspan. Developed in conjunction with aerodynamicist John Cobb, the Wingspan has tail design that is shorter and more aggressively angular than most aero helmets.
Rudy Project claims this design is more practical for the crosswinds and unpredictable gusts riders normally encounter and also works more efficiently with a wider range of positions and back shapes than most aero lids. The Wingspan is also out now and retails for $300.
Gore RideOn Cables
Gore used Press Camp to introduce to new products in the RideOn family, a new set of brake cables and a remote suspension lock-out cable. Both incorporate Gore’s popular coated cables and lubricated housings to reduce friction and prolong cable life.
Since their reintroduction a couple of years ago, Gore cables have become the benchmark for shifter cables in both road and mountain biking. Many top-end pros, even those with no sponsorship ties to Gore or Gore partners, use the cables on their race bikes, and Gore RideOn systems are standard with all of SRAM’s top-end Red component groups and are the preferred cables for several bike manufacturers.
The new Professional Brake System cables ($65) compliment the Pro Shift System cables Gore developed with SRAM for its top-end shifters and derailleurs. As the name would suggest, the Remote Lock-Out System ($23) brings the same smooth, durable performance to handle-bar mounted remote lockout levers for forks and shocks.
Both will be in stores July 1.
This Canadian apparel maker has just moved into a new 80,000-square-foot facility outside of Vancouver and is using the move to improve and expand its line of cycling gear. 2011 will bring a new high-end 10-panel Evo bib short, a women’s bib with straps that cross in the back to allow for a more comfortable fit around the bust, and an updated Versa convertible jacket.
I can see myself using this last piece quite a bit this fall. The Versa is a DWR-treated shell with built in reflectivity and a windproof fabric. All nice but fairly standard. What sets the Versa apart is the use of magnets to secure the sleeves. Start out in the full jacket and, when things heat up, remove the one-piece sleeve panel with a quick tug, and you’ve got a vest. If rain starts falling, slip your arms back through the sleeve panel, and the magnets pull everything back together. It’s shocking how quickly and easily it all works.
Unfortunately, I managed to come away from Press Camp without any photos of a Versa. But keep an eye out for it this fall.
In Part 3: New bikes from Scott and Orbea.