Cannondale Carbon Flash Ultimate
This is a carbon race bike like many others on the market, but Cannondale has distinguished itself by producing the frame in a very clever way. Instead of molding together several sheets of carbon, as most frame-makers do, Cannondale has used continuous threads of carbon fiber that run all the way down the length of the bike, completely uninterrupted, as though it were punched out of a wafer cookie. They say it makes the frame stronger and stiffer whiled reducing weight, but the real sex appeal is in the ingenuity and simplicity of the concept. Parts technology has improved so much in the last 12 months that this bike can be built up with 20 to 30 gears, instead of the conventional 18 to 27. Cross country racing. $9600.
Sunday Aaron Ross Pro
BMX bikes haven’t changed radically since the early 1990s, so visual appeal and sponsorship have become the industry battleground. This bike is the preferred rig of BMX star Aaron Ross (hence the name) comes in one of Ross’s “favorite finishes of all time” – Fluorescent Yellow with Ocean Blue parts. BMX racing. $700.
Spot Mod Steel with Gates Belt-drive
Look at the back end of this bike and you’ll see there’s no chain; instead, there’s a carbon fiber belt, much like the ones in your car’s engine. In the last year, belt-drive bikes have popularized with commuters because they don’t need grease – and therefore can’t mess up your pants. But their low-maintenance, quiet operation and durability are also appeal to cyclocross racers, who race modified road bikes on hilly, grassy and muddy race-courses. Gates has built up these Mod Steel frames, made by a framebuider called Spot, with their Carbon Drive system and given them to their sponsored race team. That means that consumers can’t get them yet – but on its blog, Gates says that buyers should “stay tuned for news of an exciting new bike sponsorship this fall” with a top bike-maker. Cyclocross racing. Price: N/A
Mike Giant’s Cinelli Ram2 Handlebars
Road cyclists and tattoo enthusiasts aren’t typically overlapping groups. That might change when riders begin showing up to road races sporting this intimidating set of carbon handlebars, called the Ram2. Easily the most menacing handlebars in the storied history of handlebars, the Ram 2 was custom designed by San Francisco tattoo artist Mike Giant for the Cinelli, the Italian bike-maker. Cinelli is producing a limited number of these bars, available starting at the end of November. Price: unannounced.
Salsa Spearfish
Most off-road bikes have 26-inch wheels. Several years ago, a bunch of backwoods weirdos began building mountain bikes with 29-inch wheels, which look absurdly, awkwardly big. The rest of the cycling world balked; the bikes looked somehow unrideable, like those big-wheel bikes from the 1880s. Yet the 29’er, as it’s called, has won converts thanks to elementary physics: taller wheels roll over rocks and logs more easily, maintain momentum better (because they’re heavier) and give you better ground clearance. This has made them beloved by marathon racers, who often ride 12 and 24 hours in a stretch. Salsa’s super-efficient Spearfish is made of steel to make it more forgiving than aluminum, which is stiffer and harsher on bumps. Marathon racing. Price: $2250 complete bike
E*thirteen Chainrings
They’re only gears, right? Wrong. E*thirteen is one of the most avante garde cycling brands in the business, perhaps because it’s run by a mechanical engineering prodigy named Dave Weagle – a guy who strolled into cycling from the auto suspension industry a few years ago and dropped one of the best mountain bike designs in three decades. In fact, Weagle holds a series of patents that are regarded as the only mathematical and geometrical analysis of bike suspension. So when Dave Weagle’s company comes out with artfully-designed chainrings, bike geeks salivate much the way that techies do when the brain of Steve Jobs gifts us with a new iThing. Price: $30 each.
GT Ruckus 7
The Ruckus is a revered bike among old-time hucksters, but in recent years GT’s bikes have faltered after it was acquired at bargain-basement price by a big conglomerate. But in the last two years the company has reignited its small but hardcore fan base with solid designs and well-built bikes. The new Ruckus does its legacy justice by pulling much of its DNA from GT’s stellar downhill racing bikes. Reinventing a classic has its risks, but GT has turned the Ruckus from a do-anything junker into a seriously fun trail bike. While GT hasn’t publicly launched the bike, it has been showing it off at races and tradeshows for nearly a year, and rumors hold that it will finally go into production this fall. Freeride. Price: Unannounced.
Ergon Flat Pedal PC2
The flat pedal is close to 200 years old, and Ergon, a German company, might be the first company to re-think it. They’ve made a business out of reconsidering the design of often-ignored bike parts: their mostly known for their ergonomic grips, which are popular on commuter and cruiser bikes for their extra palm support. The PC2 flat pedal has a ridge at the center that is supposed to force your foot to position itself a certain way, which Ergon says is better for the joints and muscles. Even if that’s not the case, their aesthetics, light carbon composite construction and grippy 3M surface are enough to make them a worthwhile upgrade. They’ll be available sometime in early 2011. Price: Unannounced.

Menacing Handlebars and Rainbow Chainrings: 8 Bikes for 2011

Cycling’s 2011 gear shows it can do industrial design smarter than any other athletic industry – and make it look killer in the process.

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