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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Tech News – May 10, 2007

Edited by James Huang

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Elite brings the Giro d'Italia home with Realaxiom

Elite's virtual reality Realaxiom trainer will play a rather interesting role in this year's Giro d'Italia. Guests of the Italian television program "Si gira", broadcast on the Rai Sport channel, will include various celebrities and athletes who will 'compete' against each other on the Elite Realaxiom using simulated stages of the real Giro d'Italia. The Realaxiom competitions will mirror nine of the most interesting stages of the Giro beginning with the opening team time trial stage on May 12.

Starting in July, Elite will also offer a special edition Giro d'Italia 2007 DVD which will include all of the actual race routes, allowing Realaxiom owners the ability to 'ride' the actual Giro course at home. Would it be the same as climbing to Briançon with hordes of screaming fans while passing over your name painted on the pavement? Well no, of course not, but it'll still be the closest many cyclists will get to the real thing. If it helps, feel free to enlist a few of your closest friends this fall for the cheering section; whether or not you scribe your name on your carpet is your own prerogative.

The official cars of the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: FSA
(Click for larger image)

FSA and Skoda partner for official Giro d'Italia bikes and automobiles

Skoda is the official car of the Giro d'Italia, but close collaborator FSA will supply parts for the bikes mounted on top. The special edition carbon machines will include a full complement of FSA gear, including Plasma integrated bar/stems, K-Force cranks, K-Force Light seatposts, SLK brake calipers, and deep-section wheelsets.

Bikes will be displayed in the Giro d'Italia caravan as well as inside the Giro hospitality village.

Ellsworth Bicycles and Team Maxxis join forces in the fight against breast cancer

Any of Ellsworth's ICT full-suspension models
Photo ©: Ellsworth Bicycles
(Click for larger image)

Ellsworth Bicycles Vice President Dave Wisenteiner has managed to shine a positive light on a very personal ordeal. "While Pink marketing projects seem to be everywhere right now, this one started for me five years ago as I watched my wife's mom die over what was the worst year of our lives," he said. "She had ovarian cancer which is the deadliest of the women's cancers because it is usually detected so late. This was followed with her grandmother's death only six months later from the very same thing. In that same time period I had two very close friends somehow pull out of stage 3+ breast cancer, mostly thanks to clinical trials."

Later, Wisenteiner learned that another fellow employee was going through a similar struggle; Ellsworth's Aimee Rocheleau's father had also had a near miss with cancer. "One does not have to reach far to find out it is literally everywhere," Wisenteiner said.

Wisenteiner could have wallowed in sorrow over the tragedies, but decided to do something about it instead. Several months ago, Ellsworth began offering its entire line of ICT full suspension frames in an optional pink anodized finish and pledged a US$50 donation to breast and ovarian cancer research and clinical trials for each one sold. Wisenteiner dubbed the campaign 'project pink'.

In addition to the symbolic hue, frames are also garnished with a laser-etched ribbon (the iconic symbol of the global effort against the disease) and customers will have the option of having the name of an affected loved one (which, in many cases, may be themselves) permanently etched as well. Customers will not incur any additional charges for either the pink anodization or the custom laser etching.

"The two things I wanted to accomplish with this project were to specifically fund research and clinical trials rather than awareness, and second, I wanted the contribution to be substantial. So many companies in the US have jumped on 'cause marketing' and their contribution is almost an afterthought. We are a small company so our direct impact is small but the ripple effect is becoming huge." Wisenteiner adds.

Team Maxxis rider April Lawyer
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Indeed, Ellsworth-sponsored Team Maxxis has also committed to the effort through a year-long campaign that will benefit the Sarah Fisher Project in Bend, OR, the Healthlinks Clinic in Boulder, CO, and the Breast Cancer Fund. Team riders will use a variety of pink-hued equipment, including Jagwire cable housings, Chris King headsets, and Cateye computers, and gravity rider April Lawyer will race her pink-anodized Ellsworth bicycles throughout the season.

