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Tech News: December 8, 2007

Edited by James Huang

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

Saunier Duval-Prodir to become Saunier Duval-Scott for 2008

Saunier Duval-Prodir team
Photo ©: Scott
(Click for larger image)

Scott has sponsored Mauro Gianetti's Saunier Duval-Prodir team with its CR1 and Addict framesets since the team's debut in 2003. For 2008, Scott will take on a markedly more prominent role in the team, which will now be known as Saunier Duval-Scott. According to Scott, much of the motivation for the change lay with the company's desire to utilize the team more heavily in regards to product development.

"We've made progress together, as the athletes´ valuable feedback is a key factor to the evolution of our revolutionary products. We're happy we can develop further our already strong accessories and support the young riders recruited for next season." said Scott Vice President Pascal Ducrot. "We entirely trust Mauro Gianetti and his men, and we've done so since 2003, when he showed us his project."

"This is a team that has shown integrity in a time of turmoil, and maintained a top position in the ProTour, finishing 6th last season," added Scott USA Marketing and PR Manager Adrian Montgomery. "We feel that as the sport evolves, the team will prove to be on the forefront of the new standards by which ProTour teams can endure, and even find themselves in a leadership position whereas sportsmanship is concerned."

Team LPR to ride De Rosa

De Rosa has announced
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
(Click for larger image)

Team LPR has signed some serious Italian muscle in Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Savoldelli, and now will have some suitable Italian hardware to match. De Rosa has announced that it will supply Fabio Bordonali's team with the company's distinctive King 3 and Idol carbon framesets for the 2008 season.

The triple-monocoque construction of De Rosa's 1100g Idol frame may allow for custom geometries if required, but team members will most likely choose the lighter 950g monocoque King 3 frame as the roads head skywards.

 

Campagnolo offers sponsored riders special Ergopower shifters

Campagnolo-sponsored riders
Photo ©: Campagnolo
(Click for larger image)

Campagnolo will offer its own 'red' shifter for 2008, although these will officially only be available to its sponsored teams. While Shimano continues to champion its 'Light Action' concept, Campagnolo insists that requests from its professional racers have dictated a harder shift effort and more tactile feedback. According to Campagnolo, this is more appropriate for when minds are more heavily focused on the throes of racing.

Those changes come about courtesy of "very stiff special springs", which we can only assume will include both the lever return springs and the characteristic Ergopower 'g' springs that are so familiar to well-versed shop and team mechanics. Other than those springs and the shifters' telltale red markings, though, Campagnolo says that consumer versions will be identical. What's the big deal, you ask? If that's the case, consumers will also be able to achieve the same results with a simple overhaul, assuming Campagnolo will offer the springs to commoners, that is.

Italian companies adopt cross-marketing approaches

Moto GP star Loris Capirossi
Photo ©: bettiniphoto.net
(Click for larger image)

Relatively speaking, professional cycling may be on the smaller end of the participation spectrum, but the number of non-racing sport cyclists is sometimes surprisingly large. Included in that group are professional athletes from other sports that also use cycling for cross-training, such as 2006 World Superbike champion and Gran Fondo enthusiast Troy Bayliss and Formula One driver Jarno Trulli.

Another such member is Italian Moto GP star Loris Capirossi, who recently made an impromptu appearance at the EICMA show in Milano with Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic). Both are sponsored by Sidi, whose reputation on the bike is also matched by its reputation on the other bike. Capirossi was piloting a motorcycle as usual, only this time it was a special 'derny' machine and he was towing Bettini around the Salone del Ciclo track that was specially constructed for the show.

"I really like cycling," said Capirossi. "I always take my bike with me when I am away taking part in Grand Prix. I've got three bikes. Part of my training routine includes cycling as it is great for general athletic preparation. I saw Paolo riding on the track and was really impressed with how he rides those parabolic corners on his bike".

"Loris is a real champion," replied Bettini. "I'm really glad he came to see us here. Loris and I aren't just connected by the Sidi brand; track cycling and Moto GP have lots of things in common: speed, adrenaline, and spectacle. You need to be a bit crazy and fearless to race on these tracks…just like motorbike racers."

Italian compatriot Elite, best known for its bottles, cages, and trainers, has also chosen to reach outside of the usual boundaries with its participation in the 32nd Motor Show, an enormous enthusiast event held in Bologna that reportedly attracted 1.2M visitors last year. Elite will be showcasing its Realaxiom indoor trainer on floor space shared with European car manufacturer Skoda, who regularly sponsors major cycling events such as the Tour de France. Show attendees are encouraged to give Elite's trainers a spin, and Skoda has reportedly constructed an engaging one minute 'course'.

Gita Sporting Goods and Ergomo part ways

Ergomo's unique power meter design
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Gita Sporting Goods and Ergomo will officially end their relationship effective January 8, 2008, leaving subsequent North American distributorship of the bottom bracket-based power meters in question for the time being.

Gita claims it terminated its distribution agreement due to poor product reliability and inadequate manufacturer support. "This is a really unique situation and an extreme disappointment for us," said Gita President Giorgio Andretta in an official press release. "In 35 years of servicing the US market we have never had a supplier fail to support their product in this manner. The defective return rate now exceeds 30%. We have been negotiating for months trying to get the parts necessary to provide service for the defective units we have on hand. We have prepaid for additional units to satisfy these issues. Ergomo has failed to deliver these units. We apologize to those dealers and consumers that have been affected by this and are truly sorry for the inconvenience they are experiencing. We are continuing to work on their behalf to rectify these issues. We simply can no longer subsidize the product without support from Ergomo."

Matthias A.Gärtner, President and CEO of SG Sensortechnik GmbH & Co KG, Ergomo's parent company, presents a distinctly different view. According to him, it was SG Sensortechnik that terminated the contract with Gita. "Gita did quite a good job initially when they started with Ergomo in North America due to their experience in selling bikes and textiles," he said. "However to be [successful in the] long term with a high tech product like Ergomo you would need to do much more then just distributing/selling Ergomo. You will need to constantly coach and train your customers and the final consumer how and why to use Ergomo. In addition you need to teach and explain why is it so important to install Ergomo according to the specification of the manufacturer. Further on it is essential to give the customers an appropriate support and service not only to sell and install Ergomo but also an excellent after sales service."

Gärtner admits that Ergomo posted an initial US defect rate of 12-15%, but feels that the situation could have been handled differently. "Past experiences Ergomo customers had, where Gita was not able to provide adequate service due to out of stock scenarios or not being deeply enough involved in the coaching/training environment should have never happened," he added. "All customers and consumers who purchased an Ergomo deserve first class attention, service and understanding."

According to Gärtner, the Ergomo return rate "has been reduced substantially since 2007 due to improved electronics and software," though, and a new US and Canadian distributor should be announced shortly.

Regardless of which version of the story is more accurate, Gita says it no longer has sufficient parts to properly handle service and repair of returned units and is directing service, repair, and warranty inquiries directly to SG Sensortechnik:

SG Sensortechnik GmbH & Co KG
Am Berg 32
D-64546 Morfelden-Walldorf
Germany
Telephone: 49-610527310
Email: MAG@sg-sensortechnik.com

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Scott

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Campagnolo

Images by bettiniphoto.net

Images by Elite

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com