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Tech News – January 9, 2009

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

Mavic issues voluntary recall for carbon-spoked R-SYS wheels

By James Huang

Mavic has issued a voluntary recall for all front R-SYS wheels.
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Mavic has issued a voluntary recall for all R-SYS front wheels as a "precautionary safety measure". According to Mavic, the tubular carbon fiber spokes may break depending on the circumstances and all affected wheels should be removed from service immediately.

All R-SYS variants (R-SYS, R-SYS test, R-SYS Premium) are affected by the notice but only front wheels are affected; rear wheels have been deemed safe for use.

Consumers are advised to return the front wheels to their local Mavic dealer. Replacement R-SYS wheels will be issued free of charge beginning March 31, 2009 and Aksium loaner wheels will be provided in the interim which consumers will be allowed to keep.

Additional information can be obtained at the Mavic web site, your local Mavic dealer or one of the following contact numbers:

Europe: 00 800 234 788 75
Australia: rsysrecall@groupesportif.com; +613 8878 1000
USA and Canada: 1-800-664-9228
Austria: 01 54663 5521

Additional information will be available pending approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Giro release Alberto Contador riding glasses

By Matthew Cole

Giro's yellow frame with grey
Photo ©: Giro
(Click for larger image)

Giro have released a limited run of 500 special edition Havik riding glasses to commemorate the achievements of Spanish rider Alberto Contador.

At the age of 25, Contador is the youngest rider to win all three of cycling's Grand Tours - Le Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and La Vuelta a España - in only 14 months.

The three available colours represent the leader's jersey for the races:

Yellow frame with grey lens - Tour de France
Pink frame with rose silver standard lens - Giro d'Italia
Gold frame with brown bronze full lens - Vuelta a España

The glasses are available now for £139.99.

Mt Borah debuts 3D custom clothing viewer

Mt Borah debuts its 3D custom clothing
Photo ©: Mt Borah
(Click for larger image)

Cycling clothing company Mt Borah has rolled out a 3D design approval form to help customers see how their custom designs will look before they go into production.

Previously, customers have had to envision what their finished design would look like from a one-dimensional sketch. The new 3D software aims to help customers address any unforeseen design issues early on.

The 3D design form is the brainchild of Brandon Brye, one of the company's graphic designers. "Brandon asked us one day if he could play around with some 3D stuff. We said 'sure' and what he came back with blew us all away," said Chris Jackson, company owner.

"With a click of the mouse, we are now able to present our clients with an incredible tool to view their design. This really is significant for our clients," Chris added.

SRAM awards US$200,000 to IMBA

The SRAM Cycling Fund has granted US$200,000 to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), its second award since forming the Fund in September 2008.

"It is hard to imagine where mountain biking would be today without IMBA's trail building and restoration efforts over the last 20 years," said Stan Day, SRAM president and CEO. "(Executive director) Mike Van Abel, his staff and hundreds of IMBA grassroots volunteers have a proven track record. We are confident that SRAM's contribution to IMBA will be a powerful investment in the future of mountain biking."

During the next five years, the Fund plans to award US$10 million in grants to support cycling advocacy programmes around the world that focus on improving bicycling.

"We are extremely excited about SRAM's US$200,000 contribution to IMBA," Van Abel added. "These new funds will allow IMBA to build more new trails and build them quicker. We will invest US$150,000 to add professional staff on a regional basis to bolster local clubs capacity to build and maintain trails, and US$50,000 in our new grassroots fundraising programme, Team IMBA, which also funds new trails."

IMBA, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail solutions.

According to Michael Zellmann, SRAM's public relations and media manager, SRAM expects to announce several more grants during the next few weeks.

"The SRAM Cycling Fund website will go live in late January, providing information about the fund and track progress of grants," he said in a statement issued Tuesday.

BH and Pivot Demo Tour covering United States

By Gary Boulanger

The BH/Pivot demo fleet is making
Photo ©: BH/Pivot
(Click for larger image)

The BH/Pivot Demo truck is hitting the road with its expanded fleet of road and mountain bikes throughout the United States. The 35-foot trailer will carry all the 2009 road bikes from Spain's BH Bikes and all the 2009 mountain bikes from Pivot.

"The Mach 5 and Mach 429 were the most popular bikes on the truck in 2008," Adam Vincent, BH/Pivot sales and marketing specialist, told BikeRadar. "But the new Firebird is getting a lot of attention already for 2009. The G4 and Connect were the standouts for BH. The new BH GC Aero is going to be the hit for 2009."

The Demo Tour began January 4 in Plano, Texas, and will continue on to festivals, races, dealer demos and tech clinics across the nation.

"The demo tour is a huge for both brands and our dealers," Vincent added. "Consumers want to ride before they buy and this gets thousands of people on our bikes."

The 2009 demo program will again be led by BH/Pivot Technical Representative Jason Mead, who drove the demo trailer some 38,000 miles last year, set up thousands of people on test bikes and gave hundreds of tech clinics, according to Vincent.

