Tech of the Week: sandpaper saddles and lightweight disc bikes

The World Championships may be over and the cycling season drawing to a conclusion, but there’s still a steady stream of tech hitting the headlines. Here’s our pick of the tech highlights from last week, including the world’s lightest disc brake road bike, and a pretty painful saddle modification by a former world champion.

Tony Martin s sandpaper saddle

Tech Of The Week: Sandpaper Saddles And Lightweight Disc Bikes

We ll start with the biggest story from the Cycling Weekly website this week: Tony Martin s gruesome injury from his sandpaper-topped saddle1. The three-time former World Champion really didn t have a good time of things in Wednesday, not only suffering the ignominy of finishing a distant seventh behind Vasil Kiryienka2, but also having the grip tape on his saddle rub all the way through his shorts to reach his bare skin.

>>> Review: Essax Shark saddle3

However, we re not sure whether this can really be seens as the reason behind Martin s disappointing performance, with the German having used grip tape on his saddle to stop him from slipping forward for a number of years now, including on the Specialized Shiv time trial bike4 that he used in this year s Tour de France5.

The world s lightest disc brake road bike

Tech Of The Week: Sandpaper Saddles And Lightweight Disc Bikes

A pro saddle wouldn t normally take top spot in our weekly tech round-up, so we re back into familiar territory with the new Storck Aernario Disc Signature6, which was launched at the Cycle Show over the weekend,7 and is being promoted as the world s lightest disc brake road bike at just 6.3kg.

>>> The lightest production bike in the world, the Merida Scultura 9000 Ltd8

This makes the complete bike 500g lighter than the Focus Izalco Max Disc launched earlier this summer9. However, much of this weight loss comes in the finishing kit, with the Focus actually having the lighter frame of the two. And that finishing kit is pretty special. Only 51 of these bikes are being produced, made in celebration of company founder Markus Storck s 51st birthday, and they re being built up to Storck s dream spec, meaning Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and Ax-Lightness rims.

Best Lightweight Bikes of 2016

And if you re a bit of a weight weenie, then we ve got plenty more for you with our pick of the best lightweight road bikes to keep an eye out for in 201610. There s plenty of choose from, including the Canyon Ultimate CF Evo11 and the 4.96kg Fuji SL12 which was only launched last month.

>>> The five most exiciting bikes of 201613

However the standout bike has to be the Ax-Lightness VIAL evo ULTRA14, which has clinched the title of the world s lightest production bike, hitting the scales at a pretty stunning 4.4kg. The German carbon specialists have achieved this by using less resin in the frame, and selecting some impressive finishing kit including a pair of 800g U24 tubular wheels.

Should you slam your stem? Yes or no?

Tech Of The Week: Sandpaper Saddles And Lightweight Disc Bikes

Our tech question of the week concerned one of the biggest points of contention in modern cycling: should you slam your stem?15 Now we always thought there wasn t much debate around this; slamming your stem looks cool so why wouldn t you do it?

>>> Handlebar height how to get it right (video)16

Well apparently throwing away all those headset spacers can cause numerous problems, especially if you re not flexible enough to cope with a bigger drop between your saddles and bars, with all of the bike fitters we talking of the importance of finding a comfortable and maintainable position that won t cause back problems. Very sensible indeed.

More from the Cycle Show

Taking place at the NEC in Birmingham last week, this year s Cycle Show was packed full of cool and interesting things to see17. A particular highlight was a new prototype Canyon, which is believed to be the new Speedmax, but there was plenty of other things to take a look at too.

Tech Of The Week: Sandpaper Saddles And Lightweight Disc Bikes

Canyon s new prototype

How to fit handlenar

And finally We have produced a handy video on how to wrap handlebar tape.18 Watch the video to find out what you ll need for the job and how best to approach it. Al uses a figure of eight approach that works best with drop bars and modern shifters. Follow his advice carefully and you ll have a fresh looking set of bars in no time.

References

  1. ^ Tony Martin s gruesome injury from his sandpaper-topped saddle (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ distant seventh behind Vasil Kiryienka (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ >>> Review: Essax Shark saddle (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Tour de France bike: Tony Martin s Specialized Shiv (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Tour de France (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ The world s lightest disc brake road bike? Introducing the new Storck Aernario Disc Signature (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Six things to see at the Cycle Show this weekend (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ >>> The lightest production bike in the world, the Merida Scultura 9000 Ltd (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ New Focus Izalco Max Disc to be world s lightest disc road bike (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ best lightweight road bikes to keep an eye out for in 2016 (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ Canyon enters lightweight arms race with 4.85kg Ultimate CF Evo SL (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  12. ^ How light?!

    4.96kg Fuji SL unleashed ahead of Vuelta a Espa a (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

  13. ^ Five most exciting bikes of 2016 (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  14. ^ At just 4.4kg, is this the lightest bike in the world? (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  15. ^ should you slam your stem? (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  16. ^ How to set your handlebar height (video) (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  17. ^ this year s Cycle Show was packed full of cool and interesting things to see (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  18. ^ how to wrap handlebar tape. (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

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