We saw Fabian Cancellara win Strade Bianche on it, and we saw him rocket over the cobbles in the 2016 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) to a second-place finish on board the new Domane SLR from Trek (check out the gallery of Cancellara’s Flanders bike here). Now we’ve got details about the striking new bike that has both a redesigned IsoSpeed decoupler in the seat tube as well as a brand new decoupler in the head tube.
Yep, you read that right: The head tube moves.
I wanted to know more about this bicycle, and fortunately the VeloNews article was buried in like fifty Trek ads:
So I clicked on one of them, only to be confronted with a question:
Domane with front and rear IsoSpeed has it all: Blistering speed, smooth race comfort, and superior balance for precision handling and all-day domination. Powering over centuries-old cobbles, charging up dizzying climbs, descending on rails to an epic win. That's how Fabian Cancellara rides his Domane. How will you ride yours?
How will I ride mine? What kind of question is that? It's a plastic Trek with front and rear shock absorbers. Obviously I'll be riding it slowly on the multi-use path after hoisting it from the trunk rack of my Toyota Solara convertible.
Here's how it works:
The innovative Front IsoSpeed decoupler delivers the perfect smooth and balanced ride, so you can ride faster, longer, and stronger. By allowing the steerer tube to flex independently from the head tube, Front IsoSpeed provides an additional 10% of front-end compliance over a traditional road bike. Front IsoSpeed reduces hard hits and vibration without sacrificing efficiency or control.
In other words, it's like having a loose headset, which means the typical Trek rider won't even notice it.
Or, if you prefer, it's a Zertz that actually does something:
(The Roubaix has front and rear Zertz placebos and a pointy seatpost, so you know it's comfy.)
Specialized are gonna sue the bibshorts off of Trek for making comfort-enhancing road bike features that are more than just aesthetic:
Anyway, we'll see if the rest of the Fred bike industry follows suit with the whole shock absorber thing, though you can bet there's one company that will surely remain firm in the face of increasing head tube flaccidity:
The day Cipo makes a bike with a limp head tube is the day he puts on a shirt before riding:
("Not a-gonna happen, baby.")
Speaking of Fabian "Spocktopus" Cancellara, he makes a cameo in a new Kickstarter campaign. Remember how last month I mentioned this steampunk Fred bike computer?
Klaus from Alps and Andes alerted me to it, and we exchanged emails speculating as to whether this was an elaborate set-up for an April Fool's joke. Well, it wasn't:
"Omata One is the world's first GPS analog speedometer. It has analog movement on the outside with a very advanced GPS computer on the inside."
So basically it's a digital computer with an analog veneer, which makes it the cycling equivalent of decorative air vents on cars, fake cooling fins on liquid-cooled motorcycle engines, and the ersatz clicking sound your smartphone makes when you take a selfie. (I predict fake shifting sounds will come to electronic shifting groups within the year.)
"I believe that everything on your bike should be as pure and beautiful as the ride and the bike itself. When I look at existing cycling computers, they look and behave like a piece of consumer electronics or a smartphone, and I don't want that on my handlebars. I want a modern speedometer and only looks like it belongs on a bike, but reflects the spirit and pleasure of why I ride on the first place. But without compromise."
Okay, this thing has GPS, Bluetooth, Strava connectivity...not that there's anything wrong with any of that stuff, but you're no less of a giant Fred just because your bike computer points to numbers with a needle, just like your musical taste is no less sucky just because you play your crap on vintage vinyl.
Anyway, cue Spocktopus:
("Is a watch or...? Spocktopus confused.")
Well there you go.
Yes, nothing as beautifully simple as calibrating your analog speedometer with a laptop and performing constant software updates:
In other Kickstarter cockpit news, here's a more modest fundraising campaign for something that is truly and unapologetically analog--a clip for maps:
However, as the inventors tell their story, it becomes clear from Devon's facial expressions and body language that Joe has forced her join the sordid world of bike touring:
"Since then, I've done quite a few more [bike tours], and Devon was excited to join me."
That's funny, she doesn't look our sound excited, especially when she learns that the next ride is going to be to...Alaska:
"...going to start our next adventure following the West Coast up to Alaska this spring."
"Alaska, are you kidding me?," that eyebrow rub says. You can already see her formulating her excuse--which is probably why Joe makes her read this hostage speech:
"Bike touring is awesome. There really is no other way of travel that you can just see so many places and meet so many people."
Actually, it could take them years to reach Alaska, because it looks like they may be going by fat bike:
That's why it's crucial any map clip passes the "shake over a lake" test:
See, when you're somewhere in the wilds of British Columbia and one of you starts shaking the map and screaming, "I wanna go home! If I have to listen to one more asshole with a beard talk about pour-over coffee I'm going to kill you!," you can't have the map falling into the water and getting destroyed again like it did that other time. (You might also want to laminate that map while you're at it.)
I wonder if the Omata is waterproof.