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While the bikes drew the oohs and ahhs, it was in the Bontrager accessory category where we saw the most advancement and new stuff for triathletes in 2010. We have all seen the Speed Bottle. But uniquely-engineered designs for parts and pieces we need to take with us as triathletes made huge gains.
How stagnant has the Bento Box design become? The Bontrager SpeedBox is a major improvement; the foam, shaped box won’t deform, whether filled or empty. Instead of Velcro cinching around the headtube, an elastic strap installs, making for a less clunky attachment on front. A padded Velcro attachment secures it to the top tube.
A see-through mesh top allows you to see your nutrition before you even open it up. A simple hook-and-loop secures that top, It’s the cleanest, cleverest design in such a simple product we’ve seen since the old Bento Box came out.
The Bontrager Race Lite Rear Cage Holder, which is already on store shelves believe it or not is one I am eager to try. Its design fairly ensures you won’t launch bottles. The reversible design of the bracket (for high or low bottle position) also has places to thread in up to four CO2 cartridges, and a CO2 head, as well as room for strapping a spare tubular between the bottles. It’ll price at just $35.
But the use of two supplied Bontrager RaceLite cages (which are available individually as well) is the solution to the launched bottles; the opening faces forward, with the cage’s bottle-containing lip opposite. With downward “ejection” force, the back of the cage can’t open, and the lip is there at that high stress point to keep the bottle in anyway. As I said, I really want to take this one and test it. Maybe along the Chicago waterfront, where the massive, uneven road seams make for a water bottle graveyard.
We also spied a new Bontrager Draft Pack; a similar stiff foam unit akin to the SpeedBox operates like a narrow, triangular zip-up clamshell to stuff your tube, CO2 and tire levers that sidles aerodynamically right behind your seatpost, secured between the saddle rails in a most elegant way.
In the stem category, Bontrager debuted the all-carbon XXX Lite Stem. Directional carbon and carbon-bar friendly, it’s a clip-on bar compatible stem, available in lengths from 60mm to 130mm, with 7 degrees of positive/negative rise/drop. Weight? 110g in a 110mm length. And for the fasionistas, it’ll be available in nude carbon or white.
Also in nude carbon or a limited run of 500 units is a brakeset we’ve tested to great success: the full carbon Bontrager Speed Limit XXX Brake Calipers. The $429 stoppers bowled me over when descending the Alps in Switzerland a month ago with their grabbiness. Bontrager also has the alloy cousin, the standard Speed Limit, at $199.
We’ve also been testing the new-in-stores Bontrager Aero Race Pack. The between-the-aerobars hydration system improves on existing offerings by offering an insulation, keeping your cold drink cold longer. The straw is built into the base of the unit, so no inadvertently pulling it out at the most inopportune moment in a race. And it’s loaded with other features; a simple set of Velcro straps that lock onto your aerobar extensions preclude the need for a stabilizing bracket or ghetto rubber band use. It also comes with a bracket to mount your computer or Garmin for easy viewing while in the aerobars. A split rubber gasket. works like a rat trap; you can squeeze in liquids, but the design doesn’t allow it to splash out, without the need for sponges. We’ve been using it, and it works.
Finally, Bontrager road tires saw a unique offering; the XXX Lite AC. The AC stands for Anti Cut, thanks to a special casing that also improves abrasion resistance by 22 percent, Bontrager says.
They’ll be easy to identify, by the single colored stripe. Instead of a color on two shoulders, the XXX Lite AC adds color to just one shoulder, leaving the center tread and opposite shoulder black. “it’s something different, something to pull you in,” Clinton says. Run it mix match, driveside, nondriveside, whatever your style side fancies. Colors available will be yellow, white, red, orange, blue, gray…. and plain ‘ol black, and weighing 230 grams in 23 and 25mm clincher option.