Tech News February 13, 2007
Edited by James Huang
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SRAM expands Force front brake recall to include rear brakes as well
SRAM has expanded its Force brake
caliper recall to now include rear brakes as well.
Photo ©: James Huang
Just days after announcing a voluntary recall on its Force front brake
calipers due to defective titanium bolts, SRAM has now added the matching
rear to the list for the same reason after conducting additional metallurgical
analysis. According to SRAM officials, only a handful of brakes have failed
in the field (and only a single rear), and all failures have reportedly
occurred during installation. Brakes that were manufactured later in the
production cycle do not suffer from the same defect, and all current production
meets company specifications.
Brakes subject to the recall can be identified through the date code
stamped on the back of the caliper and will include one of the following:
- No date code at all (indicates early production).
- Original date code range: 01JUN06 through 15SEP06.
- Current date code range: 35T6XXXXXXX through 39T6XXXXXXX.
Affected brake calipers must be replaced as a complete unit as the mounting
bolts are not replaceable. Corrective action will be taken as follows:
- SRAM sales representatives will contact OEM clients directly to set
up a replacement plan for bicycles currently in inventory as well as
those that have already been delivered.
- Distributors are asked to please contact dealers who have purchased
Force road brake sets and/or complete groups to arrange for replacement
of front and rear brake calipers.
- Dealers will be contacted either directly by SRAM or a SRAM distributor
with a corrective action plan. Dealers are asked to compile a list of
customers who may be affected by the recall.
- Affected consumers should contact the retail outlet from which the
brakes were purchased or their local dealer to arrange for replacement.
All affected front and rear brake assemblies should be contained and
returned to a SRAM distributor or regional SRAM sales office. In all cases,
SRAM has reported that replacement brake assemblies are currently in stock
and have already begun shipping to end users in order to minimize down
Additional information can be found at www.sram.com.
Colnago family grows by two for 2007
Ernesto Colnago himself was on
hand in Reno, NV for the introduction of his 2007 line.
Photo ©: James Huang
Renowned Italian frame builder Colnago has a lengthy history, which began
when Ernesto Colnago began working in a local bicycle factory at the age
of 13 (he had to lie about his age in order to work). Even today at the
ripe young age of 75, Colnago continues to be an extraordinarily spry
and vivacious man and is intimately involved in the everyday operations
of the company he founded.
While steeped in top-end performance, tradition, attention to detail,
and passion regarding just about everything emblazoned with the three-lobed
logo, a key part of Colnago's legacy has been its support of professional
racing. Colnago will sponsor six teams for 2007, including the Milram
and Rabobank ProTour squads, Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare,
Navigators Insurance, and Tinkoff Credit System.
Colnago will supply these teams with a combination of its venerable C50
carbon fiber road and TT framesets as well as its newest carbon road creation,
the Extreme Power. The Extreme Power was introduced last year as a prototype
model specifically aimed at sprinters and other more demanding users but
now gains full production status for 2007.
The Extreme Power is similar to the C50 in its general construction technique,
which utilizes precision mitered carbon fiber tubes bonded to carbon fiber
lugs. In this case, however, the trademark four-lobed Master carbon fiber
tubes that Colnago uses in the C50 are replaced with stiffer five-layer
round tubing. The down tube is particularly stout, boasting a conical
profile with a wider diameter down by the bottom bracket shell, internal
ribbing, and triple butting. In addition, the C50 family's unique HP chainstays
are replaced with new leaf-shaped stays that supposedly increase stiffness
Colnago's new Extreme Power is
based on the C50
Photo ©: James Huang
In spite of the increased rigidity, light weight is still a priority
as evidenced by the titanium bottom bracket insert, relieved dropouts,
and extremely short monocoque carbon fiber lugs. Custom geometries are
not available, but Colnago offers the Extreme Power in fourteen
traditional sizes in addition to seven sloping ones so that likely isn't
much of an issue. Colnago does, however, offer the Extreme Power in an
even stiffer version that utilizes heavier tubing for an additional US$150
or so. Standard retail price on the Extreme Power hovers around US$4399.99.
Colnago adds a second new model at the other end of the range for 2007.
The monocoque carbon fiber CLX is Colnago's first frame to be produced
outside its Italian factory and is actually crafted by Giant in Taiwan
in a dedicated facility. Although "Designed in Italy" may offer up some
negative connotations, the CLX is still a Colnago, and the company has
clearly gone to significant lengths to ensure its reputation remains intact.
The frame molds themselves as well as the dropouts are actually produced
in Italy and then shipped overseas, and Ernesto Colnago himself is reputed
to have hand-selected each of the Giant factory employees charged to work
on the line.
