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Tech News – August 3, 2007

Edited by James Huang

Got tech? Send press releases, news, and tech questions to the Cyclingnews tech desk.

BMC terminates sponsorship contract with Astana

BMC has terminated its contract with Astana
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Citing "the latest case of doping that occurred in the Astana team during the Tour de France", Swiss bicycle maker BMC has recently announced the premature termination of its sponsorship contract with the Swiss/Kazakh team. BMC stated that this development will not affect its other sponsorship agreements in mountain biking and triathlon, but was distinctly vague in regards to its future in professional road cycling.

The announcement perhaps does not come as much of a surprise as this marks the second disappointing major sponsorship arrangement for BMC, who first burst on to the scene with Tyler Hamilton and his Phonak squad. Please stay tuned for additional information.

Denk Engineering GmbH and Scott USA to cease relationship

Denk Engineering GmbH and Scott USA have announced the end of their working relationship effective the end of October 2007. The German engineering firm was responsible for many of Scott's frame and suspension hallmarks over the past twelve years, including the Spark cross country bike, the Genius trail bike frames, the full-carbon Ransom all-mountain platform, and their associated proprietary shocks. Road innovations include the revolutionary CR1, Addict, and Plasma framesets as well as their CR1 tube-to-tube and IMP carbon construction processes.

Denk Engineering has stated that it still has three collaborative projects pending, each of which are to be completed by the end of October and presented through the 2008 trade shows.

Chris Cocalis returns to the bicycle industry with BH Bicycles USA

The new Connect model
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Chris Cocalis, founder and former president of Titus Cycles, has reemerged in the bicycle industry as a 50% owner of BH USA (the other half is owned by BH Bikes in Spain). BH is a relatively unknown brand in the US, but like rival compatriot Orbea, is extremely popular throughout Europe and hopes to enjoy similar successes abroad.

Cocalis will not only be responsible for bringing the Spanish bikes into the US and arranging distribution, but will also play key roles in development and product management, including specifying frame geometries and component specifications in order to optimize them for their intended market.

Cocalis and BH USA will bring just three road models into the US for now: the value-oriented Speedrom, the mid-level Connect, and the still-unseen top-of-the-line G4. All are full-carbon frames with carbon forks.

The Connect will likely be BH USA's most popular model with a claimed 890g frame weight using a mix of monocoque and tube-to-tube construction, similar to what is used in much of the industry these days. Especially short 400mm chain stays and large-diameter main tubes suggest a rigid and efficient chassis, but moderately relaxed head- and seat tube angles should keep it off of the 'crits-only' list.

BH continues the use of 12k carbon weave.
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"The Connect is basically the racer bike without an extended seat tube," said Cocalis. "It's an 890g frame [for a small size] with a mix of monocoque and tube-to-tube technology: big tubes in the front, very short chainstays, little bit more relaxed head angle. The bike climbs incredibly and is very lightweight. And with the slightly relaxed head angle it also descends incredibly. Even though the tubes are big, it just doesn't have that board-like feel. It's actually a very comfortable bike. It's a great all-around race bike: it can sprint, it can climb, it can descend."

The Connect will be offered with either Shimano Dura-Ace, Ultegra SL, or SRAM Force build kits, finished with a mix of FSA components and DT Swiss, Mavic, or Easton wheelsets. Suggested retail prices will range from US$3650-5550.

The Speedrom should be a bit more subdued with slightly longer stays and more "middle of the road" geometry, according to Cocalis, although it oddly incorporates steeper angles than the Connect (we don't have any information on the fork rakes but would imagine there are some differences there as well). In spite of its value-oriented aim, the full-monocoque frame is claimed to still be under 1000g.

The Speedrom is BH's value leader.
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The Speedrom will be available with either Ultegra SL or SRAM Rival builds, both with FSA finishing kit and Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels. Prices will range from US$2799-3199.

The new G4 will be the new top-line offering from BH USA and will incorporate carbon nanotube-reinforced composite technology as well as an integrated seatpost. The G4 will also mark BH's return to the ProTour ranks next season with a newly inked sponsorship agreement with Christophe Moreau and his French Ag2r team. Pricing and available build kits were not yet available.

Naturally, Cocalis will not be limiting himself just to the road and plans to introduce a new line of mountain bike at the upcoming Interbike show. While we can't say much of anything about it for the time being (nor were we allowed to shoot images), we can say that it's an extremely promising new design that incorporates several innovative features and bears little resemblance to the four-bar linkages of his former guise. Stay tuned for more info.

New SRM sensor offers easier mounting

SRM's new sensor mount
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The SRM power meter has been among the most popular (and apparently among the most accurate) units on the market, but its zip-tie-based sensor mount had proved to be rather frustrating. Most modern carbon frames these days simply don't offer the convenient tube geometries around the bottom bracket area to facilitate proper installation.

SRM has finally introduced a mounting kit that should greatly ease mechanics' woes and improve the stability of the system. The new sensor is located on the end of a short plate that is sandwiched between the bottom bracket derailleur cable guide and the frame. This setup is based on a virtually-universal mounting location (at least for road bikes), will work on both compact and standard drivetrains, and even allows for easy fine-tuning of sensor positioning to produce the best signal.

According to Daniel Gillespie of SRM, "There are so many oversized frames, and carbon fiber, and we started out with an adapter which was actually developed by Competitive Cyclist, one of our dealers in the US. We recommended those and have been working on our own design for about a year, something that would allow us to work on more bikes, especially for the teams. Now you just unscrew the derailleur guide, put it on: boom, it's a lot faster."

The new wiring harness is fully reverse-compatible and SRM has already begun including it with all new shipments.

Genuine Innovations announces safety recall

Genuine Innovations has announced a recall of its Second Wind MTB and Wrench Force Two Shot inflators as the units may shatter under high pressure. Affected consumers are advised to immediately cease using the listed products and contact Genuine Innovations for a free repair kit and installation instructions.

More information is available on the Genuine Innovations web site.

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