Wireless Tire Pressure Control Technology Is Coming to Paris
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Wireless Tire Pressure Control Technology Is Coming to Paris

Dec 20, 2023

No, it's not a Continuous Glucose Monitor.

In a season where technological advances for athletes are becoming hot topics in the pro cycling world, there's a new technology coming to the peloton this weekend for the Paris Roubaix race.

And no, it's not continuous glucose monitors. Nope, this tech talks directly to riders’ bikes—or, more specifically, their tires.

BikeRadar reported today that Jumbo Visma and Team DSM will be debuting wireless tire pressure control technology at the famed cobbled classic. While BikeRadar reported the rumor first to the English-speaking crowd, it was Dutch site Wielerfliets who first reported that Team DSM and Jumbo Visma would be using wireless tire pressure devices in-race. Jumbo Visma is reportedly using tech from Hubtech.

The HubTech Kinetic Air Pressure System (KAPS) works by using an in-hub pump, and an electro-pneumatic system that controls the activation of the pump on demand, allowing riders to add or subtract air in their tires as needed.

Team DSM is reportedly using a similar system by Scope. In a press release from the brand, they reported that Team DSM will in fact be using their Atmoz tire pressure control system, which allows riders to adjust their pressure while riding by using remote buttons on their handlebars.

At a race like Paris Roubaix that hits smooth pavement, cobbled sectors and some sections that more closely resemble singletrack, the ability to dial in pressure for different parts of the course could be a potentially huge advantage.

In fact, according to Scope's website where the product can be purchased for the low, low price of 3,998 Euro, the adjustments that can be made in seconds will offer gains of "up to 30 wattage of reduced rolling resistance, combined with improved comfort and safety in rough and wet conditions." (They’re currently out of stock, in case you were ready to hit the Buy Now button.)

Team DSM almost did last year, but at the last minute, opted against it. "Paris-Roubaix is ​​one of the most chaotic races on the calendar and requires full focus from the riders over the entire 259 kilometer distance. For that reason, riders must be completely at one with their bike and be able to intuitively control all components," they said at the time, according to Wielerfliets.

The argument could be made that the ability to control tire pressure in-race pulls focus from the race and could cause a rider to be distracted—but on the other hand, the ability to drop pressure in a cobbled section could actually give a rider more traction, thus increasing rider safety. (Though obviously not for the whole peloton.)

In fact, this could add to chaos in the peloton, with teams using the tech better able to put down power on the road sections, and then hit technical sectors of the course at higher speeds. We’ll be interested to see if it plays into the race dynamics this weekend.

Someone has to say it: Continuous glucose monitors in racing are banned, but the ability to control tire pressure wirelessly in-race is fine by the UCI? Truly, it's a wild world of contradictions that we live in.

Molly writes about cycling, nutrition and training, with an emphasis on women in sport. Her new middle-grade series, Shred Girls, debuts with Rodale Kids/Random House in 2019 with "Lindsay's Joyride." Her other books include "Mud, Snow and Cyclocross," "Saddle, Sore" and "Fuel Your Ride." Her work has been published in magazines like Bicycling, Outside and Nylon. She co-hosts The Consummate Athlete Podcast.

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