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In the Drops: Lazer safety tech, silky CeramicSpeed BB, relaxed Assos kit and The Domestique

Sam Challis
8 Apr 2022

All of Cyclist’s best kit and content from the past week plus a good read that’s very on-brand

For the tech nerds, this week has been one to remember. By contrast, as Cyclist’s chief tech nerd, this week has passed in such a blur of new product launches and reviews I don’t think I’ll remember any of it.

Seemingly every brand and its dog has launched something new, and we’ve done our best to publish our takes on as much as we could, as soon as we’ve been able.

Editorial assistant Emma Cole kicked the week off with news of CHPT3’s new Biarritz women’s clothing collection and followed that up on Tuesday with a story on Fox’s new 32 TC fork.

Digital editor Joe Robinson told the tale of Cannondale’s updated Topstone Carbon gravel bike, and Emma was back on Thursday to report on a revision of Kask’s iconic Protone helmet.

Will Strickson got in on the action to introduce 3T’s Exploro Ultra gravel bike too.

There have been reviews galore as well. We’ve passed judgement on Basso’s Venta Disc bike, DMT’s KR0 shoes, and Dahon’s Unio E20 electric folding bike, amongst others.

Elsewhere, the latest instalment of our ‘What We Ride’ series is not to be missed. It features website editor Matthew Loveridge’s entirely predictable but completely delightful Shimano Dura-Ace equipped Specialized S-Works Aethos.



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Lazer Vento helmet

In case you didn’t know, last week was kind of a big deal for Lazer. The Belgian helmet brand unveiled a new safety technology called KinetiCore that has apparently been in development for 10 years.

KinetiCore is a technology that aims to decrease the rotational violence experienced by the rider’s brain in the event of a crash. It is Lazer’s answer to Mips’ slip plane liner devices.

Essentially KinetiCore is a series of EPS blocks that line the underside of the helmet shell. These blocks are designed to deform, allowing the helmet to move independently of the rider’s head under impact.

This apparently mitigates the peak forces experienced by the brain, reducing the chance of injury. Virginia Tech agrees – it awarded the Vento with its highest 5-star safety rating.

Lazer suggests that KinetiCore has several benefits over other systems. As it is built in rather than added, the helmet overall can be lighter, better ventilated and cheaper, as well as better for the environment because less material is used during manufacture.

Lazer has deployed the technology in several helmets across its range, one of which is the Vento. It’s now the brand’s top-tier aero race lid.

It is said to be more aerodynamic and better vented than the Bullet 2.0 it replaces, despite being a considerable 90g lighter.

CeramicSpeed BB386 EVO Coated bottom bracket

CeramicSpeed products have become a must have for those looking to optimise their setups in terms of bearing and drivetrain friction.

However, as someone who has never been anywhere the pointy end of a race situation where those types of upgrades claim to make the difference, I’m more interested in the durability and longevity advantages the coated variants of the brand's products boast.

According to CeramicSpeed, its coated products, like this BB386 EVO bottom bracket, can last up to 7.5 times longer than products from other brands that use regular hybrid ceramic bearings.

The secret apparently lies in treating the bearing races (both the inside and outside races) with a 3-micron thick metallic layer that is 75% harder than standard steel races.

This works with the high-quality ceramic balls to create a bearing with an uncommon level of corrosion resistance.

That’s just as well, because I plan to install this in my Open Upper gravel bike, where it is likely to see more than its fair share of grotty conditions. I’ll report back in the distant future to attest to whether the bottom bracket’s performance is as good as CeramicSpeed says it is.

Assos GTC gravel collection

Assos’ first gravel-specific apparel collection comes to market a little later than many competitors but as ever from the Swiss brand it looks beautifully made and well considered, so should be worth the wait.

On the face of it, Assos has blended features from its Trail XC mountain bike collection together with some from its road range, befitting gravel’s mongrel characteristics as a riding discipline.

Assos claims the fabrics used in its GTC products are hardwearing, but remain lightweight and breathable.

The GTC jersey is Assos’ take on the technical t-shirt concept becoming prevalent in gravel. It uses a loose cut without being baggy and a quarter zip to add a modicum of temperature management.

The Kiespanzer bibshort design pairs cargo pockets and abrasion-resistant fabrics to the same well-regarded C2 chamois used by the brand’s Mille road bibshorts.

In terms of a riding outfit, the Kiespnazer bibshorts and GTC jersey has me sorted, but for those who prefer a style closer to the baggy clothed dark side of MTB, Assos also offers the Zeppelin Cargo overshorts.

These are much the same as the brand’s Trail MTB overshorts but are 5cm shorter and slimmer fitting. They can be worn over the Kiespanzer bibshorts as an additional layer of protection and/or radness.

What we’re into this week: The Domestique by Charly Wegelius

Like most of my peers in the cycling industry, my job is also my passion so even in my downtime I don’t tend to stray too far away from all things cycling.

Case in point is my recent consumption of Charly Wegelius’ The Domestique, an autobiographical tale about one of the most unglamourous but important roles in the pro peloton.

I’m a little late to the game in this instance – the book was first published in 2013 – however its time on the shelves has in no way diminished the relevance or potency of Wegelius’ account.

Wegelius’ eloquence and honesty means the book expresses the physical, psychological and emotional toll that racing in the WorldTour exacts upon an individual better than any other book I’ve come across in the genre.

It’s brutal, it’s beautiful, and it’s truly insightful. If you haven’t already read it, The Domestique is definitely one to tick off.


Looking to test out the latest road bikes on a purpose built circuit? Cyclist Track Day Sessions at Lee Valley VeloPark on 7th/8th May give you the opportunity to try out top road bikes from Canyon, BMC, Orro, Ribble and Cannondale. 

Find out more and book tickets at cyclisttrackdays.com


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