Tech News April 27, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
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IRD goes back to the future with alloy cluster
IRD alloy cluster
When I first got seriously into cycling, back in the mid-eighties, one
component lusted after by my friends who raced on the road was a 'dural
block' - Brit-speak for an aluminium freewheel and sprocket cluster. Freewheels
of the day were pretty hefty steel affairs that screwed on to the rear
hub, and about the only way to save weight in the area was to replace
as much steel as possible with aluminium, and put up with the resulting
dent in the bank balance.
Since then, Shimano and Campagnolo have lightened their clusters with
aluminium carriers for the sprockets and even titanium sprocket teeth,
but for ultimate weight-weenie pleasure, there's still no substitute for
aluminium. Interloc Racing Design (IRD) knows this and its latest offering
is an upgraded version of its 11-32 aluminium cluster for cross-country
mountain bike racers, featuring a hard anodized coating instead of the
The largest seven sprockets are machined in one piece from 7075 aluminium,
while the top two sprockets are steel. IRD claims a weight of 135g (Shimano
says its XTR 11-32 cluster is 240g). While the sprockets isn't the first
place you'd look to save weight on a mountain bike, it's somewhere you'll
get to eventually if you're on a quest for a wow-how-light-is-that XC
set-up. When you reach this place, IRD's cluster will cost you US$298.99.
More info: www.interlocracing.com
Oval RBT faceplate
Oval turns the bolts
Oval R700 stem
It's hardly an world-changing innovation, but we like the looks of Oval
Concepts' latest handlebar stems. Instead of pointing the face plate bolt
heads out into the big wide world, Oval has turned round the bolt and
threads arrangement, so that the face plate presents a smooth aspect.
Oval claims the design, dubbed RBT for Reverse Bolt Technology, is stiffer
than a conventional set-up because of its four-bolt, 43mm wide clamp and
is also stronger in fatigue, giving a two to three times longer life in
German DIN Plus fatigue tests. A definite practical advantage is that
you need only replace the face plate if you strip a thread, and Oval offers
a carbon plate with titanium bolts as a hop-up for weight weenies.
All Oval's stems use RBT, including the top model, $79 R700.
More info: www.ovalconcepts.com
Fizik's Giro edition Ariones
Giro team replicas from Fi'zi:k
In celebration of the imminent Giro d'Italia, Italian saddle make Fi'zi:k
is making available team replica versions of its top-end Arione saddle
in the colours of the three teams that will be using its saddles in the
Giro: Saeco, Alessio-Bianchi and Vini Caldirola.
Fi'zi:k says its last batch of limited-edition Ariones, 650 world championship
saddles released to commemorate Igor Astarloa's world's win in Canada
last year, sold out in three days, and expect similar demand for these
Giro models, one of which will set you back US$139.
More info: www.fizik.it
Camelbak camouflages MULE
Worried that you're too easy to spot out on the trails? Drinking system
maker Camelbak has the solution in the latest version of its popular MULE
backpack, now available in camouflage pattern. The MULE comes with a three
liter water bladder and 4.9 litres of additional storage space.
More info: www.camelbak.com