In this edition of Product Picks, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a look at some new bibs from RedWhite, bar tape from Prologo, a set of Shimano’s sunnies, KindHuman gloves, Campagnolo’s latest update for its Shamal wheels, and bike protection from Bopworx.
REDWHITE THE RACE BIBSHORTS
RedWhite calls itself a “special bibshorts company”, which is why their catalog comprises nothing but bibshorts. Based in Singapore, RedWhite makes use of Italian fabrics and Romanian manufacturing to create its products.
The RACE is the newest product in RedWhite’s catalog and it was designed (unsurprisingly) to suit racers. The company started with the template from its BIBS, and swapped out the plush padding for a thinner, lighter design. The new padding is 30% less dense and 16% thinner; it is also dimpled to encourage extra heat dissipation.
The RACE is made from the same nylon-rich Lycra as the BIBS for a soft, stretchy fit. The straps are made from nylon-rich mesh and the leg hems are finished with a wide polyester/elastane gripper backed with silicone microdots. Buyers have a choice of four sizes (S-XL) and one color (black with white straps).
According to RedWhite, dimples increase the surface area of the padding, which in turn, increases heat dissipation.
When I reviewed RedWhite’s BIBS last year I was impressed with the quality of the fit, the feel of the fabric, the no-fuss leg-grippers, and the plush padding. The RACE retains the same exquisite fit and feel, but the difference in the padding was only obvious once I was on the bike.
In short, the padding is not as plush as the BIBS, and essentially rivals anything on offer by other race-oriented bibshorts such as Castelli, Rapha, Capo or Sportful. As such, it was comfortable and effective, though I didn’t notice any difference in heat dissipation when compared to any other bibshort, including the BIBS.
All told, RedWhite have created another high quality bibshort that easily justifies its reasonably high asking price. These shorts are very easy to wear but I found myself hesitating to use the RACE for a long ride (4-5 hours) when I could wear the plusher BIBS instead. It’s not that the RACE bibshorts would get uncomfortable, it’s just that the BIBS were always more comfortable.
Price: $160 USD (shipping included).
SHIMANO S71R PH PHOTOCHROMIC SUNGLASSES
Shimano’s current eyewear catalog is divided into two broad categories, one for road riders (R-series) and one for off-road riders (X-series). The distinction between the two is largely styling, though Shimano claims that the R-series has been refined to provide a wider field of view with an “aerodynamic form”.
The S71R sits at the top of the R-series range with a choice of photochromic (PH) or polarized lenses (PL). The frame is made from Grillamid TR-90 with dual-injected molded temple tips and a reversible nosepiece to help with adjusting the fit of the frames.
The lens is a removable one-piece design. The photochromic lens offers 12-53% transmission while the polarized lens has [Revo coating(http://www.revo.com/lens-technology)]. In addition, both lenses get anti-fog and anti-scratch protection.
The S71R is available in five frame colors (metallic blue, gloss black, metallic white, mat lime yellow and neon orange) and is supplied in a travel box with a spare yellow lens, and a pouch that doubles as a cleaning cloth.
S71R sunglasses come with a carry case, a spare yellow lens, and a pouch/cleaning cloth.
These sunglasses are easy to like. The frames are very light and they provided a pretty secure fit without pinching my nose or temples. And the arms weren’t too long, so they didn’t get in the way of my helmet. The only distraction came from the way the frame hovered at the edge of my peripheral vision.
I prefer a light grey tint for sunglasses and that’s exactly what the photochromic lens provided. It was reasonably quick (<1min) to darken in sunlight but slower to lighten (~2min) in the shade or after heading indoors. Riders looking for less light transmission and greater reduction of glare probably won’t be satisfied with the photochromic lens, so they might want to check out the polarized lens.
Finally, the carry case is largely superfluous, as is the yellow lens. Both accessories may add value for some buyers but I’d rather pay less for the sunglasses.
Price: $70 USD
PROLOGO ONETOUCH2 BAR TAPE
Prologo introduced its CPC (Connect Power Control) technology a few years ago, which is supposed to offer marginal gains in performance by reducing the impact of shock and vibration. The company has added the material to its saddles and gloves, and now they’re using a related material to improve the grip of its Onetouch 2 bar tape.
Onetouch 2 bar tape has a foam core and is available with or without gel for added comfort. The tape is available in black, white, or black with bands of colour (red, white, yellow, pink, green, blue, orange, grey, blue-yellow, pink-white, green-white, red-white, and reflective) at each end of the tape.
There has been an increase in the number of rubbery bar tape products in recent years, supplanting the cork blends that have dominated the market for the last two decades. These new tapes, like Prologo’s Onetouch2, are very easy to wrap and are typically very durable.
The rubbery material is also very comfortable, even without added gel. My biggest concern was the tape would become slick with sweat, but in all the time I’ve been using Prologo’s tape, I’ve enjoyed a sure grip, even in the wet.
Perhaps that’s where there CPC technology makes a difference. I didn’t test the tape side-by-side with another rubbery tape like Supercaz however my impression is that Prologo’s tape doesn’t really offer any extra grip. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to re-use the tape on a few occasions without much loss in bounce or feel.
Price: $35 USD
Bopworx was born out of necessity, invented by Paul McGriskin as he became frustrated by the effort required to load/unload and protect six bikes while touring the west coast of the USA with his family. It was the kind of product that he expected to find at his local bike shop, but there was nothing on the market.
There are four products in Bopworx’s current catalog. The Bop Bumper attaches to a bike to protect it; the Double Bumper fits in between two bikes to keep them separated; the Fork Guard substitutes for the front wheel and saves space; and the Rear Derailleur Guard delivers on the promise of its name.
