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Germany, August 31-September 3, 2006
Part five: Hutchinson, Reynolds, Hope & Tacx
James Huang finds tubeless road tyres ready for release - at last - plus new wheels and forks from Reynolds, brakes and lights from Hope and trainers from Tacx.
Tubeless road tyres at last from Hutchinson
The debut of tubeless clincher road tyres has long been anticipated as the system has been in development for five years now and has already been tested by several ProTour teams and riders, including Agritubel and Saeco. Hutchinson will finally release the system for 2007 with the introduction of two tubeless clincher models, the Atom Road Tubeless and the Fusion 2 Road Tubeless.
Both tyres share some common features, such as a nylon 127TPI casing, more stretch-resistant (and rubber coated) carbon fiber beads, Kevlar Pro Tech anti-puncture belting, and, of course, a thin layer of rubber applied to the inside of the casings to make them airtight. The Atom Road Tubeless is the lighter of the two models at 265g with a 700 x 21c casing and relatively soft single compound slick tread. The 290g Fusion 2 Road Tubeless is a more all-purpose tire with a wider 700 x 23c casing and triple compound slick tread for better wear.
Why go tubeless on the road? The road-going tubeless setup shares many of the advantages of UST for mountain bikes, such as increased grip, resistance to pinch flats, improved ride quality, and slower deflation in the event of a puncture. However, unlike the off-road version, the road tubeless setup is much more comparable in terms of weight to its tubed counterpart. Considering that this technology is still awfully new, it wouldn't be surprising to see the tire weights come down in the near future.
As of now, only Shimano has wheels ready to accept the tyres with its already-available Dura-Ace 7801-SL wheelset. Agreements are already in place with Mavic, Campagnolo, and Corima, though, so a slew of other tubeless-compatible wheelsets aren't far behind.
Reynolds hits 2007 with lighter rims and forks plus new hubs
Reynolds Composites seems to occupy the unfortunate position of being the maker of some of finest carbon fiber components on the market… that many have never heard of. The company looks to relinquish that title with an aggressive new marketing campaign that includes a totally revamped web site, a new logo, and bold new graphics on all of its products.
Reynolds has built its reputation on the backs of its products, and the company is not resting on its (underappreciated) laurels for 2007. New fiber lay-ups shed weight on its carbon fiber rims across the board with some clincher models losing as much as 80g in rotating weight. The updated mid-section MV32C carbon clincher wheelset weighs in at just 1400g for the pair, while the climbing-specific KOM tubular set weighs in at juste 1020g.
The much-anticipated carbon fiber mountain bikes wheels will also finally be made available to the public for the next season in both clincher and tubular versions. Both will be only be disc brake-compatible (for 6-bolt IS rotors) and will use 28 DT Revolution spokes per wheel. The clincher version isn't shockingly light at 1580g per set, but the carbon rim should make it just about the stiffest lightweight offering around. The tubular version is a more startling 1350g for the pair. According to Reynolds Sales Manager Jonathan Geran, only 26in versions will be offered "for now", so we'll see what develops in the future.
All of Reynolds' new wheels will feature custom laser-etched DT Swiss hubs (based on the 240s), save for one. The new Attack is aimed squarely at Mavic's Ksyrium ES in terms of price but offers an all-carbon 32mm deep clincher rim that weighs just 260g. A pair of cartridge bearing-equipped hubs and heavier DT Competition butted spokes fills out the rest of the wheelset for a total weight of 1485g without skewers.
Fork-wise, Reynolds unveils a new king-of-the-heap in the form of the UL. According to Reynolds, the UL is just as strong, rigid, and reliable as its venerable Ouzo Pro but weighs just 300g thanks to some new fiber lay-ups and a pair of new dropouts. All of Reynolds' 2007 1 1/8" steerer-equipped forks, including the UL, will now come with more versatile 350mm long steerer tubes.
Hope Technologies' CNC machines busy with new brakes and lights
British hydraulic disc brake icon Hope Technologies debuted a new Moto FR disc brake which it says is roughly 15 percent more powerful than its Mono 6 stoppers while maintaining comparable levels of modulation. The two-piston caliper is CNC-machined from a single billet of aluminum for rigidity and clamps an optional new vented two-piece rotor that Hope says reduces disc temperatures up to 20 percent for more consistent performance. Up top, the corresponding Moto lever features a more rigid handlebar clamp for less mushiness under the fingertips and adjustable pad contact along with a heavily sculpted lever blade. The new lever on Hope's workhorse Mono Mini and M4 also receive the more rigid handlebar clamp but forego the adjustable bite control.
Hope's innovative HID headlight drew praise for its clean integrated stem mount but its fitment was limited to just the company's own offerings and some Thomson models. For 2007, Hope has developed a new, smaller, HID head that is compatible with a more versatile CNC machined handlebar mount or helmet mount. The new lamp still sports a single 10W setting but runs for a solid two and three-quarter hours.
A brand-new LED lamp uses two 3W Luxeon emitters housed in an incredibly tiny CNC-machined aluminum head. A similarly tiny lithium-ion battery powers the unit for 2 hours on the highest setting and runs for as long as 9 hours in flashing mode. Three mounting options will be available for the LED lamp, including Hope's stem mount, universal handlebar mount, or atop a helmet. All of the mounts are neatly CNC-machined and anodized.
Tacx helps riders beat the winter blues
The Satori is Tacx's new stationary trainer and is expressly designed for stronger riders that desire maximum resistance, particularly at lower pedaling cadences. A new neodymium magnet and extra-large steel flywheel can produce as much as 400W of resistance at just 27 km/h while a new frame with particularly sturdy front legs keep things stable while you crank away. The new Satori will also feature a remote lever to adjust the resistance curve as well as a custom front wheel riser that doubles as a carrying handle when the unit is folded.
Tacx's commitment to the indoor grind is also shown with its line of accessories, including a nicely padded carrying case and a new nylon training mat. The mat uses a non-slip rubber base and cleat-proof upper surface that saves your floor from grease, rubber bits, and cleat scuffs and your body from slipping across hard-surface floors.
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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews