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Tech News – October 24, 2008

Edited by James Huang and Laura Weislo

Got tech? Send press releases, news, and tech questions to the Cyclingnews tech desk.

Merckx sells the family business

Eddy Merckx has sold a majority stake of his eponymous bicycle company
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Eddy Merckx will sell the shares of his eponymous bicycle manufacturing company and retire, Sportwereld.be reported Friday. The famous cycling great started the small factory upon his retirement in 1980, and wishes to step out of the daily grind of business. With son Axel in Canada about to embark on running Lance Armstrong's developmental team, Merckx senior will sell the majority shares in the business to Sobradis, a Belgian holding company.

"If you've built something yourself, it's always painful to say goodbye to it. But I had no other choice," Merckx said, "because I do not have a successor who can take over the plant."

"I've played with the idea of doing something quieter," he continued. "I've been working since I was 17 - first as a cyclist, then in 1980 in the bicycle factory. The daily management gradually began to weigh on me."

Merckx said that the future of the plant and the staff was central in his decision to sell the majority stake to Sobradis. He will, however, retain his minority shares and remain active in the business as an advisor to the new CEO, Pieter Vansynghel and COO Sven Goeminne.

According to Merckx distributor Gita Sporting Goods, the change of ownership should be wholly transparent as far as the market is concerned and, if anything, the public brand awareness may even increase.

"[Eddy's] still going to be involved in the company and he expected it to move forward with little change to the end consumer," said Gita marketing director Sandy Nicholls. "He seemed to think the new company was going to increase the marketing."

Colnago and Ferrari unveil new CF7 road machine

Colnago and Ferrari have joined up yet again,
Photo ©: Colnago
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Italian racing icons Colnago and Ferrari have teamed up yet again for another limited-edition road bike, the CF7. Just like the gasoline-fueled racers that bear the signature prancing horse, though, you had better make sure your finances are in order before putting ink to paper for one.

According to James Winchester of US importer Veltec Sports, the CF7 is essentially a specially finished and outfitted version of Colnago's existing EPS frame with the same high modulus and ultra-high modulus carbon fiber content, subtle tube shaping, and tube-and-lug construction.

The lobed down tube is a constant 44mm in diameter and further reinforced with Colnago's 3PRS system whereby additional strips of carbon fiber are applied to the tube's interior for extra rigidity. The conical top tube boasts a 40mm dimension up front and tapers to 35mm at the seat tube, and the newly tapered all-carbon fork now uses a 1 1/4" diameter steerer at the crown for increased steering and braking precision.

The limited-edition CF7 is essentially an EPS frame
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Colnago and Ferrari will offer just 99 copies of the CF7 to the tune of US$17,500 a piece. In addition to the custom finish, each will also be equipped with a top-end build kit that includes a complete Campagnolo Super Record group, Fulcrum Racing Speed deep-section carbon tubular wheels, and an integrated carbon fiber bar and stem.

Prospective buyers are naturally advised to act quickly; numbers 1, 2, 3 and 88 are apparently already spoken for and Veltec will only bring 25 copies to the US.

SRAM introduces innovative time trial/triathlon bar-end shifters

SRAM's new 1090-R2C bar-end shifters
Photo ©: SRAM
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SRAM adds a third time trial/triathlon-specific bar-end shifter to its range for 2009 complete with some clever new features that it claims will save up to 36 seconds over a typical Ironman bike leg.

The new 1090-R2C shifter sports a single lever per side like SRAM's existing TT Shifter 900 and 500 models (and every other bar-end shifter out there), but instead of having a set location for a given cog or chainring position, the lever returns to a central position (thus the R2C moniker) after each shift. In this way, SRAM claims the lever is thus always pointed straight ahead where it generates the least amount of drag but also remains easily accessible regardless of current gear selection.

The 1090-R2C shifter will be built with a carbon fiber lever, aluminum body and composite insert mount with titanium fasteners throughout. The new shifter will only be compatible with SRAM road rear derailleurs but will mount directly to Zipp's integrated Vuka shifter boss if so equipped.

Even with its exotic materials list, the more complicated internals push the 1090-R2C's projected weight to a slightly weightier - but still competitive - 195g for the pair (the current TT Shifter 900 is 138g per pair). Pricing and availability are still to be determined.

UCI ban skin suits and open face helmets for some mountain bike competitions

By Matthew Cole, BikeRadar.com

Tracy Moseley rode this skin suit to a slim win in Australia
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

The UCI, the governing body for competitive cycling, has made some interesting changes to the rules for the 2009 season and beyond including banning the wearing of "tight-fitting clothing" and insisting that full-face helmets must be worn when racing and practising for downhill and 4X.