Each bikeguard can be used when transporting the bikes on a carrier, storing them in the shed/garage, or packing the bike in a travel case. The Fork Guard has a retractable tab for disc brake pads and can be used with standard quick-release dropouts or 15mm thru-axles. The Rear Derailleur Guard is not compatible with thru-axles.
Each of Bopworx’s bikeguards are easy to fit to a standard road bike.
There were no surprises with any of the Bopworx bikeguards. The frame bumpers and fork guard were easy to fit and they performed exactly as expected. However, the buckles didn’t lock into the bumpers, so in the first instance, they had a tendency to fall off as I was positioning the bikes or threading the straps. Once the strap tension was set, though, they made it easier remove and re-use the bumpers.
The derailleur guard required a little more effort to fit. Bopworx instructs that it should be fitted between the hub and the frame (rather than under the lock-nut of the skewer), which requires are few simultaneous operations: balance the bike, release the skewer and open the frame, then reset the locknut and close the skewer while balancing the bike and keeping the guard in place.
Once installed, the guard was sturdy but I didn’t test its effectiveness by tipping over the bike. Its utility is obvious though and should protect the rear derailleur (and the hanger) from a variety of blows.
The pricing for each bikeguard is quite reasonable however a family with a fleet of bikes may baulk at the expense of multiple bumpers and guards. Nevertheless, it will be a once-off expense that will be easy to justify if they are used regularly.
Price: Bop Bumper, $20 USD; Double Bumper, $35 USD; Fork Guard, $50 USD; Rear Derailleur Guard, $25 USD.
KINDHUMAN VEGAN-FRIENDLY GLOVES
KindHuman has added a synthetic option to its range of cycling gloves in acknowledgement that some riders would rather avoid animal products, hence the moniker for the new glove, “Vegan-friendly”.
The cut and styling of the new glove closely resembles that of its leather gloves. A polyurethane material is used throughout with padding on the palm, a Velcro closure at the back of the wrist, and finger-pulls integrated into the glove for the middle and ring fingers. The Vegan-friendly glove is available in one color (white) and three sizes (S-L).
There’s not much separating Kindhuman’s Vegan-friendly gloves (left) from its leather gloves (right).
Some buyers will view KindHuman’s new gloves with suspicion. After all, the company continues to sell a full leather glove, so the Vegan-friendly option seems like a crass marketing ploy. However, the company is refreshingly open about the story behind each product, and its decision to make use of both materials is no different from a restaurant offering vegetarian dishes alongside beef stroganoff and char-grilled steak.
Qualitatively, there is little that separates the performance and feel of the Vegan-friendly glove from the leather version. The fit of both is equivalent, as is the amount of padding and grip on the handlebars. The only difference I could find was upon close inspection: the leather glove has a texture that is absent from the synthetic.
KindHuman’s leather gloves (top) versus their Vegan-friendly gloves (bottom).
I haven’t used the Vegan-friendly gloves long enough to comment upon their durability, but it is clear that they will be much easier to wash and care for than leather gloves, requiring only a lukewarm wash and drip-drying.
Price: $40 USD.
CAMPAGNOLO C17 SHAMAL WHEELSET
Campagnolo has updated its Shamal wheelset with a wider rim profile. Where once the rim bed was 15mm, the new version has a 17mm bed. The extra 2mm makes for a rim that is better suited to 25-28mm tires, both in terms of aerodynamics and performance of the tire.
All of the other features that defined the previous version will remain unchanged. Thus, C17 Shamals will have differentiated rim heights (front, 26mm; rear, 30mm), carbon fiber hub bodies, ceramic bearings, oversized alloy spokes, and the G3 lacing pattern for the rear wheel.
Buyers have a choice of Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM freehub bodies and a standard clincher rim versus the tubeless-ready two-way fit. Claimed weights are 1,495g for the standard clincher wheelset and 1,505g for the two-way fit version.
The rims may be a little wider but nothing else has changed, including the carbon fiber hub bodies.
Campagnolo has been slowly updating its wheelsets with wider rims since 2015. While it has been some time since HED first introduced the concept, this move by Campagnolo is a sure sign that the evolution of road rim design is well underway.
The benefits of wider rims are clear to those that have tried them and I’m at a point where I wouldn’t choose anything else. By allowing the tyre to expand because of less pinching of the beads, wider rims provide an immediate increase in comfort (since lower tyre pressures can be used), grip (due to a wider contact patch) and surefootedness (there is less flop in the tyre). By contrast, the aerodynamic benefits are much smaller and are related to a reduction in turbulence at the rim/tyre interface.
I spent a day riding the C17 Shamals while attending Campagnolo’s press camp earlier this year, and the wider profile improved the performance of the wheels exactly as I expected. The Shamal was already a smooth, light, and responsive wheelset and now it offers extra comfort and grip.
But, as good as the new C17 rim width is, it could be better. For example, HED, Pacenti and Zipp are now making alloy rims with 21mm beds, and the extra width provides even more comfort and grip. There is a trade-off though, since a wider rim will be heavier, which may explain Campagnolo’s seemingly conservative increase.
Radial lacing for the front wheel compared to Campagnolo’s distinctive G3 pattern for the rear wheel.
Then there is the issue of compatibility with different frames and forks, such that rims with an external width of 25mm will not fit some bikes. I’ve seen a few instances where some current frame designs will not accommodate rims that are this wide, or when wide tyres (25-27mm) are used. When viewed from this perspective, C17 Shamals are less likely to create these problems, and therefore represent a reasonable compromise.
Price: €1,202-1,256 ($1,348-1,409 USD; local pricing TBA).
This article was originally published on cyclingtips.com