SQlab's formula for comfort
lies in their measuring system that determines the width of the rider's pubic bones, and therefore the saddle width that corresponds with what SQlab refers to as the "seat bones". The concept of measuring a rider's pelvic area isn't new, with other companies offering similar solutions, but German brand SQlab does make use of a very simple system that utilizes a corrugated square of cardboard placed on
a hard surface, which the rider then sits on firmly to leave an imprint that can be measured. There are four saddle widths in their lineup, with 12, 13, 14, and 15 centimetre options available, and SQlab uses a formula that sees them add between zero and four centimetres depending on the rider's intentions: zero for a very aero position, one centimetre for a stretched position that you might see with an aggressive cross-country stance, two or three for a moderate and slightly bent forward position that you would likely see on an all-mountain machine, and four centimetres for a casual layout.www.sq-lab.com
We gave the measuring system a go and found that we have a relatively narrow seat bone structure that, after adding a single centimetre to accommodate for the long position that we prefer, sees us on a 13 centimetre SQlab 611 seat. Will their system make for a comfortable ride? We'll see, as we've taken the seat home with us to put some long miles on it.
ABUS is a big name in security, offering everything from industrial to home locking solutions, as well as a wide range of bike locks that go from lightweight to practically unbreakable. Their folding uGrip Bordo 5700 slots into about the middle of that range, with a design that ABUS describes as offering "good protection at low to medium theft risk''. Rather than a chain or u-lock layout, the uGrip Bordo 5700 consists of six steel bars, each 5mm thick, that are riveted to one another to allow for it to be folded up into a relatively small package. The rivets themselves sit just below the the height of the steel bars, and a rubberized coating available in black, pink, lime, blue, or orange prevents the bars from scratching your bike's paint. The lock's head also rotates to allow for easier key access.
The 830 gram lock folds up into a small rectangle which can then be slid into its rattle-proof plastic case and bolted to your bike's bottle mount, and a one-hand release button allows it to be removed quickly without any fussing about with clamps or levers. MSRP$69.95 USD.www.abus.com
Easton's Vice XLT 650Bs
are a new addition to their wheel lineup for 2014, although they do employ existing components in the form of stealthy black aluminum rims lifted from the Haven series, as well as spokes and nipples. The 21mm wide (internal width, 26mm external
) rims use a UST certified inner profile and a completely sealed rim bed that doesn't require any kind of rim strip to be setup with or without a tube. The difference between these and an actual Haven wheelset comes down to the hubs, with the XLT 650Bs being built around new hubs that see the front compatible with both 15mm and 20mm thru-axles, a move that makes sense due to the lack of 650B compatible forks that feature a 9mm QR axle. The Easton X4 rear hub is completely new, with a design that forgoes Easton's adjustable preload system in favour a set and forget layout that the company says offers improved durability. Both standard and SRAM XD driver bodies are available, and the claimed weight for the complete wheelset sits at 1,750 grams. MSRP for the new trail/all-mountain wheels is $700 USD. www.eastoncycling.com