| Wild thing,
I think I love you...
Like a tiger
By Anthony Tan
Photo: © Tom Balks
While road bike technology may have plateaued, paint schemes on two-wheeled
machines continue to reach new levels. Colnago was one of the first
with their stylish Art Deco paintjobs on their Master Olympic and C-40
frames almost a decade ago. Then Fondriest raised the bar at last year's
Tour with Raivis Belohvosciks' Lampre-Daikin
This year however, bike frame artwork has been sent into the stratosphere
with Fabio Sacchi unleashing his feline-themed beast at the Tour Down
Under, leaving tongues wagging all the way across the Barossa Valley.
And it wasn't from the wine or the podium girls.
Only the best
Photo: © Tom Balks
A quick squiz at the frame reveals no real surprises. Aluminium has
always been 'Dale's forte, with this year being no different across
the entire range of bikes. In fact, Cannondale actually released their
top of the line CAAD7 road frame in 2002, so other than the use of a
slightly stronger aluminium tubing branded "Optimo", the 2003 CAAD7
remains largely unchanged.
Also unchanged is the company's stance on combining carbon fibre with
aluminium. The Bedford, Connecticut-based firm continues to buck the
growing trend for carbon fibre add-ons, favouring long, thin, hourglass-shaped
tubes for the seatstays and very conventional looking tubes for the
chainstays - which isn't a bad thing.
The relationship between Cannondale and Team Saeco has been a progressive
and fruitful one. A frame can be tested to the nth degree, but most
would agree the true test lies out on the road. Riders like "Gibo" Simoni
and Danilo Di Luca have been particularly vocal in providing valuable
input into the company's R&D program, while at the same time being receptive
and open to Cannondale-conceived innovations.
Photo: © Tom Balks
Innovations like the System Integration componentry that features the
Hollowgram one-piece crankset and bottom bracket. Weighing in at a mere
525 grams, the whole unit weighs 15 per cent less than the Dura-Ace
equivalent - meaning no more silly diet plans from the bulimically inclined.
Speaking of one-piece outfits, Cinelli's RAM Silver Limited Edition
integrated stem/handlebar combination is très groovy and looks as dapper
as a three piece Armani. Monocoque construction, high modulus carbon
fiber, around 10-15 percent less than a standard lightweight bar and
stem combo and complete with tiger stripes. Purrrr.
Keeping the Italian flavour among a predominantly Italian team is Campy's
10 speed group that, to date, has yet to be seriously challenged in
terms of aesthetics. It's quite simply a gorgeous looking group that
functions incredibly well - something Japanese rival Shimano can only
lay claim to the latter.
Photo: © Tom Balks
Mavic - responsible for the squadra rosso rolling smoothly (and seemingly
every other team) cater for just about any terrain imaginable with their
entire range of hoops at Team Saeco's disposal. From the ubiquitous
Ksyriums for tackling the likes of the Passo Gavia and Motirolo to the
deep rim Cosmic Carbones for flying along the flats in the first week
of Le Tour, the French stalwart appears to have all roads covered. Interestingly,
Sacchi opts for the heavier but more comfortable Classics Pro wheelset
for training, although the term "heavy" is a bit of a misnomer when
you've still looking at a sub-eight kilo machine.
Interesting but hardly surprising is Sacchi's Fi'zi:k Aliante saddle
in show-stopping white. Like many Italian men, Sacchi isn't ashamed
of being a bit of a show-pony, so it's no revelation to see him choose
a colour that only contributes to the "look at me" effect.
When you put a showman on a show-pony that's dressed to kill, it's
easy to see why Fabio Sacchi makes plenty of women - and maybe a few
men as well - weak at the knees. Wild thing, I think I love you...
Images by Tom Balks/www.tombalks.com
power courtesy of Campy’s Record single-pivot brakes.
there were an Archibald Prize for bike décor, Fabio Sacchi’s Cannondale
CAAD7 would most certainly be the winner.
the best - Elite's 24 carat, gold plated bottle cages befit a
bike and rider of this caliber.
you’re riding up to 200 clicks a day, a second bidon is a must.
a powerful rider, making plenty of use out of the lower end of
his 11-23 ten speed cassette.
Hollowgram one-piece crankset and bottom bracket weighs in at
a mere 525 grams. Chainrings also by Cannondale.
the standard way to mount your cycle computer, but arguably the
most attractive and functional
Sport’s minimalist design is a proven favourite in the pro road
Record Ergo levers are all class - and are comfy too.
opts for the standard, non-carbon front derailleur for that extra
bit of strength when changing gears under pressure.
Carbon Comp road tyres feature a tread pattern that bears a strong
resemblance to Michelin’s Axial Pro.
Classics Pro wheelset is easily distinguishable with black hubs
and straight-pull spokes.
do we start calling Sacchi "Le Tigre"?
gorgeous carbon fibre Ergo levers can make the hardest roadie
weak at the knees.
RAM Silver Limited Edition integrated stem/handlebar combination,
complete with tiger stripes. Yeah baby.
older style, magnesium pedals look slightly out of place with
so much cutting-edge technology throughout. But whatever Sacchi wants,
Fi’zi:k Aliante was a quite possibly the most talked about, most
hyped saddle in the summer of 2002, and for good reason.
Chorus titanium seatpost is favoured over its Record carbon fibre
don’t get any sleeker than this.
around 320 grams, Cinelli's integrated stem/handlebar combination
is super lightweight, utilising a monocoque design and high modulus
a tiger. Grrrrr.
Frame: Cannondale CAAD7
Fork: Cannondale Slice Si carbon, manufactured by Time
Colour: Team Saeco
Cranks/bottom bracket: Cannondale Si Hollowgram integrated
Chain: Campagnolo Record 10s
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record 10s
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record 10s
Brakes: Campagnolo Record
Levers: Campagnolo Record
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record, 11-23
Hubs: Mavic Classics Pro
Spokes: DT Swiss
Rim: Mavic Classics Pro
Tyres: Hutchinson Carbon Comp, 700C x 23
Bar/stem: Cinelli RAM Silver Limited Edition integrated, 320g
Headset: Campagnolo Record integrated
Pedals: Time Equipe Pro Magnesium, 400g/pair
Seat post: Campagnolo Chorus Titanium, 27.2mm, 195g
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Aliante, 160g
Bottle cages: Elite Patao 24ct Gold Plated, 47g
Cycle computer: Sigma Sport BC 1200