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Even though we’re not on the Big Island (yet) for this year’s Ironman World Championship, it doesn’t mean that pros and brands aren’t showing off new and fast (and expensive) goodies. We walked the expo, checked out special media-only presentations, and even got first looks at some “under-the-table” gear that we’ve only seen in spy shots.
Here’s what caught our attention (and what we were able to convince brands to show us).
Quintana Roo X-PR Tri Bike
Starting at $5,200, available now; quintanarootri.com
We were huge fans of the new Quintana Roo V-PR released in November, but our one complaint was the steep entry point. We knew that something was coming down the pipeline, but we didn’t know what or when. Fortunately, QR has released what we call the “trickle-down” version of the V-PR, the X-PR. (Fun inside fact, it was supposed to be called the “Z-PR,” but with the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the newly acquired symbolism behind the letter “Z,” QR made the smart choice to…pivot.)
While we’ll be reviewing the Z-PR X-PR in the next few weeks, there were a few important takeaways that made us take notice of the new model: First, at $5,200 for an Ultegra 11-speed, fully mechanical (disc mechanical as well), the X-PR is a much more palatable price for a frame shape that literally came from the same mold as the V-PR. Also, even though the X-PR’s 30-ton carbon is heavier than the V-PR’s lighter 47-ton carbon, it’s also more durable and more “transition friendly” as lead engineer Brad DeVaney so cleverly put it. Finally, we were intrigued by the base component build that with mechanical disc brakes—good mechanical disc brakes—that were thoroughly tested and spec’d by the QR team. More on how the bike actually stacks up on the road soon…
Aero OSPW Derailleur Cage
$800, available June 21; ceramicspeed.com
Even though it wasn’t exactly on display at the expo booth, we got an early look at a sleekly designed this-thing-goes-to-11, over-the-top, peak-triathlete ceramic bearing oversized pulley with an aerodynamic cage. You’ll see this pre-production item on the bikes of Lionel Sanders Cam Wurf, and Anne Haug this week, and the unit we looked at was going to be installed on Haug’s bike right after we checked it out. Available mid-June, this design was a collaboration between the friction masters at CeramicSpeed and the aeroweenies at U.K.-based Drag2Zero—a brand best known for the speedy (and pricey) aerobars you’d find on Gustav Iden’s St. George rig.
New Colors For OSPW
Starting at $590, available now; ceramicspeed.com
Ok, so the new color options on CeramicSpeed’s low-friction oversized pulley wheel systems might not make you faster, but they’ll definitely help put the finishing touches on your dream ride. Now available in blue and gold pulleys, they’re also offering OSPWs that are now compatible with SRAM AXS setups (good news for high-end eTap fans), as well as a lifetime warranty on all coated products.
Spaero SP1 Trisuit
$450, available late June; spaerotri.com
If Spaero doesn’t look familiar, that’s just because the names have changed, but the people stay the same. Under the popular Eliel cycling clothing umbrella of Ryan Cady, Wattie Ink (made most popular by Heather Jackson) has rebranded itself as Spaero. Launched last year, their flagship piece of tri clothing is the über techie SP1 tri suit that boasts so many features, you’ll have to wait for the full review in our upcoming tri suit roundup. But until then, highlights include an unusual graphene print on the inside to help keep core heat down, aero trip fabric in the lower legs and shoulders, and woven fabric throughout that helps with varying levels of compression and functions without tons of panels of fabric (this is actually a big deal). Finally, we really liked the tapered pockets—seen in detail on the pic above—that are cut at an angle for easier access, as well as more, smaller gel pockets high up on the legs.
And while there’s more to this suit that we’ll have to try out, there’s no denying that it’s an expensive investment, but hopefully the woven tech (which we’ve not seen in many other suits) will catch on, make the process less expensive, and maybe even add a level of durability that’s typically missing on these lightweight, many-paneled, high-end tri suits.
Starting at $20 for a bag of 20, available now; modballs.com
As someone who is a huge fan of natural, real food solutions for training and racing, I was quickly drawn to check out these tiny, gumball-sized bits of nuts, fruits, seeds, and (yes) veggies. Sitting somewhere in the gray area between gels and bars, Modballs are basically those homemade DIY nutrition things you always see on YouTube, but never actually have time to make. Better yet, they’re individually packaged (great for a jersey pocket or a tri suit that tends to get wet racing), and boast 100 calories, 6g of fat, 9g of carbs, and 3g of protein per ball. So it’s possible you’ll be eating more than one at a time, but the creators explained that even those with sensitive stomachs never had gut issues because they’re made of real foods: 85 fruits, nuts, veggies, and seeds to be exact.
And for those with food sensitivities, we liked the fact that both flavors—Peanut Butter Chocolate and Almond Coconut Chocolate—are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and vegan (though it does include honey for strict vegans). There’s also no added sugar, as Modballs are sweetened with monkfruit and honey instead. Finally, they taste really good, and they’re moist enough that it’s not like chewing a mouthful of grains like some bars or gel replacements.
Hunt 8387 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheels
Starting at $1,620, available mid-May; huntbikewheels.com
Hunt’s latest wheel set is based on data that uses both full-on time-savings speed combined with handling characteristics in crosswinds. The result is a tri-friendly 83mm front/87mm rear disc brake wheelset (also available in 73mm/87mm) that has low aerodynamic drag, but also gives a predictable and stable ride, regardless of windy conditions (hear that St. George/Kona racers?). The secret ingredient to that handling recipe is a substantially wider 34mm external front wheel paired with a still-wide 30mm external rear wheel, which Hunt’s engineers say help with cross wind forces. Much like the new QR above and one of our favorite wheels of the past few years, the Specialized Roval Rapide CLX Disc, handling is a priority in unpredictable conditions. The best news? Hunt’s new offering is nearly $1,000 less than the Rovals. Keep your eyes peeled here for an in-depth review in the next couple of weeks.
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