Fizik handlebars and stems to debut summer 2013

Fizik, purveyor of my fave handlebar wrap, will soon introduce a line of handlebars and stems. Currently French team AG2R is collaborating in the final stages of product development. Of particular interest to me is that the team is testing a “multitude of materials and shapes.” A “multitude of materials” is obviously aluminium and carbon, though the alloys or composite layups may obviously differ. However, a “multitude of shapes” must refer to handlebar styles. Since a World Tour pro team is directly involved in the development, I wonder what bar shapes will come from the partnership. Historically, pro riders often choose a fairly traditional dropbar shape, and in fact the team photos released by Fizk do show an AG2R rider with a fairly traditional, round bend as opposed to the “compact” bend style that is currently fashionable with consumers (or at least OEM suppliers). Honestly, I can’t imagine Fizik not submitting a compact bend bar shape, but I would be pleased as punch if they presented a more traditional, round bend alongside.

In the images provided by Fizik, it appears that their bars share some similarities to Shimano’s “Pro Vibe” series of handlebars in having an oversize stem clamp section that stays 31.8mm far towards the shoulders of the bar, until finally tapering down to 24.0mm at the ramps. Continuing the broader cross-section further laterally enhances the stiffness of the handlebar, and some riders find the fatter cross-section more comfortable in the hands. It also looks like the Fizik bar may have a radius at the shoulder that is a little bit larger than the typical to give better forearm clearance when sprinting, though not as big of a radius as that of a track or “criterium” handlebar.

Details of the stems are a little harder to discern. The example shown seems to have a typical 4-bolt, open-face closure, though the clamp seems a little narrower than typical. Like their seatposts, Fizik stems & bars seem to exemplify an elegantly simple if somewhat conservative graphic style, leaving their range of lushly coloured and textured handlebar wraps as an outlet for personal expression. I can personally hope that they offer a -17deg stem angle option in addition to the industry standard 6deg, but if Fizik sells a handlebar like the one pictured, then I can guarantee that you’ll see one on my bike.

Fizik AG2R

Vittoria Cycling Shoes on How it’s Made

The Science Channel’s How It’s Made, episode #1000, features Vittoria shoes.

Light as A Feather, Stiff as a Board


As seen in adouzoglou’s Instagram stream.

Taiwan Excellence Finalists Include Giant, Strida

Strida in the Boardroom

Strida in a Boardroom

TAITRA (Taiwan Trade Council) announced their list of finalists for the highest honor a Taiwan-made product may receive last week, the Taiwan Excellence Gold Awards. The products include the best of everything made in Taiwan. In the fitness categories, the nominees include the Giant ANYROAD and Avail Advanced SL bicycles, Merida’s E-Big Nine – 29er and Warp TT bicycles, the 3-speed from Strida, and the Green System Elliptical from SportsArt Fitness.

When I visited the Giant Factory, I saw the Anyroad and Avail being made. Later in the trip, I also visited Strida’s factory. While the ride is like pedaling a ladder attached to a skateboard, it’s still an innovative and interesting approach to a folding bike.

Here’s a video of us having fun in the boardroom with one.

Did your ride a bike around a boardroom today?

and a photo from the Ming Makes Strida Well photoset on G+ and Flickr.

The Gold Award winners, and maybe Strida or Giant, will be announced in April at a gala ceremony in Taipei. I may attend that event.

Garmin Releases New GPS Computers, But Where’s My Request

I’ve had a Garmin GPS mounted to my bikes since before the Edge series of bike-specific computers was available, using their hiking models and the bike bar adapters to fashion computers that were functional but not particularly slim. (I’ve saved my ass with a mapping bike computer on several occasions, including trips to road ride in Beijing, mountain bike in the forests of Louisiana and poking around in the Netherlands. In fact it was a Garmin GPS computer that brought me to BikeHugger. Byron, who can’t stand the UI of Garmin devices was decrying the usefulness of an Edge model when I chimed in and schooled him on the value of a mapping-capable computer. The rest was history.

Garmin Edge 810 and 510

The new Garmin Edge 810 and 510 (announced today) add some great features (live weather, sync with iOS and more) but they’re still missing something I’ve been dying to get in a bike computer for years—the ability to customize a training ride by answering a few questions.

Here’s an example—I often tack miles onto my rides to extend my training and I’ll randomly pick new roads and see where they go. Sometimes this is great, sometimes I end up doing 30 miles when I wanted an extra 5. Often I’m headed straight up a hill when I wanted a flat, fast ride.

A GPS-based bike computer knows the terrain. Like my mapping software in my car, it could easily pick routes and avoid others. What I want to be able to do is pick two point—staring point and end point—and then customize how many miles I want to ride to get from one to the other, and the terrain type.

For example, I want to ride from my house to one of my shops (four miles apart) but I want a 20 mile route to get there. Or, I’d like to start at my house and end up back at my house, but I want to climb 5000 feet during my ride, and I don’t care how long it takes me to do that. Want to do intervals? Great, give me a local hill and pace me up it to stay on track and then plot my cool down. Or maybe I want to go from my house to my shop but I want to avoid as many roads as possible that I’ve taken more than once.

Or, sometimes more importantly, I want a route home from my current location that doesn’t go over a mountain.

This came to me once when I was capping off a grueling 50 mile event ride with what my GPS told me was a nice 25 mile route back to my house but turned out to be an additional 3000 feet of climbing that I was just not prepared for. Even if the GPS had shown me the elevation profile of the chosen route I could have decided to scrap the route before I found myself granny gearing up a 20 percent grade.

This wouldn’t be hard to do, it’s a variation on the route avoidance calculations that car-based units already have. But it would be massively, massively helpful to me. I wouldn’t have to ride out with a encyclopedic knowledge of the mountains around my house (or in a new-to-me city) to get a climbing workout or blow up my legs after a training ride with a climb-too-far.

Please, future Kickstarters and gadget developers, add these features and convert my GPS from a passive device into a serious Sherpa-like route guide.

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