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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Tech News Flash – March 27, 2009

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

3T introducing UCI-legal aero bars

The 3T Mistral Pro aero bars.
Photo ©: 3T
(Click for larger image)

Italian component maker 3T met some last-minute resistance to its Brezza time trial aerobars during the recent Tour of California, when the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), introduced an aero 'form factor' rule, nearly thwarting the 3T-sponsored Felt and Cervélo bikes ridden by Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd.

As a result, 3T has tweaked its Ventus and Brezza model designs, while adding two affordable options, the Mistral and Zefiro.

"In February, we were about to freeze the design of these new bars and commit to production," said 3T chief executive René Wiertz. "Then the row over aerodynamics blew up at the Tour of California. Our new bars were engineered to the same aerodynamic principles as the Brezza, which was already fitted to the Cervélo and Garmin-Slipstream TT bikes.

"Brezza clearly doesn't comply with UCI rule 1.3.024, but we were able to re-engineer the designs for the Mistral and Zefiro in time," he added. "We're pulling out all the stops to get them into production, so quite soon teams should be able to specify a made-for-purpose aerobar that's fully UCI-legal."

The Mistral bars resemble the Brezzas, ridden by Zabriskie in California. 3T has positioned the bars a lower price point (US$300 for the Pro edition), largely built of carbon fibre composites. Mistral has multiple elbow-pad mountings in the top skin of the base bar. Together with a new 'deep-S' extension option, this entry-level base bar affords a wide range of adjustment. It also meets the UCI's recently clarified rules on aerodynamic 'form factor', so can legally be used in any UCI event, according to the company.

"Time was very short to re-engineer these new bars," 3T technical director Richard McAinsh added. "But we are well equipped to do this. 3T has what is probably the industry's most advanced platform for rapid prototyping and stress-testing of cycle components.

"This experience shows that we can quickly and effectively engineer 3T components to the exact requirements of any code or rider."

For more information, visit www.thenew3t.com.

Sugoi release sub-100g cycling jacket

Sugoi's new Helium jacket
Photo ©: Sugoi
(Click for larger image)

Sugoi have produced a sub-100g jacket which they claims sets a new "gold standard for ultra-light weather protection".

The Helium is made from a woven polyester shell fabric and is said to be "exceptionally" wind and water resistant. To save weight, the designers went as far as replacing pit zips with tiny vents.

Sugoi say: "Lighter than a T-shirt and granting far greater weather protection than a windshirt, the Helium doesn't stop short on advanced features. It boasts Scotchlite™reflective material on the length of the torso, as well as a full-length zipper and a rear zip pocket. With a drop tail and cutout notch at the back of the mock-turtleneck collar, the Helium is perfect for riding or running, or any activity where threatening weather looms."

The Helium jacket is available in men's and women's versions, in a total of seven colours. RRP is 79.90 euros (approx £73/US$108). A Helium vest (gilet) is also available, priced at 69.90 euros (approx £64/$94).

Lapierre unveil team edition DH 920

Lapierre's DH 920 team edition
Photo ©: Lapierre
(Click for larger image)

We've just received some snaps of the new Lapierre DH 920 team edition. It's the bike that downhillers Danny Hart, David Vazquez and Greg Doucende will be riding this season.

So what sets Team Lapierre DH Powered by Saab Salomon's special edition apart from the standard DH 920?

The colour scheme and a slightly uprated spec, which means it weighs in at 17.325kg (38.2lb). We think it looks pretty tasty...

  • Frame: Lapierre DH 920 team edition
  • Fork: Fox 40
  • Shock: Fox DHX 5.0 with titanium spring
  • Gears: Shimano Saint
  • Brakes: Shimano Saint with 203mm rotors
  • Pedals: Shimano DX
  • Wheels: Mavic DeeMax
  • Tyres: Hutchinson Barracuda Hardskin DH 2.3
  • Handlebar: Easton Havoc DH
  • Seatpost: Easton Carbone
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
  • Chainguard: E13 LG1 for Lapierre
  • Stem: E13 AliStem
  • Mudguard: RRP Neoguard

Intense launch new Tazer VP 4X/slalom frame

Intense's new Tazer VP
Photo ©: Intense
(Click for larger image)

Intense have created a new 4X/dual slalom frame using their second generation VPP suspension platform, the Tazer VP.

Billed as "the ultimate gated racing weapon", the new design features 80-100mm of adjustable rear wheel travel, a 1.5in headtube and new angular contact bearings with grease ports.

The Tazer VP will be offered initially in one size and 3 colours. Production will be limited to one batch of frames in April.

The new frame will be the weapon of choice of Intense-sponsored racers including World Cup 4X champion Anneke Beerten, former 4X world champion Jill Kintner, Chris Kovarik and the CRC Intense Team, and US dual slalom national champion Rich Houseman.

Intense say: "Contact your local dealer now to get yours in time for race season. If you are racing 4X/slalom, you will either be on the Tazer VP or behind one in 2009."

Pedro's send tools to Zambia with World Bike Relief

Pedro's are providing toolkits
Photo ©: Pedro's
(Click for larger image)

Massachusetts-based Pedro's are to supply tools to bike mechanics in Africa through World Bicycle Relief.

The company have developed a special toolset to equip more than 400 mechanics who care for and maintain the 23,000 bicycles that Project Zambia provides for care volunteers and disease prevention educators.

The partnership will help World Bicycle Relief fulfil its mission of delivering simple, sustainable transportation for disaster assistance and poverty relief.

Dave Neiswander, head of Africa operations for World Bicycle Relief, said: "We've already seen the enormous impact of the bicycles in the day-to-day lives."

Pedro's CEO, Christopher Zigmont, said: "Keeping those bikes rolling has the potential to provide independence and livelihood that can affect change within an entire village."

Bikes make it easier and quicker for volunteers to reach those in need, while carrying significantly more supplies.

World Bicycle Relief was founded in 2005 by SRAM Corporation and Trek Bicycles in response to the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

It has now partnered with a USAID-funded, World Vision-led coalition of relief organisations to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia.

Iron Horse sale negotiations still underway

By James Costley-White, BikeRadar.com

UK Iron Horse importers Jim Walker say negotiations are still underway for the sale of the brand after its parent company became a victim of the recession in America.

In a statement, the firm said the problems in the US would have little impact on Iron Horse's UK range, as this year's bikes have already been delivered.

They said UK distribution was continuing with back-up stock, and any service issues should be directed to Jim Walker as usual.

Jim Walker said that, despite the difficulties with Iron Horse, they had enjoyed record levels of trading in the first quarter of 2009.

The company's CEO, Ian Wilson, said: "It's a shame when the owners of such a strong, desirable brand as Iron Horse fall victim of the recession in America. Particularly when it's so different to our experience here in the UK, where our results are not only at record levels, parts of our business have doubled in the first part of this year and we have some incredible new opportunities.

"Naturally any change of ownership of a brand takes time to sort out so, unfortunately we all have to be a little patient at the moment to see where it ends up. But from what we have been told, we are confident of a strong ownership for the brand in the future."

Jim Walker said they had agreed new distribution arrangements for a number of very desirable brands, details of which will be announced soon.

Last week, reports suggested three Asian factories had filed an involuntary petition for bankruptcy against Iron Horse in an effort to recoup more than $5 million in back debt.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by 3T

Images by Sugoi

Images by Lapierre

Images by Intense

Images by Pedro's