Sintesi appoint Durham's Sequal Retrobikes
Sintesi, an Italian bike maker better known here for mountain bikes has nevertheless been offering road machines in Italy since 1991. They now have a UK dealer in Sequal Retrobikes.
The development seems to be following a trend for manufacturers to appoint and ship UK dealers directly from an offshore base rather than through a UK distributor. It's easy to see how the economies of scale, and resultant price benefits, work for the huge retailers like Evans (BMC, Fuji) and Chain Reaction (Vitus, BeOne) but it seems smaller retailers are getting in on the act, too, with the welcome opportunity to differentiate themselves from local competition.
Sintesi M2 Race with Dura-Ace components & Fulcrum 1 wheels. Frame w/integral seatpost 990g.
Last week saw Jenny Copnall of Cyclevox appointed to set up just such a network of UK dealers for USA custom-builder Seven Cycles and there are bound to be more as the industry comes to terms with a march larger and more diverse range of products, customers and, indeed, bike shops.
There are Sintesi production bikes starting at reasonable prices based on a welded 6061 aluminium frame. Then moving through carbon models with increasingly exotic specs and culminating in a flagship model based on a high-modulus carbon frame that can be custom made to order and shipped to the UK "in a month" according to Sequal Retrobikes' Ian Jobling.
Sequal Retrobikes' edge is price, according to Jobling, "Because we're a dealer working directly in Italy with the brand. It's a real pleasure to be working with Sintesi."
Sintesi M2 frame, bonded 1K carbon fibre tubes, BB30 bottom bracket. As seen 990 grams.
The Sintesi road range:
X1 Comp 6061 alloy frame with Shimano Sora £649
X1 Pro 6061 alloy frame with Shimano Tiagra £849
Z1 Comp Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Apex £1,399
Z1 Pro Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Rival components £1,599
Z1 Marathon Carbex monocoque frame with Shimano Ultegra £1,899
Z2 Marathon Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Force £2,499
Z2 Race Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Red or Dura-Ace £3,290/£3985
M1 Marathon 3K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Force or Ultegra £2,599
M1 Race 3K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Red £3,499
M2 Marathon 1K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Force or Ultegra £2,850
M2 Race 1K bonded carbon frame with SRAM red or Dura-Ace £3,699/£4399
M5 Full custom 3K carbon reinforced w/UD Toray T700 fibre £poa
Cav gets Di2 shifters
Shimano has launched special sprinters' versions of their optional satellite shifter buttons for Dura Ace Di2.
The only downside apart from price to Shimano's Di2 electronic shifting has been that the shift buttons are on the main brake levers and only accessible from the 'hoods' position.
Which is fine for most riders most of the time but not for the rough-and-tumble of road sprinting where a rider might need to select three different ratios in the course of the final kilometre and most definitely all from the drops.
So much so that top sprinter Mark Cavendish has stuck with the lever-actuated cable shifting of standard Dura-Ace while the rest of his team is using Di2.
Cav's team boss Bob Stapleton must have known something was in the works when he told our reporter at last Winter's Tour Down Under that, "Cav will use it when he's ready to use it."
Well now he can because the tiny new separate left and right SW-7972 buttons are designed to be positioned at will to suit the rider's preference and plugged into the main ST-7970 shifter units just like the existing satellite sets. The right button actuates a downshift and the left an 'up'.
There is no price yet and they won't be available for a month or two but we can be sure the first racer offered them will be Mark Cavendish who is riding the Tour Down Under again in January. It will be the first thing we look for.
While we're on the subject, it's worth mentioning what those existing satellite shifters consist of.
Firstly, for time triallists and triathletes using a 'clip-on' aero bar to supplement a standard road bar with ST-7970 brake levers, there are SW-7971 shifters which fit in the end of the aero bars for gear shifting only. Price is £229.99.
For out-and-out aero specialists, the ST-7971 dual control levers also fit into the ends of time trail bars but incorporate carbon-fibre brake levers as well for £319.99.
Finally, to mount on the top of standard road handlebars, and as close to the stem as you can fit to allow for your computer unit, is the SW-7970 button for £89.99. This is the option for road riders who want to shift either way from the tops without moving their hands to the outboard shifters - think cobbles or heavy luggage or a muddy gully and you'll get the idea. There are left and right-handed versions.
By the way, the UCI World Cup cyclo-cross race in Igorre, Spain at the weekend was won by a clean sweep of Di2 riders. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) took the honours as well as the leadership of the World Cup rankings with French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) second and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) third. Mourey was using a SW-7970 satellite shifter.
Video: iPhone 4 will get a weatherproof bike mount but not yet
A number of companies have launched secure bike mounts for the all-conquering iPhone 4 but none so far a weatherproof one.
The frustration made all the more acute by the existence of the the current BioLogic model through Dahon but which only works for the iPhone 3. Surely it cannot be that hard to adapt?
The answer is that BioLogic have taken the opportunity to completely redesign the unit from scratch so that it's more secure and weatherproof. We still have a "few months" to wait for stock, according to distributor Zyro, and it will cost £49.99.
The hinge is now at the side with a distinctly positive snap catch to keep the phone snugly sealed in its case. As before, the unit can be adjusted for either portrait or landscape viewing and there are are waterproof apertures for both headphones and charging cable.
We've obviously not tried it yet, but the mount bracket appears to be a big improvement which should allow positioning on any 'bar diameter as well as the stem. Stand by.
New BioLogic iPhone 4 bracket is weather and shock proof with lenses for pictures front and rear.