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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Tech News – July 27, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & James Huang

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Campagnolo announces new wheels for 2007

Shamal Ultra
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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Neutron Ultra hub
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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Machines rims, aluminium spokes and nipples
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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A closer look
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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Shamal Ultra rear hub
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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A lighter freehub body
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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Shamal Ultra front hub
Photo ©: Campagnolo
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Neutron Ultra front hub
Photo ©: Campagnolo
(Click for larger image)

Hot on the heels of its announcement a couple of weeks ago of a vast range of new transmission and braking components, Campagnolo has revealed details of its 2007 wheels. The new range sees the return of a revered name in a new Shamal wheel. However, before Campagnolo fans get too excited, the reborn Shamal wheel is not the deep, low-spoke-count wheel of the late 90s, but an update of the Eurus wheel with a carbon hub and a very bling gold finish.

Weight weenies with deep pockets will be getting excited about the new Hyperon Ultra tubular wheels, which are the lightest Campagnolo have ever made at 525g for a front wheel and 700g rear. Weight has been saved with lighter sub-components including a new one-piece aluminium freewheel body. Hyperon Ultras will be available with both Campagnolo and Shimano-compatible freewheel bodies.

According to sources close to the company, Campagnolo was considering dropping the mid-price Neutron wheels from its range, but instead relented and forked the model. The new Neutrons will be 25 percent cheaper (at least that's what we think Campagnolo means by "more aggressive in price") than the 2006 model and the same weight (rear 890g, front 660g). The cost savings come from dropping the machining step from the rim manufacture, a new one-piece freewheel body and pawl carrier and lighter sub-components.

The Neutron Ultra sits above the old Neutron in the range and boasts a carbon fiber hub body, light alloy axles, light alloy monolithic freewheel body, and Record class bearings and QR skewers. Claimed weights are front 630g, rear 840g, and the Neutron Ultra looks set to be cheaper than the mid-depth Eurus wheels.

Speaking of mid-depth wheels brings us to the new Shamals, or Shamal Ultras to give them their full name. Finished in fully-bling gold anodizing for the spokes and rim, these new wheels have carbon fiber hubs, gold anodized aluminium spokes (21 rear, 16 front), 24mm gold anodized front rim, 28mm gold anodized rear rim (both with machined braking surfaces). Did we mention the gold anodizing?

As well as looking a million dollars (in bullion, please) the Shamal Ultras are Campagnolo's lightest ever aluminium-rimmed wheels at 605g front and 790g rear for both clincher and tubular. Campagnolo is obviously anticipating a wide range of use for the Shamal Ultras as it is offered Campagnolo and Shimano-compatible freewheel bodies, and two Shimano versions, with steel or aluminium freewheel bodies. Shimano recommends that the steel body be used with the larger sprockets required for junior racing, while the aluminium HG body should only be used with a cassette having an 11-tooth or 12-tooth top sprocket.

For more information see Campagnolo's website.

Landis on his yellow BMC
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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BMC's Floyd special

Floyd Landis put himself into the ranks of cycling's legendary heroes with his rollercoaster rides in and out of contention in stages 16 and 17 of the Tour de France, and his eventual victory after stage 19's time trial. Bike manufacturer BMC, which supplies bikes to Landis and his Phonak team, is celebrating Landis' extraordinary win with a special yellow edition of the team issue Pro Machine SLC01.

For more information see BMC's website.

Speedplay offers Giro pink replicas

Speedplay in the pink
Photo ©: Tim De Waele
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Initially, the special pink Speedplay pedals were produced for Ivan Basso and the victorious CSC team to use for the final stage into Milano in this year's Giro d'Italia.

But the pink Zero Pedals were noticed by the public, and this prompted numerous calls and emails to Speedplay's San Diego, California, headquarters.

"We made only nine pairs of pink Zero Pedals for Team CSC to celebrate Ivan Basso's Giro victory," said Speedplay president Sharon Worman. "But the interest in the pink pedals has been so strong that we will now make them available for sale." Production quantities will be limited and pricing has not been finalized, but the pink Zero Pedals are set to arrive in the US shops this month, and in other territories - such as Australia - in August.

The Giro win - the first Grand Tour won on Speedplays - continued a great 2006 season for the American pedal specialist. Riders using Speedplay have won Paris-Nice, Critérium International, Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race, the Tour of California, and the Tour de Georgia.

