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Tech News – November 7, 2008

Edited by James Huang

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

Bianchi commits to Barloworld through 2010

By Gregor Brown in Milano, Italy

Barloworld riders will continue
Photo ©: James Huang
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Famed Italian bike manufacturer Bianchi has committed to two additional years, 2009 and 2010, with Team Barloworld. It is welcomed news after Team Manager Claudio Corti recently received confirmation of Barloworld's sponsorship through 2009.

"We like the young aspect of team," said Bianchi Product Department Manager Lars Svalin at the EICMA trade show in Milano.

The Italy-based team boasts many young talents ranging from Chris Froome to Geraint Thomas. It also has the established talents of Mauricio Soler and Robert Hunter, both stage winners in the 2007 Tour de France, with the former the winner of the mountains classification.

Bianchi has increased its support with additional sponsorship funds to allow greater visibility of its brand name. Bianchi will appear on the front of the jersey immediately below Barloworld, explained Svalin.

The team will utilise the 928 Carbon T-Cube and SL frames for 2009. "Most of the guys will use the SL, like Hunter," he said.

The SL frame is around 150 grams lighter than the T-Cube and proved its strength so much that the riders can even rely on its durability in the demanding northern Classics.

Rotor to supply Cervélo TestTeam

Both the men's and women's Cervélo TestTeams will sport Rotor Bike Components products in 2009, after the company signed a supply agreement with the new team. The new professional outfit features some big names in its men's line-up with Carlos Sastre, Thor Hushovd and Simon Gerrans included in the team's roster.

"We are very pleased to be part of this new project," said Rotor Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Estellés. "In signing our two-year agreement Rotor commits to apply its engineering to developing exciting new products, technologies and manufacturing methods, to provide the Cervelo TestTeam with the most advanced cycling components."

Rotor will supply the teams with its Q-Rings (oval chainrings), Agilis Evo cranks and Sabb bottom brackets.

BMC buys Bergamont stake

BMC will expand its reach into
Photo ©: James Huang
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The parent company of bike manufacturer BMC, International Sport Holding AG (ISH), has announced its purchase of a majority stake in German manufacturer Bergamont. While an exact breakdown of the deal hasn't been made public, Andy Rihs' ISH has purchased his stake from the Berkes family, with Hanspeter Berkes preparing for retirement.

Hanspeter's son Stefan will continue to hold his position of managing director at Bergamont, while he also retains a minority stake in the Hamburg, Germany-based company.

"I look forward to the partnership with the ISH group and am convinced that we can use the extensive opportunities in the dynamic international bicycle market together much more effectively than we can working separately," said Stefan. "In addition, this union will offer us the opportunity to strengthen our operational processes and organisation in Hamburg."

While the brands will continue to be marketed autonomously, the group hopes to make the most of the synergies resulting from the acquisition. "With the cooperation of both brands, each will be strengthened and will be able to generate additional growth," said Rihs.

ISH Chief Executive Officer Andreas Georgiadis believes the two brands will compliment one another well. "We will be able to address the needs of the specialized retailers even more comprehensively and accelerate the growth of the group," he said. "At the same time - owing to the possible synergies, in particular in product development, production and purchasing - the profitability is increased."

Xpedo pedals and shoes 2009

By Warren Rossiter, Cycling Plus

Xpedo are the high end division of the massive Wellgo corporation. Wellgo have been the number one producer of pedal systems for the last decade and currently produce 12 million pedals per year. Xpedo have launched a total of 21 pedals and eight shoes using their market leading engineering in both aluminium and magnesium die casting.

Cycling Plus's Warren Rossiter took a trip out to Taichung city, Taiwan to get the low down on the new range.

Xpedo Thrust RF-5

The Xpedo Thrust is their
Photo ©: Warren Rossiter
(Click for larger image)

The Thrust pedal features a die cast magnesium body for its lightweight yet hardwearing qualities, mated to a titanium (top version) or chromoly axle. The body spins freely on dual sealed bushes and cartridge bearings, the release is fully adjustable and the it's compatible with the Look Keo system.

