Garmin’s Vector Shimano Ultegra Pedal Cartridge kit brings the power

Garmin has just announced their Vector pedal-based power system is coming to Shimano pedals (sort of). The new DIY Vector Shimano Cartridge Kit will allow the Vector 2 and 2S hardware (bought separately) to be swapped into a Shimano PD-6800 pedal body.

Essentially the cartridge kit is made up of a Shimano spindle adaptor, a cartridge removal tool and a few replacement nuts, washers and spacers in case any are lost or damaged in the change over. The process seems quite simple and doesn’t require any specialist tools that aren’t included in the kit.

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Garmin have said the Spindle Kit is only compatible with the Ultegra level pedals, and we understand the incompatibility with the Dura-Ace as there’s an outboard bearing where the pedal pods would sit, but we’re unsure why it won’t work with the 105 pedals, as the body and spindle design are nearly identical.

When the Vector 2 and 2S were announced we’d expected to see a mountain bike version of the pedal based power meter, though with the widespread use of Shimano road pedals, it’s no surprise the spindle kit was designed for the popular Ultegra level pedals based on their price and performance. That said, the GPS giant has also said they won’t be selling pre-built versions of the Ultegra Vector combo.

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Nicolai Ion GPI – the gearbox MTB of the future?

With the Ion GPI, Nicolai has melded properly forward thinking geometry with a revolutionary drivetrain that does away with the derailleur. So does this add up to a bike that lights the way for things to come? Based on a test day aboard the strange beast, the answer to that question is both yes and no.

Related: Mojo/Nicolai’s GeoMetron plots a future for mountain bike design

We’ve written before about the GeoMetron, the fruit of a collaboration between German frame builders Nicolai and the boundary-pushing boss of Mojo Suspension, Chris Porter.


A 12 speed Pinion gearbox delivers power to the rear wheel via a Gates Carbon belt drive

In a nutshell, the GeoMetron takes the basic outline of Nicolai’s 155mm rear travel Ion 16 and pairs it to geometry that’s slack enough be on the more radical edge of current World Cup downhill bikes despite only running a 160-180mm fork and being firmly designed as a do-it-all trail bike. It also has a much longer reach than most bikes on the market paired to a very steep seat angle.

Utterly different suspension performance

Shifting snags bar the path to greatness

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Specialized licenses Hed’s patent for aero rim shape

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (BRAIN) — Specialized and Hed Cycling announced that the two companies are collaborating on product development and that Specialized is licensing Hed’s patent for aerodynamic rim shaping and design.

Specialized licenses Hed’s patent for aero rim shape

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (BRAIN) — Specialized and Hed Cycling announced that the two companies are collaborating on product development and that Specialized is licensing Hed’s patent for aerodynamic rim shaping and design. The patent, No

Raised in an island bike shop, Spurcycle’s founders find success with high-end bike bell

SAUSALITO, Calif. (BRAIN) — The Spurcycle Bell is a made-in-the-U.S.

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie

While the paint job is more muted than its 650b cousin, the 6Fattie Stumpjumper is a head-turner in its own right. The big tyres are immediately noticeable, yet don’t look ridiculous – make no mistake, this isn’t a fat bike.

While the rubber is big and bulky, the carbon mainframe complements it with smooth lines and an impeccable finish.

Spec substitutions

Costing the same as the 650b Stumpy we rode alongside it in the Alps during testing, the 6Fattie gains a carbon frame to keep its weight in check at 14.02kg. With more money spent here, it’s no surprise to see lower-grade bits hanging off the frame.


Related: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite 650b review

Shimano Deore brakes and a SRAM GX groupset perform virtually as well as their pricier counterparts, but the Performance-level 34 fork and Float shock from Fox lack the subtle control levels of the Pike and factory shock on the 650b. While the Roval rims are shared, the 6Fattie also has slightly cheaper, but Boost-width, Specialized hubs.

Rough-terrain gobbler

A bike that rips on most trails

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BikeRadar gear of the year: Matthew Allen’s 2015 roadie picks

Readers of The Skinny and 11spd may have noted that my glass isn’t so much a half-empty vessel as a void of nothingness and despair. Despite this, I do experience from time to time the faintest twinge of pleasure when presented with gear that doesn’t suck.

