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One of the hottest mountain bike brands out there comes to Saddleback for 2014. Have a good look at our stand this year for a taste of what’s to come...

Each month incycle will share the inner workings of Saddleback’s brand building activities, news, events and business developments. Allowing you to gain an in-depth feel for the brands we represent and meet our passionate team. Issue eight is best served with anything hot as it’s freezing outside as I’m designing this new Incycle.

Jason, Ross and Adrian go trail building.

The sun is out! Lunchtime rides resume.

We take a look at our preparations for Core Bike.


of our brands on show


members of staff from Saddleback

2 1,000 5 1,000 rooms dedicated to our brands

Product Collections printed of our brands staff flown over

Coffee cups ordered for our machine

With some of the world’s best mountain bikers choosing to use Smith goggles, helmets and eyewear, it was clear that Smith Optics is a brand that we wanted to be associated with and distribute. With riders such as Brandon Semenuk, Bas van Steenbergen and Aaron Gwin, to name a few, we know already how high quality these products are. Proven at race and competiton level, we are excited to be able to offer a wide range of goggles

and eyewear, and the new Forefront mountain bike helmet. 2014 will see the growth of Saddleback not just in premises, but in brands distributed and this is one that has got the mountain bikers in the office truly excited and picking out colourways to match goggles and helmets alike. Keep your eyes peeled at our stand this year at Core Bike to see a sneak preview of the Forefront helmet and a taste of the goggles and eyewear that are coming soon!


The new 2014 Saddleback Product Collection is available now, make sure you pick up your copy at Core Bike. If you haven’t then contact your Saddleback Rep or the office for a copy.


Super lightweight and strong enough to last all season.

Wish you could own a World Champion’s bike? Well now you can, be quick though there’s only a limited amount available! 2013 saw Greg Minnaar win the Downhill World Champs for a consecutive year. Formerly the World Champion in 2012 he retained his crown on home soil in 2013 on this very bike. You now have a chance to own this piece of history and arguably one of the best downhill bikes available. Nothing makes us prouder than to see our brands and products used at the highest level. All season long Greg Minnaar has used Enve wheels, seatpost and bars. Race proven and tested, the rear wheel sustained a flat on the finishing strectch of the course at Pietermarizburg where the title was won. This didn’t stop Minnaar or the wheel from holding up until the finish line was behind him! Congratulations Greg from everyone at Saddleback and be sure to come and salivate over our very own v10 replica in the Saddleback room at Core Bike.


Handmade to the highest quality standards available at Saddleback.

Nickname: GM Born: 13/11/1981 Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Age: 32 Team: Santa Cruz Syndicate

MINNAAR SIGNATURE ENVE DH BARS 808mm wide limited edition bars available now at Saddleback.

First noticed: 1999, aged 17 racing for his local bike shop. Previous teams: Local bike shop, Animal Orange, Global Racing, Haro Lee Dungarees, Team G Honda. 3x DH World Champion: 2003, 2012, 2013. 3x DH World Cup Overall: 2001, 2005, 2008. 2x NORBA Champion: 2003, 2004. 2008: Podiumed at every race in the series.

DAVID BARNAVILLE Our man who always comes to work with his head on fire

Who is David Barnaville? “The Bear” Where does he live? Bath What’s your job title? Customer Service - North & Scotland What do you do? Answer consumer and retailer questions and place orders How long have you been at Saddleback? 3 ½ years Worst job you ever had? Packing cosmetic samples for mail outs! Best place to ride? South of France. Biot and the surrounding area Favourite Bike product? Garmin 705. 5 years old and still going. Would be lost without it What makes you angry? People who faff! What makes you happy? Do I have to say the Wife or Beer, coffee and cake What’s your favourite saying? Get knotted! Whats the best bit of advice you could give? Yellow snow is not lemon flavour What are you listening to now? Halloween “Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1”


Complete with South African wheel decals.

How would you like to be remembered? All round good guy. Generally missed?

