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Tech News – January 23, 2008

Edited by James Huang

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Quick.Step to ride Roval wheels in 2008

Tom Boonen rode Specialized's Roval Rapide Star Carbon front wheel
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Specialized scored a virtual coup late in 2006 when it landed the bicycle sponsorship position for the Quickstep-Innergetic team of world champion Paolo Bettini and Belgian sprinting superstar Tom Boonen. However, while the team rode Specialized frames through the 2007 season, it utilized Fulcrum wheels and Campagnolo cranksets instead of Specialized-branded units.

That situation has now at least been partially remedied in Specialized's eyes by the addition of the company's Roval wheel line to the team (now known simply as Quick.Step) sponsorship package. Boonen did use a Roval Rapide Star Carbon front wheel during the prologue and time trials of the 2007 Tour de France but the entire team now will reportedly ride Roval wheels exclusively throughout the 2008 season for all events.

Specialized says it has developed five models specifically to suit the team's needs. The box section rims and three-cross lacing of the Roval Roubaix 322X will be used during the spring classics, while the Roval Rapide Star Carbon wheel that Boonen used last year will continue on as the front aero wheel of choice for timed events.

The unique Roval Roubaix 322X
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Moreover, Specialized will cooperate with team component sponsor Campagnolo to build three out of five of the Roval team wheels using "Specialized-engineereed hubs and spoking patterns alongside Campagnolo-engineered rims and spokes/nipples systems." Those wheels will be built at Campagnolo's facility in Vicenza, Italy.

"We are all proud to have finalized this ambitious cooperation with a strategic partner like Specialized. We feel confident that this could be the first step in an important expansion of our mutual interest and business goals," said Angelo Caccia, International Sales Director of Campagnolo Srl and President of Campagnolo North America, Inc.

Specialized founder and President Mike Sinyard added, "I have always had the greatest respect for Campagnolo. The brand's quality, integrity and history make them one of the most distinguished companies in our sport. It is a great honour that Campagnolo has agreed to work with us to co-develop and assemble world-class race wheels. I look forward to other similar projects in the future."

Team CSC swaps to 3T for 2008

Recently revitalized Italian component company 3T appears to be on its way to regaining some of its past glory with a fresh line of products and a newly inked sponsorship deal with the number one professional road team in the world, Team CSC, for the 2008 season. According to a recent press release, 3T will supply CSC with a diverse range of products including its Rotundo road bar, Ventus aerobar, and Arx aluminium stems.

"The New 3T has extremely good products, and that is the key for me," said Team CSC owner Bjarne Riis. "I went to Eurobike this year to look at all the component brands, and 3T stood out. The Ventus aerobar is fantastic, and we're very excited about their other products. We are ready to work with them to create great results and develop new products as well."

3T has brought in some significant engineering muscle to further that development in the form of technical director Richard McAinsh, former head of composites for Ferrari's Formula 1 team. "Throughout my career in F1 I've worked with the world's most demanding athletes," he said. "Michael Schumacher was not easy to satisfy - and I think we did our best to enhance his performance. My 3T engineering team looks forward to repeating that success - both with CSC, who are one of the most demanding teams in cycling, and with all our customers in the bike industry."

According to 3T CEO Rene Wiertz, "Everybody in the cycling world knows how fanatical Bjarne Riis is about the equipment Team CSC uses. So for him to personally pick our products, in the first year of our re-launch, is absolutely brilliant. With CSC, we continue 3T's history of working with champions such as Mario Cipollini. We look forward to helping Team CSC succeed with the ultimate performance of our components, and to co-developing new products for the future."

First Endurance backs Astana

Some level of uncertainty may still be circulating about Johan Bruyneel's revitalized Astana team but that hasn't quelled the line of sponsors ready to support it. One such backer is sports nutrition provider First Endurance who will supply Astana with its intriguing OptygenHP supplement, an evolution of its already successful (and popular) Optygen product. According to First Endurance, the addition of beta-alanine and more potent rhodiola 'adaptogens' has been proven to legally and safely boost VO2 max, reduce the production of lactic acid, and generally increase performance and endurance.

So does the stuff work? We can't confirm or deny the company's claims, but pros such as Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Freddy Rodriguez, and Ben Jacques-Maynes all apparently swear by the stuff.

