Tech News January 4, 2008
Edited by James Huang & Greg Johnson
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SRAM family grows with Agritubel addition
SRAM's momentum in the marketplace has carried over into the realm of
team sponsorship with the addition of the Agritubel squad for 2008. Along
with carryover team Saunier Duval-SCOTT and recently signed Astana, the
roster of top-level supported teams has quickly grown to three after the
company introduced its first complete road offerings less than two years
ago. Agritubel will utilize both SRAM's latest Red group and the well-proven
Force group on its new Kuota KOM framesets.
"Agritubel is a great racing program with tremendous riders who are
known for their aggression. We are a proud partner in providing this team
the World's most innovative, ergonomic, and lightweight componentry for
2008," said SRAM's Global Marketing Director, David Zimberoff.
BMC drops carbon hardtail from '08 range
BMC showed off its full-carbon
Team Elite 01
Photo ©: James Huang
BMC has announced that it has temporarily dropped the all-carbon fibre
Team Elite 01 hardtail mountain bike frame from its 2008 range. The Swiss
company has not specified exact reasons behind its decision, but did state
that it was having difficulties meeting its rigorous quality standards
tests during the latest production run.
"In fact, the rollout of this product started in 2007, but from the
very beginning, technical obstacles in the serial production impeded the
effective delivery into the several international markets successfully
competed by BMC," read a release from the company. "Until last week, the
Swiss manufacturer of high-end bikes hoped, together with its manufacturing
partner in Taiwan, to be able to handle in due time the important quality
fluctuations within the serial production.
"Unfortunately BMC failed to convert exactly the claimed quality level
of the prototypes into the serial production," it continued.
Retail customers unfortunately won't be able to place orders for the
new frame, but BMC insisted that its production issues would not affect
existing agreements with its sponsored athletes and teams. According to
BMC, only a later run of the bike is affected by the technical production
issue and there are enough TE01 frames in existence that have already
passed inspections to fulfil those obligations.
"In the customer's interest and in respect of the good label image of
BMC, this very difficult decision had to be made," said BMC's statement.
"BMC deeply regrets to disappoint in 2008 numerous potential customers
who waited for a long time the delivery of their dream hardtail bike."
Despite the disappointment the company believes its decision is testament
of its aim of ensuring it sells only the highest quality product to its
customers globally. /GJ
Team Type 1 announces healthy partnerships for '08
The newly created Team Type 1 has announced a host of technical suppliers
for its 2008 season, including Orbea as its bike supplier. The new American
Continental squad, which is lead by Australian professional Matt Wilson,
will have SRAM components and Zipp wheels fitted to the Orbeas during
its debut season this year.
The team is aiming to increase diabetes awareness and, with some 13
riders on the team's professional and development squads suffering from
the condition, hope to prove that it doesn't stop sufferers from competing
at the highest level.
"Our goal is to inspire people with diabetes around the world to take
control of their health through diet, exercise and proper health care,"
said team co-founder Phil Southerland who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes
at just seven months old. "As a professional team, racing against the
world's best cyclists, we'll be able to deliver that message to a much
The new North American outfit has also announced that Champion System
will be the team's clothing supplier this season.
To read more about Team Type 1 see our
feature on the team's launch. /GJ
North American Handmade Bicycle Show floor space almost full
With only ten booth spaces left, the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle
Show (NAHBS) is set to be the biggest yet by a wide margin. This year's
show, to be held in Portland Oregon, February 8-10, has already signed
up 134 exhibitors, up from 103 in 2007, and organiser Don Walker is confident
of filling the remaining ten booths.
"Heading into our fourth [year] we are growing beyond my expectations,"
said Walker. "I am very confident we will sell all our booth spaces. With
seven weeks until the show, we only have ten spaces left, and I am talking
with companies that wish to fill those spaces."
A craftsman-orientated alternative to the major trade shows, NAHBS showcases
the work of the small framebuilders and component makers who have undergone
something of a renaissance in the last few years. Exhibitors signed up
for 2008 include longstanding flag-wavers of the 'make your own stuff'
movement, such as Bruce Gordon Cycles, Richard Sachs and Chris King components,
plus show newcomers like Australia's Llewellyn Custom Bicycles and Portland
locals Hufnagel Cycles.