The CLX will be offered as a frameset for US$2699.99 or as a complete
bicycle with a variety of build specifications. Retail price on a complete
bicycle with Shimano Ultegra componentry and Mavic Ksyrium wheels is reported
to be approximately US$4200.
FSA builds custom Cannondale-only stem for Filippo Pozzato
Filippo Pozzato hears about his
custom stem project
Photo ©: Full Speed Ahead
The Cannondale System Six framesets used by the Liquigas team will likely
be among the peloton's stiffest this season by virtue of its enormously
oversized front end, but the proprietary steerer tube diameter does limit
the riders' choices in stem lengths and angles. Liquigas' new Italian
rider Filippo Pozzato has had a particularly difficult time reproducing
the fit from the Quick-Step Innergetic Time VXR he used last year, but
team sponsor FSA is working to resolve the situation through a little
custom machine work.
Pozzato visited FSA's European offices in Busnago, Italy to check on
the progress of his custom CNC-machined aluminum stem which will measure
a rangy 140mm long (c-c). According to Pozzato, ""I'm really happy about
the cooperation with FSA. Not too many companies are capable to manufacture
special parts…This stem will allow me to get the perfect positioning on
my bike that's really important to have the perfect ratio between performance
and comfort. I have to thank FSA for helping me in this issue and I hope
to refund them with victories ASAP".
Claudio Marra (FSA Europe managing director) added: "I'm happy to cooperate
with such an important rider because we trust in his potential. I'm also
very happy to work with Cannondale. This is the fourth year and now our
relationship is no longer just like a supplier to the customer but we
are partners and we work together to achieve the same goals."
Speaking of goals and refunding with victories, the new stem will reportedly
be ready in time for Pozzato to tackle one of his most important events
of the season, Milan-San Remo.
BMC scores third design prize
BMC accepts its award at the Volvo
Photo ©: BMC
The mantelpiece of Swiss manufacturer BMC is surely getting full these
days as it has landed its third design prize. Its Pro Machine SLC01 has
been named Best Product in the "Wheelers" category by the Volvo SportsDesign
Awards jury for 2007, which is now added to the "Eurobike Gold Award 05"
and the "red dot: best of the best award 06" accolades it had already
The awards marked the third running of the event which is open to sports
equipment manufacturers and designers worldwide. This year 350 manufacturers
entered products in eight categories. According to the jury: "We are inspired
by the pure and clean design and the unique character of the Pro Machine
Jury member and head Volvo designer Jonathan Disley also added: "Everything
about this bike shouts quality, craftsmanship, personalization, and innovation.
It is pure and simple excellent design."
26" vs. 29"… the fight continues
Let us say this first: nope, we're not done yet (I can hear the death
threats already) as an unusually early and harsh winter have stalled our
testing efforts. But it's still in progress, and we still have every intent
to finish this up in proper fashion. Besides, at this point, we'd never
hear the end of it and some of you know where we live.
In any event, we are certainly very well aware that this experiment may
have some interesting implications and impact and have continued to refine
things to reduce the possibility of error. The wheels have now been adjusted
such that they both possess identical moments of inertia (as much as possible),
which also means the 26" wheels are now heavier than the 29" ones, at
least in terms of static mass. Dead weight has also been applied to the
frames as a result in order to maintain identical overall mass between
the two test rigs.
Most importantly, we have also consulted with Allen Lim (yes, that
Allen Lim, as in trainer extraordinaire to Floyd Landis and Jonathan Vaughter's
Team Slipstream) who provided guidance in our analytical tests, and Hunter
Allen and Dirk Friel of Training Peaks will be assisting us in the analysis
of the data using their powerful CyclingPeaks WKO+ software.
UK-based Enigma to offer custom titanium bicycles
Enigma is a new UK-based company
specializing in custom titanium bicycles.
Photo ©: Enigma
Carbon fiber is currently the predominant material in high-end bicycle
construction, but perennial favorite titanium is still alive and well
- as demonstrated by the entry of UK-based Enigma into the market. Company
founder Jim Walker boasts nearly three decades in the bicycle industry
and has recently partnered with Mark Reilly, who was formerly the chief
designer at Omega Cycleworks.
Enigma will specialize in bespoke titanium construction with the aim
of creating "the most beautiful bikes in the world." All custom frames
are designed in the UK by Reilly, but frames with stock geometry will
also be available. Enigma's line will cover all the major cycling disciplines,
including road, triathlon, time trial, and mountain, topped by the road-going
Eulogy which incorporates an integrated seatpost.
Enigma will also offer a variety of components, including a CNC-machined
6/4 titanium seat clamp and aluminum road/mtb skewers that are claimed
to weigh a startling 38g.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Full Speed Ahead