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Week in Tech: 650b wheels win World Cup; Enve clinchers shipping; Fi’zi:k custom insoles

  • By Caley Fretz
  • Published Mar. 24, 2012
  • Updated Mar. 24, 2012 at 9:57 AM EDT

650b wheels roll Pietermaritzburg

The newly popular (and simultaneously very old) 650b wheel size took its first major win last weekend at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Nino Schurter rode a prototype 650b/27.5” Scott Scale frame to victory over local favorite Burry Stander, who was on a Specialized 29er. Julien Absalon was the only rider in the top 10 of the men’s race still on 26-inch wheels.

More on Schurter’s bike can be found at Mountain Bike Rider UK.

Graeme Obree wants to break land speed record on a homemade bike

This is half human interest story, half tech news, and 100% fantastic. The 46-year-old Scottish cyclist has been tinkering away on a bike made from custom (or simply old) components and hopes to make an attempt at the world land speed record this year.

Check out the video and full story at Humans Invent

ENVE 3.4 clinchers shipping

We’re big fans of Enve’s 6.7 tubulars, and the same aero tech goes into the new, shallower 3.4 (35mm front, 45mm rear) sets. We’ll have a pair in-house to play with in about a week and will provide a full review early this summer, but if you simply can’t wait, the 3.4’s are now shipping to a bike shop near you.

MSRP is $2900 with DT240 hubs and DT aerolite spokes.  The 35mm front rim weighs 435 grams, and the rear 45mm rim weighs 450g, which puts the whole set about on par with Enve’s existing 45mm clinchers — total wheelset weight is a claimed 1420g. The new shape should provide much-improved handling in crosswinds and better aerodynamics to boot.

Fi’zi:k debuts moldable insoles

Following up on its shoe release last year, Fi’zi:k is rolling out a moldable aftermarket insole program. They’ll be offering up the same moldable insole used on their R1 shoes for individual sale.

Fi’zi:k developed the insole with ski industry hotshot SIDAS, and the footbeds are made of Podiaflex N, a thermo-moldable material that can be formed to customize the shape for each unique foot. The whole process takes less than 15 minutes.

“The operating principle behind our original mission of improving the ride experience for all cyclists is that comfort is not an option,” said Fi’zi:k’s footwear program designer and product developer, Steve Delacruz. “To achieve that optimum level of comfort, we strongly believe that customization is necessary. This is similar to the ski industry where customization of the boot shell and liner is ingrained in their culture. We are striving to be on the leading edge of customization for cycling equipment.”

MSRP is $85, but if your weird — sorry, “unique” — feet require custom-molded insoles to stay comfy, they’ll be worth every penny.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech TAGS: /

Caley Fretz

Caley Fretz

Tech Editor Caley Fretz can usually be found chasing races along the backroads of Europe or testing bikes and gear in the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado. If you can't find him there, check the coffee shop across from VN World Headquarters.

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