The 2008 show will also host several big-name exhibitors such as Shimano,
FSA, Continental Tires, Selle Italia, fi'zi:k, SRAM and Zipp, all of whom
will be on hand to demonstrate their support for smaller builders. Notably
absent from the exhibitor list, however, is Campagnolo.
Retül rethinks 3-D bicycle fitting
Todd Carver of Retül fits Toyota-United
rider Chris Wherry
Photo ©: James Huang
Todd Carver, former biomechanist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
in Boulder, Colorado, has spread his wings with business partners Franko
Vatterott and Ivan Faul to launch their own 3-D fitting system dubbed
Retül (say 're-tool'). The company is barely nine months old but Retül
has already lined up such high-profile clientele as former USPRO Road
Champion Chris Wherry (Toyota-United), top-level triathlete Craig Alexander
(who finished second at this year's Ironman World Championships in Hawaii),
and the entire Slipstream/Chipotle presented by H3O team.
The system is built around three major elements: a harness of seven
active LED markers, a standalone sensor array, and a desktop or laptop
PC loaded with the Retül software. According to Carver, the active markers
are far more tolerant of ambient lighting conditions than passive reflective
ones, and the sensor array isn't thrown off by reflective accents on the
riders' footwear or clothing. In theory, the system can even run outdoors.
Once the rider is set up with their bike on a stationary trainer, markers
are placed on key anatomical rider features and the sensor array is set
up about 2-3m from the rider's side on level ground… and that's about
it. According to Carver, the system is intentionally "dumbed down" as
much as possible to minimize operator error ("There is so much intelligence
built in," he says) but the results and potential capabilities of the
system are anything but low on the IQ scale.
Three sensors record the spatial
Photo ©: James Huang
After a short warm up session, the system is ready to begin acquiring
data and only two scans (one per side) are required for a complete picture.
Although the sensor array is in only one location off to the side of the
rider, Carver insists that it offers true sub-millimeter 3-D accuracy
for parameters that include (but are not limited to) knee angle, knee-over-pedal
spindle, back angle, and even side-to-side knee tracing throughout the
pedal stroke. There's also an integrated power meter, although Carver
admits that it's not currently as accurate as he would prefer (an improved
version is already in the works). A customizable report details all of
the measured parameters in an easy-to-understand format and all data is
acquired in real time; there is no post-processing of any kind.
Among the most interesting developments on the immediate horizon is
an 'LED on a stick' that can be used to nearly instantly model frame geometry:
just place the marker at a critical point, record the location with the
sensor array, and bingo, the system can produce an accurate stick-figure
representation of a rider's current machine.
Carver says that Retül has already received payment for three of the
US$10,000 systems with an additional 15-20 units "in the works." The company
is focusing on cycling for now, but readily admits that its ultimate goal
is to enter into any/all motion sports analysis opportunities, including
running, swimming, golf, or throwing sports. Keep an eye on this one.
Team Barloworld set to receive first round of new Bianchi training
The new paint job
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
Team Barloworld is already set to receive its first round of training
bikes from new sponsor Bianchi just weeks after the official sponsorship
announcement was released. Riders will first find themselves on the carbon
928 T-Cube, although it was not disclosed which rigidity level they would
Team bikes will be equipped with Shimano transmissions and Mavic wheels,
while FSA will provide its cranksets, brake calipers, handlebars, stems,
and seatposts. /JH
SiS joins revamped Astana
Sports nutrition provider Science in Sport is the latest organisation
to partner with the revised Astana cycling team. The Kazakh-backed squad
has undergone a period of massive change during the off season, with the
former team management dumped in favour of a Johan Bruyneel-led organisation.
