This week, we've got a broad mix of news in the world of off-road cycling with Scott revealing its most versatile e-bike ever made and Specialized developing its patented linkage fork. High-street fashion retailer, Zara, has added MTB-specific clothing to its active range, and we look at the best tech of 2022.
Zara introduce MTB clothing to range
2022 Zara mtb clothing technical jersey, by Zara
Something a little different this week was that clothing retail brand Zara, known for selling suits, posh coats and cosy cardigans, has revealed its fashion-conscious mountain biker range. With a partnership involving the cycling brand, Spiuk, the collaboration now means you can stock up on your off-road cycling apparel while shopping for your luxury items. The brand is not a stranger to cycling-specific clothing as it already features a collection aimed at the road cyclist, and the MTB collection will also sit within the same ‘Athleticz’ outdoor range.
At the moment it is only men's sizing available, but maybe if the men’s clothing line takes off, the brand will be brave and add some women's specific clothing to the range too. The range offers plenty of technical performance and includes jerseys, jackets, a helmet, shoes, lots of weatherproof clothing, and a bum bag, and yes, they still hold the same level of fashion as you would expect from Zara.
Patent plans for Specialized linkage fork
2022 specialized linkage fork compress.jpg, by Liam Mercer
When a bike manufacturer decides what componentry to add to turn its bikes into fully fledged race-ready rigs, the route of usually comprises already-proven technology. This could be Shimano for the drivetrain, Fox for the suspension, or... well you get where I’m going with this. There are, of course, some that go it alone and produce their components.
Specialized had been granted a patent for a linkage-type fork design concept and, now, we have news of its development, and it shares similarities with other linkage forks that made an appearance, such as Trust, with its distinctive aesthetics. Not surprisingly, because the same design blueprints went from Trusts doors closing straight into the hands of Specialized. There have been many attempts at this form of suspension, with prototypes teasing us a little more than nothing tangible, making it to the market as a result of various drawbacks along the way. Patents such as Push Industries, RockSled, and most recently, SRAM’s own linkage design have all had a go, but will Specialized have the recipe for success? Watch this space for updates.
Scott’s new performance gravel e-bike
SOLACE_GRAVEL_2023_SCOTT_Ebike_photo_by_Michal Cerveny_029.JPG, by SCOTT Sports
Scott has introduced a groundbreaking new electric bike to its range. Solace eRIDE and the Solace eRIDE Gravel. These new bikes on the block offer a lightweight power-to-weight ratio for gravel and road, becoming the brands most versatile bike ever made and consequently setting the new barrier for electric gravel bikes. Using the same shape and characteristics as the high-performance Scott Addict frame except for a longer chainstay for additional stability. The bike comes in two platforms, one for road and one for gravel, and offers an almost zero drag crank mounted TQ motor with 50Nm of power to propel you up those hills.
There are a few differences between the two models, with the gravel featuring technology at home on the rough stuff, such as a 1x drivetrain and flared handlebars. The road bike comes with traditional bars and compact gears. A slacker geometry gives the bike an endurance focus, and the 360Wh battery offers plenty of range, plus the option of adding a piggy pack for extended miles.
Liam's best gear of 2022
Off-road.cc’s Deputy Technical Editor, Liam Mercer gives us the low down on what got him excited this year regarding new tech, mtb clothing, and completing a full enduro race season on his Canyon Spectral CF8, which Liam talked about last week. There’s no hiding that Mr Mercer loves Canyons, with the 125mm travel version of the machine he raced making it into his top list of gear of 2022. Another top product is the Kali Protectives Trinity Goggle offering “everything I yearn for in a good goggle”, according to Liam. Plus, the little things make a bigger impact with the small but mighty Lezyne Tubeless CNC Drive. This little piece of tech can sort out any tubeless disaster.
Wondering what else Liam has included in his top tech of the year? You can read the full article below.
Aaron’s gear of the year round up
2022 Gear of the Year, by Aaron Borrill
Off.road.cc’s editor, Aaron looks back at what gear and tech have sparked his interest throughout the year. The staff, freelancers, and the occasional contributors here all specialise in different areas and that's what makes the content mix so diverse. Gravity enduro, gravel, bikepacking, downhill, racing, adventures, just for fun, or cross-country riding; we all appreciate different products more than others, but we all have one thing in common, and that’s a love for the sport in whatever shape or form.
Countless new products have hit the cycling world running this year, whether it’s a fancy new tech upgrade to a bike, an updated clothing range, or an all-new bike setting a new bar for what's achievable. Aaron’s list includes the YT Szepter gravel bike, a Garmin Edge 1040 Solar computer and a nifty camera integrated into a Garmin rear light. I wonder what 2023 has in store…
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