The wearing of skin suits has been a point of contention over the last year, notably in the Australian round of the mountain bike world cup. A skinsuit-clad Tracy Moseley (Kona) won the women's race by four seconds ahead of Rachel Atherton (Animal-Commencal), who claimed that the skin suit gave Moseley an unfair advantage.

"Fair enough to Tracey if she wants to do that to win, but for the sport and the longevity of the sport, to wear cool race kit and to make an image for yourself is more important than the odd win here and there," said Atherton.

Other notable additions to the new rulebook include a strong recommendation from the UCI that riders wear "protection for the nape of the neck and the cervical vertebrae", suggesting that we should soon expect to see the Leatt Brace and other such protective devices being worn by the downhill racers.

Riders must also wear back, elbow, knee and shoulder protectors, padding on shins and thighs and long sleeved shirts.

Shimano does gold for Marianne Vos

Shimano presented Olympic gold medalist Marianne Vos
Photo ©: Shimano
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Shimano is now getting into the custom footwear game for its key athletes with a pair of gold-hued SH-R300 road shoes for Dutch rider Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) who took home the gold medal in the points race at this year's Olympics. Save for the gold finish, Vos' special shoes are standard issue SH-R300s, complete with Shimano's Custom Fit heat-moldable upper and hollow carbon outsole.

Though still extraordinarily young at just 21 years of age, Vos' latest achievement is only the latest in an extraordinary string of successes. Vos is also the current UCI world champion in the points race, was both the UCI road and ‘cross world champion in 2006, and holds more European and Dutch national titles than we care to count.

"These gold road shoes are a reminder of a great race in Beijing," said Vos in a press release. "I hope to get some extra morale!"

Rotor winning streak continues in Kalmthout

Rotor's elliptical Q-Rings continue to rack up wins,
Photo ©: Rotor
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Any doubts in the professional ranks about Rotor's elliptical Q-Rings seem to be quickly fading if the string of top-level victories is any indication: Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) used a pair to capture his first Tour de France this past July, Marianne Vos was Q-equipped when she won the 2006 UCI ‘cross world championship, and now Daphny van den Brand has captured this year's cyclo-cross World Cup opener in Kalmthout, Belgium.

Rotor claims its Q-Rings deliver a 4.1 percent power increase at a similar level of effort when compared to round rings, as well as a 9.1 percent decrease in lactic acid production and a 2 percent reduction in heart rate. Whether or not these numbers pass muster in the real world is still debatable but the proliferation of non-round rings in the professional ranks is certainly one that we will continue to watch closely.

Shimano issues tech advisory for wheelsets

In an effort to reduce weight and ease tire installation, Shimano had been equipping its top-end Dura-Ace WH-7850-C24-CL and WH-7850-C50-CL clincher wheelsets with spoke hole plugs instead of rim tape but is now finding that some exposed edges on the outer rim wall can lead to more flat tires.

As a result, Shimano has issued a tech advisory asking all affected consumers to switch to full rim tape which will be supplied free of charge by their local dealer or distributor. All wheels currently and recently shipped will reflect the running change.

For more information, please visit the Shimano web site: http://cycle.shimano-eu.com

Inaugural Rocky Mountain Bicycle Show kicks off November 1

Edge Composites will be one of the exhibitors at the RMBS
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

The first annual Rocky Mountain Bicycle Show is set to open its doors less than two weeks from now on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colorado. Unlike the now-traveling North American Handmade Bicycle Show which draws exhibitors from coast to coast, this smaller event will take on more of a regional flavor.

Currently listed exhibitors include Moots, Tiemeyer, Black Sheep, Nobilette, Dean, Temple, Zinn and others along with component and accessory outfits such as True Temper, Wheels Manufacturing, Edge Composites and Colorado Premier Training.

RMBS will run through the weekend of November 1-2 and the US$5 admission fee will benefit the University of Colorado cycling team.

Additional information is available at the RMBS web site: www.rmbshow.com

Ellsworth offers new incentives for Breast Cancer Awareness month

Ellsworth stepped up its Project Pink initiative
Photo ©: Ellsworth Bicycles
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Ellsworth's continuing Project Pink initiative to raise funds for the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation and Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research is stepping things up for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Through the end of October, each Project Pink mountain bike frame sold will also come with a free ‘Ellsworth Supports' t-shirt, a pink WTB Rocket V Race saddle, a pair of ‘Save the TaTas' socks from Sock Guy as well as a packet of Emergen-C Pink drink powder.