Stages Cycling named the Official Supplier of Power Meters to Team Sky Team Sky chooses the Stages Power meter to capture performance data for the 2014 season After extensive testing and validation Team Sky has chosen to exclusively use the Stages® Power meter during the 2014 racing season. This new sponsorship deal adds serious cache to Stages Cycling’s product design philosophy, and will serve to accelerate further development of the Stages Power meter. We are so pleased to announce that Team Sky will race with Stages Power this season “This sponsorship, and what it means for Stages Power, is very exciting for our company” said Pat Warner, Stages Cycling’s Senior Vice President. “We are humbled and honored to be collecting data for one of the best teams in the sport. It’s a huge responsibility and we both have great confidence that Stages Power can help Team Sky be successful this season.”

2014 is a big year for us here at Saddleback, it’s our ten year anniversary! We’ve come a long way. 2014 marks ten years of Saddleback bringing you elite performance products. From our origin back in 2004 in a semi-detached house to now out growing our current building, Saddleback continues to increase its number of brands and capacity. Starting with only one brand, Felt, Saddleback has acquired many brands along its journey over the last ten years. We are very proud of what we have achieved and what the future holds for us, the continued distribution of some of the best brands and products that exist in the world bikes! “Saddleback would be nothing without the quality and commitment of its staff and their truly evident love for cycling.” Andy Wigmore, Director “As a team, we see the power meter as a very useful tool. The results that we get, both from training and racing, help us to quantify how our riders are performing, which then allows us to make informed coaching decisions. Stages have worked hard to develop a high quality product that is extremely lightweight, reliable and simple to use whilst retaining the precision and accuracy that we require at Team Sky. We welcome Stages as a technical partner for 2014 and look forward to continuing to develop and improve our performances on the road, informed by the data generated by the Stages power meter” Tim Kerrison, Team Sky’s Head of Performance Support

This month Nick Cox shares with us his pick of the bunch

ENVE DH BARS An obvious choice when athletes such as Steve Peat use them, but I needed to try these for myself. These bars live up to there reputation of being super stiff and incredibly light. Confidence inspiring and reliable with a 5 year warranty to back it up! So to sum up in two words... Get some!

DAGGER FRONT AERO BRAKES Aero-optimized front brake cover reduces wind drag. Cover is easy to remove for brake service.

Have a look at the most advanced triathlon bike in the world. IA stands for Integrated Aero. To create this bike, Felt assembled a team of athletes and engineers and challenged them to rethink every element of aerodynamic performance. They were asked to forget about limitations and dream of new ways to build not just a faster bike, but a fully integrated machine that interfaces more seamlessly with the human form. The result is a bike that has been obsessively engineered, tip to tail, to give competitive riders a real-world advantage in the race against the clock. The IA has already proven itself at the Ironman World Championships, Mirinda Carfrae stormed to victory smashing her previous bike leg personal best.

CLOAKED CABLE ROUTING Fully-integrated drivetrain cables or electronic wiring creates optimized aerodynamics, component performance and serviceability.

INTEGRATED FORK DESIGN An integrated fork permits a narrower head tube section, which minimizes drag and increases aerodynamic performance.

CLOAKED SEAT STAYS Near-horizontal seat stay design improves aerodynamics by reducing wind drag. The design also improves comfort with its leaf-spring effect and boosts lateral stiffness with its small rear triangle surface area. Nick’s usually super tidy desk has been hit by a tornado of Core Bike design work

CORE BIKE 2014 INTEGRATED REAR BRAKE Rear brake is strategically positioned on underside of chainstays for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. Removable cover makes the brakes easy to service.

Time to shake off the winter blues and head over to a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Happy New Year... Now back to work. That’s right it’s time for Core Bike. No sooner is the winter break over than Core Bike is upon us, the talk in the office is which products are we taking, what look shall we go for, have we got time to do this, how much coffee will we need. January is always a busy month for us here at Saddleback, whether it’s dealers replenishing their stock after their winter blow out, or the wealth of design work that is going on with the new Product Collection Book, Media for the Core Bike display or the ongoing website redesign. The road to Core Bike is a sprint but one we love doing. We hope you enjoy our Saddleback room and make sure you grab a coffee with us before leaving. TOP FIVE

Ross Grimmett our Technical Product Specialist shares his top five bike inventions.

