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Race Day Speed from the Motor Sports Specialists
Big hill climb coming up? Finally ready to take a crack at the local berg’s KOM? The Italian motorsports specialist Pirelli is bringing its F1 knowhow back to the road bike. Its fastest, lightest, race-day-only tire, the P Zero Velo TT, is crazy light at just 165 grams. It’s badged with red highlights, which in Pirelli race parlance means it’s “super-soft”—and it is. You can feel its sticky SmartNet Silica compound and supple 127-tpi casing right out of the box. It’s only available as a narrow 23mm, needs one of those old-fashioned tubes and has no breaker for puncture protection—so don’t expect many miles out of the tire or for it to present a very confident contact patch on a wide rim—but when you want a light tire for a race that goes uphill, the P-Zero Velo TT puts Pirelli’s motorsports background to work for your motor.
Optical Heart Rate and a New Tan Line
We’re not too proud to admit we usually forget to put on our heart-rate chest strap, so we just ride without it, because we can’t be bothered to un-kit, or thread it through our bib straps. That’s why the new Wahoo Tickr fit is our new favorite heart-rate sensor. Just strap it to your forearm and it comfortably stays put, tracking your heart rate optically for up to 30 hours on a full charge. It uses Bluetooth or ANT+ to communicate with just about any head unit or smartphone, and does it more accurately and consistently than an iWatch or Garmin optical sensor, especially on the trainer. Sure the tan line’s a bit funny, but when did any self-respecting cyclist get worried about a funny tan line? But, why oh why, did Wahoo make a unique charger? A micro USB would have been fine. We’ve got too many chargers already.
The Same, but Faster
The new Specialized S-Works 7 shoe looks an awful lot like the 6. It uses the same layout—dual BOAs with forefoot Velcro—has a Dyneema upper like the 6, continues to bang Specialized’s Body-Geometry-fit drum and even shares an identical weight of 448 grams for a pair of size 42 shoes. Don’t let that fool you—the S-Works 7 is a totally new beast. The outsole is stiffer, yet more comfortable, thanks to a massive pressure-mapping study. The heel has been redesigned for more comfort, and instead of Dyneema sailcloth, the 7 is made of a Dyneema mesh designed for NASA parachutes used for atmospheric reentry. But the most important change may be the Custom S3 BOA Dials. With CNC’d alloy dials and new clutch, they add some much-needed durability to BOA’s almost disposable closure system.