Titanium VP Pedal
Looking for something a bit more exclusive than your run of the mill pedal? Think that aluminum and magnesium is so 2013? VP's new Blade titanium pedal might be just the ticket for you, so long as you don't flinch at their $450 - $500 USD estimated cost. That high price comes courtesy of a very limited production run that sees the Blade manufactured by way of sand casting, one of the only ways to create the pedal's shape out of titanium. The cast can be used a limited amount of times before it breaks down, and the final product requires many, many hours of finishing work by hand before it is considered done. That hand sanding is the reason that every Blade pedal looks a little bit different as well. Traction is provided by way of eight casted-in titanium lugs, and the massively open design looks like it would allow for mud to pass through as easily as air. As you might expect, the titanium bodies rotate on titanium axles. Total weight? VP says that it's just 222 grams for a pair. There are magnesium pedals that have similar numbers, of course, but we have to admit that the Blade's appearance trumps them all. Now that we've got you all excited, we should mention that VP intends the Blades to be used on city bikes rather than for full-on mountain biking
, although they did admit that some are being used for that exact purpose with no issues. www.vpcomponents.com
Riders who travel with their bike might be interested in the Jetpack case that has been designed to fit everything from road and cross-country bikes to extra-large sized downhill rigs. There's far more to the Jetpack than just its ability to protect any type and size of bike, though, with it sporting a number of novel features that set it apart from other options out there. The main talking point is its aluminum base and front and rear axle mounts that can be adjusted to suit any length or dropout type, with the layout also holding the frame up off of the bag's bottom enough to protect the rear derailleur. Rigid plastic protection can be found on both ends, as well as being home to the bag's roller wheels, and strategically placed side pads protect the frame and components. It's not just the frame and fork that get special treatment, with the bike's wheels being located on each side while being protected from inflated pads that weigh next to nothing and can be deflated and folded up when not in use. The bag itself is built with tough, semi-rigid foam padding, allowing it to packed up and stowed in a much smaller space than if it was completely rigid.
KS Ether components and upgraded LEV Integra
While they might be well known for their lineup of dropper seat posts, KS is also expanding their range to include a number of different handlebars and seat pots under the Ether name. Both will be available in carbon and aluminum options, with the carbon Ether handlebar weighing in at just 207 grams at a full 780mm wide with of 20mm rise - that's a pretty impressive figure. The unidirectional carbon is finished off with subdued graphics and a textured finish at the stem clamp that should prevent any slipping. The matching 188 gram carbon Ether post sports the same understated graphics, and is available in a single 400mm length with a zero offset head.
KS is also debuting their aluminum Ether stem that felt incredibly light in hand, although there is no published weight at this point. The stem is completely hollow right through its core, and the titanium steerer clamp bolts are offset to one side in order to limit pain after those dreaded knee-on-stem moments that can happen every now and then. KS has also gone with titanium for the handlebar clamp bolts. Two length options will be available, with 50mm and 70mm lengths to choose from.
We've complained in the past about how the activation mechanism on KS' internally routed LEV Integra depends on housing tension rather than cable tension, with the design causing some headaches when the housing gets tugged on ever so slightly. The result was a post that either won't lock into position or won't be allowed to move through its travel. KS knew about the issues as well and have come up with a redesigned mechanism that eliminates that problem by way of a revised housing stop design. Already own an Integra? KS is going to offer you a free upgrade that will fix your post with a minimum amount of hassle. www.kssuspension.com