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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
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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 time.

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
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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 by 30%.

Colnago's new Extreme Power is based on the C50
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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
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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 SportsDesign Awards
Photo ©: BMC
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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 received.

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 SLC01."

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
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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

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Full Speed Ahead

Images by BMC

Images by Enigma