Xpedo have modified their own cleat profile (two sets, 0 degree and 6 degree are included) so that the accidental release that occasionally happens on well worn Keo cleats is all but eliminated. But this means the Xpedo cleat doesn't work with Keos but Look's cleats will work for the Thrust.

The platform profile has been reduced to its absolute minimum, giving these a claimed greater cornering clearance than the Keo without sacrificing strength. Weight-wise, the Ti axled version is a super svelte 190g (232g for chromoly). We are awaiting delivery of a pair to put through the rigours of testing and will report back with our findings as soon as.

Pricing is as yet unconfirmed but expect to pay around the $US150 mark

Xpedo MX-11 Face-Off

The Xpedo MX-11,
Photo ©: Warren Rossiter
(Click for larger image)

The MX-11 is a pinned platform pedal for the dirt jump and BMX crowd. It features a CNC'd aluminium body mated to a tough chromoly axle with fully sealed cartridge bearings, and it has 14 well spaced pins per side which are replaceable.

The real innovation is the platform itself. Not only have Xpedo reduced the pedal height by over 30 percent over previous models (putting your foot closer to the pedal axle increases pedalling efficiency), it also reduces weight. The platforms themselves can be replaced with aftermarket designs, so the fashion coordinators out there can find a matching colour easily from a range including anodised black, gold, silver, red (pictured), pink, green and orange.

The MX-11 weighs in at 426g a pair, which is amongst the lightest available for this type of hard core pedal.

Xpedo MXS shoes

The Xpedo MXS shoe.
Photo ©: Warren Rossiter
(Click for larger image)

A new venture for Xpedo is their shoe line. Their main focus is cross country and road racing but what caught our eye was the MXS mid-height boot for dirt jump and BMX. The upper is constructed with a breathable mesh and tough synthetic leather protection, the laces are captive (to prevent wear) and the inner ankle is higher and deeply padded to protect the anklebone from crankside collisions. The sole is non-SPD compatible and made from a soft sticky dual density rubber compound to make it nice and grippy on pin style pedals, a like the afore mentioned MX-11.

What we found really pleasing about the MXS is that despite being soft and grippy, the sole is much stiffer than a similar styled shoe making for a supportive and efficient platform when pedalling. The black and silver carbon effect upper is understated and the whole package is a well sorted and designed solution for great performance from a non-SPD design.

Xpedo SLM shoes

Xpedo's flagship SLM
Photo ©: Warren Rossiter
(Click for larger image)

The flagship of the shoe line is the state of the art SLM. The whole shoe has been designed around Xpedo's superlight magnesium alloy sole. It's a die cast design with bolted on replaceable toe and heel protectors to aid walking, mated to a seamless one piece synthetic upper, itself a slip-lasted design: the upper is sewn together straight through the middle of the sole. This usually makes for a shoe profile more rounded than a board lasted (sewn around the sole edge) one.

The claimed advantages of the magnesium sole are that it's harder wearing than carbon fibre and also up to 30 percent stiffer and lighter to boot. Another advantage of using a mag sole is that it is less heat conductive, which is claimed to reduce the potential of hot spots when riding.

The SLM is available in two versions: the three-strap with one adjustable retention buckle seen here, which weighs in at 295g per shoe for a euro size 44 (that's UK 9, or US 10) or a three-strap superlight climber's version, which drops over 40g per shoe by replacing the adjustable buckle with another trihook fastener.

The SLM retails at $US300 for the version seen here and $US240 for the lightweight three-strap. Cheaper carbon-soled versions are available, as is a die cast aluminium soled model. We will have a full review of the SLM shoes as soon as we've put some miles into our test pair.

For more information see www.xpedo.com

Selle San Marco launch range of vintage saddles

By Matthew Cole, Bikeradar.com

Selle's new regal brown
Photo ©: Selle
(Click for larger image)

Selle are reviving three of the most popular saddles from San Marco's racing history in the shape of the Concor, Regal and Rolls.

Using the original base moulds with modern coverings - brown suede, white leather, black leather and textured black leather - the hand-made saddles will offer old-fashioned looks with up-to-date performance.

For the weight-conscious, the Rolls and Regal will be available with titanium rails.

The saddles will be available from late November and prices will range from £39.99 for the black Rolls with steel rails to £69.99 for the black Regal with titanium rails.