ALL-ASPECT TUBING. Down tube and seat tube profile and cross section are engineered not only to reduce drag across common yaw angles, but generate lift to reduce the effort required to accelerate and maintain speed.

1. DISC BRAKES The reliability and late breaking modern brakes offer was unimaginable not long ago. 2. DROPPER SEATPOSTS A lazy riders dream – convenience that once you have used, you will wonder how you managed without. 3. TUBELESS WHEEL AND TYRE SYSTEM The ride feel, reliability and resilience of current systems add so much to my mountain biking. 4. SUSPENSION Where forks and shocks are now in terms of performance and weight is really astonishing. 5. GORETEX + CLOTHING The kit and materials has advanced so much, they let you keep enjoying your bike in the worst of UK conditions in comfort.




Magazine’s fearless foursome face Ironman with support of Saddleback.

Following hot on the heels of Ironman World Champion and Felt athlete Mirinda Carfrae, a team from Future Publishing’s Triathlon Plus magazine is heading for glory at Ironman Austria in June supported by Saddleback. The team of four will be riding Felt bikes, and using Stages power meters, Castelli cycling and triathlon kit, and Bont shoes. The magazine will chart the ups and downs of the team for six months, following Editor Elizabeth Hufton, senior writer Tom Ballard, and team-mates Shonsel Ballard and Kevin Gover. Find out how Team Felt Triathlon Plus get on from the March issue onwards (on sale 4 February); they’ll also be blogging at “We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with Saddleback for our Ironman campaign,” says Elizabeth. “We might not be threatening Mirinda’s world title chances this year, but we all have tough personal goals for the race. To be using bikes and kit with a proven record of Ironman success is hugely reassuring.”




BONT CUSTOM SERVICE Stand out from the crowd with your own personalised Bonts For more information talk to your Saddleback Rep or Rich Mardle about the possibility of having your very own personalised Bont shoe.

WINTER’S BEST SELLERS 1 Castelli Diluvio Shoecover 2 Arundel Gecko Bar Tape 3 Castelli Diluvio Glove 4 Bont Riot 5 Felt AR5

Our very own Charles Coleman heads for some winter sun to top up his tan.



Nothing makes your mates more jealous than having tan lines in January, so I headed to Lanzarote for some winter sun. It’s the first time I’ve been away with my Felt F1 and was duly impressed with its performance – racing drills with Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt was a good test. After 8 days, 25 degree heat and just shy of 550 miles ridden, it’s fair to say I’ve well and truly kicked off the racing season. THE FACTS Top Temperature: 28 degrees Miles Ridden: 550 miles Average Speed: 18.6 mph Fastest Speed: 54 mph Longest Ride: 110 miles Feet climbed: 39,750 feet Max HR: 192 bpm


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This month Nick Cox shares with us his pick of the bunch




Being somewhat of a newbie when it comes to riding bikes on roads and not in the woods my insight into the AR2 is going to be simple, it’s stupidly fast. Having tried a number of road bikes (perk of the job), the AR2 has been the most enjoyable, fastest and most rewarding. The Felt AR range this year are very impressive so if money is an issue be sure to try the AR5 (see above) and find out for yourself how good they are!





