Velo Digest: AXS Battery Solar Charging Patent, A Gearbox Gravel Bike, Assos’ $7000 Skinsuit, & More

Feb 7, 2024 at 11:38
by Sarah Moore  

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PHOTO: BELGA MAG/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


What's going on in the curly bar world? Velo Digest showcases articles from our sister site, Velo. In each installment, you might find endurance coverage, power-to-weight ratios, gravel bike tech and, of course, lycra.





SRAM AXS Battery Solar Charging Could be Coming to your Fender & Bottle Cage
By: Jessie-May Morgan

Solar arrays on everyday bike components could massively reduce the risk of running down your AXS batteries mid-ride.

(Read more.)
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Pre-race UCI Ban on Prototype Ekoi Pedals Leaves Riders Floundering for New Shoes
By: Jessie-May Morgan

The UCI put a stop to the use of massive Ekoi prototype pedals less than an hour before the start of Stage 2 of the Étoile de Bessèges

(Read more.)
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Shocker: US Politicians Agree on E-Bike Legislation and Lithium Battery Standards
By: Alvin Holbrook

Congress might be more united around preventing e-bike lithium battery fires than passing a spending budget. Huzzah!

(Read more.)
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Glorious Gold for Mathieu van der Poel with Sixth Cyclocross World Championship
By: Shane Stokes

Dutchman Van der Poel supreme on Tábor course, Nieuwenhuis secures distant second ahead of Vanthourenhout.

(Read more.)
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Van Rysel Bought and Tested All 18 WorldTour Race Bikes to Make the RCR Pro as Fast as Possible
By: Will Tracy

Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale is going all in on riding the best possible equipment.

(Read more.)
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Suspended Sentences Given to French Cousins Who Pushed Cyclists into Ditches
By: Shane Stokes

Two assailants would drive alongside cyclists in the Toulouse region and suddenly hit or shove them, causing injury.

(Read more.)
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The Stridsland Beachcomber Dares to Be the N=1 You’ve Been Looking For
By: Alvin Holbrook

The brand best known for not taking things too seriously is taking a serious dive into the ATB world with their first frameset.

(Read more.)
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Colnago C68 Gravel First Ride Review: Italy’s Finest Handmade Carbon Bike Goes Off-Road
By: Will Tracy

Colnago's C68 series has expanded to three models with the introduction of the Gravel.

(Read more.)
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KS Announce 40mm Travel Suspension Fork for Gravel Bikes
By: Jessie-May Morgan

A 1,385 gram gravel-specific suspension fork offering 40mm of hydraulically damped squish

(Read more.)
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$7,000 of Speed: Assos Launches Olympic-Ready Skinsuit to the Paying Public
By: Jim Cotton

'Completely bespoke for athletes on the road to Paris ’24': Assos releases Fenoq skinsuit ahead of Swiss team's assault on the Olympics.

(Read more.)
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Pogačar’s Former Teammate Reveals Why World No. 1 Used Rim Brakes for So Long
By: Will Tracy

Pogačar was one of the last holdouts in switch to disc: ‘There was pressure from Colnago to race on disc brake bikes.’

(Read more.)
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How the Off-Season Became the Skinny Season for the Perma-Lean Pro Peloton
By: Jim Cotton

'It used to be about stuffing yourself, drinking, partying': The winter break was once a time to kick back and gain kilos. Here's why that changed.

(Read more.)
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The UCI Esports World Championships Returns with an Entirely New Race Format
By: Alvin Holbrook

A major shakeup to the Esports event includes open qualifying and a three-stage race that should bring tight racing to the very end.

(Read more.)
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Pilot Announces Scram Pinion Smart.Shift Gravel Bike – No Derailleur Necessary
By: Jessie-May Morgan

Pilot Cycles roll out the very first production-ready gravel bike to boast Pinion Smart.Shift Gearbox with drop-bar shifting ergonomics

(Read more.)
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Kate Courtney and Christopher Blevins Win Low Gap Hopper as Grasshopper Adventure Series Begins
By: Shane Stokes

MTB specialists prove best in opening round of the Grasshopper Adventure Series in California.

