Tech Gallery: The best tech from the 2023 Eurobike show, part three
Drag-ditching gear for the aero anoraks from Koga, Schwalbe, and more.
Having arrived in Germany almost 48 hours later than planned thanks to two separate disruptions to my travel plans, I was beginning to think I might have to break out a skinsuit, aero socks, and a pair of Nike Alphaflys to make up for lost time on the Messe floor.
Thankfully, for the other show goers, sense prevailed and instead I narrowed my focus on some of the performance and aero-centered tech on display. While overall the 2023 Eurobike is not quite a vintage year with countless headline reveals, there was plenty of drag-ditching gear for the aero anorak to nerd out on. New aero frames, 70-tooth chainrings, a new power meter, new tyres, 3D-printed saddles and armrests – and that’s not to mention the Classified Powershift-equipped disc wheel.
So, without further delay, it’s down the start ramp and into the show. Looking for our
complete Eurobike coverage? The Koga Kinsei caught my eye. It’s certainly incredibly aero looking, even if someone needs to have a word with whoever set up those handlebars. It’s inspired by the track bike of the same name used by the hugely successful Dutch sprint squad. The frame features a narrow and exceptionally deep head tube with internal cable routing, a front wheel-hugging down tube, and an enormous seat tube-to-seatstays interface along with a huge bottom bracket and chainstays. The Kinsei is available in four builds including Dura Ace Di2 with DT Swiss ARC 1100 wheels, a 105 Di2 build with DT Swiss P-1800 Spline wheelset, and an Ultegra Di2 and Rival build, as seen here, both with Koga’s own 50 mm carbon wheelset. This Rival build will set you back €5,199 and has a claimed weight of 8.6 kg. No, that weight number is not a typo. That. Is. Close! I’m guessing this is the largest size (XL) Kinsei, but still, that head tube is huge. That track frame inspiration is easy to see in the head tube, but also in this profiled seat tube-to-seatstay interface. Koga has managed to integrate the brake hoses without increasing the width of the head tube. The tube expands out at the top and bottom to house the headset bearings, but is incredibly narrow through its midsection. There are literally countless different light offerings across the various Eurobike halls. I’d probably need a week to cover them all, but the TL-01, 02, and 03 from the Taiwanese brand Litemove caught my eye. All of the lights I have sit proud of the aero tubing on both road and TT bikes and seemingly undo whatever aero gains said tubes offer. The tall and slim design of the TL series should help there, and the brand’s take on the quarter-turn mount is equally slimline. The lights also feature a built-in cord so they plug directly into a USB socket; no more searching for charging cables. Battery life is a claimed 40 hours with the 25-lumen TL-01. The TL-02 is an equally minimal front light offering a claimed 40 hours of run time and 40 lumens of visibility-improving light. Gebiomized will be familiar to almost everyone in the bike fitting space and many riders around the world. I’ve covered their offerings on an almost annual basis. The German company was a bike-fitting tool specialist, originally offering contact point and pressure mapping-analysis tools to the bike fitting industry, and custom saddles and bike fits to some of the world’s best riders. In recent years the brand has expanded into off-the-shelf saddles and insoles. The brand has now used its pressure-mapping data and 3D-printing capabilities to develop these new time trial and triathlon elbow-rest cups and pads. The pads look pretty ordinary at first glance, but the pads do offer a few less-obvious advantages. The high outer wall is said to help athletes maintain shoulder stability in adopting narrow aero positions. Furthermore, the pad is available in two angles (0° and 3° rise) printed into the pad, which helps support and increase the contact area with the forearm to eliminate pressure points on the elbows. Gebiomized used its data from hundreds of scans with its forearm pressure-mapping system in developing the exact shape and density of the pad, which it then prints in-house. The material was developed specifically to improve comfort, offer a “bounce-like effect,” and not compress under load which could create pressure points. Gebiomized has the cup manufactured locally, and the modular system is both highly adjustable and UCI legal. The pads are also available in two widths for narrower and wider arms. The 3° rise pad on top and the flat pad below. Replicating saddle height across multiple bikes or saddles can be quite the nightmare, especially given the geometry differences between the many saddle offerings available. Setting aside the question of whether an identical saddle height across multiple saddles or bikes is truly optimal, Gebiomized also had the 3D printed “80 mm Tool” on show. The 80 mm tool is an incredibly simple, 3D printed, U-shaped design that simply slips onto the saddle to easily identify the 80 mm wide point of any saddle. Why 80 mm? Gebiomized explained that while the 80 mm point isn’t an “absolute” reference point, it is a consistently reliable landmark regardless of saddle length (especially relevant given huge variety in saddle lengths available these days) and represents the “the average width between the Superior Rami of the left and right pubic bones when the pelvis is rotated forward in the