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London Cycle Show -

London, UK, October 11-14, 2007

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Part 2 - Things to help you ride fast all day and all night

By Ben Atkins in London, England

Hope Technology

Hope Technology's light range
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Hope Technology is renowned for its superb hydraulic brakes but is also fast becoming synonymous with lighting. Hope adds two new lights to its lineup for 2008, both scheduled for release at the end of this calendar year. After the success of its 2 LED lightset, Hope has doubled up to produce the new 4 LED that reportedly produces a beam of 1000 (yes, one thousand!) lumens, and the matching 4-cell battery pack will produce enough juice to keep it running for up to three hours on the top setting.

At the other end of the scale, Hope also presented its new Vision One, a compact single LED light that can be either handlebar- or helmet-mounted, or even easily handheld with the included strap. Claimed output is up to 240 lumens with a corresponding three-hour burn time or up to 30 hours on its low setting, all using four standard AA batteries.

One of the nicest things on the Hope Technology stand - and indeed the whole show - was not a totally new product in the strict sense, but rather a new version of its proven Mono Mini disc brakes made especially for the girls! The special edition brakeset was originally just a one-off made by a Hope staff member as a Christmas present for his wife, but the rest of the factory fell in love with them and Hope then decided to produce a limited run.

Pretty in Pink
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They feature the same 160mm rotors and dual-piston architecture as the rest of the Mono Mini line, but also feature some "gender specific" details. For a start, they're pink, matching a trend in a lot of - particularly off road - components that allow for women riders to display a more girlie side. The real details are to be seen up close though: the master cylinder and caliper is etched with a subtle flower pattern, and the rotor itself has a floral pattern laser-cut into it instead of the usual plain drilling.

Hope will also supplement its range of hubs and headsets with its own version of the now-ubiquitous external bottom bracket. The new unit will use external labyrinth sealing similar to the system used on its freehub bodies along with o-rings on the aluminum center tube. The standard version will come with custom-made full stainless steel INA cartridge bearings and Hope will also offer a ceramic bearing option.

Hope will also head out in a slightly different direction from its usual range of products. Wanting to put their own kids out on the trail, the guys from Hope quite understandably despaired at the weight of most children's bikes on the market. For this reason they have made a limited number of framesets designed around 24" wheels. The front triangle is made from carbon fiber top and down tubes bonded to spectacular looking head and seat tubes that were both machined from single pieces of billet aluminium. This is then bolted to seat and chain stays crafted from more machined aluminium.

Obviously, the complete bike is tricked out with as many Hope products as possible and won't be cheap. Hope sees it as more of a development project, though, and may well start to look at developing adult sized frames in the future.

Ultimate Sports Engineering

USE's Exposure Joystick MaXx
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Sussex based Ultimate Sports Engineering (USE) has revamped its entire lighting range for 2008, now branding it "Exposure MaXx". It says that the difference between its lights is "as simple as 1, 2, 3" because that's how many LEDs each one contains.

One: Last year's Joystick has been upgraded with a new, brighter Seoul emitter (replacing the previous Luxeon LED) as well as a new look. The new Joystick MaXx now pumps out a 240 lumen beam when on the MaXx setting, and USE claims that it can sustain that beam for up to three hours - or ten hours on the lower Ride setting. It comes with a handlebar mount, or universal helmet mount, and is also available with a lanyard so it can be used as a handheld torch.

Two: The Race MaXx is an upgrade to the existing Race Turbo light and shares the same new Seoul emitters as the Joystick MaXx, thus doubling up to produce a beam of up to 480 lumens. Like its smaller stable mate, the Race MaXx has a claimed burn time of three or ten hours depending on the setting.

Three: Serious upgrades have been made to the previous Turbo Enduro, and the result is the new Enduro MaXx. With its three Seoul emitters, the Enduro MaXx can put out a beam of up to 720 lumens, and still lasts as long as the other two lights thanks to a correspondingly bigger battery. Both the Race and Enduro MaXx come with USE's new universal QR clip system, which means that the light can be attached or removed from its bracket without the need for tools (previous Enduro lights had to be attached with an allen key bolt). All lights now also feature a "fuel gauge" LED in the on/off button that indicates its charge level.

USE's TULA bar
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Despite being proud of its lights being self contained units with no leads or external batteries, USE has created the Piggy Back system. This quite simply takes the form of an extra battery that can be attached to either the frame, your backpack, or your helmet and plugs in to the back of your Exposure MaXx light to further increase the burn time. USE boasts that with the three-cell Piggy Back system a Joystick MaXx can burn for up to 96 hours on the low setting!

Launched during last year's show season, USE's integrated TULA time trial bars are now also available with alternative, larger outer hand pods that make them more suitable for riding hillier courses. The pods themselves are larger than the original egg shaped ones and do not feature the same integrated "parallel" brake levers, leaving it up to the customer to select the model of their own choosing. The TULA pods are also completely interchangeable, meaning that riders can select the one more appropriate for a given course without having to swap out the rest of the setup..

USE will also be entering the market with a clip-on aerobar for those who ride time trials and triathlons on their regular road bike. The new Boost bars will feature many of the same features as the TULA bars, like its own "Rock & Roll" tilt-adjustable arm rests and fi'zi:k gel pads. Currently the Boost is only in prototype mode as USE will be changing the clamp from a machined unit to a forged one in order to keep prices down.

Torq Fitness

The Torq range is now complete
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At last the range of Torq energy products looks complete with the introduction of a new Torq Gel. Made with the same 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin-to-fructose sugars as its energy drinks - which Torq claims provides a 40% improvement on carbohydrate delivery over traditional formulations. In keeping with Torq's usual innovative approach to flavours the gel is available in strawberry or black cherry yoghurt, an interesting combination of orange and banana, plus a 'Forest Fruits' option that features guarana, a natural form of caffeine.

One of Torq's most important developments for 2008 isn't really a new product this year, but is significant nonetheless. After a long wait, Organic Torq Energy has finally been granted a Soil Association stamp to add to its EU certification. The Soil Association is the largest certification body for organic products in the UK and according to its web site, "consumers recognise the symbol as the ultimate mark of organic integrity", so the award is a pretty big deal for Torq.

With the addition of glutamine and carnitine, all Torq Raw components are now available separately so users have the option to mix their own drinks - especially post-ride recovery drinks. Torq sees this as a very important development as many of their clients - and indeed many of its sponsored riders - are vegan, meaning that the whey protein base of the standard formula Torq Recovery (and virtually all recovery drinks out there) is off limits.


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Images by Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com

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