It’s been an exciting few weeks in the world of bike tech – if all stories had been created equal, it would have been extremely difficult to choose which one to race with. Luckily for us, at least, there were a few clear caps that stood above the rest.
We explore the performance of Shimano’s Ultegra groupset, take a look at some new high-end road shoes that are lighter yet wider, there’s Enve’s 2022 SES range that has been designed for “modern road racing” and Pinarello’s “pure performance” off-road that has been adapted to better meet the demands of gravel racing.
But just before we get into all that, we just wanted to let you know that we’ve partnered with Garmin to offer a Varia Radar RCT 715 taillight and camera.
It shoots in Full HD at 30 frames per second, which is enough to capture details such as license plates. It’s waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, which we hope will cover all your cycling requirements. The radar functionality will also tell you if – and how fast – a vehicle is approaching behind you.
To try your luck, just click on this link (opens in a new tab) or complete the form below. We will contact the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you’re not the lucky one, don’t worry, we’ll start again next month.
New Specialized flagship road shoes: S-Works Torch
Replacing the S-Works 7, Specialized has just launched the S-Works Torch road shoes which are presented as wider, lighter and more comfortable.
The Torch has been designed around a 4mm wider carbon sole than the S-Works 7 and is also available in a 7mm wider fit.
The idea behind the wider torch plate is that it allows the foot to spread and distribute pressure more evenly and also allows the new Boa routing to pull the shoe towards the foot rather than closing the sides and compressing .
The plates’ new “pie crust” edge shape – two layers of carbon crimped together – is meant to reduce flex and eliminate bulky material buildup around the perimeter of the plate for a more streamlined (and lighter) build.
An internal i-beam is also said to add stiffness and strength, eliminating the need for additional bracing. This is what would have allowed the sole to lose 20 g compared to the S-Works 7, despite being wider.
The new Torch also has a softer, more comfortable upper with “zonal reinforcement” and an asymmetrical heel cup that provides more targeted foot support.
Find out more about the development, as well as our first riding impressions in our coverage of the Specialized S-Work Torch road shoes here.
Enve’s new SES range: hookless, tubeless only and rim brake free models
The fourth generation of Enve’s Smart Enve System (SES) series, designed for the demands of “modern road racing”, has just been released and features two all-new wheels – the SES 2.3 Climbing Wheels and the Aero Wheelset SES 6.7 – and updates for the SES 3.4 and SES 4.5, which were once part of the All Road (AR) range.
The shape and depth of the rims take into account the differences in airflow at the front of the bike compared to the rear as well as crosswinds. The front wheels are shallower than the rear wheels and feature a more rounded profile to maximize stability and control in crosswinds. The rear wheels have a deeper, sharper profile and have been streamlined to maximize power transmission and drag reduction.
All new SES wheels have been aerodynamically optimized around Enve’s 27mm SES hookless tires.
The line is tubeless only and includes Enve’s patent-pending Wide Hookless Bead, which is Enve’s solution to eliminating pinching and is strong enough for road pressures up to 90 PSI.
For more information and a breakdown of each of the four new models, you can find our launch story on the Enve 2022 SES lineup here.
Shimano Ultegra review
Shimano dropped its new Ultegra 12-speed groupset at the same time it unveiled the latest iteration of Dura-Ace last year, with much of the technology remaining the same between the two systems.
Now that we’ve clocked up the miles in Ultegra, we’re ready to share our verdict: it’s awesome. It’s awesome to the point that it really makes you wonder why anyone would spend the extra money on Dura-Ace.
Braking, shifting and most aspects of the groupset are indistinguishable from its top-tier sibling. Aside from the (relatively minor) weight differences, there really isn’t much to tell them apart other than the logos.
If money wasn’t an issue, might as well go for Dura-Ace. But for anyone who takes price as a relevant consideration (most of us), it’s very hard to look past the Ultegra R8100.
Bike of the month: Pinarello Grevil F
Pinarello targets those looking for marginal gains over long distances with its latest release, the Grevil F.
Pinarello has adopted the Total Internal Cable Routing (TiCR) system used on its Dogma road bike and the new downtube “flat back” profile is designed to reduce drag. With these improvements, the Italian brand claims that the Grevil F is 4% more aerodynamic and saves five watts at 40 km/h compared to the previous model.
To better meet the demands of the variety of gravel racing, Pinarello has increased tire clearance on the Grevil F. It can now accept tire sizes up to 700x50mm or 650b x 2.1″, the tires at higher volume offering improved comfort as well as adaptability for different terrain.
The duration of gravel races seems to have influenced a change in geometry choices. The Grevil F combines a shorter reach with a higher stack, which should mean more arm reach. Pinarello says this allows for more flexibility in the arms, which results in better cushioning on uneven ground as well as more relaxed shoulders.
For more information, you can find our launch story on Pinarello’s Grevil F here. We also have our hands on the racing gravel bike, so expect to see our full review soon.
That’s all for this month, we wish you the best of late spring riding for the weeks to come!