"We are excited and looking forward to working with the new Astana team
as it will provide us with valuable feedback to further develop our leading
range of energy, recovery and adaptation products" said Science in Sports'
Peter Slater. "It will also present Science in Sport with the opportunity
to work closely with riders such as [Alberto] Contador and [Levi] Leipheimer
to further improve and develop our existing range of products.
The Astana squad has been rebuilt from the ground up over recent months,
with a host of new rider and sponsorship announcements being revealed
since the former Discovery Channel boss was appointed to direct the outfit.
After several high-profile doping scandals forced the team's departure
from last year's Tour de France, the team has much work to do to revamp
its image and SiS is hopeful that Bruyneel can steer the supposedly new-and-improved
Astana team into calmer waters in '08.
"Like Team CSC the new Astana team are committed to the anti-doping
program developed by Dr Rasmus Damsgaard, which was an important factor
which influenced our decision to support Astana," added Slater.
The announcement of the relationship with Astana takes the total of
ProTour teams that Science in Sport works with to three. "We, the Astana
team have chosen SiS as our energy provider because we believe it is the
best product out there, and also because they continuously strive to make
that product better still," said Astana director sportive Sean Yates.
Ritchey Design extends Health Net and Symmetrics deals
Ritchey Design has re-signed agreements with both the Health Net presented
by Maxxis and Symmetrics fueled by FarmPure teams for 2008. The announcement
comes just weeks after Ritchey Design signed on as a sponsor and supplier
of another top North American squad, Jelly Belly Professional Cycling
"Health Net and Symmetrics are two of the toughest competitive teams
on the professional road racing circuit," said Steve Parke, General Manager
and Vice President of Marketing for Ritchey Design. "We believe bike racing
is the best place to prove our component designs. By signing with these
two superb racing teams, we continue to move forward in producing the
most innovative, top-quality products on the market."
Ritchey will supply Health Net with its World Championship Series (WCS)
Carbon One-Bolt seatpost, alloy handlebars, Carbon 4-AXIS stems, and Pro
oversized 30-degree stems and alloy adjustable stems for time trial bikes.
"To run a consistently successful racing program we have to use equipment
that can take the beating of 140 days of racing and 16,000 miles of training,"
said Thierry Attias, President and Director of Sponsorship for Health
Net Presented by Maxxis. "Ritchey products can do that. Its products are
cutting edge and super reliable. Any other partnership would be a compromise."
The 2008 season will be Ritchey Design's fifth year sponsoring Health
Net and its third year with Symmetrics. /GJ
Specialized recalls S-Works 2D helmets
Specialized has recalled its lightweight
S-Works 2D helmet
Photo ©: James Huang
Specialized, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission,
has issued a voluntary recall of its range-topping S-Works 2D helmet in
the U.S. and Canada. Approximately 3000 helmets are included in the recall,
although helmets sold in other markets are not affected.
According to the official CPSC recall notice, the helmet does not currently
meet North American safety standards. Specialized, however, claims the
testing failures have been solely isolated to the chin strap buckle. Currently,
no injuries have been reported.
2D owners are asked to immediately return their helmets to a Specialized
dealer. Affected helmets will be replaced by a complimentary Decibel model
(as in yes, you get to keep it) until new helmet shipments arrive this
month. The new helmet will simply be dubbed 'S-Works' and will also include
a protective hard carrying case.
Additional information can be found on Specialized's web site: www.specialized.com
Dahon announces voluntary recall
Folding bicycle specialist Dahon has announced a voluntary recall on
its seat post bolts in selected models of its 2007 range after the bolt's
steel material was found to fail specified strength requirements. While
it is believed the faulty bolts only affected select batches of its 2007
shipments, all seat post bolts will be replaced as the company has been
unable to isolate specific production runs.
Affected 2007 Dahon models include the Matrix, Jack, Espresso, Cadenza,
Tournado and Smooth Hound bicycles, all of which feature bolt-on 27.2mm
diameter seat posts labeled "BioLogic™ PostPump". Owners of such models
should contact their original deal or another local Dahon dealer for a
free replacement bolt.
For more information, including instructions on replacing the bolt,
see the company's website: www.dahon.com. /GJ
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