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Tech News – January 31, 2007

Edited by James Huang

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Expect to see a lot more of these
Photo ©: James Huang
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CycleOps adds more power measuring technology to the pro peloton

Now that the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg has become so easily attainable, ProTour teams now look at their bicycles' weights more in terms of a 'gram budget' as opposed to something that is to be minimized at all costs. Since teams and mechanics are often finding themselves having to add weight to meet the minimum target, that weight may as well provide some benefit. One of the most significant outcomes of this new mentality is the proliferation of power-sensing equipment found on racers' bikes, not only in training but now during races as well.

Most recently, Floyd Landis emphasized this trend during his monumental Stage 17 Alpine victory in last year's Tour de France. Landis' bike was equipped with a relatively heavy (as compared to a conventional hub) CycloOps PowerTap SL rear hub for the entirety of the climbing stage. When Landis' now-infamous doping scandal emerged, the resultant power data was even used by his trainer, Allen Lim, as evidence that the day's efforts were well within the then-Phonak rider's physical limits.

Floyd Landis equipped with a Powertap SL hub
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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CycleOps will continue to stake out a presence in the professional ranks with its newly announced sponsorship of the Predictor-Lotto Cycling Team for the 2007 season. As the "official training partner", CycleOps will equip each of the team's thirty riders with its new PowerTap SL 2.4 hub for use during both racing and training. Detailed analysis of the collected data will be performed using software from Boulder, CO-based Training Peaks LLC, purveyors of the increasingly popular CyclingPeaks and VirtualCoach programs (who, coincidentally, also sponsors the Astana and T-Mobile teams).

The top-level Classics team includes perennial TdF green jersey favorite Robbie McEwen, 2006 Tour de Romandie winner Cadel Evans, 2006 Tour of Flanders runner-up Leif Hoste and 2006 U23 TT World Champion Dominique Cornu. All of the Predictor-Lotto Cycling Team riders will begin using the system during the team's first training camp of the year in Albufeira, Portugal.

Interbike's parent company boasts new name and additional resources

Interbike, the producers of both the OutDoor Demo and Interbike International Bicycle Expo trade shows, announced last week that its parent company has changed its name from VNU Group B.V. to The Nielsen Company. While the name change itself is not terribly significant, the renewed focus that is associated with it signals the company's continued intent on maintaining Interbike as the world's predominant bicycle trade show.

"The name change to Nielsen was made to emphasize one of the best-known brands in global marketing, research, business publications and trade shows," said Lance Camisasca, Interbike's show director. "With the name change comes a renewed focus on providing marketing and media information services, top-notch customer service and the best trade show experiences possible for exhibitors, retailers, advocacy groups and the media. Nielsen is a name that more clearly suggests the company's position and role in the marketplace."

While Interbike is clearly a very narrowly-focused organization, its parent company is anything but (ever heard of "Nielsen ratings" in reference to television? Yes, it's that Nielsen). In total, The Nielsen Company boasts 42 publications, produces 60 trade shows, and offers 185 digital products and services that "offer insight, analysis and face-to-face contacts to help professionals better understand their markets, help their customers sell and grow their businesses."

As part of the company's Nielsen Business Media division, Interbike plans on using those resources to launch several new services and tools, including a new web site that will include enhanced exhibitor and attendee tools and an industry directory, as well as search engines and information portals. Interbike has also expressed a desire to expand the visibility of cycling beyond its core audience into the eyes of the general public.

Nielsen has also hired Joe Flynn as a new vice president of its Sports Group, which includes includes the Action Sports Retailer, Fly Fishing Retailer, Health&Fitness Business Expo, Outdoor Retailer, and the Interbike OutDoor Demo and International Bicycle Expo shows. Nielsen does not explicitly state a desire to 'rule the world', but Flynn's company-assigned task of "helping each show grow both organically and through acquisitions on an international scale" is certainly suggestive enough.

Felt Bicycles renews agreement with ADT Event Center at the Home Depot Center

As enthralling as track cycling is, the US is woefully lacking in facilities with only a handful of functional velodromes scattered throughout the country. While some have had storied histories, such as the Colorado Springs track that has spawned a number of records thanks to its high altitude, only one US velodrome is located indoors.

The 250m long ADT Event Center is a fully climate-controlled track located within the Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. Since opening in 2004, the track has rapidly developed a reputation as one of the premier venues of its type in the world and has hosted a number of premier events, including the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championship and, more recently, the 2007 UCI Track World Cup Classic.

To show its support of track cycling, Felt Bicycles has extended its agreement with AEG, owners and operators of The Home Depot Center, to be the location's Official Track Bicycle. As part of the agreement, Felt will provide a complete stable of its newest TK2 track bikes and S-Series TT bikes. In return, Felt will receive velodrome signage, a permanent lobby display, and exclusive use of its bicycles for all classes and clinics conducted on-site by track director (and former Olympian) Roger Young and his staff, which will eventually include triathlon and multi-sport disciplines.

