Shimano have worked with their Bikefitting.com specialists and riders at Sky and Giant-Alpecin to update their PRO lineup for 2017. First they are introducing an all new saddle called the Stealth for an aggressive, but all-day fit on road and TT bikes. The Vibe cockpit line also gets some small but welcome real world usability updates in affordable aluminum. While bar shapes remain similar to prior years, the updates accommodate internal routing for cables and/or Di2 wiring, and altogether cleaning up both the aerodynamics and aesthetics of the PRO lineup…
PRO Stealth saddle
The entirely new PRO Stealth saddle is the result of a cooperative effort with the Giant-Alpecin pro team, developed jointly with Bikefitting.com (a Shimano subsidiary). Their testing focused on comfort and performance when riding in any of three typical race positions: the hoods, the drops, and when using aero bars. Shimano says the saddle is designed for an aggressive fit and “all out performance” both on the road and in specific time trials. The idea is that riders with a lot of handlebar drop can use one saddle for both their road and TT bikes.
The unisex saddle gets a wide nose to spread pressure over a broad area while riding in the drops or stretched out over an aero bar, with the thought that by improving comfort, a rider will be able to remain stable and longer in those most aero positions.
The new Stealth saddle uses a carbon-reinforced base with a large cutout and cross braces in the base at the rear to maintain rigidity and max out power transfer. With a relatively wide nose, careful attention was apparently paid to the polyurethane cover to limit saddle-to-bib friction so riders used to narrow saddles wouldn’t have problems with chafing.
The underside of the new saddle also includes clip-in integrated mounting for accessories from PRO like a camera mount, number plate, even a raceable fender or CO2 cartridge. The Stealth saddle use EVA padding, and will come in 142mm or 152mm widths with either carbon or stainless steel rails. Weights are claimed at 175g with carbon rails and 210g with stainless rails for the 142mm wide versions.
PRO Vibe bar & stem
The new integrated Vibe bars and stems got their co-development care of Team Sky. The overall concept there was getting a more integrated setup with better and more sleek fully internal shift routing. What came out was three different aero bars and a new stem designed to pull out a little more of aero advantages (and some headaches from your mechanics) by tucking everything neatly inside.
That means each bar gets Di2 friendly routing openings just behind the hood and then in the rear of the stem clamp to keep your wiring unseen. The new Vibe bar+stem routing is available across the full PRO line-up and includes both aluminum and carbon bars.
The aluminum bar has the most subtle shaping on offer with a wide round top, and will be available in 38-44cm widths, from 240g. The standard carbon bar shares the same round tubing shapes as the alloy version, and will come in 40-44cm widths, starting a tad lighter at 220g.
And aero carbon version will also be available with a wing-shaped top and a narrow lower drop. It will also come in just three sizes from 40-44mm wide and brings the weight back up to 240g. Each of the three new Vibe bars sticks with a 31.8 clamping diameter to make with PRO’s own stems, and will be offered in either anatomic or compact bends.
The overriding purpose of the new bars and their internal wiring setup is a cleaner Di2 installation in conjunction with Shimano’s upcoming Di2 bar-end junction box that was announced with their new R9100 Dura-Ace groupset. To make all of this work without worrying about weakening the bars, PRO has developed a new reinforcement design at the extra openings in the bars that they are calling INNEGRA inside.
Of course to make it all come together PRO has a new matching Vibe alloy stem to grab ahold of the new bars. That means in the meantime, Di2 users will also be able to install their current generation Di2 junction boxes either inside the body of the new stem or in their steerer tube for charging access.
The new stems do away with the prior interlocking faceplate design and instead opt for a more conventional 4-bolt face, albeit with some hard to reach rear-facing bolts for some claimed aero benefit. The Vibe stems will be available in aluminum only for use with 31.8 bars. Lengths will range from 80-140mm in either 10° or 17° angles, and each will include a proprietary top cap. Steerer clamps will be offered in either 1.125″ or 1.25″.
All of the new PRO components (saddle, bars & stems) will be making their way out to distributors in the coming month for autumn customer availability.