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Tech News – August 15, 2003

Edited by Paul Mirtschin

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Just the F.A.C.T.s: Specialized 2004

Corners well
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Specialized's folks recently invited the media to their Morgan Hill, California base to unveil some of their 2004 range. Along with the usual assortment of updated bikes and equipment were two new models, the Roubaix and the Tarmac.

We have already seen a bit of the Roubaix, with the bike being tested at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Paris-Roubaix earlier in the year. The Roubaix is designed specifically with long distance rides or rough courses in mind, its new F.A.C.T. (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) composite frame with Specialized's Zertz elastomer shock damping in the seat-stays taking away some of the road buzz.

The complete bike also features Zertz technology in the fork and Pave seatpost. Specialized claims the Roubaix frame comes in at 990g for a 56cm frame.

Sprints well too
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The second of Specialized's new high-end bikes is the titanium and carbon composite Tarmac. The Tarmac combines an S-Works E-5 aluminium 'undercarriage' with an upper subframe of F.A.C.T. composite. This has allowed Specialized to create a frame that has a similar weight and strength to the S-Works E-5, with a completely new, curvey look. The Tarmac also comes with an S-Works F.A.C.T Monocoque fork, F.A.C.T stem and F.A.C.T handlebar.

Both bikes are fitted with Dura-Ace ten-speed groups, with Dura-Ace WH-7800 wheels on the Tarmac and Ksyrium SSC SL Tour de France wheels on the Roubaix.

2004 Tarmac
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Specialized also rolled out the Dolce Comp, a women-specific road bike based on the S-Works E-5. The one-kilogram frame is fully double-butted and features smooth welds. Women-specific does not apply to just the frame: the Dolce Comp is equipped with a women-specific bar, Ultegra short reach levers and the new women's Dolce saddle.

All three bikes come with Specialized's new Bar Phat, a clear viscoelastic pad placed on the top of the bar and in the drops, designed to increase comfort and reduce the shock transmitted to the rider's hands. According to testing by the German Sports University in Cologne, Bar Phat reduces hand pressure by up to 50 percent compared to traditional cork tape.

Cyclingnews reporter Kristy Scrymgeour spent a few days at Specialized, checking out the new bikes, wandering through the Specialized museum, and riding down to the beach. Check out the high life in her special report.

New 'Dales on the loose

Smell the coffee
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Cannondale has also started to show off its 2004 range, and after all this year's ructions things must be good at the Bethel office as the number of bikes in each range increasing.

The standouts for 2004 seem to be in the mountain bike range, with both the gravity-assisted and cross-country riders being offered new and improved models to choose from.

As we have mentioned in previous Tech News, two of the three Gemini models in the range now come with Cannondale's Thru12 frame and swingarm. The Thru12 swingarm comes with the new Oval-Loc axle, a 12mm ovalised axle designed to add strength and eliminate lateral swingarm flex. The Thru12 design has been extensively tested by Cedric Gracia (Siemens Mobile/Cannondale) and was first spotted by Cyclingnews when Gracia visited Australia for the Red Bull Ride. Travel options on the Gemini are 150mm or 170mm at the rear with Manitou's Swinger coil SPV 4 way shock taken care of the bounce on the Gemini 3000 and 2000, with a Fox Vanilla shock on the 900. Manitou's Breakout forks once again grace the front of the Gemini 900 and 2000, with Marzocchi's Super T fork giving the 3000 a little more bounce.

None more black
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For a little more oomph, Cannondale are also releasing the Gemini DH Thru12 frameset with SI brake link. The SI brake link transmits braking loads from the floating brake to a fixed mount on the frame, keeping the suspension plush and active. The Gemini DH offers 180mm of rear wheel travel with Manitou's Swinger coil SPV 6 Way rear shock giving extra adjustability.

The increase in popularity of dirt-jumping hasn't been missed by Cannondale, with the release of the new Chase. Built to resist bumps, jumps and small explosions, the Chase looks solid enough to last. Marzocchi Dirt Jumper forks keep the front happy and hopefully in the right spot.

On the road, Cannondale has a huge number of models, including three female-specific bikes and five triathlon/time-trial models to choose from. The top of the line R6000 Team Edition features Cannondale's new 660-gram Hollowgram crankset, Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels and Campagnolo's Record 10 group.

A number of the high-end road and mountain bikes use frames made from Optimo aluminium alloy tubing, which Cannondale claims has a 15 percent higher tensile strength advantage over normal aluminium alloy tubing.

Training software for all makes

Peaks Coaching Group says it has created one of the most comprehensive software programs for the power meter generation, allowing users of any system to import or download to their computer.

CyclingPeaks Software will retail for US$75 for the single user version, US$100 for the multi-user coaches version, and US$125 for the unlimited version.

Created by cycling coach and former Navigators pro Hunter Allen, exercise physiologist Andrew Coggan PhD., and software engineer Kevin Williams, the program allows the user to;

  • Download you data directly into CyclingPeaks Software
  • Import as many files as needed
  • Track data on multiple athletes

CyclingPeaks claims that the software is compatible with every power meter on the market.

Plenty of Potenza

Photo: © Stella Azzurra

Stella Azzurra has announced its new Potenza carbon cranks. Available as either a double or triple, and compatible with either Campagnolo or Shimano 9-speed groups, the cranks are claimed to weigh in at a paltry 410g (minus rings).

The chain-rings are made of 7075/T6 aluminium alloy, and are ramped, pinned, and have a matte black finish. The rings come as 53/39, 53/39/30, or 52/42/30. The Potenza cranks are available for Octalink, Isis, or square bottom bracket systems in both 170mm and 172.5mm lengths.

Too drunk to ride?

Folding bike manufacturer Dahon California, Inc today announced the formal filing of a complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Authority over a Smirnoff Ice advertisement. The ad campaign uses an image of a Dahon folding bike to show the kind of products aluminium is "wasted" on, when it could be made into cans filled with a Smirnoff's alcoholic drink.

Too drunk to...
Photo: © Dahon

Dahon will request that the ads be withdrawn and an apology issued by Smirnoff/Diageo for denigrating bicycles in general, and Dahon folding bicycles specifically.

VP Sales & Marketing at Dahon, Joshua Hon, said, "The ads were a pretty big shock. Diageo are incomprehensibly implying that Smirnoff alcopop - with a disposable can that goes immediately into a landfill - is a better use of aluminium than a bicycle a healthy and non-polluting form of transportation."

"But even more insulting is that by using a Dahon folding bike for this ad, Diageo also discredits our company and the whole bike industry, since just about every bicycle made uses aluminum components and/or an aluminium frame. Our US legal office is investigating the case and we reserve the right to take further legal action should Diageo not immediately withdraw the ad."

Joshua Hon then added, "I'd say that Diageo's ad guys had a bit too much Smirnoff Ice to drink when they came up with the campaign, but I'm not sure that Ice is strong enough for them to use it as an excuse."