And with Speedplay user Floyd Landis looking very strong for the Tour de France, the company may soon have reason to produce another limited edition run. The pedals are said to offer the lightest weight of any pedal in the peloton at 82 grams each. Other features include dual-sided entry, up to 15 degrees of micro-adjustable non-centering float, excellent unbeatable cornering clearance, as well as a stable platform and slim aerodynamic profile for the lowest stack height available.

For more information, visit Speedplay's web site or Speedplay's Australian distributor, Excelpro

Zipp gear bag in time for summer

Zipp's Gear Bag
Photo ©: Zipp
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Based on the Zipp Wheel Bag, the company has recently released the Zipp Gear Bag, designed for carrying all the accessories the modern racing cyclist usually takes away when traveling or racing.

Inside the bag are three pouches with zippers for small to medium size objects, and an additional zippered pouch in the lid, along with a slide-in pocket for ID and other small items.

On each side is a large pouch with zippered access to hold a pair of shoes, while at the bottom is a large space to fill with wet/used clothing. On the top is a helmet pouch, and there's more space to carry up to 4 water bottles.

It can be carried by shoulder strap or handles, with an extra strap set to carry a track pump. The bag also comes with a Zipp drying towel. The bag (with included towel) is priced at US$125.

For more info see: Zipp's website

ITM's custom Polar mount
Photo ©: ITM
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How it works
Photo ©: ITM
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ITM offers integrated support for Polar HRMs

The advent of wider-diameter handlebars and stems - while ironically being lighter than their predecessors - can pose problems when trying to fit cycle computers and heart-rate monitor displays. The chunky, sculpted 'bars can easily become littered with elasticized straps or velcro as riders try to keep using their favourite devices.

But for users of Italmanubri (ITM) stems - specifically the Visia and Millennium 4Ever - there is now a special bracket designed to take the Polar CS 100 and CS 200 heart-rate monitor and computer.

The Supporter Bike Mount is firmly held in the gap between the front of the stem and the handlebar clamp, tightened by the two top bolts of the stem. It provides a neat platform for the computer - without the rubber bands or zip-ties of Polar's own mount - and is moulded to fit the shape of the stem.

For more information, visit ITM's web site

Trek hires suspension designer Jose Gonzalez

Trek Bicycles has announced its hiring of Jose Gonzalez, formerly director of research & development at suspension fork and shock maker Manitou.

Trek has worked with Gonzalez in the development of its Session 7 and 10 freeride bikes. His joining the company full-time reflects Trek's renewed commitment to the mountain bike area, which Trek itself admits it has neglected in recent years. At Trek's recent launch of its 2007 MTB range, Trek CEO John Burke said, "One area of business where we haven't grown is the mountain bike business, especially when you take a look at full-suspension and serious mountain bikes. It hasn't been a big part of what we were about."

An extensive fine-tuning of its mountain bike offerings for 2007 indicates that Trek is determined to be about serious mountain bikes once more, and Gonzalez' is optimistic that he will be a part of that effort. "I'm confident that we can do in the world of mountain bikes what Trek has done with road bikes - be the dominant force," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez will be based in a new off-site Trek office in Southern California which should offer better opportunities for research and development that Trek's main HQ in Wisconsin - not exactly the hilliest place in the world.

At Manitou, Gonzalez was responsible for the Manitou Twin Piston Chamber fork design in the late 90's, a design that significantly improved fork performance and was soon copied by other suspension makers.

Van Dessel Jersey Devil FS
Photo ©: Van Dessel
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Van Dessel introduces suspension 29er

We have to admit that the reaction of the Cyclingnews tech desk to most dual suspension 29er mountain bikes so far has been "Yuk". It's not that we have a problem with the idea of big wheels and suspension - far from it - it's just that many attempts to combine the two have resulted in bikes that look like a collision between a monster truck and a tower crane.

Van Dessel's new Jersey Devil FS 29er boasts a true four-bar suspension arrangement, with asymmetric chainstays that provides four inches of suspension travel from a Fox RP3 or Fox Float R shock. And, for what little our aesthetic opinion is worth, it manages to look like a mountain bike and not like an industrial-art installation.

Prices range from US$999 for a bare frame and headset, to US$4299 for the 'Pro race build' complete bike.

For more information see www.vandesselsports.com

Co-Motion's 24lb tandem
Photo ©: Co-Motion
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Co-Motion goes light

Tandem maker Co-Motion has unveiled its latest creation - a racing tandem that weighs a staggering 24lb.