aero position or an aggressive position.” The tool simple provides this location quickly, easily, and with a fixed landmark from which to measure both saddle height and handlebar reach. In a similar thought process, I’ve used a “12 cm from the rear of the saddle” as my saddle height starting point for years. That has become more problematic in recent times as the various saddle widths, lengths, and profiles available have grown almost exponentially. Time and time again, I’ve found myself second guessing which position at the rear of the saddle is most representative to measure from. While only time will tell how relevant the 80 mm width location is when comparing a flat and round sided saddles or flat versus cupped mid sections, I’m going all Dave Rome and ordering myself one of these to find out. Don’t you love it when an idea comes to life? It”s about six months since I emailed Classified, Parcours, and a host of other brands enquiring if anyone was making Powershift equipped disc wheel. Fast forward to Eurobike and British brand Parcours has just unveiled a Classified Powershift hub-equipped version of its full carbon and spokeless Disc² rear wheel. Designed around a 28 mm tyre with a 22.5 mm internal rim and a 30.5 mm maximum external rim width, Parcours claims the Disc² displays no aero penalty when run with a 30 mm tyre. It features a neat valve hole cover that attaches with Velcro, and having ridden the standard Disc², I can confirm it sounds just like you want a disc to sound. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! That sound is enhanced, according to Parcours, by the full carbon construction. It’s that full-carbon construction, though, that as Parcours explained, both contributes to the Disc² performance, but also proved a major hurdle in developing a Powershift hub-equipped disc wheel. The Disc² comes out of the mould with a donut-like hole in the centre ready to house Parcours’ own Disc Brake Hub, or almost any other hub a customer should want. The hub is attached to the carbon shell with an end cap on either side and the entire combination is covered with a carbon skin enclosing the entire structure and making for a more aesthetically pleasing finish. Problem was, that donut hole and end caps didn’t quite fit perfectly with the Powershift hub. While it was rideable, Parcours’ testing found the combination was not suitable for end use. Undeterred, the brand created a new mould, presumably at considerable expense, with a larger opening and long story short, now has the first full-carbon Powershift hub-equipped disc wheel. What’s the point you might ask? Well, first and most obviously, the inclusion of the Classified hub offers riders the gearing range of 2X setup without compromising on the aero gains from a front derailleur-less 1X chainring setup and the drivetrain-efficiency gains of larger chainrings. Parcours openly admits the system is surplus to requirements if someone only rides pan-flat 10-mile time trials but sees it as ideal for hillier courses, especially the likes of those used in Ironman events such as Nice and Ibiza. Personally, I first enquired about such a setup having narrowly missed the Derry-Belfast place-to-place record last September. I identified an over-gearing issue with the 60-tooth chainring I had used on a course. which is split almost 50:50 with a difficult rolling and net uphill opening half leading into a flat, fast, and net downhill second half. I wanted to run a 1X 60-tooth chainring for the second half, but that often left me over-geared and cross-chaining a lot in the opening phase. I was curious if the Powershift would prove the optimal solution. Hopefully I can report back in the near future. In the meantime, I see the true value here in facilitating time trial and triathlon riders in training more on their TT bikes, with their race setup, across more varied terrain. There’s nothing more frustratingly time consuming than swapping back and forth between 1X and 2X setups living in a hilly area. For me it often just leads to less training on the TT bike. If a Powershift-equipped disc could mean a rider’s training setup is a step closer to their race day setup (so they train more often with that setup and position), that to me seems like more than a marginal gain. Speaking of big chainrings, Kappstein is a Thüringen-based company specialising in developing and producing E-motors and premium bike components, apparently including 70-tooth track chainrings. The brand developed chainrings for FES (Institute for the Research and Development of Sports Equipment) and claims they are up to 300 g lighter than other track chainrings with high-precision CNC machining, and a specific round tooth design offering a claimed “increase in contact points, and improved power transmission.” Road chainrings are also available with up to 60 teeth. Rotor unveiled its new SL version of the 2InPower power meter in the days leading up to Eurobike. The new power meter is said to be the lightest “true dual-sided” crank-based system available. True dual-sided means there are strain gauges in each crankarm for measured rather than calculated output and left:right balance. As for weight savings, the new SL power meter is said to offer a 15% saving over the already lightweight 2InPower, with the power meter and cranks weigh in at a claimed 530 g with 170 mm arms. Add in Rotor’s 50/34T chainrings, and the entire system weighs in at a claimed 730 g. Rotor also offers 1X chainrings that could reduce