AERODYNAMIC WHEELS WITH ROLLing intO 2014 with multiple WorldWIDER AND MORE COMPLEX RIM SHAPES THAN TRADITIONAL V-SHAPED AERO WHEELS. THE Cup wins, the women’s World Cup and World BONTRAGER AEOLUS, HED STINGER, SMART ENVE AND ZIPP Championship titles, and a gold medal from FIRECREST WHEELS ALL FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY Red Bull Rampage under its belt, the all-new PROS GT Fury is a downhill bike with some The latest aero wheelsets may be faster than the old guard, but just as importantly they’re also easier to ride. seriously promising credentials. Narrow, flat-sided rims with super-skinny tyres look aerodynamic, but results from CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and wind tunnel testing are turning that The pedal-efficient Independent thinking on its head. Fatter is faster. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated, but most aero Drivetrain suspension system delivers wheel makers have been heading in that general direction. Simon Smart worked with Enve Composites to the Smart Enve System wheelsets. 220mm (8.7in) of rock-swallowing rear design In still air, Smart says there’s relatively little difference between a regular box-section wheel and a travel, while the combination of a long front deeper, aero wheel – “there might be two or three watts between them”. When the wind picks up, though, aero wheelsets start to earn their keep. “The difference can triangle and short rear end provides stability be as much as 20 watts in a crosswind,” he says. “That’s because of the way the wheel starts to act like a sail, at speed without affecting the bike’s ability which gives you an effect of forward thrust.” Older aero wheels give this advantage, but at the expense of stability. “One of the things that really drove to be responsive and fun. me was to develop a wheel that was as fast or faster the fastest wheels on the market but that would be Packed with parts from Fox, Shimano, than more rideable – we didn’t want a wheel that was quick in the tunnel but which riders couldn’t use.” Continental, Race Face and e*thirteen, the Smart aimed to find a rim shape that would preserve some steering feel as the wind passed over the rim but wouldn’t react suddenly to a strong gust. “Predictable Fury Expert is ready to race as soon as it is the word,” he explains. “A wider rim gives more opportunity for curvature, which helps control the wind rolls off the shop floor. at high yaw angles.”


Our own testing backs up the notion that modern wide-rimmed aero wheels deliver more speed without unpredictable handling.

£3,499.99 Cycling Sports Group

CONS Next generation aerodynamics don’t come cheap. A pair of Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels costs £2300.

WILL IT MAKE ME FASTER? Yes, but at a price.

The latest reviews from the media world 1 ENVE Cycling Plus 284 2 ENVE Mountain Biking UK 299 3 BONT Cycling Plus 283 4 CASTELLI WOMENS Cycling Plus 283 5 STAGES ProCycling 186 6 ENVE Mountain Biking UK 299 7 FELT Cycling Plus 284 8 BONT Cycling Plus 284




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r i D D e n & r at e D

we saY...


A mouldable, highperformance shoe for just under a ton is a bit of a bargain






7Shaped to fit

Women can get away with wearing some garments designed for men, with the only difference being perhaps smaller sizes and ‘girly’ colours. We’re thinking socks. And maybe gloves. Otherwise, if you’re looking for comfortable tops and bottoms for cycling, it’ll pay to at least try some womenspecific designs. Having a bust and wider hips means you’ll find jerseys and jackets that are contoured to fit your curves will not only feel more comfortable – not too tight, not too loose – they should also work better, wicking where they hug your skin and keeping draughts out. Shorts/bottoms are an obvious concern. Women tend to have wider sit-bones than men, so a wider pad will make life in the saddle more comfortable. Don’t think deep padding is necessarily best though: you want enough protection for your bones, but not so much bulk elsewhere that the padding simply squashes into all your nooks and crannies…


The Cortina W Headband offers some protection from the cold, but it’s a bit of a squeeze to get under your helmet. One to put in your pocket and pull out at the cafe stop.



Our tester found her fingertips up against the fabric in the large size and they’re hard to pull on, but their slim design means good contact with the bar.





Some merino wool kit can itch, but we found the Mondrian socks perfectly comfortable. They keep your feet and ankles warm without being tight.


Bont riot £99.99

£15-£190 › Winter clothing for women

efore anyone writes in, yes there’s a lot of pink here. We didn’t ask for it, it’s what Castelli sent us. We don’t mind – it’s bright, it’ll get you seen – and there are other colours available. Right. That out of the way, is it any good? The Tenerissimo 2 Tights (£95) are warm but not as windproof as Castelli’s more expensive Correntes, tested a couple of winters ago. They’re also not as good a fit. Though we went down a size, the Tenerissimos feel loose around the top and seat, particularly off the bike when the very WE SAY... dense pad feels like it’s Good winter hanging off you. Although comfortable, clobber, with a the pad’s thickness few niggles that means you squirm need sorting around on the saddle, quite disconcertingly at times, and even slide backwards on steep climbs. The ankles are tight as well. We really like the Viziata Jersey FS (£85). On mild days it’s warm enough under a gilet, the arms offering protection against the cold, and it wicks well. It needs a zip garage, though, as it’s