Tandems typically weigh over 30lb - even for light twofers like high-end Cannondales, Santanas and other C-Motion models. To get the weight of this as-yet-unnamed rig down, Co-Motion starts with an aluminium frame, with a frame design based on compact road geometry that does away with the traditional lateral tube. The tubing comes from Columbus and Easton while True Temper/Alpha Q supplies the fork.

Accordin toCo-Motion's Clay Lundgren, "One of the biggest weight saving came from using a 28.6mm seat post which allowed the use of a regular FSA stem, rather than the typically very heavy stoker stems. We also saved significant weight by going to 130mm rear spacing instead of the traditional 145 tandem drop out spacing. This allows for conventional road wheels to be used."

The spec and use of solo bike components indicates that this is a bike for going fast, and Lundgren confirms that impression. "This is designed as an all out, go fast tandem," he says. "It doesn't have the low gears for touring and isn't meant to do that. For a couple that is used to going out and riding hard for a couple hours or so, this bike will be just as exciting as their single bikes, but allow them to ride together."

For more information see Co-Motion's website.

Fox Racing Shox revises '07 fork specs, opens servicing

Fox Racing Shox's new sealed damper cartridge architecture, dubbed Fox Isolated Technology, or "FIT", was introduced in last year's single-crown 36 and dual-crown 40 forks. Claimed benefits of the new configuration included lighter weight (due to reduced oil volume) and more consistent damper performance. For '07, the company's Terralogic-equipped forks were to incorporate new X FIT cartridges but production capacity could not meet market demands, according to a recent announcement from Fox.

Therefore, the 2007 F80X, F100X, Float X, and TALAS X forks will retain last year's open bath damper design. As a result, the Float X and TALAS X will also remain at last year's 130mm travel setting, down from the planned 140mm of travel for '07. The new TALAS X will still retain the new three-position travel adjuster as planned and all external chassis upgrades will remain as planned throughout the product line.

Good news on FIT from Fox though, is that Fox is loosening up on its previous insistence that cartridges be sent back to the factory for service in spite of the fact that no special tools are allegedly required to do the work (just instruction). As such, a number of qualified shops and at-home do-it-yourselfers, many of whom may just want to change the oil viscosity, have been rather frustrated.

Wrenches can finally rejoice, however, as Fox has decided to release full service information for the new dampers with a projected availability date sometime late this summer.

M2Racer closes

The global shortage of carbon fiber claimed its first bike industry victim at the end of last month when US boutique parts maker M2Racer closed its doors.

According to a statement on the company's website, "In the past few weeks, M2RACER's supply of high modulus prepreg carbon fiber has been shut off due to the heavy worldwide military and aerospace use. Carbon fiber is used in nearly 50% of the M2RACER product lineup. In addition, the price of titanium and exotic aluminum alloys that we use has nearly tripled in the past 18 months. Due to the unavailability of carbon fiber and excessive material cost increases, M2RACER can no longer be able to provide our valued customers with lightweight, high performance, and well priced cycling components.

"M2RACER has closed its doors permanently as of June 30, 2006."

Unfortunately, cost increases and difficulties in obtaining raw materials likely are hitting other higher-end and boutique operations. Unless this trend reverses itself (or at least levels off), M2Racer may be among the first victims but will almost certainly not be the last.

Bikes 4 Kids fundraiser to be held September 30, 2006

The holidays will come early for one thousand underprivileged Utah children from the Boys & Girls Club of Murray, Guadalupe School, and Rose Elementary. Bikes 4 Kids Utah recently announced that it would be providing new bicycles, helmets, locks, and t-shirts to the children during its first bike ride fundraiser to be held September 30, 2006.

The inaugural bike ride fundraiser will include three rides of varying distance, including a limited participant 50k event with Utah local Dave Zabriskie of Team CSC which will require a $1000 donation per entry. Funds will also be raised via other means, including both corporate and individual sponsorships as well as a charity dinner and silent auction to be held on September 29.

Debbie Reid, founder and director of Bikes 4 Kids Utah, is "very excited to provide a positive education and cycling experience for disadvantaged children. We want to provide kids with an inexpensive and fun way to get to school, a hobby that helps them get some exercise and a way for them to learn responsibility and safety."

Interested participants can register on the Bikes 4 Kids Utah web site at www.bikes4kidsutah.org.