Viral // Syncros // Schwalbe // Canyon // MicroSHIFT // Orbea // Miss Grape & more!

Viral Optimist 160mm enduro mountain bike with 3D printed titanium and carbon frame

This week the mountain bike stuff is up top, but there’s a lot more road and gravel stuff below it! We have a Viral’s wild carbon+ti MTB concept, Canyon’s steering stabilizer, a new Boxxer, and more for the dirt.

For road, there are new short-travel gravel bikes, one-piece carbon wheels, an affordable aero road bike, a metaverse cycling game, carbon fiber brake pads, plus Chris King brings back the espresso tamper and more! Here’s the best new stuff this week:

  • Viral Optimist
  • Pinion SmartShift
  • Canyon Spectral K.I.S.
  • Rockshox Boxxer
  • OneUp MTB grips
  • Syncros Capital SL
  • Schwalbe’s aero tires
  • MicroSHIFT Sword
  • BH GravelX
  • GT Grade
  • Fezzari Veyo S
  • Orbea Orca
  • Carbon disc brake pads
  • Garbaruk crankset
  • Chris King Espresso Tampers
  • Miss Grape bar bag bracket
  • Skodaverse cycling game

Viral Optimist 160 has flexible ti dropouts & electronic gearbox

Viral Optimist 160 enduro mountain bike prototype with 3D printed titanium lugs and carbon tubes
Click on any pic to enlarge.

Using carbon fiber tubes connecting 3D-printed 6/4 titanium lugs made with a very high-power laser that both sinters and heat treats parts as they’re made, the upcoming Viral Optimist enduro bike can work with any shock, offer custom geometry, and deliver 160mm of rear wheel travel with a linkage-driven single-pivot.

A very thin, flat hollow titanium seatstay section just above the axle flexes to allow the seatstays to articulate throughout its travel. It’s less than 2º of flex, but allows for massive travel in a simple, lightweight design.

The bike is built around the new electronically shifting Pinion SmartShift (see next item), which keeps chainring and cog sizing consistent, so they can optimize the kinematics perfectly and drastically reduce rear unsprung mass. MSRP is TBA, target release date is early 2024.

Pinion SmartShift electronic shifting bicycle gearbox

Pinion SmartShift bicycle gearbox with electronic shifting

The original Pinion gearboxes require a twist shifter that pulls two cables, one in each direction, to shift. Their new SmartShift system replaces that with electronic shifting, with an integrated rechargeable battery powering it.

It’s built on their smaller, lighter C-Line gearbox, which is offered in 6, 9, and 12 speeds, the latter offering up to 600% gear range. Weight is similar to a combined cassette plus derailleur, but it moves all of that weight off the rear axle.

It’s fully enclosed, needs minimal maintenance, and works with their own flatbar shifter or the TRP HyWire drop bar shifter, which pairs with TRP’s hydraulic disc brakes. I’m betting we see a lot more of this system soon, along with their gearbox+motor e-bike transmission.

Canyon Spectral K.I.S. gets a mullet

2023 Canyon Spectral Mullet enduro mountain bike with KIS steering stabilizer

This new mixed-wheel Canyon Spectral CF8 CLLCTV KIS downsizes the rear wheel and is the first model with their “Keep It Stable” adjustable steering damper system to come to the US.

US spec gets SRAM GX Eagle AXS drivetrain ($4,699) and the global build upgrades to the new GX Eagle Transmission (€4,999). Shared bits are a 160mm Lyrik Select+ fork, Super Deluxe Coil Select+ shock delivering 150mm of travel, DT Swiss EX511 rims w/ Maxxis’ Assegai & DHRII tires, and Code R brakes.

Rockshox Boxxer gets tube-in-tube air spring

Rather than use the inside of the upper stanchions as the positive air chamber (which was too big, creating a very progressive spring curve), the MY24 Rockshox Boxxer’s DebonAir+ air spring puts a slimmer tube inside it, with a 4mm larger-than-normal piston shaft diameter to create more negative spring volume.

The result is “coil like performance” from a highly tunable air spring, paired with a Charger 3 RC2 damper for independent high- and low-speed compression settings. Tuned 38mm stanchions balance stiffness with ride quality. The Ultimate model adds their ButterCups to damp vibrations. MSRP $1,899 w/ fender. 180-200mm travel for 27.5 & 29er wheels, 44/48/52mm offsets, weight is 2,848g.

OneUp MTB adds thick & thin grips

With new Thick and Thin mountain bike grips sandwiching the originals, OneUp now has something for every hand size, all available in 8 colors for $24.50/pair.