specification SIZES 36-50


ont’s Riots are handmade, with mouldable carbon soles that, with a stack height of just 4.8mm, are very efficient, but feel every bit as stiff as more exotic, much more expensive shoes. They feature large side perforations with mesh sections on top for extra ventilation, and a vented padded tongue. The V-shape forefoot Velcro strap is secure but not vicelike, though the micro-adjust ankle ratchet can slightly crease the upper when tightened hard. ★★★★★

uncomfortable when done right up. The Viziata W Jacket (£190) offers more protection, with Gore Wind Stopper in its construction, but isn’t as well cut. Though the arms and front are lovely and warm, it’s too short and doesn’t keep draughts off your lower back, especially when you’re in the drops, and like the jersey there’s no zip garage. The narrow elastic and tab cuff of the CW 4.0 WS Donna Gloves (£50) makes them hard to pull on, but they’re quite comfortable once on – not the longest fingers, though, even in large. Grip is good, as is protection from the Gore Wind Stopper and Thinsulate fabric. You can’t really go wrong with 100 per cent merino wool socks, and the Mondrians (£15) are warm and comfortable, without a shred of itch. No itch from the Cortina W Headband (£20) either, but that’s probably because it’s 100 per cent acrylic with a faux fur lining.

HIGHS Jersey cut/comfort, cosy socks LOWS Jacket length, pad density



For a tenner less than the Castelli Tenerissimo 2s you gain a ‘vest’ in the shape of the Betty’s bib, which adds cosy warmth on colder days. Bib tights are very comfortable around the waist, well worth the faffing required at toilet stops, we reckon. The Sportfuls have a soft, fleecy lining and are nicely stretchy, with a comfortable multi-density Princess pad. We love the name, too. ★★★★★

zéFaL hPX cLassic £24.99

arina BLaDe £34.99 7

EnVE’s stunning caRbOn riser always looked and felt like a bar that could be ridden hard, but the 700mm width was never going to cut it for those who like to get wild on their trail bikes. Thankfully the brand have listened and added a 740mm option to their stable. The extra 40mm ought to put it on the aggressive trail rider/ enduro shredder’s radar. Backing up the extra width are a tried-and-tested 23mm rise, five degrees of upsweep, nine degrees of backsweep and a claimed weight of 185g.

£120 Saddleback

For 360º footage of these products go to

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EnvE RisER baR

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Btwin rain jacket 7 reD/ 8

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Stages power meter From £599 / $699


US firm Stages is slashing the cost of power measurement. Their 20g unit containing the strain guages is bonded to the non-drive side arm of alloy SRAM, Shimano and Cannondale cranks and available as a left arm or a complete crankset. Power is measured at the left crank, doubled, and transmitted via ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart. Claimed accuracy is within +/- 2 per cent, battery life is up to 200 hours and it can be changed in seconds. Stages say the built-in thermometer ensures excellent temperature compensation.

Most wanted

Also take a look at ▲ FoR £170 moRe tRY: Easton Haven Carbon wheels £1,899.98

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11:06 24/01/2013 10:27

▼ FoR £70 moRe tRY: DT Swiss EXC 1550 26 wheels £1,799.98

enVe twenty6 am rims £750 (per rim)

5 Procycling


ouR 26In enve AM rims were built on to DT Swiss 350 hubs (£229.98, with 32 J-bend bladed spokes per wheel, giving an all-in weight of just 1,590g. As soon as you hit the trails on these deep-section carbon hoops the stiffness is apparent instantly. Our initial impression – with a 20mm axle, 36mm stanchion fork – was that there was a lot of feedback through the bar, but a switch to a 15mm axle, 35mm stanchion fork helped us to find the sweet spot.

