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Triathlete editors share the most innovative and exciting new tri gear for next year.
Lazer Wasp Air
Sometimes a subtle reminder can be more powerful than hours of wind tunnel data. Helmets are tricky for data-oriented companies because drag generated by the helmet is so dependent on the rider. A great solution for one person may be terrible for another. Lazer took another approach to reducing helmet drag with their new Wasp Air. A little device in the tail vibrates when the rider deviates from his position to offer a gentle reminder to stay in aero.
Best Training Gear Trend
Tons of power meters
The following companies now have power meters: Garmin, Rotor, Look, Quarq, Power2Max, Stages, SRM and PowerTap. And those are just a few of the options! Just about every price from $500 to $4,000 is available, as are at least four distinctly different types of power meter. Not long ago, PowerTap and SRM were the only choices. In 2015, anyone looking to train with power will have a bevy of options.
Best Tech Trickle-Down
Shimano 105 5800
This isn’t a sexy award winner, but it is a very impactful product. Shimano follows a very predictable trend when they release a new generation of technology. It starts at the top Dura-Ace level, then is rolled into Ultegra one or two years later, then finally down to the most affordable 105 tier the following year. We’re in final stage of that process. The result is excellent shift and braking performance on lower cost bikes. Despite the obvious lack of glamour to this gear advancement, many riders will benefit.
Best New Tri Bike
Scott Plasma 5
There was a shortage of new-for-2015 tri bikes on display this year. Many of the major brands have released viable triathlon bikes in the past few years and the sport’s growth curve has flattened out, so triathlon no longer seems to be the darling side project for many of the big cycling companies.
While we would like to have more new bikes to pick from, Scott’s newly designed Plasma 5 is a worthy winner for its extreme integration. With hydration and storage options built into the frame, this bike is equipped for long races without a bunch of bolt-on accessories. Scott did its proper homework during the design of this bike to ensure it delivers on the most important attribute of any tri superbike: aerodynamic speed.
Check back to Triathlete.com this week for a closer look at the Plasma 5.
Best Commuter Gear
Sugoi Zap Jacket
Sugoi’s new Zap Jacket looks like a normal, pretty simple speckled jacket—until light hits it, and the microfiber glass it is coated with lights up like a pixelated Christmas tree. Perfect for commuters who might get caught in the dark, it garners attention from onlookers and has cyclist-friendly features like a drop tail and deep pocket on the back. It’s waterproof, which helps in wet conditions but might not be incredibly breathable for longer, warmer rides.
Best Women’s Apparel Innovation
Endura Sport FS260-Pro Bibshort
Scotland-based Endura Sport may have solved every woman’s issue with bib shorts into their FS260-Pro Bibshort. They’ve included a zipper that runs along the backside (called “Drop Seat” zip), eliminating the need to fully undress for any bathroom stops. The bib shorts are currently available, and in 2015, they’ll also include a knicker.
Most Striking New Apparel Design
Bib shorts around $160, jerseys $130; Panachecyclewear.com
We consistently love the cycling kits put out by Boulder, Colo.-based Panache Cyclewear because they look polished and use high-quality chamois and materials to support long miles in the saddle. They’ve continued to expand upon their signature houndstooth pattern in a variety of designs—without neglecting the socks, of course—and their 2015 line doesn’t disappoint.
Best Nutrition Trend
Lighter, less sweet sports nutrition products
Finally nutrition companies got the message that super sweet and sugary nutrition products are not refreshing—or even palatable for some people—on a long, hot ride. Athletes are looking for lighter tasting, less sweet products to fuel their workouts. No need to water down your sports drink any longer—these companies are taking notice. Early trend-setters were companies such as Nuun and Skratch Labs. Nuun, which has been hydrating athletes with its tubes of refreshing electrolyte tablets for years, recently added a few carbs, B vitamins and caffeine to its Nuun Energy tablets so athletes can use them for fueling. Skratch Labs, whose light-tasting Exercise Hydration Mix has been around a few years, added another tangy flavor to its lineup, made with matcha (green tea leaves) and lemons—it has a pleasantly subtle green tea and citrus flavor that’s only barely sweet. GU has been a more recent adopter of the trend with its GU Brew, a super light-tasting, more electrolyte-packed drink mix, which even comes in a Tastefully Nude flavor (an extra light, essentially unflavored drink). Finally, CLIF Bar reformulated its CLIF Shot Electrolyte Hydration Mix so that it’s focused more on electrolytes and less on fueling (aka sugar), giving it a light and crisp flavor, and it even lowered the sugar content of its soon-to-be-released CLIF Bar flavor Nuts & Seeds.
Best New Safety Product
POC Octal AVIP MIPS helmet
POC’s entire line of apparel and helmets have always been focused on safety (as well as a futuristic aesthetic), so it comes as no surprise that their latest products set the bar high for safety innovation. The Octal AVIP MIPS helmet—MIPS being Multi-directional Impact Protection System, which protects the brain from an oblique (vs. straight-on) impact—comes in high-vis orange and white combinations with reflective patches for extra visibility. And, even smarter, the helmet includes an ICE tag, a crash sensor to alert emergency contacts in case of a crash.