Saddleback recently opened its doors to offer a look at some of its most important, interesting, or downright cool new bikes and kits for 2023.
The UK-based distributor mainly focuses on premium bike brands with shows like ENVE, Moots, Push, Castelli, Silca and HJC.
Here are seven of our top road, gravel and urban tech highlights from the show.
ENVE Melee Builds
ENVE was showing off their new Melee road bike in a variety of build options.
The former comes with Shimano’s latest Ultegra Di2 semi-wireless 12-speed groupset and a full range of ENVE components.
The Ultegra Di2 model comes with ENVE 45 Foundation wheels wrapped in its own SES tires in a 29mm width. ENVE also provides an exclusive carbon aero post, aero stem, SES Aero handlebars and even an ENVE edition Selle Italia Boost saddle.
The high-end Dura-Ace Di2 bike expands the wheelset to the latest SES 4.5 wheelset, featuring a carbon-railed version of the Boost saddle.
Unlike the US-made Custom Road, the Melee frameset is made in ENVE’s Asian factory. ENVE already manufactured some of its stems, bars and seatposts there.
Pricing for complete bikes is still to be confirmed and should be available before the end of the year. Saddleback plans to add more model releases in the not too distant future.
If you’d rather build your own bike, the Melee frameset – which includes seatpost, stem and bar – is available for £5,300.
New urban and road bike helmets from HJC
HJC has expanded its range of helmets from the road and time trial market to urban riding, with two models from Calido.
This helmet mixes a BMX-style hard shell shape with proper ventilation.
The top-end Calido Plus (£160) weighs 360g. It’s lightweight for an urban helmet, and it comes with plenty of smart details.
The suede padding is soft and the genuine leather chin strap adds a lot of class. It is also equipped with a Fidlocks magnetic closure buckle. The finishing touch is a magnetic visor for that future commuter look.
HJC describes its Furion 2.0 as a semi-aero helmet, and it’s the model of choice for the WorldTour teams of HJC, AG2R Citroën and Israel Premier Tech.
The helmet weighs 190g (medium) and costs £180.
The Ibex 2.0 is the high-end companion to the Furion 2.0, and the latter is all about ventilation.
With 16 large vents, HJC claims this is one of the best performing road bike helmets for hot rides. At a claimed 200g (medium), it’s also very light.
New 3D printed dropouts from Moots
Moots is one of the most respected titanium bike builders on the planet.
Saddleback featured the brand’s YBB gravel bike, Vamoots RSL road bike and Womble hardtail. All of these use Moots’ new 3D printed titanium dropouts.
Moots says 3D printing stalls allow it to produce a lighter, more precise part than conventional methods.
The 3D design is printed with 6/4 titanium alloy and allows Moots to incorporate things like internal routing for Di2 wires. This would have been tricky with a traditionally made dropout.
Jazzy kicks from Sidi
Sidi introduced the DZero editions of its Tiger 2 SRS mountain bike shoe and the Shot 2 road bike shoe. Both DZero shoes are designed to celebrate Sidi founder Dino Signori with the graphic script on the shoes depicting some of Signori’s most famous quotes to Sidi athletes over the years.
For those of us unfamiliar with the Venetian dialect, ‘Prova mo prova’ is Dino’s work mantra and means ‘to be successful you have to try and try again’.
‘Te devi far quel che te si bon de far’ translates to ‘You have to do what you do best, the best’.
“Te firmo na carta che no se pol far” translates to “If something can’t be done and I’m willing to sign a document to prove it.”
Finally, ‘Questo acido lattico se magna?’ is Dino’s answer to his questioning about lactic acid when he was an athlete. His answer is that he has never suffered from it and asks ‘What is lactic acid? Is it edible?’.
The DZeros are not limited to finishing the script. They’re also claimed to be Sidi’s most eco-friendly shoes to date – the uppers are made from recycled processed industrial materials with an all-natural, biodegradable cornstarch coating.
The insoles are also made from 95% recycled PU and 5% cotton. Even the packaging uses recycled paper, FSC certified cardboard and vegetable dyes.
The Shot 2 and the Tiger 2 both sell for £410.
New front support from Silca
Silca’s first 3D printed titanium frame, the Mensola certainly divided opinion with its shape and bling polished finish.
The new Chisela has a more minimalist design and a sandblasted Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a protective ceramic coating most commonly found in automotive and aerospace applications.
The Chisela’s mounting points are slotted, so they have a wider fitment. It comes with Wahoo and Garmin mounts as standard and has an action camera mount, which also works with lights.
With a claimed weight of between 27-32g depending on model and claimed aerodynamic savings of between 3-6 watts over a standard stand, its £118 price tag could be either cost-prohibitive or performance-enhancing, depending on your outlook.
Sportful’s new gravel kit
Sportful’s new 2023 gravel offering is a step up from the muted block colors of its existing Giara lineup.
The Sky Rider technical jersey and shorts have all the features of the Giara jersey and shorts. This includes soft, quick-dry yarns in the jersey and bibs with endurance-focused padding and external sidewall pockets.
What caught our eye, however, was the starry night splatter effect print on the black shorts and the pocket detailing on the jersey, not to mention the almost stonewashed color of the jersey itself. It all comes together like a 1990s rave fever dream.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but we expect it to be in line with the current Giara and Giara T bib shorts.