january 2014

Where the Twenty6 AMs really shine is carving turns and screaming across off-camber sections at speed, where they help you to hold your line with ease. The feel and feedback, once you’re accustomed to it, is really pretty special. The low weight, stiffness and instant engagement from DT’s Ratchet System driver combine to create a rapid pick-up as soon as you begin to apply power, while the 24mm internal rim width creates a great tyre profile. After six months, and

clattering through some of the ugliest rock gardens around, the ENVEs remain straight, true and dependable ride after ride, with just some superficial marks. Although they’re super expensive, the stiff, precise handling on offer is really impressive – and even more so in the 650b and 29in sizes. Rob

impressively stiff, precise and durable carbon hoops that’ll liven up your ride. you’ll need deep pockets though


More gear and kit reviews ...BUT WILL IT MAKE ME FASTER


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The full Velcro cover 2 hides a dial adjuster and smooths the surface of the shoe for a genuine aerodynamic benefit.

The rubber toe bumper protects the carbon sole and the upper too, and has small meshed vent holes to aid cooling.




The new breed of aero road helmets offers a halfway house between a conventional fully vented lid and a TT/ triathlon helmet with minimal ventilation and a long tail.

These are high-end helmets with high-end prices, and most that we have tested are compromised to some extent in terms of ventilation, so they may not be the first choice for a hilly ride on a hot day. That said,

WILL IT MAKE ME FASTER? We’d like to perform some independent tests before saying how much quicker, but yes, all the indications are that an aero lid will save you time.

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In cycling’s very own bake-off, Bont recommends that to get the best from the shoe you warm it in the oven to mould it to the shape of your feet. Just put the shoes in a preheated conventional oven at 70C for 20 minutes. We’d recommend the full 20, too. If you get nervous and take them out earlier they won’t be as pliable. Let them cool a little and test the heat inside with your hand. Then place your feet in the shoes and tighten. Allow the shoes to cool and they’ll set to the shape of your foot. You can use the round end of a screwdriver handle or to press out any parts that may rub. Bont says that you can mould and remould the shoes as many times as you like.

£275 › Wiggo’s racing slippers of choice


Yes, aero road bikes are faster, especially if you’re spending long periods riding alone without the shelter of other riders.

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the Louis Garneau Course is the coolest we’ve tried in hot weather, although without time in the wind tunnel with the Course, Air Attack and Evade, we couldn’t say which is fastest.



CONS Aero frames are sometimes compromised in other areas, in particular weight and stiffness. So while they might be quicker than non-aero frames, they don’t always feel as good to ride. There are exceptions, though. The latest Trek Madone race bikes incorporate many aero features, such as Kammtail tubing and a front brake which blends into the fork, but are comfortable, stiff and light. The Felt AR2 we tested in issue 282 is further evidence that bike manufacturers are figuring out how to cheat the wind without beating up the rider or compromising on power transfer. Aerodynamicist Simon Smart ((www.smartaero has worked with Scott and Giant and is currently designing his own aero road and time trial machines. “If we get the aero road bike right it will be one machine that can be used for everything,” he says. There are mirror-image developments in non-aero road bikes. Cervélo is making its R-series – designed first and foremost for light weight and stiffness – more aerodynamic. “New R-series classic road frames all have Squoval 3 tube profiles, keeping their low weight and high stiffness while reducing aero drag to the tune of 7.4 watts compared with the previous generation,” says Rinard. It seems these two genres of racing bike are well on the way to meeting in the middle.


Heat moulding 2


It takes less energy to go fast. Typically, manufacturers claim savings of around 20 watts at 40kph (24mph). That might not transform your sensation of speed, but it’s enough to make a measurable difference against the clock. When we tested four aero bikes in August 2012 we concluded: ‘The overall result of this test is definitely a positive outcome for aero road bikes, particularly if you’re into long mileages at high average speeds.’ And don’t believe the myth that you need to be a quick rider to benefit from an aero bike. “It often comes as a surprise that faster riders, though they see a greater reduction in aero drag force with an aero bike, don’t save as much time (for a given course) as slower riders do,” explains Damon Rinard, senior advanced research and design engineer at Cervélo (






are aero frames, tubeless tyres and hydraulic brakes really all they’re cracked up to be? Maybe a professional racer looking to save every last watt would benefit, but will your average MAMIL or MAWIL really notice any advantage? If an ordinary rider invests in these technologies, will they cut their PB or just extend their overdraft?