The 2009 BH/Pivot Demo schedule
January: 11 (Demo: Cycle Progression, Austin, TX; 17 (Demo: Chainwheel, Little Rock, AR).
February: 14 - 22 (Tour of California).
March: 1- 8 (Southern California); 13 - 15 (Moab Skinny Tire Fest, Moab, UT).
April: 16 - 19 (Sea Otter Classic, Monterey, CA).
May: 2 (Demo: Wheatridge Cyclery, Wheatridge, CO); 3 (Demo: Golden Bike Shop Golden, CO); 9 (Demo: Old Town Bikes, Colorado Springs, CO); 16 (Demo: Sports Garage, Boulder, CO); 23 (Demo: Santa Fe Mtn Sports, Santa Fe, NM); 30 (Demo: Fat Tire Cycles, Albuquerque, NM); 14 - 21 (Ride the Rockies, Rocky Mountains, CO).

BH/Pivot will continue to update the schedule as the season progresses. For updates, visit www.bhbikes-us.com or www.pivotcycles.com.

Raleigh Avanti Carbon Comp

By Matthew Cole

Raleigh Avanti Carbon Comp.
Photo ©: BikeRadar
(Click for larger image)

Raleigh continue to take on the big guns in the bike racing world with their Avanti range.

Designed for the racer who doesn't want to blow their budget, the Carbon Comp sits below the Carbon Race and Carbon Team models and costs £1,399,99.

Weighing in at a claimed 17.9lbs, it boasts a full carbon monocoque frame and carbon race fork, Shimano 105 gearing and brakes, Xero CXR-330 wheelset with Continental Ultra Race folding tyres, and a stem and handlebar combo from FSA.

The Carbon Race comes in at £1,699.99, and the Carbon Team £2,499.99.

The Raleigh name might put some people off because of its association with low-end bikes, but the company is rebuilding its reputation for producing quality race bikes and we look forward to seeing how the Carbon Comp performs. Stay tuned for a full review.

Rotor launches 83g mountain bike stem

Rotor's new SL stem
Photo ©: Rotor
(Click for larger image)

Spanish component maker Rotor is bringing out a new mountain bike stem which it claims weighs just 83g.

The firm, which made a name for itself with its cranks and elliptical Q-Rings, says its SL stem has set a new record for light weight without sacrificing performance or rigidity.

It puts this down to the new DTT (double thread technology) Evo hardware used in the faceplate and steerer clamp. This consists of special T25 Torx-head bolts with a dual-thread pitch design, which Rotor claims give "an incredible tightening force".

The two-bolt SL stem has a 6º rise/drop - it can be flipped depending on your preference - and takes a standard 25.4mm handlebar.

DTT Evo bolts will be used on all Rotor stems in 2009. They will also be used on the firm's new Agilis Evo cranks, which will feature a lightweight steel bolt in place of the aluminium one used on the '08 Agilis cranks. Rotor says this improves reliability and makes the cranks easier to adjust, with no weight penalty.

Bike production outstripping cars by record levels

By Richard Peace

A rash of recent statistics suggests that bikes are doing better than ever as compared to cars - both in terms of manufacture and use.

Bike production and sales are forecast to rise steeply across most areas of bike sales in 2009, from racers to commuters, meaning that the number of bikes produced annually may, for the first time, be triple the number of cars produced - or more.

Figures from the US-based Earth Policy Institute show global 2007 bike production at around 130 million units and car production at around 52 million. However, a recession-inspired downturn in car production and an increasingly sharp rise in bike sales mean the three-to-one ratio could easily be reached in 2009. For example, August 2008 saw record revenues for bike giant Giant, totaling some US$42.19 million.

Figures recently released by Australia's Cycling Promotion Fund confirm the trend; although bikes have outsold cars there for nine consecutive years, 2008 saw the bike sales lead over cars hit an a high of 38 percent.

CPF's Policy Advisor Elliot Fishman stressed it wasn't just bike sales but bike usage that was increasing; 'Census figures (based on state capital cities) show a 28-percent increase in cycling to work, with Melbourne's growth soaring to 48 percent.'

Of course, the 'bike-car' gap that threatens to turn into a chasm is also fuelled by a crisis in the automobile industry - figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed new car sales towards the end of 2008 were down 23 percent from the same time a year ago. Major US and Japanese car manufacturers have all had very well-publicised and drastic drops in turnover and profit in 2008, with 2009 not holding out much hope of an upturn.

Chromag adds new seat quick release to its range

By Callum Jelley

Chromag adds new seat quick release
Photo ©: Chromag
(Click for larger image)

Chromag has been making high-end hardtail frames, bars, stems and saddles from its HQ in Whistler, Canada for many years and it's now added a new seat quick release to its range.

Separating itself from other clamps on the market, the Chromag has a unique brass bushing that presses into a machined-out interface.

The whole thing is machined and anodized except for the raw brass, so the finish is very impressive.

At 45 grams it's not the lightest clamp available, but it's built more on the burly side using a 6mm bolt and a comfortable flat surfaced lever that doesn't cut your hand when clamping it shut.

It comes in 30, 32, and 35mm sizes and Chromag will be announcing a UK distributor soon.