The Thick grips have a tapered 32.5 to 35mm shape with a softer compound, more cushioning, and a mini flange. The Thin grips are a consistent 29mm with a low profile design for those who want maximum bar feel.

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Syncros Capital SL one-piece full carbon road racing wheels

Syncros Capital SL one-piece road racing wheels with carbon fiber spokes and hub

Not only are the new Syncros Capital SL wheels light, they claim a 20% reduction in rotational inertia and excellent lateral stiffness, so you can corner hard and accelerate easily.

The carbon spokes are bonded to the rim and hub flange to create a one-piece wheel that’s also 7% more aerodynamic than the standard Capital models with steel spokes.

They have 25mm wide (internal) hookless tubeless rims and come in two depths: Capital SL (40mm deep, 1170g, 540g F/ 650g R) and SL Aero (60mm deep, 1290g, 590g F / 700g R). Both use DT Swiss EXP ratchet internals. MSRP is $1,900 front, $2,300 rear, mix and match as you like. (video here)

Schwalbe Pro One Aero tires are front-and-rear specific

Schwalbe pro one aero aerodynamic road bike tires with front and rear specific designs

Designed in conjunction with the new Syncros wheels, the new Schwalbe Pro One Aero road bike tires split their designs, optimizing aerodynamics at the front and rolling resistance in the rear.

The 28mm wide Aero front tire claims up to 22% less drag than the 25mm Pro One TT, despite being wider, thanks to shaping it specifically for modern rims w/ 22-25mm internal widths. It’s tubeless ready, hookless compatible, and weighs an impressively light 235g, even with their RaceGuard puncture protection.

The rear tire (270g) adds 0.4mm more rubber & more puncture protection, has lower rolling resistance, and fits a bit wider than the claimed 28mm. Available in October for ~$80.

MicroSHIFT unveils impressive new Sword gravel drivetrain

microshift sword 1x10 and 2x10 mechanical gravel bike drivetrain

The new MicroSHIFT Sword 1×10 and 2×10 gravel bike groups offer affordable mechanical shifting with unique features. The shifter uses a two-paddle design, with left-side options that include a blank brake lever and a single paddle dropper remote.

Both use the same crankset, just bolt on 1x or 2x chainrings, and the same rear derailleur, just bolt on the correct pulley cage depending on gearing. The clutched rear derailleur has a swiveling cable bezel that helps smooth the entry angle for easier shifts. The front derailleur has a 3mm hex bolt that lets you easily adjust cable tension w/o having to add an inline barrel adjuster.

The 2x chainrings have a massive 17-tooth jump, giving you a huge gear range from the 11-38 cassette. The 1x group has 40/42-tooth rings and uses their 11-48 Advent-X MTB cassettes. The 110/80 asymmetric BCD lets you use other chainrings, too. MSRP as low as $449 for a 2x group, just add chain and brakes.

BH GravelX adds micro-suspension w/ split chainstays

BH GravelX race bike with micro suspension and hidden storage

Designed as a gravel race bike with road-like performance, the BH GravelX uses flexible split chainstays and a pivot at the seatstay/seat tube junction to provide 3-5mm (depending on rider weight) of travel. The Air Bow fork’s curved design absorbs vibrations up front.

The frame is a mix of lightweight hi-mod and tough ballistic carbon fibers, weighs 1,050g, and fits 45mm tires. A hidden seatpost clamp and integrated cockpit routing keep it clean, and a hidden downtube storage compartment fits a tube & CO2. Add their aero bottle/cage & toolbox for more storage. Four models start at €3,299. (video here)

GT Grade says hold my beer w/ 30mm of “gravel travel”

GT Grade X carbon fiber gravel bike with 30mm rear flex suspension

The new GT Grade Carbon X gets an updated carbon frame with thin seatstays that bypass the seat tube and a flattened lower seat tube section to deliver up to 30mm of travel solely from frame flex.

It’s spec’d with a 40mm Rockshox Rudy fork and 50mm TranzX dropper post for total fun. A SRAM Apex 1×11 group w/ WTB rims, tires & saddle and house-brand alloy cockpit round out the $4,000 package. (video here)

Fezzari Veyo S makes aero more affordable

fezzari veyo s is an affordable aero road bike with fully integrated cockpit

Using the same molds, full internal routing, integrated cockpit, and snappy ride quality as their 860g SL version, the new Fezzari Veyo S brings down the price of their aero road bike by using a more basic carbon layup.