the weight even further. Key to these savings is the new narrower crank arm made from aeronautical-grade 7075-T6 aluminum. By reducing the width of the crank arms, Rotor could reduce the weight. Rotor also swapped out the pinch bolt on the outgoing 2InPower for a self-extracting end cap bolt which also helped in reducing the overall weight. The large end cap houses the antenna, although removing it will almost certainly break the antenna, convert a light power meter into a relatively heavy non-power measuring crank, and void the warranty. Said antenna offers both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, as is the standard at this point. Charging is a much simpler and less risky job. Simply pop the cover off and attach Rotor’s charging cable. A single three-hour charge provides a claimed 250-hour run time. A neater finish with charging port cover attached. Much like that antenna housing, the strain gauge cover is also removable, although again, doing so very much voids your warranty. Rotor will continue to offer the Aldhu Carbon InSpider power meter, which is lighter again, but doesn’t measure power at each crankarm directly. The new 2InPower offers that extra balance accuracy and claimed +/- 1.5% accuracy in a sleek-looking alloy package. The 2InSpider is available in crank lengths from 165 mm to 175 mm priced at $1,100 / £860 / €1000, which is actually a price drop compared to the previous 2InSpider. Well played, Rotor. This removable cap makes for quick and easy spider and chainring replacement for those with additional spiders or direct mount chainrings. Otherwise, there is always the option to change chainrings via the standard four bolts on at the chainring. Selle Italia has joined the 3D-printed saddle game with a series of saddles including this new Watt 3D time trial/triathlon saddle. The lattice structure is said to allow Selle Italia to used varying densities throughout the saddle to offer improved cushioning in some areas while also providing more rigid support in others. The new saddle is available with carbon or Selle Italia’s TI316 rails. Both rail types offer an extra 10 mm of length for improved adjustability, while the designers have also included a little of that 3D-printed padding on the under side of the nose for hanging a bike on triathlon transition zone racks. The central channel features a non-slip coating to help riders in maintaining their aero positions. Topeak had a range of new products on display, including some neat tool solutions I will include in a future gallery. In the meantime, the gravel or tri riders among us without dedicated bento box mounts might appreciate this new velcro strap offering. Topeak representatives on the stand told me it not only holds gels, but also retains the rip off tab on removal, making for quicker consumption (and less litter!). There’s also a longer option with removable Bento-style box and plenty of gel holding potential. We all knew someone would eventually go there, and Cyclite did with the Handlebar Aero Bag 01. These shoes look a lot like Nimbl’s Air and Exceed line, but are in fact from German brand Venerate. Both the Road Classic (lace-up shoes) and the Road 2.0 feature a “360° carbon shell” with built in arch support and are heat mouldable at home for a semi-custom fit. The Classic shoe has a claimed weight of 215 grams and a price tag of €320. The Road 2.0 ditches the laces in favour of Atop’s aluminium and carbon closure dial. The Road 2.0 model gains a claimed 15 grams while price is also reflective of the more complex closure system and also increases by €30 , up to €350 per pair. Venerate has supplied shoes to World Tour riders, including Jonas Rutsch of EF Education-EasyPost. Venerate also equipped seemingly the most of ultra of ultra-endurance riders, Hannes Blank, who rode this pair of shoes around the world … twice … in two years! Mind-blown emoji! Profile Design has developed these new ASC (Aero-Shaped Carbon) time trial extensions in a variety of lengths and grip angles. Aero-profiled time trial extensions are commonplace these days, although they are often limited in compatibility with older handlebars and quite expensive. The new Profile Design extensions are compatible with any standard 22.2 mm-diameter round extension clamps and are priced at €315. The extensions hug the arms and support the wrists. The grips will also be available in several lengths, which riders can cut down to suit once they have dialled in their position. The brand will also release this new aero bottle later this year. Pricing should be around €50 (TBC) with a 510 mL capacity. Finally, here’s a new tyre Schwalbe was teasing, promising something for the weight and watt weenie alike. The Aerothan tyre utilises the brand’s thermoplastic polyurethane material to create a 28 mm tubeless tyre it claims weighs a mind-boggling 165 grams. If true, that would cement it firmly to the top of Bicycle Rolling Resistance’s list of the lightest tubeless tyres, despite most of those tyre weights measured in the smaller and lighter 25 mm size. If that wasn’t enough, Schwalbe’s claims get even better with the Aerothan tyre said to offer “unrivalled rolling resistance without compromising on puncture protection.” Schwalbe was extremely tight-lipped on the new tyre and actually kept it locked in a glass case, but if these claims prove accurate, they could be onto a new benchmark in performance and time trial tyres. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent