French bike manufacturer, MG Tech, has designed a proprietary crankset with internal planetary gears that rotates 1.44 times faster than the pedal stroke. The relatively smaller chainrings, with 25 and 37 teeth equates to 36 and 53 teeth, respectively. With the smaller sizes – compared to a standard crank – the company claims it is easier to spin and to accelerate. The technology looks interesting. So, does this equates to mechanical assistance or simply an innovative design evolution?
While MG Tech bikes are hand-built in France, but the frames are made completely in Italy.
If you liked the Passoni Fidia and its carbon-titanium weave, not to be outdone by the Italians comes a new bike company from Spain, Rancormance, that boasts basalt-fiber and carbon fiber hybrid construction. The company claims that while basalt fiber has similar strength, weight, and stiffness characteristics as carbon fiber, it absorbs vibrations better. Thus, basalt fiber is used in the top tube, seat tube, and seat stays for better comfort, carbon fiber is used in the head tube, down tube, and chain stays for better rigidity and power transfer.
If you thought E-bikes were, well, for Prius drivers, then we’d like you to think of these E-bikes from Oto Cycles as the Tesla S equivalent. IOW, they’re pretty darn cool. Made in Barcelona, Spain, these retro-looking cafe racers come in 250, 500, and 750 watt motor options, with disc, drum, or v-brake options, a nifty LED headlamp, and a variety of colour options. The battery is hidden in the, you guessed it, “gas tank”, a range of between 45 and 60km, and up to 6 km/h without pedal assist. The rest is up to you, with levels of “boost” à la Mario Kart. Once, again, cool.
Kemo is a new bike brand that was introduced at EuroBike several months ago. A project by two Italian brothers, the company claims the new carbon fiber strand – TeXtreme – is the next generation in carbon fiber technology, achieving a better balance between weight and stiffness, including reducing layers of strands.
Their top tier model, the KE R8 as spec’d below with SRAM Red and Cosmic Mavic wheels, comes in well under 6 kgs the company claims.
Here are a few of their models.
And a short video on the frame:
In a road bike world of trendy-carbon, always-in-fashion-titanium, and never-say-die steel / cro-moly, it seems that aluminum (or aluminium for those of you outside N. America) is becoming the rarer material, or at least more often overlooked. Well, Specialized is firmly committed to its aluminum road bike offering, with the long lasting Allez line; they even produced a highly sought after S-Works Allez in limited numbers.
Rockbikes, is a relatively new company from Japan that’s chosen to release its initial line of quality road bikes, single speeds, and commuter/urban bikes in aluminum or cro-moly, at a wallet-friendly budget, nicely spec’d. This Rocket road bike model goes for around ¥110,000 yen, or $1,100, and the other models are similarly priced.
The Envy, cro-moly
The Missle, in aluminum
The Jealousy, in cro-moly
The Melancholy single speed, cro-moly
It’s really a great time to be a cyclist, roadie, biker, et al, these days, with material choices in carbon, steel varieties, titanium, and aluminum. And while carbon is here to stay, there’s a definite resurgence in popularity for steel and titanium bikes – particularly in custom-builds – fitted out with modern componentry. And what about aluminum? The “big four” – Giant, Trek, Specialized and Cervelo – all offer them in their production line up. The reputed harsh ride has been largely dialed out with a combination of carbon fiber forks, seat mast, seat stays, and the latest generation aluminum alloys. But if you want a custom aluminum build, you’ll have to go “east” – no, not the Far East – but east as in Boston, Massachusetts, to Gaulzetti Cicli.
Craig Gaulzetti will make a custom-geometry aluminum road bike for you from Italian Dedacciai 7000 series aluminum tubing, fitted out to your specifications. His latest creation, the Corsa, debuted last month at the North American Handmade Bike Show. More pics on our Facebook page. We particularly love the monotone look and unique paint scheme, and the Chris King components in blue accents the bike even further.
Here’s Craig in a candid video describing his build philosphy into the making of the Corsa:
Out of Germany is a small group of craftsmen, artisans, and bike builders headed by one Arendt van Deyk. They hand-build limited-run stainless-steel framed bikes, with top components from Enve Composites, Chris King, and Shimano. The Vandeyk Purple Blast has been showcased here on Bike War:
This is their Nightstream. Shimano Di2 electronic shifting. Enve bars, stem, seatpost. And Enve wheels with Chris King hubs. Price? A princely €16,800, if you can get one – they were limited to just 25 bikes.
Based in Austin, Texas, boutique carbon bike builder Crumpton Cycles routinely makes frames in the sub-700 gram category. That’s incredibly light. You order the frame – based on their three models, the SL Road, Corsa M, Corsa Team, or commission a completely custom geometry – and you select the components and wheels of your choosing. Then Nick Crumpton and his artisans will build your bike beautifully crafted and understated. Interestingly, the Corsa Team bike is handmade in Italy. You’ll not find garish, overblown graphics, and that’s just fine with us. Frame prices start at $5,300.