Efforts will not just solely be directed towards raising awareness, however. The team is also committed to raising quite a bit of money: US$60,000, in fact. Each time a Team Maxxis rider reaches the podium in a NMBS, Nationals, or World Cup event, that rider and each team sponsor will pledge US$25. Title sponsor Maxxis International will put in US$150 (and with Geoff Kabush's current success rate, the pile will likely grow rather quickly).

Team Maxxis will also hold a raffle at each race venue with prizes to include pink bits from sponsors Cateye and Chris King, an Ellsworth 'project pink' bike, a guitar and amp from Fender, custom sweaters from NeveDesigns, and other prizes.

Lawyer will also organize a benefit cycling lifestyle festival in her hometown of Bend, OR, which will include group rides, children's events, bicycle safety and maintenance clinics, professional stunt demonstrations, and even a manufacturer expo area. Lawyer also has hopes of booking a major artist for an associate benefit concert. If all goes well, the idea may even be expanded to other venues around the US.

"I could not be happier that we are getting all of this support. This is a deeply personal thing for me and I am just glad to see it grow wings. The bikes themselves are beautiful, although we had no idea how hard they would be to make. It takes about three attempts before we get a perfect pink specimen. So they are special and rare in more ways than one." Says Wisenteiner.

Castelli feeds starving high-end women's cycling clothing market

The Free Bib short
Photo ©: Castelli
(Click for larger image)

Castelli introduced its range-topping Rosso Corsa line earlier this year which included the ultralight Superleggera jersey, aerodynamic Split Second jersey, and Free Bib short. Now the company turns its attention to the women's market with its own Rosso Corsa collection to supplement the more value-oriented Castelli Donna line.

According to Greg Cowan, president of Castelli US, "The garments in our Rosso Corsa selection are not only the best of our best, we believe they're the best in existence, and our women's Rosso Corsa garments offer the same performance and style as the men's versions."

The Fretta jersey is the analogue to the men's Split Second, with a snug wrinkle- and fold-free aerodynamic fit enhanced by nine panels of dimpled inserts. According to Castelli, the dimpled sections "induce turbulence to break air flow away from the body" and can yield up to a full minute's savings over a 40km course. Further aero details include a flap over the three rear pockets and flat-lock stitching. Both short-sleeved and sleeveless versions will be offered.

Castelli's new Fretta jersey
Photo ©: Castelli
(Click for larger image)

The women's Free Bib short removes material from the torso with a dramatically pared-down front bib section which Castelli claims will allow female riders to stay cooler and more comfortable. Inner leg seams have been completely eliminated, and new Giro+ silicon leg grippers are supposedly more breathable. Castelli's women's-specific Active Cushioning chamois also utilizes technology borrowed from NASA's space program to reduce temperatures.

The complete Castelli Donna line will include tops, standard and bib shorts, socks, and accessories. Eight jersey offerings will highlight three performance fabrics, including Softlex, ProCool, and Stratus. Each will incorporate different women's-specific design features, which will include kimono-style sleeves, Lycra trim, mesh inserts, and bold patterns.

Castelli Donna short offerings will include standard and bib configurations, several different pads, and multiple inseam lengths.

fi'zi:k to offer team replica saddles and new rail material in time for Giro d'Italia

fi'zi:k will release five limited edition
Photo ©: fi'zi:k
(Click for larger image)

fi'zi:k will sponsor the most Giro d'Italia teams in the company's history this year, including four UCI Pro Teams and one Pro Continental Team. In addition, this year's race will mark the reunion of Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) will the saddle he helped create in 2003.

"I'm happy to be back on fi'zi:k because I participated in the development of the Arione model and I'm very proud of this," said Simoni. "I'm comfortable on this saddle in all riding conditions especially when climbing the mountains."

