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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 25-29, 2006

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Part 19 - October 16 

By James Huang in Las Vegas

Female cyclists are only recently being introduced
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Adidas' adiStar Ultra SL drops 10% off the weight of the standard Ultra
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Being based in Sweden, you know that Craft knows how to keep you warm!
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Craft also offers a full line of high-performance warm weather kit
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Thermoplastic materials incorporated into the new SH-M300 and SH-R300
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Three women's-specific road shoes grace Shimano's lineup,
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Sugoi's RS Flex bib short gets a new chamois for '07
Photo ©: Sugoi
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Sugoi is making an active push into the warm weather cycling kit market
Photo ©: Sugoi
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Craft shows us how Sweden does cold weather gear

To put it bluntly, Sweden can be a cold place to ride bikes: its northernmost point experiences more than 170 days below freezing annually and certain parts of the country get no sunlight during midwinter. Given those kind of surroundings, it's hardly shocking that Craft's winter collection is well thought-out, versatile, as well as rather comprehensive with a full selection of tops, bottoms, and accessories.

Lying at the core of Craft's layering system (quite literally) is its amazingly broad selection of baselayers that are offered in sleeveless, short sleeve, and long sleeve styles and three different levels of insulation. Craft's warmest ProWarm line pairs advanced natural wool fibers with synthetics for maximum insulation while offering effective moisture management.

Many of Craft's cool weather baselayers are also available with an integrated windblocking layer to better retain core warmth without resorting to bulkier outer shells. New for 2007 is a change from Craft's tried-and-true S3 windproof fabric to Gore's Windstopper which drops half of the weight from the old material while retaining comparable performance.

Among the more adaptable pieces are the Pro Race winter bib shorts, constructed of Craft's Thermo Sense material. These should suffice on their own for cooler rides when summer-weight fabrics might not offer enough protection. When combined with winter-weight knee or leg warmers, though, the set could easily replace several other individual pieces of clothing as the thermometer drops.

More info: www.craft-usa.com

Shimano adds heat-moldable technology to top-end shoes

Shimano's new SH-R300 and SH-M300 road and mountain shoes will now feature Thermo-Form technology that promises a semi-custom fit with off-the-shelf convenience. The upper panels, heel cups, and even insoles in both models include thermoplastic material that softens when heated in a special oven. A second device literally sucks the uppers (via vacuum) around your foot as the material cools, providing a snug fit that can easily be reshaped as needed. Moreover, Shimano's top two shoes will also be offered in E-widths for both road and mountain varieties.

The carbon sole on the SH-R300 shoes are also completely new with a lighter and more rigid dual-channel hollow carbon fiber outsole. The lower part of the heel cup is now also carbon fiber and is co-molded with the sole to reduce weight and increase strength. As with last year's version, functional vents in the bottom of the sole provide flow-through ventilation.

The SH-M300 shoe receives a full-length carbon fiber outsole for the first time, thus displacing the partial-length carbon reinforcing plate that Shimano has used for years. The new outsole is mated to a one-piece injected nylon and polyurethane outsole that promises better traction than last year's model and combines with the new outsole to drop a significant 80g per pair from last year's SH-M225 shoes.

Last year's triathlon-specific models have been replaced with a trio of new models, including a top-end women's model. The SH-TR50 and SH-TR50W both incorporate new hollow channel carbon fiber soles plus new uppers that offer a faster entry and better fit than in previous models. The entry-level SH-TR30 offers a similar wide single-strap fit but with a more wallet-friendly injection-molded composite outsole.

More info: www.shimano.com

Sugoi reminds people that the Pacific NW can be sunny and warm sometimes, too!

Much like Craft, Sugoi seems to have developed a reputation for offering premium cold and inclement weather kit, much as a result of their respective surroundings. While this is undoubtedly true, Sugoi is now actively seeking to shed its pigeonholed image with a new focus on warm weather gear.

A new TechLite fabric sheds 40% in weight with a new lighter yarn that is double-knit for both opaqueness and moisture management. Silver ions are also embedded into the fabric to resist the growth of odor-causing bacteria, and a new dropped collar in some models removes material from the neck for improved comfort on the hottest days. Full front zippers are also incorporated into a broader range of styles for more flexible ventilation control.

Sugoi's well-received RS Flex Bib Short receives a new Formula FX chamois for 2007 as well as dimpled Ultra-Aero fabric. The new chamois incorporates a thinner, vibration-damping Poron polyurethane foam and a mix of 2-way and 4-way stretch materials for an improved fit while the Ultra-Aero fabric is said to reduce aerodynamic drag. For pro riders using two-way radios, or casual riders just packing some music for the road, the RS Flex Bib also includes a handy pocket as well as conveniently located loops for routing wires.

More info: www.sugoi.com

Adidas revises clothing sizing, expands women's offerings

Last year, we found some of adidas' clothing to be a bit "off" [http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2006/reviews/adidas_artic_tight] and apparently we weren't alone as Adidas surveyed and measured over 1000 cyclists in an effort to revamp its sizing. As a result, adidas will offer three distinct fits in its clothing line to better match up with the particular piece's intended audience, ranging from the closest-fitting Race fit down to a more accommodating Comfort fit.

Adidas' new FlowMapping technology studies airflow around the rider's body in order to enhance ventilation during warm weather riding. The new adiStar Flow jersey and adiStar Flow Bib Short both incorporate strategically placed mesh panels and laser-cut vent holes as well as rear ports to optimize airflow at speed. To top things off, the jersey also includes temperature-regulating and silver ion-enhanced X-Static material in the armpit area.

The company's women's-specific lineup grows in size with more pieces and more colors for 2007. In what is seemingly a growing trend, adidas debuts a new women's bib short that should offer much the same benefits as what men have enjoyed for years. Removable bibs facilitate "natural" breaks, and the shorts feature adidas' top-of-the-line multidensity Pro3D Stretch women's chamois.

More info: www.adidas.com/cycling


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Sugoi

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