2013 saw a number of new products hit the shelves, from RockShox to Fox, from Garmin to Shimano, a number of brands launched new devices and products. Pick one, enter your vote along with the other categories in our 2013 Cyclingnews Reader Poll and be entered to win Dan Martin's Cervelo.
2013 brought with it a number of groundbreaking new products, many of which incorporate some level of electronics into what is increasingly becoming a battery-operated sport. Which one was your favorite?
RockShox, Fox, and Magura now all offer some sort of electronic suspension components with varying degrees of integration. RockShox'se.i.is a fully automatic terrain sensing design, Fox's iCD is more of a fast-acting manual lockout, and Magura'seLECT packs a clever automatic lockout into an otherwise standard fork. Pretty soon you're not only going to have to make sure your tires are inflated before your next ride but that your battery is charged, too.
Few product rollouts have been so famously delayed as the Garmin Vector power meter pedals but the company did finally release them this year. Effectively two power meters in one, each Vector pedal packs a multi-directional sensor array to measure not only how much power you're putting out but also the direction in which it's applied.
Pioneer was another big electronics brand to launch a power meter this year, this time integrated into the crank and bottom bracket. Like the Vector, Pioneer's setup offers advanced data like left-right balance but also offers the option of its own computer head, which features a brilliantly intuitive touchscreen GUI.
Recon Instruments expanded outside the snowsports world with the debut of its new Jet sunglasses, which pack a heads-up display, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and other sensors into what's essentially a wearable computer. Software possibilities are virtually endless, from real-time Strava updates to turn-by-turn directions, all without ever having to glance away from the road.
Road Tubeless fans finally have an option from top European brand Schwalbe, whose Onetubeless tire is promised to be the most durable and yet fastest option on the market. Schwalbe wisely offers the One is three popular widths, too: 23, 25, and 28mm.
Yet another battery powered nominee is the revamped Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic transmission. Now upgraded to 11-speed compatibility, the new group also features upgrade ergonomics, a smaller and more simplified wiring arrangement, and more customization potential.
Helmet technology has been largely stagnant over the past few years but the new Smith Forefront turns the industry on its head with its radical Koroyd honeycomb polymer liner. Claimed to be both lighter and more compact than traditional EPS foam, Smith says Koroyd is safer, too.
Hydraulic disc brakes finally busted into the consumer market this year with the launch of SRAM's Red 22 HRD group. Though not everyone agrees on the aesthetics of the oversized lever bodies, the power and modulation of the fully hydraulic disc brake calipers now provide the same measure of all-weather safety and control to roadies that mountain bikers have been enjoying for decades.
Hydraulic brakes haven't just been limited to disc varieties on the road – SRAM and Magura both now have rim brake options, too. Magura's brakes are still limited to time trial and triathlon use for now but SRAM's Red 22 HRR uses the same hydraulic levers as the disc group for a fully integrated solution. Either way, users no longer have to worry about less-than-optimal cable routing or dirty housing.
Power meters have long been the rarefied luxury of the well heeled but Stages Cycling now brings the price of direct-measurement meters to more attainable levels. The Stages Power meter tucks a miniscule sensor array on to just the left crankarm to produce a simplified – but still effective – solution for road, 'cross, or mountain bikes that won't completely break the bank.