To commemorate the occasion, fi'zi:k 's will offer five different limited edition team replica Arione and bar tape kits: metal blue with silver stripe and silver microtex tape (Lampre-Fondital), metal blue with lime green stripe and metal blue tape (Liquigas), black with white stripe and black tape (Ag2r Prévoyance), black with yellow stripe and black tape (Saunier Duval-Prodir), and white with bright red stripe and white tape (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo).

All of the team replica saddles will also feature a new K:ium tubular rail material which the company claims offers a higher strength-to-weight ratio than its existing titanium rails and similar fatigue resistance while also reducing weight by 8% and displaying a brighter finish. The saddles are scheduled to arrive in the US in the late June.

Cyfac to offer bicycles exclusively in 'green'

French bicycle manufacturer Cyfac has borrowed environmentally friendly paint technology from the German luxury automotive industry that uses water instead of chemical dilutants to carry the colorants. According to Cyfac, the new formulation is not only good for our planet, but also better preserves the health of its painters as they will no longer be exposed to the noxious fumes of conventional spraying. Moreover, spray guns and tools used in the process can now be cleaned in recyclable water instead of more harmful chemical solvents.

"This is a huge investment both in terms of the luxurious frame finishes that Cyfac produces and the health and well-being of our artisan painters", said Cyfac Managing Director Aymeric Lebrun.

Cyfac says the new process produces a finer finish with a smoother transition between different colors. Colorization is also said to be as good, if not better, than the old system, and Cyfac will still be able to offer its wide palette of 14,000+ colors in addition to unique tints.

Elite emphasizes strength with new Vaison travel case

As they say on TV
Photo ©: Elite
(Click for larger image)

Elite's new Vaison hard case uses a unique double-walled air-filled construction that the company says will withstand up to 150kg (330lb) of direct force without leaving damage to the precious contents. Three layers of interior foam and one layer of rigid plastic keep items from contacting each other in transit and four interior straps anchor the frameset inside the case.

Unlike most hard cases currently on the market, Vaison uses standard suitcase-style hinges on one side for claimed easier loading, and four hinge key-locks provide a measure of security (or four more items to bust open for your friends at TSA if you actually decide to lock them). Two handles and two casters promise easy passage through your crowded airport terminal, too.

The Vaison boasts internal dimensions of 1170x758x297mm (47x30x12") that Elite says will accommodate "any road and MTB bike with front suspension or disc brakes." Hmm… the absence of full-suspension bikes from that list makes us wonder a little, but as always, check the dimensions (of the Vaison or any other case of interest) against your own bicycle to ensure a proper fit.

Brodie Bicycles now available to UK market

Live in the UK and want one of these?
Photo ©: Brodie Bicycles
(Click for larger image)

Canada's Brodie Bicycles will finally be available across the pond for the 2007 season courtesy of upstart distributor Progressive Bicycles. Progressive believes the relatively rare bikes are ideally suited to the harsh conditions of the UK, featuring solid design and reliability in the most extreme of riding situations.

"It all started when I was looking with envy at the fantastic scenery and trails that Canada has to offer, when I came across a picture of a bike I had never seen before," said Simon Wilson, founder of Progressive Bikes. "When I found out it was a Brodie I wondered why I had not heard of them before in the UK. A few phone calls and emails later and I decided it was time Brodie came to the UK..."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by FSA

Images by Elite

  • As they say on TV , 'don't try this at home'… although Elite says that you could if you really wanted to.

Images by Castelli

  • The Free Bib short features a cutaway front section for increased comfort and breathability.
  • Castelli's new Fretta jersey utilizes the same snug aerodynamic fit and dimpled panels as on the Split Second jersey from its men's collection.

Images by fi'zi:k

Images by Brodie Bicycles

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Ellsworth Bicycles

  • Any of Ellsworth's ICT full-suspension models can be ordered in anodized pink with unique laser etching at no extra charge. Ellsworth will donate US$50 for each one sold to aid in breast and ovarian cancer research and clinical trials.