Take a look at our top trending stories from this week, covering the latest bikes, tech, pro racing and more in the cycling industry.
As gravel continues to amass its rightfully earned following across the cycling industry, the Enve Mog is the latest addition to the drop-bar market. Recently, Enve made a strong foray into the frame market with its launch of the American-made Custom Road and the massed-produced Melee. The Mog is Enve’s attempt at defining what a modern gravel bike should be. The Enve team has an extensive gravel background and there is plenty of good riding in the area so it was no surprise to see a dedicated gravel bike join Enve’s lineup.
As reported on the BRAIN site, after an almost two-year legal battle between SRAM and Princeton Carbon Works on the merits of the now famous “wavy wheel” design, a Florida jury handed a big victory to Princeton in declaring that the smaller wheel brand did not infringe on the SRAM/Zipp design patent that was made popular with the Zipp 454 NSW wheels. Princeton ran with the “wavy” design feature with their entire wheel lineup.
Owing to the visual similarity between the two wheel designs, to the untrained eye it could easily be considered a case of “twin technology”. Zipp’s patent was based on the original wheel design by the inventor Dimitrios Katsanis which Zipp marketed as a “Sawtooth™ rim with Hyperfoil™ nodes.” Prior to the case going to a jury, Judge Altman had earlier opined that “a reasonable jury could side with Princeton.”
Despite being unbranded, the Princeton wheels gained their greatest renown when Team Ineos relied on them in 2020. Since then Ineos have continued to use the wheels in lieu of their sponsor correct Shimano Dura-Ace hoops in specific situations when the marginal aerodynamic gains were desired.
We reached out to SRAM to see if they would appeal the verdict and at the time of this writing we were told “SRAM is considering all of its options going forward, including an appeal.”
As a segment, gravel riding has evolved from a niche, often-overlooked activity usually conducted on a cyclocross or just a road bike to the fastest-growing non-motorized cycling discipline. Along the way, we’ve witnessed further development and segmentation within gravel itself at a rapid pace. From monster gravel bikes with suspension and dropper posts to svelte, aero-optimized race bikes, the bike industry was quick to create platforms to meet the needs of riders for a wide variety of dual-purpose riding.
As the discipline has grown, so has the quality of the racing and the bikes designed to be raced. Since gravel pioneer Dan Hughes’ 12:58 winning time at the Dirty Kanza in 2006 (now known as Unbound Gravel), speeds have risen and times have dropped to meet Colin Strickland’s sub-10-hour performance in 2019. In an effort to address the desires of racers and meet the needs of those looking to take advantage of the latest advances in frame design, bike manufacturers have begun to adopt many of the same aerodynamic designs used on the road for their flagship performance gravel bikes. That would include the two bikes tested here.
Following in the footsteps of their revolutionary Red AXS drivetrain, it was back in 2019 that SRAM rolled out their second tier level of an electronic drivetrain with the introduction of the Force AXS components. In the time since, SRAM has studied every part of the component group to see what could be improved upon.
And today marks the unveiling of what those four years of learning led to.
Given the broad and varied range of Force friendly user categories, SRAM designers and engineers have touched every facet of their derailleurs, shifters, and brakes to bring new levels of performance for every type of cyclist. Devout roadies will rejoice with the new 2x drivetrain while gravel riders will relish the improvements made to SRAM’s class leading 1x drivetrain. In addition to Power options available across the board, we were also impressed with the new battery charger that has four docking stations to keep both live and back-up batteries at the ready (with a claimed 60 minute full-charge duration). And in limited numbers, the arrival of their blingy “rainbow/oil slick” colored cassette and chain will hopefully bring some needed much needed color to the sea of “murdered out” black bikes in the group ride.
Q: Over the winter I’ve spent countless hours on my indoor trainer, but now I’m ready to ride outdoors. I think my fitness is good, but what about more of the basic real-world riding tips and tricks.
A: In recent years, we’ve have noticed a lot more riders hitting the streets after discovering cycling through indoor riding, and it does offer up some unique difficulties. Often fitness, as you stated, is not an issue, so riders can hang with the fast crew on the local rides. However, the real issue is that they don’t have the requisite level of elbow-to-elbow experience that can cause even the slightest miscue, which in a group ride can have disastrous results. The other common habit indoor riders often bring outside is what could be called the “total shutdown.” It’s when the rider puts out a massive, explosive effort and gives it their all, maybe to the top of a hill or the city-limit sign, and then just stops all forward progress as if the bike and people around them are not affected. This is actually dangerous and over the years we’ve seen it cause many massive pile-ups.
This is a habit that the high-intensity and “only a few more seconds” of an indoor workout have cultivated. Once outside, this sort of “go until you fall over” approach should be left to the pros who understand the ill effects of a rider suddenly decelerating within a group of charging riders.
Having kicked things off in the late 80s, Litespeed is of course one of America’s legacy titanium builders. From their earliest forays into building mountain bikes, Litespeed was soon in the serious road game and famously making team bikes for the LA Sheriff’s Cycling team (as well as the masqueraded bikes for some of the world’s top pro teams).
Today, Litespeed is still making bikes one at a time in their Tennessee factory and the Arenberg reflects the brand’s road history as a model that first appeared in the catalog decades ago. With frames priced at just $1695 and complete bikes starting at just $2950, the Arenberg not only represents their entry-level model, but an incredibly impressive price for a handmade titanium road bike.