(Read more.)
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Why Is Tom Pidcock Still Racing Three Disciplines? ‘It Fits into the Bigger Picture of Trying to Win the Tour’
By: Jim Cotton

Pidcock's coach is convinced a multi-discipline approach is no waste of time as the Brit wrecking ball quests for Tour de France fame.

(Read more.)
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Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,342 articles

84 Comments
  • 73 0
 Banning pedals....pedals!!! Without the gigantic bureaucracy of the Useless Cycling Imbeciles (UCI) who would ban the pedals? God how did a activity/sport as beneficial to humans as bicycle racing and riding end up with a bunch of shitbags like the UCI?
  • 33 0
 But without god-savior UCI, we might have to suffer through the great injustice of some riders angling their shifter hoods in a bit. All glory to the great and mighty UCI for protecting us poor pleebs from any meaningful innovation and evolution of sport!
  • 5 0
 Rex Ryan enters the chat: "going to need some closeups of these oversized shoe cleats and pedals...and maybe some feet. article lacks images."

Seriously though, it sounds like it was more of a registration issue and not that the pedals/cleats were banned. That said, if a registration issue...why wasn't that flagged before stage 1? its all a mess and not a good look for the UCI (but whats new)
  • 4 0
 The manufacturers all well know the process. Simply submit a sample to ensure it meets current rules and regulations, and does not present any safety issues.
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: Yup, since they aren't available for purchase at the moment they have to submit a form to register it as a prototype. Not sure where on the chain it wasn't approved (not submitted, submitted too late, error in the reg, etc) but it sounds like just the UCI following it's rules.

But you're right, the worst part is that they informed the team the morning before the start so they were left scrambling to find replacement pedals, cleats, and shoes. They obviously knew well before that but decided to wait till the last minute.
  • 1 0
 @mwglow: not even the last minute but after the 1st stage and before the 2nd, making the ruling even more untimely
  • 2 2
 @mwglow: LIsten
I've said it before, and I'll say it again
Honesty, truth and levity is much welcomed in the comment section.
I'm going to assume thise that had all the negative comments likely didnt even read the article, but just skimmed the headline, much like I did.

theres usually 2 sides to every story, so getting some version of the other side is appreciated
  • 4 0
 @onawalk: most people read the article. The ridiculousness of the UCI banning those pedals, or at least hogging their usage in the middle of a race at one of the most inopportune times is just bureaucratic shenanigans. The fact that any bike racing team has to apply to use a pair of pedals is absolutely ridiculousness. In addition, the timing of the 'ban' either highlights the absolute ineptitude and bureaucracy of the UCI or sheds light on the possibility of nefarious intent by the UCI or another team.
  • 3 0
 @SATN-XC: There was no first stage in reality, it was canceled due to protests unrelated to cycling.
  • 3 0
 @SATN-XC: That's because the first stage was cancelled because of French farmers protesting on the roads in that area.
  • 3 3
 The pedals were banned because of a simple, and actually quite reasonable rule: all materials used in a race must be available to the public also (within a certain time span). That ensures the products are safe and follow regulations.
Suppose a team showed up with prototype rear wheels, totally closed. There could be a hub motor in it, for all we know.

Ekoi was to late submitting the required paper work, so the result is they were not allowed to use the pedals.
  • 2 1
 @big-red: It's not about injustice, it's about safety.
if you leave highly competitive athletes, some will stop at nothing to gain a competitive edge.
That goes for doping, but also for the material they use, and how they use it.
Puppy paws, super tuck… it's fast, but it's also potentially pretty dangerous if you go at pro racer speeds, in a peloton, on hairpin descends, etc. It's the same with inward position shifters: it's more aero, but it's also harder to steer and brake properly. And also, current handlebars are not designed to withstand the forces of shifters set up like that. So you regulate stuff like that, to basically protect the riders from themselves.
No of course, you can debate just where those lines need to be drawn - no matter where you draw the lines, people will always debate it - but it's not unreasonable to draw a line.
  • 3 0
 They'd rather people just dope I guess...
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: "....Ekoi was to late submitting the required paper work,...". Almost the definition of bureaucracy. The UCI absolutely ridiculous.
  • 2 1
 @bman33: I dont think its any of those things.

