Pursuing innovation

Pursuing innovation.

Whether it's technology, materials or results, cycling is projected into the future. As this is an important matter for many riders, we chat with Jasha Sütterlin that explains how everything can change from one season to the next.

Published: June 24, 2024

Between romantic and pragmatic, cycling is a sport full of contrasts, capable of being fascinating in both its more heroic and technological sides. From the very first bicycle test on the outskirts of Paris in the late 19th century to the most recent ultralight products tested in wind tunnels, the history of progress is tangled with the human attitude of always pushing the boundaries. Like Ulysses to the Pillars of Hercules, craftsmen and engineers have attempted impossible journeys to create something that is closer and closer to the concept of perfection.

A never-ending process.

Jasha Sütterlin became a professional cyclist in 2014; as a time trial specialist, he cannot help but be a keen observer of the continuing evolution of technology. Every detail can make a difference, and the revolution also comes through the relationship between man and machine, two elements that continue to converge, almost getting into one.
A process that is anything but slow, in fact it tests cyclists in their ability to adapt, despite the fact that some changes are definitely more beneficial than others.

"Since I started cycling," says Jasha, "practically everything has changed. The electronic shifting, the tires, the frames, the wheels, the handlebars. These are all elements that have evolved to become even more aerodynamic and lighter. Even the accessories are completely different: the clothing, the helmet, the shoes. Everything has followed the projection of the sport and its pacing into the future."

Testing is believing.

There are inventions that have completely changed the perspective of the industry, genuine cornerstones that have confirmed how research has reached excellent levels when it comes to support the athletes.

"In my opinion, the most important innovations in recent years are disc brakes and tubeless tires. I'm honest, at first I had big doubts about disc brakes, but step by step, the cycling industry moved forward and within two or three years all the pro teams adopted them precisely because the research and testing was a guarantee. Then, when I first raced with discs, I was impressed by their efficiency, especially in the rain, which is obviously good for our safety. The increase in speed with tubeless tires is also very significant."

Between past and present.

If cycling is still a discipline divided between its nostalgic spirit and the totally future-oriented one, it is not easy to find a balance, even when surrounded by the latest innovations. The eternal struggle is this: to ride led by technology or only by the instinct? To date, it seems that a tool can make you still better without interfering with your head and the legs, a magical link that gets you to the finish line.

"To be honest, if we still raced with traditional brakes and clinchers I wouldn't mind," Jasha said. "But as long as everyone is on the same gear, of course! Right now the innovations in cycling are all very cutting edge. Everything has changed so fast lately. If I had to make a prediction, I don't think that in the next three to five years we will see very big innovations."

Timeless innovation.

Talking about technological evolution, Jasha pauses on the shoes he uses for a few years now and revealed that he is totally in love with the combination of performance and pure design offered by his Nimbl’s.

"Of the Nimbl shoe, I love the stiffness and comfort and then, of course, the look. It is so simple and clean - classic. Aerodynamics then is key, this is especially true for time trials."
Even his shoes do not escape the curve of innovation and performance.
"For a few weeks now I am riding the new Nimbl Exceed Ultimate Glide. These are great for sprint finishes and almost everything else. The new locking system allows you to tighten them quickly and virtually perfectly. So I can give it everything in the last few meters without any worries."

Quite often, a unique bond is created between an object and its owner, especially when it is something you use on the run, while pursuing your goals. it is so for an accessory like the shoe, so personal, almost intimate.

"The first time I wore these shoes, I was impressed by the right stiffness and how the power goes straight to the pedals. I remember starting to use them in 2021, in the off-season, because I wanted to allow my feet to get used to them. But it took no time at all for this process; we became practically inseparable. This is definitely my favourite upgrade and I have no intention of going back. Every cycling shoe is different but I didn't know then that Nimbl was completely revolutionary, inside and out. On the ride and always."