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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Tech News – September 27, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

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

Here's the second part of our round-up of recent tech. Part 1 is here.

Litespeed tweaks a classic

Litespeed Vortex
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Litespeed has tweaked the 2005 edition of its classic Vortex 6Al/4V titanium frame to be 10 percent lighter and 20 percent stiffer than the 2004 version. "most of this was done by manipulating tubing, especially the oversized diamond shaped downtube," Litespeed's Herbert Krabel told Cyclingnews, adding that the seatstays, dropouts and bottom bracket had also been lightened. According to Krabel, a 55cm frame now weighs just 1,201g.

Litespeed Vela
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A bare Vortex frame will set you back $3,395, while a complete bike with Shimano Dura-Ace is $6,805.

At the other end of the scale, Litespeed's expansion into aluminium continues with the Vela. At $1,695 for a complete bike with Shimano 105 components, the Vela boasts an Alite aluminium front triangle with aerodynamically shaped carbon monstay seatstays.

More info: www.litespeed.com

Ulmer's Avanti pursuit bike revealed

Sarah Ulmer's Avanti in action

World and Olympic pursuit champion Sarah Ulmer was peculiarly cagey at those two events about the bike she was using to not just break previous records but smash them into tiny pieces. Ulmer didn'twant to talk about the bike and asked photographers not to take close-up pics of it, so you can imagine our surprise when we stumbled across the full low-down on Ulmer's bike - on the website of her bike sponsor Avanti.

Most readers outside Australia and New Zealand probably won't be familiar with Avanti, a New Zealand company that dominates the high-end bike market there and is also very popular across the Tasman Sea in Australia.

The composite-framed Avanti that Ulmer rode in the world's and Athens was a joint effort between Avanti, the New Zealand Academy of Sport, and Dynamic Composites of Christchurch, New Zealand, a company previously known for high-performance yacht components and some well-regarded custom carbon fiber road bikes.

It all started with Ulmer's patriotic desire to ride a home-grown bike. "I wanted to ride a New Zealand-made bike. I've been using an Australian bike for that last five years and that hurts," she said.

The development of the new bike involved collaboration between Avanti, Ulmer's boyfriend and coach Brendon Cameron, Dynamic Composites' Milton Bloomfield, and University of Canterbury Sport Science and Research Services.

Bloomfield looked at previous pursuit bikes with acritical eye. "I asked the question straight up, 'why is it like this and not like any other way?'" he told stuff.co.nz

The first fruit of the collaboration was the bike Ulmer raced at the world championships in Melbourne, where she first broke the 3000m pursuit record. That bike was lighter and stiffer than Ulmer's previous ride and had a lower handlebar, the result of Bloomfield's intuition and wind tunnel testing.

After Melbourne, Ulmer's team went back to the workshop and further tweaked the bike. "The second bike is a further improvement on the first," said Avanti marketing manager Tony Smith just before Athens. "We worked with Brendon to complete a detailed analysis after the World Championships in May. There are no major changes in set-up but we've included several new design changes in the Olympic bike. With feedback from Sarah and Brendon we have also made some aerodynamic changes."

The rest, as they say, is history. Ulmer clobbered her own record in qualifying, taking off over four seconds, then lopped off a couple more in her gold medal ride. In the space of just four months, Ulmer and her new bikes had taken over six seconds off the record.

Bloomfield is now working on versions of Ulmer's bike for the rest of us, under the Zen name and hopes to continue the collaboration with Ulmer and Avanti to further track success. Unlike Ulmer's very customised machine, production Zen track bikes - available in pursuit and sprint versions - will be adjustable for seat height and bar position.

More info: www.zensport.co.nz and www.avanti.co.nz

Davitamon-Lotto on Ridley

For 2005 Belgian manufacturer Ridley will be the bike supplier for top new Belgian team Davitamon-Lotto. The team, which will include Robbie McEwen, Tom Steels, Peter Van Petegem, and Cadel Evans will ride Ridley's carbon fiber Damocles model. "Soon, we will add some stages in the Tour, or Giro to our list of honours, you can be sure!" says Ridley spokesman Anthony Kumpen.

