This week has been big on the tech front, and there is one story that is dominating the cycling tech news: the new SRAM Apex. The American groupset giant brought the AXS system to the masses by updating its lower-tier Apex groupset in two configurations: mechanical and electronic. In addition to the SRAM news, we’ve also seen quite a few new launches. Lapierre released a new e-MTB and Specialized a £3,500 Levo SL kids bike. We've also reported about a new downhill helmet from Lazer, gravel bike from Commencal and had a very in-depth look at some Canyon bikes. Let’s dive in!
SRAM Apex Eagle mechanical first ride review - "We’ve never given up on mechanical shifting"
SRAM Apex Eagle rear derailleur, by SRAM
Starting with the big news: SRAM’s updated and new Apex groupsets. SRAM released the newest Apex in two configurations: electronic XPLR AXS, and mechanical Apex - and the latter is sure to please many. The cycling industry is ever-evolving and technologies like rim brakes are slowly disappearing but, with the mechanical Apex, SRAM shows it believes in cable-actuated shifting hanging around for a while longer.
The 12-speed Apex mechanical groupset was revealed to the cycling media alongside SRAM Apex AXS and our editor Aaron was in the US to get a first look at the cable-operated shifting system, and also the electronic SRAM Apex XPLR AXS.
Visually, the changes to the new Apex might appear minimal, but there are some significant updates, such as the shape of the hoods and levers and the updated brake calipers. The Apex is also only available in 1x configuration - but there is a flat-bar option on offer, as well.
Read all the details of the new groupsets below.
Specialized launches a £3,500 Levo SL Kids e-MTB
Specialized is not the first to offer an e-MTB for the young ones, but the brand new Levo SL Kids comes with a price tag that might topple other major brands' offerings. The Levo SL Kids is equipped with 24-inch wheels, Specialized 1.2 motor - the very same as on the adult’s Levo SL, and a 320Wh integrated battery.
The kids can also enjoy the plush from the 100mm RockShox Reba fork up front and crisp shifting from the 11-speed SRAM NX drivetrain.
The bike retails at £3,500 and weighs just under 17kg.
Commencal says the new 365 isn't just another gravel bike
Commencal is a brand best known for its full-suspension mountain bikes but like Mondraker and other mountain bike brands, it has now expanded its offerings to the gravel sphere. The new 365 gravel bike is - perhaps a little surprisingly - made of aluminium.
This is a bid to remain environmentally friendly while offering a versatile and racey platform, Commencal said. The bike comes in three builds with the top-of-the-range 365 Signature model rolling with SRAM Force XPLR eTap 12-speed shifting and, as you could expect from an MTB brand, a RockShox Reverb AXS XPLR dropper.
Prices start at €2,000 and range up to €4,500 for the Sram Force model detailed above.
Lazer releases Chase KinetiCore downhill helmet
2023 Lazer Chase Kineticore helmet hero, by Lazer
Lazer has dropped into the downhill mountain biking market with its new Chase helmet, featuring the brand's proprietary rotational and impact protection technology, called KinetiCore.
The Chase is the first downhill-specific lid from the Belgian helmet brand, but the helmet has straight away achieved a full five-star protection rating from Virginia Tech, an independent helmet testing facility.
It’s available in six colours and retails for £200.
Lapierre redefines its e-MTB vision with the latest E-Zesty
Four years after Lapierre launched its first e-mountain bike, the French brand has now released an all-new E-Zesty, an e-MTB with a new suspension kinematic, geometry, and frame.
The E-Zesty is built around Fazua's Ride 60 motor, which the brand believes is the best on the market, offering a lightweight (4.21kg with 430Wh battery) and powerful package.
The E-Zesty rolls on 29in wheels and offers 140mm of travel to cater for a bit of all-around riding, and there is an option to swap the bike’s rear wheel to a 650b for a mullet setup.
The frame is full carbon and has been designed to neatly integrate the motor and battery into the bike without affecting the weight distribution. The frame alone has a claimed weight of 2,630g in a medium size, whereas the whole bike should tip the scales at 18kg.
The E-Zesty AM 9.4 will retail at £6,000 and the AM LTD build will sit at £7,000.
Canyon Neuron:ON CF 8 first ride review
Canyon is really on a streak with new and updated bikes. Just a few weeks ago we saw the brand’s whole e-MTB being updated - except for the Neuron:ON CF. Well, now the Neuron:ON has also got the refreshment treatment and is available to the masses. And of course, our tech editor Liam has taken the bike for a test ride.
The Neuron:ON is Canyon’s most adventure-ready e-mountain bike, and the latest electric version of it is now an all-carbon bike that rolls exclusively on 29-inch hoops. This has resulted in a lot of weight savings, but also provides more snappy handling and counteracts any additional mass that’s come with the e-MTB.
Liam concluded that this is a very solid trail bike that stands out because of its unwavering versatility, offering a welcoming and familiar platform that'll be appreciated by new and experienced riders alike.
Read the full first-ride review below.
Exclusive interview with Peter Kettenring - the designer of Canyon’s all-new carbon-fibre Torque:ON CF
Canyon Torque:ON CF Sketches.png, by Canyon
With so many new bikes popping out all the time, it might seem that creating and designing one is an easy task… but it’s not really! If you’re interested in how bikes are designed, this exclusive interview with Canyon’s team leader of product design Peter Kettenring is a must.
We spoke with him to find out how he and his designers have created a machine that raises the bar when it comes to the performance of gravity e-MTBs - such as the recently launched Torque:ON CF.
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