Claimed frame weight is 1,100g, and it comes in new colors (Raspberry & Metallic Silver) with a SRAM Rival AXS group including powermeter & DT Swiss wheels for just $3,999. They have sweet new colors for their Shafer gravel bike, too!

Orbea Orca becomes a lightweight climbing machine

2023 orbea orca lightweight climbers road bike

With a claimed weight as low as 6.7kg (14.75lb), the new Orbea Orca starts with a 745g frame (OMX level, OMR frames are 1,030g), with weight savings coming from reduced carbon fiber sheets, sheet overlap, and resin accumulation. The paint is just 15-25g, and all hardware is just 40g.

It fits 32mm tires and has a bit of compliance, but unlike a lot of modern bikes that try to be all things, the Orca sticks to round tubes to focus on stiffness and lightweight, not aerodynamics, but it does get integrated full internal routing. Size-specific layups & fork trail help it feel just right for all riders. Complete bikes from $4,699 to $11,599. (video here)

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AMP Carbon fiber disc brake pads

amp carbone sl road bike disc brake pads with carbon fiber backplate

For the ultimate weight weenie, the new AMP Carbone SL brake pads are just 8.8g per wheel for Shimano Dura-Ace/Ultegra (9.7g for SRAM), including spring. That’s 4.9g lighter than the non-SL version thanks to a new composite alloy & carbon fiber backplate.

The carbon won’t transmit heat into the piston, so they say your brakes run cooler, better, and also quieter than stock pads. And, obvi, lighter – they’re half the weight of Dura-Ace’s finned pads. MSRP is €45 per wheel.

Garbaruk ultralight alloy road & gravel crankset

Garbaruk lightweight machined alloy crankset for road and gravel bikes

Want something unique without giving up your weight weenie status? The new Garbaruk Road & Gravel Crankset is machined into a 409g, hollow arm thing of beauty. Add a 42T 1x chainring and the combo is just 480.5g!

It comes in 170/175mm lengths, 8 colors, has a 130.5x30mm spindle, 152mm Q-factor, and includes an extractor bolt in your choice of anodized colors to mix or match with their chainrings (sold separately) or the arms themselves. MSRP is $/€420.

Chris King espresso tamper is back for a minute

Chris King espresso tamper limited edition for 2023

They’re already sold out (sorry), but Chris King just dropped a limited supply of their espresso tampers on Tuesday. They were $150 each and came in eight colors (including some of their newer ones).

Miss Grape’s ILCOSO handlebar bag bracket

The Miss Grape ILCOSO handlebar bag bracket solves a lot of problems for bikepackers. First, it moves the bag away from the handlebar so it won’t interfere with any cables. Second, it provides a rigid cradle to strap the bag to, so it won’t bounce around.

Lastly, it adds accessory mounts with a 200mm wide dummy bar, perfect for getting your headlight out in front of the bag and your computer in easier view. It weighs 320g, is compatible with carbon & alloy flat and drop bars, and holds up to 3kg. Two versions to fit different stem angles, each with two cradle mounting positions. MSRP €128. (video here)

Skoda “We Love Cycling” metaverse game

Skodaverse we love cycling metaverse game

Skoda, a long-time sponsor and car supplier to Tour de France, is hosting virtual bike races in the Nemesis metaverse. You may have to create an account, and the prizes aren’t super special, but it is pretty cool to see a major automotive brand trying something new.

The link above should take you to Skoda’s “We Love Cycling” world, but it might take quite a while to load…it ain’t exactly the Metaverse we’ve been promised, yet. Check Skoda’s website for deets and gameplay video.

Kit of the Week

pactimo summit aero jersey and stratos 12 hour bibshorts review

Feeling the heat yet? The Pactimo Summit Aero Mesh Jersey is a perfect summer jersey, with ultralightweight breathable mesh using 37.5’s Cocona particles for active cooling. Good sleeve length and spacious pockets, plus an impressive 12 colors/patterns to choose from, make this a hot-weather winner.

Pair them with the Summit Stratos 12-Hour Bibs for supreme comfort and support on long rides. The material uses ceramic dots to help dissipate heat, raw-edge leg seams with printed silicone grippers stay put comfortably, and they come in standard and long inseams, helping taller riders (like me!) get that perfect “just above the knee” coverage.

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Parting Thoughts

This week was a whirlwind, so I honestly don’t have any deep thoughts right now…just a favor to ask. If you like these quick recaps of each week’s most interesting bike nerdery, could you forward this along to a few friends?

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

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