"Felt has been a fantastic partner and we look forward to having their continued support of the ADT Event Center at The Home Depot Center," said Shawn Hunter, President of AEG Sports. "Felt products are simply superb and, as an organization, they are continually willing to work with us no matter what the project or task. Our organizations have had an excellent working relationship and we highly value their passion and expertise in this sport and industry."

Felt Bicycles' company president, Bill Duehring was similarly enthusiastic about the agreement: "Being the official track bike of the ADT Event Center and getting to work closely with AEG is something Felt is excited by every day. Our organizations have a true working partnership. It is well known that AEG is doing some amazing things in the sport of cycling, and in the case of the ADT Event Center, they have single-handedly injected a lot of energy and enthusiasm back into the Southern California, U.S. and worldwide track racing scene. We are honored to share in that."

Jamis knocks on the 900g barrier door
Photo ©: Jamis Bicycles
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Jamis Bicycles knocks on the '900g club' doors with new Limited Edition Xenith SL frame

Jamis Bicycles has introduced a new lighter-weight version of its top-of-the-line Xenith Series carbon road bikes. The new limited edition Xenith SL frameset shaves off 50-70g (depending on size) from the standard version, bringing the grand total just north of the coveted 900g mark. Like the Xenith Team, the SL uses three different varieties and diameters of Tri-Ovalized tubing to achieve similar ride qualities throughout the size range. In addition, Jamis' TRIAD carbon fiber lay-up schedule uses three different fiber types that the company says are optimized for each frame region. While carbon fiber dropouts would likely drop the weight below the 900g floor, Jamis prudently opts for the tried-and-true forged alloy units.

The Xenith SL will only be available as a frameset beginning February 2007 and will retail for US$2500 with the included full-carbon Jamis Xenith fork.

NuVinci CVP drivetrains finally begin to hit marketplace

The NuVinci shifter incorporates a unique
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

We introduced NuVinci's revolutionary continuously variable planetary (CVP) to you back at Interbike 2005, heralding it as one of the show's highlights as well as one of most promising new technologies introduced that year in Las Vegas. While we are still eagerly awaiting higher performance versions of the drivetrain (think gearbox-equipped FR/DH bikes), NuVinci inventor Fallbrook Technologies Inc. and its manufacturing partner, Aftermarket Technology Corp., have announced that the first units have finally shipped to bicycle manufacturers for integration into complete bikes.

The NuVinci CVP consists of an input and output 'disc' that are connected in between each other by a set of rotating and tilting balls, similar to a thrust bearing. However, tilting the rotating axis of the balls changes the speed at which the input and output discs rotate relative to each, effectively offering an infinitely variable transmission. The NuVinci hub is also claimed to create far less friction than a conventional internally-geared hub, and the system can be shifted in fully stepless fashion even when stationary. Moreover, the technology is said to be fully scalable for use in a wide variety of applications, including agricultural equipment, automobiles, and utility-class wind turbines.

European consumers will find the NuVinci hubs on a number of Batavus-branded bicycles, including the new Adagio-NuVinci. Stateside, mountain bike frame manufacturer Ellsworth Bicycles will incorporate the drivetrain into a new lifestyle bike called "The Ride". In typical Ellsworth style, The Ride will include a number of high-end features, including a unique dual-crown carbon fiber rigid fork with integrated handlebars, a carbon fiber chainguard (not to be confused with a chainguide), a toothed belt drive, and hot-rod styling.

The input ring on the left is what would be directly driven by the rear cog.
Photo ©: Fallbrook Technologies
(Click for larger image)

"Now that production is fully underway, we're focusing on creating new opportunities and new markets for the NuVinci drivetrain," said Don Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of ATC. "From the beginning, we saw the potential of NuVinci technology to deliver significant gains in performance and control across a wide range of applications, and we're more certain than ever about choosing the NuVinci CVP to help grow ATC's business."

In addition to complete bicycles, the new drivetrain will also be offered in the IZIP Trekking e-bike and IZIP Fusion 1000 electric scooter from Currie Technologies, Inc., and will also be offered in an aftermarket kit by Seattle Bicycle Supply.

"This represents a major milestone in the commercialization of our technology," said William Klehm III, president and CEO of Fallbrook. "We're proud to be partnering with ATC, Ellsworth, Batavus, Currie and SBS to bring the NuVinci CVP to consumers worldwide. And this is only the beginning."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Jamis Bicycles

Images by Fallbrook Technologies

  • The input ring on the left is what would be directly driven by the rear cog. Power is transferred through a number of ball bearings (which could be ceramic someday…) to the output ring which drives the hub shell. Altering the axis of rotation of the ball bearings by adjusting the idler position varies the speed of the two rings relative to each other. The entire internal mechanism is bathed in oil and, in theory, there would be virtually no internal wear as a microscopically thin barrier of oil should prevent any parts from physically contacting each other.

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com