Newmen is the latest brand created by Michael Grätz, formerly of Syntace and Liteville fame. Michi has gone his own way recently and is applying his unique approach to some new products. The Newmen brand first showed up on my radar at the Cube AM150 bike launch, where some of their high-end bikes were built with A.30 wheelsets; I thought it was a confident move to order a large batch of products for OEM bikes from a new brand.
Newmen's Tim Jürgensen was in town last week, and he dropped by to show me some of their products.
Evolution 318.2 Stem
First up is the Evolution SL318.2 stem. 318 for the diameter, and the '.2' references the bolts (there is also a four bolt version). Similar to the Intend Grace (we can let those guys argue over whose idea it was first), it uses a two-bolt design to save weight and increase strength. The 3D hollow forged unit weighs a measly 69 grams (claimed) in 50mm length, and unlike the already super light 83g Intend stem, it should
accept any rise handlebar. The stem comes with a pair of extra grub screws and a steel plate which can be used to open up the clamp to slide in the handlebar.
Evolution SL 318.2 Stem:
• Length: 50-100 mm
• Material: 7050 aluminum
• Bolts: Titanium
• Angle: 6°
• Weight: 69-96 gram
• Price: €99
Pi Rope X Newmen Wheelset
This wheelset will be sold by Pi Rope
, a new company born out of TU University Chemnitz, Germany. It's the result of after a ten-year development process to integrate Vectran textile fiber spokes into MTB wheelset, read: the spokes are made out of string.
Of course, it sounds like a really stupid idea initially, but this system promises benefits over metal spokes that only work in tension and not in compression. When the wheel is built, the Pi Rope spokes have around 7-8mm of 'preload,' which means they can be compressed up to 8mm while holding the same tension. In use, the idea is that all of the spokes will constantly be at the correct tension at all times regardless of what the terrain is doing, leaving an equal amount of pressure on all spokes, nipples and the rim bed.
Pi Rope Wheels:
• Vectran textile fiber spokes
• XA25 alloy 25mm rim
• Weight: 1230g pair
• Price: N/A available end of summer
The weight saving is pretty significant at a claimed 1230g with a 28 spoke Newmen XA25 25mm wheelset, the same wheelset with lightweight steel spokes hits the scales at 1440g. Great for XC racing and weight weenies, bad for people who get ninja stars thrown at them while riding. The two companies are working on a carbon wheelset where they are hoping to get the weight down to 1060g.
The tensile strength is claimed to be 8x more than a steel spoke, and on Newmen's test rigs this wheel outperformed any of their other products, taking 100,000 cycles on the braking test (the same as pulling your front brake really hard to do a stoppie) and 5.9 million impacts where the wheel rolls over a bumpy metal drum for hours on end. The rim finally cracked at the rim bed, but Newmen say this was down to the 4.5bar pressure needed in the tire for all of the testing.
And before any of you say that Vectran can be damaged by UV rays, the production versions will have a coating to counter the sunlight.
Advanced SL 318.20 Handlebar
That ain't just a nice finish according to Newmen, that is actually blue carbon fiber. I can see this taking off and soon EWS racers will be riding multicolored, raw carbon frames, color-coded to the flag of the country they are racing in. Maybe. Aside from that, its a pretty standard carbon handlebar with 8º of back and 4º of upsweep.
Advanced SL 318.20 Handlebar:
• Clamp diameter: 31.8 mm
• Width: 750 mm / Rise: 20 mm
• Upsweep: 4° / Backsweep: 8°
• Material: Blue TeXtreme carbon fiber
• Weight: 183g
• Price: €189
Remeber bolt-thru frames that didn't have a recess to receive the hub? Yes, they were annoying to fit the wheels as you tried to line everything up and slide in the axle. Cleverly, somebody fixed this with the move from 135mm rear hubs to 142mm, and with 150mm to 157mm, with 15mm front axles and most modern 20mm axles. Then RockShox waltzed in with their Torque Caps to increase stiffness at the front wheel on their heavy-hitting Lyrik chassis. (Wait, didn't we already have stiffer 20mm front hub axle with pinch bolts? Yes, but, shut up, Paul). The Lyrik design was something that worked perfectly well, if you had a wheel with Torque Caps. If not, and this has happened to me many times when changing wheels or even on complete bikes that do not have Torque Caps, you felt like you had gone back in time as that front hub never sat quite in the right place to receive the axle.
Enter Newmen's TC Adaptors. A simple concept that involves peeling off the paper backing, and sticking them on the dropout of the fork. Now your peasant-grade, non-Torque Cap wearing hub can correctly and easily slot into your Lyrik or Yari dropout.
• Color: Black
• Material: Plastic
• Weight: imperceptible
• Price: €5
Evolution Wheelset E.G.30
Finally, the real reason why Tim popped around to the house, to bring me a pair of E.G.30 wheels in 29er size for long-term testing. The E.G.30 wheels are designed for eMTB with a 180kg total weight limit, and soon Newmen will be using the same rim for downhill wheelsets. Starting with the 590g, 30mm internal rim, Newmen decided to angle out the rim bead/sidewall slightly after finding that the damage from a vertical drop test done in most wheel labs didn't reflect the damage being caused on the trail. This is because the chance of a direct hit coming in perpendicular to the rim is unlikely if you are traveling in a straight line, the rocks and roots are generally at an angle, and pushing into rocky corners or compressions often cause rim damage.
Evolution Wheelset E.G.30:
• Intended Use: all-mountain
• Inner rim width: 30 mm
• Holes: 28
• Rim material: High-strength aluminum alloy
• Hub material: 7075 aluminum
• Tolerance Adjustment system
• Structural weight limit: 180 kg
• Price: €698 pair
On the samples below, Newmen tested their rim against similar competitors' rims. Their drop test involves an 8kg weight raised in 20cm increments, seven times. You can see the difference in between the damage incurred on each rim, of course, we will have to take their word for it that the test was equal.
The hubs also have a couple of interesting features, including equal length straight pull spokes all around, a star ratchet freehub system, and adjustable bearing preload. Newmen chose 28x Sapim D-Strong spokes, a thicker gauge spoke for eMTB because you are more likely to be hacking through sticks and debris without slowing down. The straight pull spokes are used in a three-cross pattern, and they are also all the same length left and right, front and rear. This was a concept piloted by SRAM some years ago where the shape, size and countersink depth of the hub flanges are adjusted to use the same length spokes all around; many people are against straight pull because they are more difficult to source, but only needing one replacement makes life easier, as well as not needing to remove rotors and cassettes to replace a broken spoke. Also, not having the spokes contact at the crossing points reduces the risk of breaking, noise, and the nipples digging themselves into the spoke bed. The spokes also feature a washer that sits between the nipple and rim bed, increasing the contact area, thus being able to reduce rim wall thickness, and making tensioning easier.
The hubs use a star ratchet system to connect drivetrain power to forward momentum. Newmen's system only uses one spring to move the floating interior ratchet, while the exterior ratchet is fixed into the hub (DT Swiss's similar patented system uses a spring to move both ratchets towards each other). They also have two versions, the smaller is for normal MTB, and the larger version is slightly heavier, but bigger to cope with eMTB loads.
The final feature of the wheelset is the TA Tolerance Adjustment caps. By following a simple process,
your hubs can get the ideal preload in your frame and fork. According to Newmen, different axle systems put different clamping forces on your hub, ranging from 3000N to over 10000N, of course, all this depends on the hub and frame design, and how aggressively you tighten the axles.
We will be putting the Evolution E.G.30 wheelset to the test over the coming months, in the meantime, you can check out newmen-components.de
for more information.