Week in Tech: Oakley’s Tour collection, Rapha’s Pantani partnership, and more

It's a week of collaboration: Rapha and Pantani, Oakley and Le Tour, Suunto and Strava, Specialized and neon

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Here’s your Week in Tech — all the gear news, tips and announcements you need and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t.

Oakley releases Tour collection

For the second consecutive year, Oakley is releasing a limited run of sunglasses celebrating the Tour de France. The new line includes the RadarLock, Racing Jacket, and the retro Eyeshade. Each pair comes with an Oakley microfiber bag for storage and cleaning, in the livery of the Tour de France leaders’ jerseys. Similarly, there are accents on each pair of sunglasses with the Tour de France logo and the leaders-jersey livery.

The Eyeshade, Racing Jacket, and RadarLock will sell for $200, $250, and $330, respectively, and will be available on Oakley.com and at retailers.

Suunto partners with Strava

Suunto Ambit2 GPS sport watches — already very popular with triathletes — make for excellent accessories while mountain biking for tracking distance, elevation, and ANT+ metrics. Up until this week, Suunto watch users have had to take the electronic scenic route in order to upload to Strava, as the watches are only compatible with Suunto’s Movescount site.

Now, thanks to a partnership between Suunto and Strava, Ambit2 watch users can link their accounts to their Strava accounts, so that every run or ride uploaded to Movescount.com will be automatically uploaded to Strava. The Strava.com online store will also be selling Suunto’s Ambit2, Ambit2 S, and Ambit2 R watches.


Niner debuts carbon wheels

Niner bikes is offering carbon and alloy wheelsets as options on its bikes and in the aftermarket. The carbon wheels are available now on the Niner website in cyclocross and mountain-bike options. The carbon wheels come in 28-hole front and rear models, while the cyclocross model comes with a 24-hole front wheel and a 28-hole rear wheel.

Both wheelsets are narrow compared to most of what’s already on the market. The internal width of the cyclocross rims is 17mm, while the mountain wheels are 23mm from bead to bead. The mountain bike wheelset is offered with thru-axle options.

In reference to the relatively narrow widths, marketing director Carla Huckee said: “The wheels are meant for XC/endurance applications and as a strong choice for an [original equipment] kit. We carefully balanced weight, price and specific features to do this.”

The cyclocross wheels weigh 1,410 grams and the mountain wheels are 1,670g. Cost for each wheelset is $1,400 through the Niner website and at Niner retailers. The wheels will likely be more popular as an optional upgrade for new bike buyers.


Specialized goes green

Specialized is breaking away from its white, black, and red roots and will be offering some of its accessories in bright colors. The first of what we expect to be several offerings is what Specialized calls “hyper green” versions of the S-Works road shoes, Prevail helmet, and SL Pro Tall Socks.

The hyper-green versions will be offered in very limited numbers, according to Specialized’s Chris Riekert.

Pricing for the shoes, helmet, and socks will be the same as current models, which pegs them at $400, $250, and $22, respectively. The shoes will only be offered in full sizes, so those who run a 42.5 (which happens to be one of the most popular sizes) are out of luck.

If you’ve missed out on scoring a pair of shoes or helmet this time around, we expect to see more vibrant colors offered in the future, but still in limited runs.

Rapha offers commemorative Pantani jersey

Rapha has teamed up with the Pantani Foundation in the creation of its latest project, an all-pink version of its Super Lightweight Jersey that celebrates the triumphs of Marco Pantani. The jersey is obviously a nod to the Italian’s most famous rides at the Giro d’Italia.

When asked in a Q&A on the Rapha website why Rapha is celebrating Pantani, who is without question a controversial figure, Rapha CEO Simon Mottram said: “Like many riders of that era Pantani cheated by using PEDs. But millions of fans loved him because he brought this human struggle and athletic verve to our television screens. Unlike other top racers of the time who were also guilty of cheating, Pantani raced with panache and captured the hearts of the fans. His character shone through. Understanding why that was can help us understand the appeal of this amazing sport.”

A portion of the jersey sales benefit the Pantani Foundation, set up by Pantani’s mother, to help disadvantaged children. To pony up $210 apiece, buyers must be able to appreciate Pantani’s victories and be excited about giving back at the same time.


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