Luckily 2015 has been a good year for lovers of bike tech, and 2016 is showing great promise too. Here are five things that moved the needle for me over the last 12 months…

Focus Izalco Max Disc


Related: Focus Izalco Max Disc – first ride

You’re probably sick to death of hearing about how disc brakes are taking over the world, but this is my gear of the year, so suck it up. I haven’t had the opportunity to review it over the long term yet, but the Izalco Max Disc impressed me enormously at the launch. It’s the first disc machine I’ve ridden where it really felt like there was no compromise at all, a bona fide race bike that rides sublimely and which just happens to have really good brakes.

Garmin Edge 20

Speedplay Zero Pavé pedals

Superstar Pacenti SL23/Icon Ultra wheels

Chien King rice husk pedals

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Focus Concept CPX Plus seatpost

Focus’ entry into the comfort seatpost market is undeniably strange-looking, but we rather like it.

It’s like a standard carbon post, but below its head is a large cutout. This means the saddle is effectively only connected to the bike by two narrow sections of material, allowing for a good deal more flex than a conventional post.

A 350mm long, 27.2mm diameter post weighs in at a respectable 199g.


There’s nothing complicated about the CPX Plus, and its two-bolt clamp arrangement is conventional and straightforward. Saddle angle adjustment is a case of alternately tightening and loosening the bolts, and there’s no compatibility issue with different types of rails.

With care, you can actually swap saddles without removing the bolts, which saves time and faff.

Like most posts, the Focus is not going to turn a boneshaker into an endurance machine. It does, however, absorb the high-frequency vibration of broken road surfaces very well.

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Speedplay Syzr mountain bike pedals

Like many others, I watched with eager anticipation as Speedplay developed its long awaited mountain bike pedal, the Syzr. More than eight years in the making with one concept fully developed (but ultimately scrapped), it’s finally on the market with no shortage of promised performance and a laundry list of novel technical features. As impressive as it is on paper, though, the Syzr sadly disappoints on the trail.

The Syzr is unlike any other mountain bike pedal currently on the market and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Critically, Speedplay co-founder Richard Bryne designed it so that the rider power was directly transferred through metal-on-metal contact between the cleat and pedal with no rubber-on-pedal squishiness or vagueness. 


Speedplay aimed to create an entirely different kind of mountain bike pedal and largely succeeded with the long awaited Syzr

As a result, the design boasts a rock-solid connection between the pedal body and cleat that doesn’t rely at all on a big cage for shoe stability. Whereas conventional mountain bike pedals incorporate free float by building slop into the cleat-pedal interface, the Syzr instead builds precisely adjustable rotation into the cleat itself, and like the company’s Zero series of road pedals, the inboard and outboard stops are independently tunable for a custom feel up to 10 degrees of total range.

The cleat is quite the marvel in and of itself with built-in extensions that naturally guide it on to the pedal plus ceramic ‘rollers’ that Bryne says produces a more consistent release in a wide range of weather conditions. Since there’s no movement between the pedal and cleat, the cleats also last a lot longer than usual.

Promises on paper vs the real world

No cigar

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By tester on December 3, 2015 | Mountain Bikes, Nuts

Meet the battery-free bike light powered by magnetism

Remember those bike lights powered by little friction generators? Remember how they were a real… drag? The NEO Reelight promises something better, and more impressive-sounding: a bike light that’s powered by a current induced by magnetism.

That’s Eddy currents, to be precise – also known as Foucault currents, they’re induced within conductors by a changing magnetic field in the conductor – the alloy wheels of a bicycle, in this case.

Related: CatEye flicks on-switch for 6,000 lumen Volt light


So how does it work? Well the design looks much likes an old-school dynamo, and clips onto the forks or frame next to the wheel rim. The NEO generator contains six powerful magnets, and Eddy currents are generated within them when the rim starts rotating next to it.

The makers claim it generates enough power to run two 1W LEDs and one or two (front and rear light) low-power LEDs for backup light. When you’re riding, a concentrated beam is focused on the road ahead, and an extra-wide angle rear light provides rear and side visibility. When you’re stopped at the lights, a backup system kicks in to deliver energy to the low-power LEDs to keep you visible.

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