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Gear news: 3T, Hincapie, Simple Pleasures

3T has revamped its intriguing Palladio seatpost with a new head that is smaller, lighter and easier to use than the original version. The new version still uses separate clamps for the left and right sides but they now secure the rails from the sides instead of the original's band-type mechanism. 3T has also cut the number of fasteners in half and greatly reduced the bulk for reduced interference with low-profile saddles.

Retained from the first generation design is the unique DiffLock mechanism for adjusting saddle tilt. Two concentric toothed cylinders (one with teeth spaced at 9 degrees and the other at 9.5) reside within each other and the seatpost head and combine for half-degree angle increments with no chance of slipping barring some sort of material failure. The mechanical lock also reduces torque settings for the clamp bolts.

Altering the tilt still looks to be fairly cumbersome, however, as both DiffLock cylinders need to be wholly removed from the post for repositioning before being reinserted. As such, the Palladio may not suit riders who regularly tweak their setup but may be a good solution for riders that require an offset seatpost and have had issues with locking in tilt settings in the past. Also, 3T says the side clamp mechanism will only work with round rails.

3T will offer the LTD and Team posts in both 27.2 and 31.6mm diameters; the Pro will only be available in 27.2mm. Claimed weights range from 160-190g for the LTD depending on size, 177-204g for the Team, and 251-269g for the Pro. Suggested retail prices for the Palladio are US$325/€260 for the LTD version, US$200/€175 for the Team, and US$100/€80 for the Pro.

Adjustable-length S-bend alloy extensions will come standard but other 3T bends such as straight and 'deep-S' will also fit.

Claimed weight for the complete Aura is 695g and suggested retail price is US$300/€250.

New gear bags on tap from Hincapie Sportswear

Hincapie Sportswear has added two new luggage options to its original Pro Pack Classic backpack – the larger Pro Pack rucksack plus the Pro Duffel.

The Pro Pack measures 31x18x55cm (13x7x22") and includes a single, divided main compartment with a zipped mesh pocket for smaller possessions plus a sleeve for an optional hydration reservoir. A secondary zipped exterior pocket and mesh side pockets big enough for water bottles or shoes are also included along with zipped mesh pockets along the hip belt for quick-access items.

Additional features include a ventilated back panel, a hidden zip-out helmet holder, integrated rain cover and a removable nylon laundry bag for separating out dirty clothing after an event. Suggested retail price is US$89.99

Alternatively, the Pro Duffel's larger 32x33x64cm (12x13x25") capacity offers more room for when you need to travel with more gear. An internal divider and mesh pockets help keep the main compartment organized while additional compartments in the ends are sized for helmets and shoes.

Specific pockets for water bottles, eyewear and smaller bits like tools are also included along with a separate zippered pocket at the base for wet and dirty clothes.

Suggested retail price is US$79.99.

Simple Pleasures Bicycle Components revisits ergo-bend mountain bike handlebar concept

Bend, Oregon-based Simple Pleasures' new Gnar Bar riser bar adds an extra kink at the ends, right below your palms. Why bother, you ask? According to designer Chris Sullivan, the so-called Control Curve Technology offers a more natural fit with your hands for improved comfort and control, especially in rougher conditions. Also, integrating the ergonomic shaping directly into the bar allows for a smaller overall grip circumference if desired, in contrast to the newer crop of heavily shaped ergo grips that can produce a lot of bulk in your hands.

The concept isn't a new one as RooX did something similar roughly a decade ago. Simple Pleasures may have better luck this time around, though, as modern split clamps and removable faceplates will remove much of the hassle of stem and component installation with no additional shims required on the oversized 31.8mm center section. Grip fitment will still be a little tricky, however, and most lock-on grips won't work (WTB's Moto-Tec, GTO and 4-Front being notable exceptions).

The Gnar Bar is manufactured by well-respected frame maker Sapa Extrusions in nearby Portland and dimensions on the 6069-T6 aluminum alloy bar are fairly standard with a 700mm width, 37mm rise and 9-degree backsweep. Claimed weight is an "overbuilt" 300g right now but Sullivan says both a lightweight and low-rise versions are pending, too. Suggested retail price is US$89.95.

Also coming soon from Simple Pleasures is the Quick-True Tool. Two rubber straps affix the device on to nearly any frame or fork while an adjustable gage provides a visual indicator for wheel, rotor or even chainring trueness. The included spoke wrench includes all three major conventional nipple sizes plus an 8- and 10mm box wrench and the spring-loaded gage is tipped with nylon to prevent scratches.

The Quick-True Tool will be available April 1 for US$79.95.

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