Saddle: ISM Attack
Progression: Anatomical tongs for the aero position, slender rear section for upright riding. ISM’s anatomical design has revolutionized triathlon saddles. They have been the solution to undercarriage discomfort for many triathletes, but they do have a drawback. The ultra-wide design can chaff some riders’ thighs, especially when pedaling out of the aerobars. The Attack was created to rectify that problem. The tongs are still very broad and ISM says they will stay that way. Narrow design will impair blood flow they say, but the rear section of the Attack is much narrower than their other models. This change may reduce or eliminate the most common criticism of these exceptionally comfortable triathlon saddles.
Frame: Orbea Ordu
Progression: blending the best. No tri frame debuting at Eurobike introduced revolutionary design, but the Ordu blended proven features and geometry to create a well-fitting and highly functional bike. Aerobars mount to the frame using a rotating integrated stem system similar to Felt’s Bayonet, creating a broad spectrum of fit. Frame geometry is truly tri-specific, closely mimicking the Cervelo P2. V-brakes hidden behind the fork and beneath the bottom bracket should be effective and reliable.
Components: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9000
Progression: The best shifting in a cleaner package. The electronic groupset with sublime shift performance gets an overhaul in 2013. Key upgrades over the current version include a cleaner, more simplistic wiring setup that also allows for easier addition or subtraction of extra shifters than the current version. Every aspect of the kit—braking power and modulation, front shift throw, chainring stiffness, weight and others—improve slightly and the kit jumps from 10 gears in the rear to 11.
Computer: Rotor Power
Progression: measuring power produced by each leg independently in a crank-based power meter. Rotor Power is a crank-based power meter that not only measures right/left leg power output, it can read the negative power-resistance each leg creates during the upstroke. Although completely eliminating negative resistance from a pedal stroke may not be the most efficient way to ride, tracking it on the road could potentially help. Rotor Power uses ANT+ transmission, meaning it is compatible with Garmin and many other computers. None of these head units can yet display Rotor’s unit measuring positive vs. negative power called Torque Efficiency. A software update coming down the pipe will do the trick. It will sell for about $2,000 without chainrings or a computer and measures power with competitive accuracy, although their testing isn’t yet complete.
Shoes: Giro Empire
Progression: Brining back laces. Shoelaces on a road cycling shoe aren’t exactly new, but Giro’s lace-up shoes meet the performance needs of American cycling sensation Taylor Phinney, who raced in the Empire this summer. If they’re good enough for Phinney to race, they’re probably good enough for your Saturday group ride, and they look phenomenal. They’re sure to get attention and questions on group rides.
Helmet: Giro Air Attack
Progression: Blending aero and road. It resembles a BMX helmet, but the Air Attack’s clever design strikes the mid-point between road helmets and full-on aero options. Giro says its aerodynamic performance splits between their fully vented Aeon road helmet and the nearly vent-less long-tail Selector. It’s a great way to buy some free speed on a group ride without looking like you’re trying too hard, or for hot races. If you’re only going to own one helmet for training and racing, this might be the one.
Aerobar: Profile Design Aeria
Progression: clean structure, lots of fit adjustability. Combining fit adjustability and smooth integration is one of the ultimate goals of aerobar design. Profile Design has done just that with the Aeria. The extensions can be moved fore and aft dramatically; elbow pads can shift in and out; the extensions and pads can be lifted above the basebar in unison with risers as much as 7cm; pad fore-aft can be moved moderately; standard diameter extension clamps can fit practically any bar. And, its assembly is exceptionally clean. Brake grip reach is short, which creates a more compact fit when riding out of the aero position. Price is the major drawback. It retails for a robust $900.
Aaron Hersh walked the halls of the Eurobike tradeshow to find the tri gear that is advancing design and technology in the sport beyond the old standard and built a (fictional) bike showcasing the most progressive brand new 2013 gear.