UCI has set of rules, either follow them or dont, your choice. If you choose not to, well youre at your own risk. Thats pretty straightforward. It just "a rule" its not specifically about pedals, pedals just fall under "the rule"

Im not sure any of us have all the info, so feel free to cast that stone, but I prefer to have as much info as possible prior to making a judgment YMMV.

You have no idea who did or didnt read the article, see previous comment
  • 1 0
 @bman33: Please see comment by @WhateverBikes

The pedals were banned because of a simple, and actually quite reasonable rule: all materials used in a race must be available to the public also (within a certain time span). That ensures the products are safe and follow regulations.
Suppose a team showed up with prototype rear wheels, totally closed. There could be a hub motor in it, for all we know.

Ekoi was to late submitting the required paper work, so the result is they were not allowed to use the pedals.

As well as comments by @FisherFreerider There was no first stage in reality, it was cancelled due to protests unrelated to cycling.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Few good points. In most cases I would reserve judgment on "rules" and decisions. However, the "for sale to the public" rule is overarching, nebulous and has close to zero to do with safety. Maybe the original spirit, but hardly executed as such. In addition, the UCI had a long track record of vague, unrealistic, ridiculous and at times malicious behavior. This is just another example IMO and no doubt many others feel the same. I stand by my posts on this one.
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: you must be fun at parties!
  • 2 1
 @bman33: I mean, it seems like a pretty easy rule to follow, and prohibits to some extent the "buying" of wins through mechanical advantage, and makes it more about the rides and teams. A sort of levelling of the playing field to some degree.
Your welcome to disagree with a rule, all of us are, doesnt mean its right.
Loads of people can share your opinion, doesnt make it right. 500 years ago, the general consensus was that the world was flat, it was the popular opinion at the time....

the rule would have a direct impact on rider safety, as products sold to consumers go through much more rigorous testing and standards requirements.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Comparing the clowns who believe 'world is flat' to this case is hyperbole at best. The rule was written intentially vaugue by UCI . Safety may have been a concern on paper, but to believe that is the full intent and methodology for enforment is naive. This is the UCI. If we are talking about 'safety' , why do we have a full peleton running double digit MPH on skinny tires, drop bars down mountain highways with riders wearing nothing but glorified spandex, helmets only? They don't care about 'safety' as much as many would like to think. The homologation or 'sell to consumers' rules is window dressing. It its often used by the 'big player' teams or manufactureres to superss competion they feel threatened by in a similar fashion may large corp love big regulatory requirements to roadblock small start ups from threatening their market share. For example many of the top level teams may have frames that appear factory, but the carbon layups, dimensions, etc are pushing boundaries and have zero chance getting to the consumer. They just have paint and decals making them appear 'factory' or retail ready.
  • 2 1
 @bman33: Its just as hyperbolic (awesome) as mentioning so many also share your opinion (how you could possibly base that in fact is beyond me). "The world is flat" argument would have been fairly relevant at the time, the only reason it seems silly now is with the benefit of hindsight.

Theres more than one justification for the rule, and in reality, its a pretty easy rule to abide by. Theres also a bureaucratic element to the story in regards to the timing of the application, again seems pretty easy, and is the same rule for everyone (I'm sure youll point out some sort of obscure example to aid your argument)

Sure, the big players can game the system, so can the smaller ones, being creative with rules is what creates competition on different levels.
I dont blindly believe any of it one way or another, and that was my original point to you, the jumping to conclusions based on incorrect facts, not actually reading all the available info, and hoping on that bandwagon of hating the UCI doesnt help to serve anything.
Keep in mind, they missed an application deadline, to circumvent an established rule, there to likely aid in exactly what youre so upset that the UCI is doing (provideing a pathway for smaller compaines, and innovation). If it was the other way, youd be upset that the UCI allowed a competitive advantage to a company that couldnt simply follow the rules.
You see how that creates a "no-win" situation?
  • 21 0
 And then again ! Clcik on one of the above a link and here it goes again ! @sarahmoore So I can copy and paste my previous comment :
Pinkbike, can we talk cookies? Your consent form is a piece of crap; there's no button to refuse all cookies, including those that fall under the so-called "legitimate interest".
Right now it's a real pain in the ass. Please give us a "Refuse all" button !

