Your bike bits, that is. Chainrings have just about become an industry unto themselves, with new companies springing up seemingly every week with a ‘new’ take on narrow/wide rings, expander cogs and other drivetrain components designed to make the transition to 1x more affordable and accessible than ever before.
British outfit Absolute Black have been doing their thing since 2008 (if the office staff deciphering of Roman numerals is correct) and are hitting the chainring sector big time. Matt the Dogboy from New Zealand distributor Wide Open dropped by the office armed with more spiky round things than a Ninja at a Shurikens R Us closing down sale.
Is the camera playing tricks with my eyes, or am I having flashbacks to the early 90s? More the latter than the former, Absolute Black has a new take on the old Biopace oval ring concept with this narrow/wide effort. The scientific claim goes like this: A 32t oval ring has its smallest diameter in the dead spot and is the equivalent of a 30t, and biggest diameter in the peak power zone (equivalent of a 34t). Apparently this will make you faster with an oval 32t than a round, with the same effort. We’d like to see if it works for ourselves (ahem, Dogboy?). If you buy one let us know!
A different take on the cassette expander cog option is this 28-40 adapter. Rather than slipping a single 40t cog behind your existing cassette, AB replace the top four cogs, narrowing the gap between each by adding a 38t so the jump to the 40t isn’t as pronounced. And this system saves a claimed 100g over adding a single cog to your existing cassette.
There is also the single 40t option available if you want to go that way.
For your other bits is the new SDG Fly saddle with this sweet WW1 camouflage-inspired artwork. It comes with solid titanium rails that will take a beating and stay straight.
Juice Lubes have updated their tubeless tyre sealant to an even better hole-filling formula.
And I don’t much more about the POC gloves except they come in All-Duro™ orange and they fit pretty well before they were ripped off my hands and whisked back to Rotorua.
Chris King make the best headsets and BBs out there, no doubt. To make it even easier to choose a BB among the sea of axle standards we’re awash in, they’ve standardised the external cups so all you have to do is choose which adapters you need for your particular crank.
Got a 29er front end that you just can’t get low enough? This new SLK stem from FSA should do the trick, with a negative 20º drop! Yep -20! That’s pretty freakin’ Pro. Slam that stem.