We got the first look at 3T’s Integra stem as a prototype at Eurobike, and now they’ve made it official. Sort of. It should be making its first real world appearance at the Giro d’Italia in May, according to our sources.
The Integra integrates a CycleOps computer into a removable nose cone that attaches to the front of the stem, giving your bike a much more elegant and aero appearance than strapping something to the handlebar. And there’s no weight penalty for looking good. The full carbon stem and weighs in at just 135g and works just as well if you’re not using the computer module. Surprisingly, 3T says you can even use it on cyclocross and mountain bikes.
What we didn’t hear at Eurobike was their plans to do a Di2 integrated version. Not sure how useful shift buttons would be on the stem, but for those wanting to run third party hydraulic brake levers, it’s at least an option. More intriguing is the possibility of a renewed Flightdeck computer integrated into it (No, Shimano, we haven’t given up hope). Pricing still isn’t set, but you can check the full PR after the break..
Stem houses electronic devices from multiple vendors, for systemic integration of wireless performance monitoring and navigation systems; CycleOps first to offer ‘in-the-box’ solution of stem and electronics; Shimano Di2 version slated for early next year
3T is to spearhead an industry initiative to integrate electronic instrumentation into the bicycle. It will partner with vendors producing instrumentation devices and software to create a universal platform for data logging, performance measurement, and navigation.
3T will produce hardware components to enable integrated, system-wide solutions: cockpit mountings for head units, wheels with built-in data transmission units, and cranks with integrated sensors. The ultimate aim is to offer customers all the components they need in one box at the point of sale.
The 3T e-Integration program starts with the INTEGRA stem, a universal component for electronic head units, that is showing today at Eurobike. INTEGRA is shown with a CycleOps Cervo head unit. A unit for Shimano Di2 electronic controls is forthcoming.
The demonstration bicycle features CycleOps PowerTap power-measurement technology built in to a 3T MERCURIO wheelset, and cadence sensors built in to 3T’s forthcoming, all-carbon-fiber META crankset.
The 3T INTEGRA stem is an all-carbon-fiber unibody. Clamp bolts are entirely concealed by the shroud, making it both elegant and aerodynamic. It’s initially available in a 110-mm size and the range will expand to include 90-, 100-, and 120-mm sizes. Weight of the 110-mm stem is 135 g. It’s suitable for road, track, and triathlon bikes but can also be used on MTB and cyclocross bikes.
Announcing the e-Integration program, 3T CEO René Wiertz said:
“Today’s racing bicycle is a hi-tech product. We use computer technology to design and build frames, wheels, and cockpit components. But that’s just the hardware that goes under the rider. With our new e-Integration series, we’re looking to extend that into the way riders use their bike.
“Today’s riders are entirely comfortable using information technology in most other aspects of their life. There’s no reason they wouldn’t use computer technology to help optimize their athletic performance, and that’s the direction they’re moving in.
“At present several vendors offer add-on measuring and monitoring devices for critical performance functions such as power output, cadence, heart-rate, and so on. Logged data can be downloaded to an ongoing performance log, and analyzed to help improve training methods.
“There is also a different category of on-board devices used primarily for navigation, and these are converging with performance monitors. Development of these devices is very rapid and in the near future we expect to see full-featured products that will permit riders to select the apps they need for the type of ride they are doing.
“It’s absurd that fitting these devices is an afterthought, lashed on to the bike’s handlebars or stem. Sure, cable-ties are a fantastically useful product – for tying cables. What we are doing here is to integrate cycle instrumentation into the bicycle. This will make it easier to use, more reliable, more aerodynamic, and more robustly protected against the rough-and-tumble of sporting use.
“Obviously it’s a great step forward that several vendors of these devices have at last been able to agree on a common signalling protocol, ANT+, working in the 2.4 GHz band. This clears the way for system-wide integration of devices. With a common wireless standard in place, riders should be able to mix and match components from multiple vendors.
“A full-on system would include a dedicated rear hub for power measurement, a cadence sensor built in to the crank, a heart-rate monitor, and electronic head unit integrated into the stem to display a single, consolidated view of user-selected data. This head unit might also include GPS functionality.
“One hindrance to physical integration is that different vendors offer head units of various dimensions. Our INTEGRA stem will offer a variety of bezel units to accommodate various form factors. With our expertise in rapid development of composite structures, 3T is able to prototype and prove new bezel units very quickly.
“We believe e-Integration offers the serious cyclist real benefits, and for a comparatively modest cost. High-end racing bicycle design is now very highly evolved. Incremental performance improvements to the standard bicycle’s diamond frame are very expensive to achieve, and the cost of the bicycle to the end user is correspondingly high.
“Most riders will get a greater performance improvement by adopting more scientific and rigorous training methods than by doubling their outlay on their bike. Our aim is to put pro-level training within the reach of a broad range of consumers by making the associated instrumentation better integrated and protected, more attractive, and easy to buy and use. We think that will offer a real value to competitive cyclists, at a relatively low cost.
“With our forthcoming INTEGRA series we are positioning ourselves at the heart of this next phase of bicycle design.”