To be clear, talking from Europe with RGPD
  • 4 0
 The acronym to search would be GDPR for english language Smile
  • 2 0
 Unfortunately because the website is hosted/based out of Europe they don't have any requirement to have a system like that in place, and so probably won't develop one.
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: Well they use a system I've seen on a few others websites, some kind of paying plugin I guess. They can just swap to another plugin with a "Reject all" button. No big deal here !
  • 22 1
 Finally, the $7k skinsuit I was looking for.
  • 16 1
 Gotta shave those tenths on the e-enduro/snowbike stages
  • 6 1
 Thats pretty cheap compared to what other nations skinsuits and other equipment is being "sold" for, they only list them for sale to homologate them.
  • 5 0
 At $7k, clearly this is the Assos budget offering.
  • 15 0
 Have you tried just just being naked? That advice will only cost you £3.5k. Bargain.
  • 8 0
 @bigtim: Paintsuit? Just make sure the socks are drawn are the right height.
  • 2 0
 @dick-pound: that's gonna be an eye watering waxing.
  • 16 2
 Gravel bike with suspension? Or you could just buy a hardtail and put skinny tires on it.
  • 3 0
 gravel tires are getting fatter and fatter. once the bars start getting flatter, both will eventually meet somewhere in the middle
  • 4 0
 don't recall the link but recently saw a great youtube video on drop bar conversions for MTB hardtails being used at events like Leadville...that's where this is all going. It also went into detail on the XC race tires having lower rolling resistance than gravel tires due to their ability to have thinner sidewalls...so no need for skinny tires (though there is an aero penalty I guess)
  • 2 0
 The curly bars will eventually evolve into bar ends
  • 1 0
 @mca896: it’s called the specialized diverge expert E5 evo
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: I think that was a Dylan Johnson video.
  • 18 6
 "SRAM AXS Battery Solar Charging Could be Coming to your Fender & Bottle Cage"
Or you can just spend the 15 minutes, run a cable housing and not have to deal with all the electrical crap.
  • 13 0
 N=1?
That doesn't compute.
  • 2 0
 one ring ...er... bike to rule them all?
  • 2 0
 There's no need to solve the equation for N because Stridsland says the answer is 1 (their bike!). But even then, they're a bit bashful about the claim. Very cool bike nonetheless.
  • 10 1
 No one's going to talk about no jail time for people pushing cyclists off the road twelve times? Making it consequence-free means making it legal.
www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/31/men-accused-of-pushing-cyclists-into-ditches-for-fun-go-on-trial-in-france
  • 2 0
 eh....Article says "...and could face up to five years in prison." Don't see anything about this being consequence free. Also, not too sure about the legal system in France but here in the States there are criminal and civil consequences. Even if not convicted criminally (typically a higher standard) I'm sure they'll likely face civil consequences when each of the 12 riders individually sue these guys.
  • 9 0
 @SATN-XC: They got a suspended sentence, which is basically no punishment whatsoever...
  • 7 0
 I thought about covering this story. Ultimately I ended up not doing it because I covered something in a similar vein a little while back, and my initial draft around this story was more ranty than anything.

velo.outsideonline.com/urban/urban-culture/reflective-gear-wont-stop-cyclists-from-being-hit-by-cars
  • 1 0
 @korev: well that's disappointing, article didn't mention that...hopefully the attorneys for the cyclists can deal some civil punishment ($$$) on these a**holes
  • 2 0
 "The court handed down two-year suspended sentences, including a requirement that the individuals wear electronic bracelets for a year.
They had their driving licenses cancelled for six months and have been instructed to compensate their victims."