Ridley has been known for its cyclo-cross bikes and continues its involvement this winter with sponsorship of Fidea, the new team of cyclo cross world champion Bart Wellens.

More info: www.ridley-bikes.com

Rolf expands

Rolf Prima Echelon front
Photo ©: Rolf Prima

Rolf Prima has introduced two new wheel models for 2005 at lower price points than its high-end components, but with features that have trickled down from the top of the line. Both new models are hand-built in Rolf Prima's facility in Eugene Oregon and use US-made hubs.

The aerodynamic Echelon wheels have 31mm rims with 16 spokes up front and 20 in the rear, with a claimed weight of 1640g/pr. They are intended as an "all-conditions" wheel and retail for $699.

The lightweight Aspin wheels are named for the pass used in the Tour de France, have 20 front /24 rear spoking and 22mm rims. Claimed weight is 1500g and they also retail for $699.

More info: www.rolfprima.com

De Rosa official world's bike

The world championships is now underway and the official bike supplier to the world's is legendary Italian marque De Rosa, famous, among other things, for supplying bikes to Eddy Merckx in the latter half of his career. In typical wonderful Italglish, De Rosa's announcement of the deal says that during the world's "the "Heart" brand is going to follow all manifestations of the World Championship 2004 in Bardolino and Verona."

More info: www.derosanews.com

IRD joins the compact crew

IRD Mosaic C Carbon
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IRC Cobra seatpost
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If we wanted to be snotty we'd wonder who doesn't make a compact crank these days (well besides Shimano of course), but we're not like that so we'll just tell you that Northern California component maker Interloc Racing Design has added a compact crank to its line of lightweight components. Shimano users will be pleased to learn that the Mosaic C Carbon crankset fits a Shimano Octalink bottom bracket, so can be directly swapped for your 2004 Ultegra or 2003 Dura-Ace cranks. Weight of the 172.5mm version is claimed to be 545g and recommended retail is $459.99.

IRD has also announced the Cobra seatpost, a two-bolt design with "lots" of layback (though it has to be said that from IRD's pics the front of the Cobra's clamp looks to be in about the usual place, in line with the back of the shaft). Interestingly the Cobra is a collaboration between IRD and Tange Design, the Japanese company that dominated mountain bike tubing back in the eighties, but faded from view when steel gave way to aluminium. Tange is back and supplies the Infinity butted tubing for the aluminium Cobra and the Prestige carbon fiber for the carbon version. Both are available in 280mm and 400mm lengths. RRPs are $46.99 in aluminium and $99.99 in carbon. Claimed weights for the 280mm versions are 220g and 210g respectively.

More info: www.interlocracing.com

Feel the carbon

Felt F1C
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Felt Racing has added a full-carbon bike to its range of road and triathlon machines. At $4529.99 the F1C is one of the least spendy full-carbon, Dura-Ace-equipped bikes we've seen, and comes with an Easton EC90SLX carbon fiber fork, Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL wheels, Felt carbon seatpost, FSA K-Wing handlebar and felt aluminium stem.

In 2cm increments from 50cm to 60cm, centre to centre, the F1C will be available in December.

More info: www.feltracing.com

Ambrosio's roster of medalists
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Ambrosio's champions

Ambrosio may not be the biggest rim and wheel maker in the world, but the Milan manufacturer can boast a few rather useful riders rolling round on its hoops. Four of them turned up at the Milan show to do themeet and greet thing and, in three cases they were suitably bedecked with recently-aqcuired Olympic metalware.

From left: Emanuele Sella, Olga Slyussareva, Graeme Brown, and Brett Lancaster.

More info: www.ambrosiospa.com