Saddleback recently opened its doors to offer a glimpse of some of its most important, interesting or downright cool new bikes and kit for 2023.
The UK-based distributor is focused primarily on premium bike brands with the likes of ENVE, Moots, Push, Castelli, Silca and HJC on show.
Here are seven of our top road, gravel and urban tech highlights from the show.
ENVE Melee builds
ENVE was showing off its new Melee road bike in a variety of build options.
The first comes with Shimano’s latest 12-speed semi-wireless Ultegra Di2 groupset and a full complement of ENVE components.
The Ultegra Di2 model comes with ENVE 45 Foundation wheels wrapped with its own SES tyres in a 29mm width. ENVE also supplies a proprietary carbon aero post, aero stem, SES Aero handlebar, and even an ENVE-edition Selle Italia Boost saddle.
The premium Dura-Ace Di2 bike steps up the wheel package to the latest SES 4.5 wheelset, with a carbon-railed version of the Boost saddle.
Unlike the US-manufactured Custom Road, the Melee frameset is made in ENVE’s Asia facility. ENVE already manufactured some of its stems, bars and seatposts there.
Complete bike prices are still to be confirmed and should be available before the year’s end. Saddleback anticipates adding more model builds in the not-too-distant future.
If you prefer to build your own bike, the Melee frameset – which includes the seatpost, stem and bar – is available for £5,300.
New urban and road bike helmets from HJC
HJC has expanded its helmets range from the road and time trial market into urban riding, with two models of the Calido.
This helmet mixes a BMX-style hardshell shape with proper venting.
The range-topping Calido Plus (£160) weighs a claimed 360g. This is light for an urban helmet, and it comes with plenty of smart details.
The suede-like padding is soft and the real leather chin strap adds plenty of class. It’s fitted with a Fidlocks magnetic closure buckle too. The finishing touch is a magnetic visor for that proper future-commuter look.
The helmet weighs 190g (medium) and is priced at £180.
The Ibex 2.0 is the range-topping companion to the Furion 2.0, and this one is all about venting.
With 16 large vents, HJC claims it to be 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 highly respected builders of titanium bikes on the planet.
Moots claims that 3D printing dropouts enables it to produce a lighter and more accurate part than conventional methods.
The 3D design is printed with 6/4 titanium alloy and enables Moots to build in elements such as internal routing for Di2 wires. This would have been tricky using a traditionally fabricated dropout.
Jazzy kicks from Sidi
Sidi showed the DZero editions of both its Tiger 2 SRS mountain bike shoe and the Shot 2 road cycling shoe. Both of the DZero shoes are made to celebrate Sidi founder Dino Signori, with the graphic script on the shoes representing some of Signori’s most famous quotes to Sidi athletes over the years.
For those of us not versed in Venetian dialect, ‘Prova mo prova’ is Dino’s work mantra and means ‘in order to succeed you have to try and try again’.
‘Te devi far quel che te si bon de far’ translates as ‘You must do what you do best, the best’.
“Te firmo na carta che no se pol far’ contrastingly translates as ‘If something cannot be done and I’m willing to sign a paper to prove it’.
Finally, ‘Questo acido lattico se magna?’ is Dino’s answer to being questioned on Lactic acid when he was an athlete. His reply is he’s never suffered from it and asks ‘What’s Lactic acid? Is it edible?’.
The DZeros are about more than just the script finish. They are also claimed to be Sidi’s most eco-friendly shoe to date – the uppers are made from recycled processed industrial materials with an all-natural biodegradable corn starch coating.
The insoles are also made from 95 per cent recycled PU and 5 per cent cotton. Even the packaging uses recycled paper, FSC-approved card and vegetable dyes.
Both the Shot 2 and Tiger 2 retail at £410.
New out-front mount from Silca
Silca’s first 3D-printed titanium mount, the Mensola certainly divided opinion with its shape and bling polished finish.
The new Chisela has a more minimal design and a sandblasted Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a protective ceramic coating found most commonly in automotive and aerospace applications.
The mounting points for the Chisela are slotted, so they have a wider fitment. It comes with Wahoo and Garmin mounts as standard and features an action camera mount, which also works with lights.
With a claimed weight of between 27 and 32g depending on the model and claimed aero savings of between 3 and 6 watts over a standard mount, its £118 price tag may be either prohibitively expensive or performance-enhancing, depending on your outlook.
New gravel kit from Sportful
Sportful’s new 2023 gravel offering is a step away from the muted block colours of its existing Giara range.
The Sky Rider tech jersey and bib shorts carry all the features of the Giara jersey and shorts. This includes fast-drying soft yarns in the jersey and bibs with an endurance-biased pad and external pockets on the flanks.
What caught our eye, however, is the starry-night splatter effect print on the black shorts and pocket detail on the jersey, not to mention the almost acid-wash colour of the jersey itself. It all comes together like a 1990s rave fever dream.
Pricing isn’t yet confirmed, but we’d expect them to be in line with the current Giara bib shorts and Giara T.