There seems to be some financial compensation to the victims although this will never reach the crazy amounts awarded in the US.
Good thing is they been caught and in case of a future infraction the sentence will be quite harsh. Also, now people know who they are are can always pay them a visit.
  • 2 0
 Monitoring bracelets means criminal supervision, which is the US states is probation and parole. I don’t know the French equivalent; it could be the same. Suspended sentence means a violation of the criminal supervision can carry not just the ordinary penalty but some or all of the suspended time on top. On any given day, a large number of people in the US are in a jail or prison on a violation, so it’s not always a slap on the wrist, but it can be for some, raising questions about fairness across different cases and how well it works as a deterrent.
  • 10 0
 The UCI seem like they are trying to be as bad as their job as they possibly can.
  • 3 0
 This has been the case since I started reading bike mags in the 90s, and I assume long before that.
  • 3 0
 Nobody:
Me on Halloween as Bobby Peru in a 7k skin suit- “speaking of Jack- One eyed jacks a yearnin’ to go a peepin’ in a seafood store!!! Because you know I mean business- when it comes to cyclin’ !!!!”
  • 2 0
 You hear a deeeep sound come from Bobby Peru
  • 7 2
 SRAM should patent a battery that actually works below freezing and make it.
  • 4 0
 Why would you want to charge a spare battery while riding, just bring a spare battery that is already charged.
  • 5 0
 If SRAM would just put a little LED on the derailleur that would display the battery charge level it would render that pointless. Like you could just easily look at it before departing for a ride.. oh wait.
  • 10 2
 @Brave1i1toaster: it could also be an interesting idea to run a small cable from a mechanical gear-shifting device that you mount on the handlebar, ideally near the grips, so that you can change gears without needing a battery at all...
  • 2 0
 Tour divide people, maybe? Super niche.
  • 2 0
 Good for commuters I reckon. SRAM has already built a setup with TQ to have their e-bike battery also power the AXS battery, so they're probably ideating how else other systems can power their batteries. Keep carrying that spare battery though. I'd be somewhat surprised to see solar panels on fenders actually come to fruition.
  • 2 0
 @drjohn: let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
  • 1 1
 @drjohn: that is an interesting idea, kinda like like ditching your cell phone for a fax machine.
  • 1 0
 @drjohn: sounds like too much potential for grit and grime to get in the cable housing and cause mis-shifting from friction. Push rods is the only solution.
  • 2 1
 @warmerdamj: no, it's like ditching Strava and going out on a ride with actual people.
  • 1 0
 Gravel bike with Pinion... Save single watts with aero components - piss away 10% of the input in the gearbox. (NB: I commute on a rigid pinion touring bike. My lyrik forked, steel 2.8-cushcored Hardtail is more efficient and lighter)
  • 4 0
 That stridsland is a thing of beauty. Helping to keep 26 alive
  • 1 0
 A 40mm gravel fork with 30mm stanchions that weighs 1385g isn't that impressive when a 120mm SID Ultimate weighs about the same and has 35mm stanchions. A 40mm gravel fork should weigh much less.
  • 2 0
 for the weight/cost penalty of the solar....could you, you know, just carry/buy an extra battery?
  • 17 1
 or even better, run cables.
  • 1 0
 Is it impossible to launch a gravel product without someone skidding their bike fully upright to make it look "x-treme" or "fun"?
  • 1 0
 Props to the Stridsland beachcomber! He grew up on the North Shore so I would imagine that bike is bombproof! N might actually equal 1 with this bike. Congrats!
  • 1 0
 In a few days, a funnel holder with a bottle will come out, so as not to pollute the forest with piss.
  • 2 0
 don't be upset that someone beat you to it....

peesport.com/en-gb/products/the-pee-bottle
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: lol the pictures of people in that website. Wtf. Literally posing with a bottle they piss in with a thumbs up. You can tell some of them just don't want to get up off the couch.
  • 1 0
 i'd feel like a total Asso if i paid $7k for a skinsuit.
  • 1 1
 *Yawn*
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