Specialized announces winner of Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Contest

The "Aquaduct" concept vehicle
Photo ©: Specialized
(Click for larger image)

Specialized Bicycles, Google, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners have announced the winner of their Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Contest. The three companies, each located in the Bay Area of California and sharing "a passion for innovation, technology, and the environment", devised the contest as a means to challenge participants to create a pedal-powered solution to combat global climate change. After receiving more than 100 qualified entries, the selection committee chose "Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle" as the winner based on its environmental impact, creativity, and design.

"Aquaduct" was created by five California design students as a means of creating clean drinking water from normally non-potable sources. Water is first loaded at its source into a large storage tank located at the rear of the three-wheeled machine. Afterwards, pedaling not only propels "Aquaduct" forward, but also drives a peristaltic pump that feeds the water through a filter and then deposits it into a removable 'clean' tank located at the front of the vehicle. The drive wheels can also be disconnected from the crankset so that filtering can continue while the "Aquaduct" remains stationary.

Rich Silverstein, founding partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, was suitably impressed by the surprisingly simple, yet potentially potent, creation. "It's up to the next generation to solve the mess we find ourselves in today," he said. "The success of the 'Innovate or Die' competition gives me confidence that they have the imagination and creativity to succeed."

"The diversity, creativity and potential impact of the proposals was impressive," added Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for Google.org and former US Assistant Secretary of Energy. "I was interested to see if bicycle powered technologies could help address global problems like climate change and water pollution. These proposals convinced me that human brainpower can harness muscle power to help solve some of our biggest environmental challenges."

Specialized will outfit all of the winners and runners-up with its Globe commuter bicycles and the company has also arranged to equip Google's main Mountain View, California campus with an additional 350 Globes. "We will continue partnering with businesses, non-profits and city governments to implement bike-share programs with the like-minded goal of decreasing CO2 emissions," said Specialized founder and President Mike Sinyard. "Let's all get out of our cars and onto bikes."

Additional information on the "Aquaduct" can be found at Specialized's dedicated micro-site.

Ritchey recalls WCS and Pro model cranksets

Ritchey has announced a voluntary recall
Photo ©: Ritchey
(Click for larger image)

Ritchey Design has announced a voluntary recall on certain WCS and Pro level road and 'cross cranksets. According to Ritchey, the non-driveside arms of affected cranks can break unexpectedly during use, possibly resulting in injury. All mountain bike, Pro Cross 130mm BCD, and wholly silver-finished cranksets are not affected. Likewise, all driveside crankarms are not affected by the recall due to the additional reinforcement of the chainring spider.

Owners of questionable crankarms are asked to check the five-digit code stamped into the backside of the left arm. The first digit indicates the alloy used ('6' indicates 6061; '2' indicates 2014) while the following four represents the production date in year/month format (e.g. '0301' refers to January 2003). All WCS cranks with a forging code prior to 0501 and all Pro cranks with a forging code prior to 0508 should be replaced.

Alternatively, users can measure the arm thickness at the lowest point in the cavity of the left arm. WCS models thinner than 7mm or Pro models thinner than 9mm should be replaced.

Affected North American consumers should first obtain a return authorization number directly from Ritchey (650-517-1878 or contact_us@ritcheylogic.com, subject 'crank arm recall'). Crankarms should then be shipped to the following address:

Ritchey Design
575 Old County Road
San Carlos, CA 94070

Affected European customers should send cranks to the following address:

Ritchey International Sagl
Attn: Silvio Ostinelli
Via Cantonale, 2
6916 Grancia
Tel: +41 91 9605220

Asian customers should send their affected crankarms to the following address:

Ritchey Design, Inc. -Taiwan Branch
Attn: Maris Adamovics
22F-1, #123 Chungang Rd. Sec 3
Taichung 407, Taiwan
Tel: +886-4-3703-2766 /JJ

Ritchey recalls WCS Carbon 1Bolt seatposts

Ritchey also announced a voluntary recall of its new WCS Carbon 1Bolt seatpost. According to Ritchey, an unauthorized "deviation" in manufacturing procedures at its Asian factory has produced substandard test results. That deviation has apparently since been corrected but a small number of subpar posts have made it into the marketplace. All single-bolt alloy WCS posts, 'Stubby' heads included with certain Scott Addict models, and all two-bolt seatposts are not affected.

All affected consumers, regardless of locale, are asked to first contact Ritchey's warranty department for a return authorization number at either +1-650-368-4018 extension 1855 or contact_us@ritcheylogic.com.


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