This week we have two ultralight road bikes, one throwback-yet-modern steel road bike, a hyper-aerodynamic Tri bike (with a backstory), a uniquely aerodynamic helmet, a new titanium gravel bike (plus a new dropper post and mini pump for gravel bikes), upgraded road and gravel wheels (including some for rim brakes), and more!
Kú Cycle TF1 hyper bike
The Kú TF1 has an exceptionally deep white paper that’s worth a read if you’ve ever wondered how to optimize your snacking and drinking around an aero cockpit for triathlon…or anything else about the bike.
Borrowing F1 concepts that use front fairings to move wind smoothly over the rest, it tucks the fork crown and head tube between the rider’s arms rather than resting the rider on top of it. Behind that, a water bottle and storage compartment fill the gap to prevent wind from getting sucked behind your arms, dramatically reducing the drag created by your torso.
Wide, tall fork legs hide your human legs from the wind, too, directing the air around them. The point is to manage downstream airflow by hiding as much of you and the bike behind your hands and fork so they can’t create additional drag. Kú claims to save 15-25 watts and improve bike+rider CdA up to 10%.
Frames are custom, made to order, with a size-specific fork to match. It comes with SRAM Force AXS, Zipp Vukashift AXS cockpit, a polymer-damped seatpost, Kú wheels, and bento box for €10,999. Quick-connect hydraulic brake lines make packing for travel easy, too.
Cube Litening AIR C:68X road bike
Last week it was the new Giant Propel. Before that the Cannondale Leichtbau. Now, the 2023 Cube Litening AIR comes in as an ultralight race bike with a 799g frame and complete bikes under 6.6kg (14lb 9oz). In fact, their goal was to hit the UCI minimum 6.8kg limit with computer mount, two bottle cages, and pedals!
Compared to the Litening AERO, it adds about 5 watts of drag, but drops nearly 500g off the frame. The one-piece integrated bar/stem and aero seatpost are also lighter. It’s still mildly aero, plenty stiff, and performs well under pressure, garnering a stage win at the Giro d’Italia. Three builds available, pricing TBA.
SWI Thrama road bike goes lighter, offers custom stiffness layups
With claimed frame weights from 650-750g and a very unique full monocoque construction, the SWI Thrama gives new meaning to the term “custom” road bike. The frame is made as one piece (monocoque) “Unishell” with 16 to 19 “very thin” layers of UD continuous-fiber carbon.
That core is wrapped in a 3K woven carbon skin (for aesthetics), and you can choose the blend of stiffness and compliance you want, hence the variance in layer quantities. Launched by former pros Luca Paolini & Paolo Bettini, it’s a premium offering starting at 7,900 CHF (~$8,200) for a frameset, which includes their 400g fork and the opportunity to join them on “unique trips, events and…experiences”. Request your test ride here.
Silca Gravelero mini pump for gravel bike tires
The new Silca Gravelero is a mid-sized mini-pump specifically designed for the mid-sized tires we’re riding on gravel bikes. Built with the same hose, chuck, and plunger as their Tattico pump, it moves 35% more air per stroke.
A retractable hose with thumb-lock and reversible (Presta + Schrader) chuck keeps you from ripping the valve stem off. An 80psi max is perfect for gravel and mountain bikes. MSRP is $/€75 and comes with a frame mount. At 9.5″ (243mm) and 139g, it fits in your jersey pocket, too.
Otso Fenrir Ti touring bike lightens your load, runs flat or drop bars
Designed specifically for bikepacking, the Otso Fenrir Ti is ready for fully loaded bicycle touring. And now it comes in a 3/2.5 titanium frame option that’s 660g (~1.5lbs) lighter than the stainless steel frame option!
It’s a mountain bike frame with geometry suited to a 100-120mm suspension fork, but works great with both flat and drop bars. And it’s dropper post friendly (as long as your saddle bag is, too). With mounts all over it, it’s ready for you to overpack it and still fit 29×2.6″ or 27.5×2.8″ tires in there.
OneUp 27.2mm gravel bike dropper post (works for XC, too)
Looking for a lightweight, short travel dropper post for your gravel bike? The new OneUp 27.2mm V2 dropper has two travel options, 90mm (340mm length, 377g) and 120mm (410mm length, 435g). Its very low stack height lets you eke out a bit more travel (or just fit, period, for shorter riders).
The sealed cartridge inside keeps things simple and is user replaceable. MSRP is $199.50, add their V3 Remote for $45 and the new 31.8 clamp mount for road/gravel handlebars for $14.50. The post is compatible with most 3rd party remote levers, too, if you prefer a different style or mounting location.
Soma Smoothie HP adds disc brakes with retro-modern upgrade
The new Soma Smoothie HP road bike went in for disc brakes, came out with a High Performance frame upgrade. New Tange Prestige Japan tubing adds a thin wall, oversized downtube and thicker chainstays to improve pedaling stiffness. A new ovalized top tube helps, too, but adds vertical compliance.
It keeps classic touches like a geometry somewhere between endurance and race, downtube shifter bosses & external cable routing (you can even run long-reach rim brakes on it if you want), but modernized it with flat mount disc brakes, thru axles, 700×32 tire clearance, and a 44mm head tube. MSRP is $1,149 for frame w/ carbon fork.
Boyd upgrades carbon road wheels, even for rim brakes
Boyd’s Podium & Pinnacle tubeless-ready carbon road and gravel wheels get new rims with a slightly (0.4mm) deeper but rounder center channel to ease tubeless tire installation and seating. Thanks to new tooling, they also get better compaction with revised layups, so the 36mm and 55mm deep rims drop 35-65g and get stronger.
Their 44mm and 60mm rim brake clincher models drop similar weight, but add new laser-etched siping to the machined brake track. After curing, Boyd blasts away the surface resin to expose raw woven fibers for more friction, then lasers chevron slots into it. These maintain improved braking performance for longer and help shed water for better wet weather braking.
Limar Air Atlas aero helmet adds a removable spoiler
The new Limar Air Atlas isn’t out yet, but Team Astana Qazaqstan seems enamored with the UFO attachment. Starting with a well-ventilated aero road helmet, an Unidentified Object “spoiler” snaps onto the rear to extend and further streamline the shape, giving riders options for maximizing aerodynamics or ventilation.
Dynaplug Covert Drop hides tire plugs in your handlebar
Time is of the essence in plugging a flat, and the new Dynaplug Covert Drop tire plug tool sits in quick reach in your road and gravel bike handlebar ends. It’s pricy at $125 for a set of two, but includes the mounting inserts, installation tool, and four short (as in, road/gravel-sized) tire plugs.
Compatible with most drop bars (minimum inside diameter 18.42mm), the alloy plug tools quickly thread into and out of the mounts, hiding all four plugs inside your bar. Weight is 35g per side.
- Enter Skratch Labs’ $8,600 Ultimate Cycling Upgrade giveaway
- Watch Vittorio Brumotti trials the Serial1 commuter e-bike
- Here’s a spy shot of SRAM’s direct-mount MTB derailleur
- Shimano’s next This is Home video features Marine Cabirou
- Juice Lube’s new tubeless valve stems have 3 tools in the cap
- evo’s Summer Sunset Sale has gear up to 50% off
- Use code LABORDAY22 for 20% off Burley trailers
- REI’s Labor Day Sale & Clearance is on now
- Get up to 70% off at Backcountry’s Labor Day Sale
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