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In the Drops: 3D printed things from Tom Boonen and Fizik, some jazzy Castelli kit and a look behind the scenes of Formula 1

A curated collection of kit and content highlights from another week on planet Cyclist, plus a gripping Netflix pick

Sam Challis
20 May 2022

There’s barely a waning crescent of the working week left, which means the stars are sufficiently aligned for Cyclist’s In the Drops weekly round-up to be published again.

Pro cycling dominated the early part of the week on Editorial assistant Robyn Davidson used the Giro’s second rest day to recap the race so far, put together a gallery on the brilliant Tro-Bro León, then followed that up on Tuesday with the latest edition of her Extremely Online series.

Editorial assistant Will Strickson complemented the Giro recap on Monday with a gallery capturing the drama that unfolded on Stage 9 of the race too.

Flying the tech flag this week has been editorial assistant Emma Cole, with a comprehensive buyer’s guide to women’s specific saddles, and deputy editor James Spender, with a charming edition of Cyclist’s What We Ride series on his Eddy Merckx Alu Sprint bike.

But it was back to the Giro again to round the week off, with a feature on four remarkable tales of the pink jersey, and a look at the race’s uniquely brilliant fans, the tifosi.

Before you go back and check out all the sizzling content you may have missed though, read on to peruse a selection of the latest kit to arrive at Cyclist.

Products included in our weekly round-up are independently selected by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Learn more.

Fizik Tempo Argo Adaptive R3 saddle

Fizik has been using 3D-printed padding on select options in its saddle range for a couple of years now but the Tempo Argo Adaptive R3 is ostensibly the first such design with a price that is within the realms of the stomachable.

I will admit its £259 cost still puts it at the most premium end of the market, but compared against the £400 pricetags of previous Fizik saddles using the technology the Tempo Argo Adaptive R3 represents a significant saving. What’s more, it prompts the hope that it won’t be too long before the benefits of 3D printed padding become properly accessible.

Because it has been almost universally accepted so far that 3D printed cushioning does offer advantages over conventional foam padding. The theory behind it suggests that the 3D printed lattice structure is better able to offer ‘zonal support’ than foam padding because it can be more precisely tailored and fabricated.

In the Tempo Argo Adaptive R3, Fizik pairs the padding with its short-nose saddle hull, the shape of which in itself is claimed to improve comfort by relieving pressure on soft tissue.

The R3 variant marries the Tempo Argo shape to ‘Kium’ alloy rails, creating a saddle that weighs either 224g or 230g, depending on whether the 140mm or 150mm width is chosen.

  • £259.99

Odette Lunettes × Tom Boonen sunglasses

Odette Lunettes is a boutique Belgian eyewear company looking to bridge the gap between fashion and sports performance with its newest set of sunglasses, borne out of a collaboration with Tom Boonen.

While the glasses look casual enough for everyday use, Odette Lunettes says they have a lightweight, flexible construction and understated silicone grippers so they fit securely when less-casual pursuits are undertaken.

Their key design feature is undoubtedly their frames, which are 3D printed in Belgium by a specialist company called Materialise. Materialise says it uses a sustainable polymer material derived from castor beans and the printing fabrication method it uses doesn’t create any waste, so those that invest in a pair will be able to feel good as well as look good.

3D printing isn’t the only modern technology associated with these glasses either. Call me a heathen for not understanding the significance of this, but as part of Odette Lunettes ‘first step into the metaverse’, the brand has released/published/initiated (?!) three Tom Boonen NFTs as well.

Upon purchase/trade/receivership (?!) of one of the tokens, the lucky owner/user/keeper (?!) will receive a pair of the glasses as well as a bust of Tom Boonen (3D printed, naturally) to store them on, when they are not being worn in the boring old normal universe.

Castelli summer kit

Castelli may well have pedigree in producing garments that cater for changeable weather, but to me the brand is as synonymous with summer as pristine white shoes and hay fever.

One or two of the brand’s cutting-edge jerseys – such as the sleek Aero Race 6.0 design or the barely-there Climber’s 3.0 SL design – perennially garner a lot of the attention in Castelli’s Spring/Summer range but some of its more humble options are equally proficient too.

Case in point is the A Blocco jersey. It is a solid all-rounder that comes in an array of tasteful (and quirky) colour options.

The cut is slim without being spray-on, and the ‘ProSecco Miscromesh’ fabric promises to ventilate well without leaving nothing to the imagination in the way some summer jerseys do. Having had experience with the feature before, I know the A Blocco’s raw cut sleeves are particularly comfortable.

If the A Blocco jersey was a modest pick then the Premio Black bibshorts are significantly more extravagant, sitting at the top of Castelli’s range both in price and technology.

At their core is the brand’s Progetto X2 Air Seamless chamois, which has long been regarded as very comfortable.

Elsewhere in the short things get less conventional however, as a woven fabric is used that feels almost papery to touch. Castelli claims it is distinctly comfortable to ride in though, thanks to the nature of the woven fabric.

The brand says it can be seamlessly adjusted, depending on where it is intended to sit on the body, to promote different characteristics, such breathability in one area but support in another.

  • Castelli A Blocco jersey RRP £95
  • Castelli Premio Black bibshorts RRP £240

What we’re into this week: Netflix’s Formula 1 Drive to Survive

Image credit: Netflix

Somewhat predictably given that my job is writing about a machine you have to move under your own steam, I’ve never been fussed about motor vehicles. To me, driving is for practicality, not pleasure, and until recently I was as equally ambivalent towards Formula 1.

That was until Netflix recommended ‘Drive to Survive’, which is an inside look at the machinations and politics of the world’s most popular motor sport.

(As an aside, the suggestion popped up because I gave the Chicago Bulls basketball documentary The Last Dance a thumbs up rating. You’ve got to respect the algorithm; that is well worth a watch too.)

Drive to Survive now extends to four series and tracks the trials and tribulations of every team on the grid over the course of the last four Formula 1 seasons.

The show covers the overarching narratives as well as the equally interesting sub-plots that occur and develop over the course of each year, achieved through a compilation of race footage, behind-the-scenes access, and sequences of personal interviews with all the main protagonists.

The drivers, team principles and embedded journalists all get their say on the innumerable clashes, successes and controversies each season creates.

The pressure and sheer quantity of conflicting personal and professional agendas ensures no little amount of drama from the get-go. Having watched all four series now, I can say that this means each episode is as entertaining as the last, and the show has afforded me an appreciation for some of the intricacies that make the sport so popular.

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