Coverage of all the new cyclocross gear from the Sea Otter Festival continues as we take a look at new tires, pedals, a handlebar and more. While the cyclocross season is still a few months off, there are already some things to put on this year’s wish list. See all our Sea Otter 2011 coverage here.
by Clifford Lee
Vittoria has the XG Pro clincher tire slated for production with its TNT technology, already proven with its Geax line of mountain bike tires. TNT is Vittoria’s tubeless technology, and stands for “Tube No Tube.” Although we have had good success running the standard Vittoria tires tubeless at low pressure with sealant, tubeless use with the TNT XG should be less dependent on sealant. We spied a pair already mounted on a Mavic C29ssmax rim on the new Felt carbon cyclocross bike. That tire had been pumped up to 90 psi four days prior without sealant, and they were still quite hard. Vittoria will be officially releasing the tire this fall.
The CX Race and CX Speed remain as the company’s flagship cyclocross clinchers, both with 120 tpi casings and folding beads, but differing by tread design, the Speed having a file tread compared to the Race’s shallow knobs. Both are marked 700x 35, though that may be “fixed” by the beginning of this season so that the tires are in compliance with UCI regulations. Both the Race and Speed weigh in at about 450 grams per tire. For the off-season, there is the CX Plus, a wire beaded version of the Race, using the same tread and casing with an extra breaker layer for puncture resistance and a reflective strip on the sidewall — nice features for the ’cross commuter.
Most importantly, the long-awaited tubular version of the Race will be introduced with wider availability hopefully this fall with a new casing developed solely by Continental and manufactured to their high German standard with their Black Chili compound tread.
XPēdo is positioning their XMF08 toward the cyclocross racer with its triple sealed bearings (one outboard, 2 in) and Ti body and spindle for $229. The XMF08 includes XPēdo’s own broad cleat for stable support but is completely compatible with Shimano SH51 SPD cleats. The XMF08 weighs in at 210 gr/pair, while the XMF06, available with a chromoly spindle for $199, weighs 230 grams. Watch for an upcoming test of these pedals. For $169 the Xpēdo XMF 4 has a Ti spindle paired with an alloy body, but has a bearing outboard paired with an inboard bushing, sacrificing durability.
Kore was on hand to show off their new Mega Bar, a handlebar available in no less than 15 different configurations. With a standard 31.8 mm clamp diameter, five available widths and three alloy options there may finally be a bar for everyone. The neat feature about this bar is that you can get it with 31.8mm top sections that run the width of the bar, creating a larger grip for large hands, and ultimate adjustability should you run inline brake levers.
Rotor had nothing new to really introduce, although the 46/36 and 46/34 Q Ring combinations are available for 110 mm bcd cranks specifically for cyclocross and a 48/39 set is available for 130 bcd cranks. Rotor was however, quick to make a point that Marianne Vos and Daphne van den Brand both race on Rotor Q rings, Vos using position 3, having changed from position 2, and van den Brand using position 4. So, if you’re using the rings and not using these positions, perhaps that’s what is keeping you from a World Cup podium or winning World Championships.
Enduro Bearings introduced the XD-15 bottom bracket with angular contact ceramic bearings set in nitrogen infused metallic races, said to be six times harder than stainless races. Enduro has tested several different bearing race surfaces to match their ceramic balls and found this to be the most durable, avoiding the surface cracking issues of hard but brittle ceramic races. Enduro put this BB through every wet, gritty situation in ’cross last season after having removed the factory grease, and the BB (on display at the festival) still spins as smoothly as if it were new (actually smoother since there was no grease). Look out for a future review.
Enduro also showed off a nice set of sealed bearing pulleys machined out of Delrin resin, which is harder than nylon. The pulleys also features a lower tooth profile that should be smoother with the cross chain shifting that might occur with a single ring setup. Available to be compatible with Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo.
While no CX specific frames were on hand, Look Cycles is recognizing the increasing popularity of cyclocross and plans to release a cyclocross bike in the near future. Although prominently featured on the cover of our Issue 3, Look has not had a production cyclocross bike in years. No details were available on whether the new cyclocross bike will include features such as integrated seat mast, the new BB386EVO configuration, or the company’s IPack system integration seen on their 695 road bike, but be assured it will be all carbon.