The carbon sole is 1 highly mouldable, so you can get the perfect fit for your feet after warming the shoe in the oven.




12/19/13 6:23 PM




TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN CYCLING ARE MOVING APACE, BUT HOW DO THEY AFFECT YOUR PEDALLING PACE? WE TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, AND WHETHER THEY CAN SPEED UP YOUR CYCLING Someone seems to have hit the fast-forward button. Frame manufacturers, component makers and wheel builders are all rushing to create bikes and bike bits which go quicker, stop better, or spin faster. Gather together all the latest go-faster goodies on one dream machine and you could be forgiven for thinking you hardly need pedal anymore. But

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ont’s new ‘Plus’ version has the same full fastener cover design as the original Zero. But while that had laces, the Plus has the Atop ratchet system that Bont uses in its Vaypor + shoes. This switch to a dial system means there’s less bulk underneath the cover, creating a smoother line to the shoe – a shape that Bont also claims is more aerodynamic than the original, though Bont WE SAY... has still retained the These have about bathtub-shaped sole. the most tunable We’ve tried pretty much everybody’s fit of any cycling custom-fit systems but shoe we’ve tried Bont’s is by far the most extreme. The amount of shaping you can do to the shoe after heating makes for a truly personalised fit. That said, earlier Bonts didn’t always agree with some of our testers’ feet, their cramped toe-box making them difficult to wear for long periods. Bont has now increased toe-box volume and the move away from the stiff woven fibre upper of the previous Zero also adds plushness. The golf ballpatterned DuroLite upper is more compliant and flexible, adding even more comfort to a shoe that wasn’t renowned for it.

The new Bonts are a joy to use. No matter how hard we pushed and pulled we couldn’t discern even the slightest flex in them. Having your foot in the right position feels powerful and efficient, and gives you the sense that every ounce of your effort is being used to propel you forward faster. Ventilation has never been a major factor in Bont’s designs. The one-piece uni-directional carbon sole has no vents, while the upper just has minimal mesh vents in the toe bumper and pinhole vents in the toe-box. In spite of that we’ve been wearing them from summer and into the winter and haven’t found them lacking. We’ve no reason to doubt Bont’s claims about the aerodynamic advantages of these. Time triallists have long known that a covered shoe is faster. They’re among the lightest shoes we’ve tested, our size 45s weighing 502g, they’re also the stiffest and the most tunable. The only downside is that the carbon sole can get scuffed fairly quickly. That and the prohibitively high price.

HIGHS Light with unparalleled stiffness LOWS Easy to mark the sole; pricey

RATING ★★★★★


These have two Velcro straps and a ratchet, a closure system that offers plenty of adjustment, though you do need to take care tightening the ratchet. They’re seriously light, too, our size 45s weighing just 520g a pair. This is achieved without compromising on the stiffness of its Platinum level full carbon sole, partly by redesigning the whole of the upper as a single piece. The use of just a single seam in the entire shoe also keeps them feeling pretty plush. Stiff, light and comfortable? That’s pretty much everything we’d want from a performance cycling shoe. ★★★★★

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P R O D U C E D B Y S A D D L E B A C K LT D U N I T 1 0 E A S T E R C O U R T, W O O D W A R D AV E N U E , YA T E , B R I S T O L B S 3 7 5 Y S TEL+44 (0) 1454 285 285

FA C E B O O K . C O M / S A D D L E B A C K T W I T T E R . C O M / S A D D L E B A C K _ LT D I N S T A G R A M . C O M / S A D D L E B A C K _ LT D


Issue 8 Winter 2013  

An insight into Saddleback's team, current news, product information, reviews and media coverage.

Issue 8 Winter 2013  

An insight into Saddleback's team, current news, product information, reviews and media coverage.