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2002 Pro Bikes

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Julian Dean's Team CSC Cervélo Soloist

Full speed ahead
Photo ©: Tom Balks

Canadian show-stopper

By Anthony Tan

The Baracchi. Italian for "What the ...."
Photo: © Cervélo
Click for larger image

After a few seasons riding under the guise of other frame manufacturers, Canadian up-and-comer Cervélo scored the tech coup of the year, earning the privilege to kit out the boys from Division I road squad Team CSC with their show-stopping Soloist Team and P3 road and time trial frames.

Cervélo's two founders, engineers Phil White and Gérard Vroomen, have come a long way since their radical Baracchi time trial bike was conceived almost a decade ago in 1994. The Soloist Team is Cervélo's top shelf road offering for 2003 and is modelled based on pure road geometry, with all Team CSC pro frames identical to their consumer counterparts.

Road or TT bike - the choice is yours
Photo: © Tom Balks
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White's aerospace background is particularly evident when viewing the Soloist Team's main triangle, featuring airfoil-shaped tubes that are elliptical at the front and taper in a teardrop manner at the rear. Like many high-end manufacturers, tubing thickness varies depending on the size of the stresses experienced across the frame - so you'll find plenty of bulge around the bottom bracket and head tube and much less in the midsection of the top tube, for example. The aeronautically-inclined tubes also extend to the front fork and gram for gram, Cervélo's Wolf full carbon fork compares favourably with its competitors, weighing in at 390 grams uncut.

Fully Sick Accessories
Photo: © Tom Balks
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Now for something truly innovative. Across the range, the seat tube angle remains the same at 73.5°, irrespective of frame size. However, the unique seatpost design on the Soloist Team bikes allow you to flip the head forwards and achieve a more aero position, making it ideal for both road racing and time trials. For example, if the seatpost head is flipped forward on what is normally a 56cm "square" frame, the geometry of the seat tube and effective top tube length changes to 76° and 53.8cm respectively, and voilà, you've got y'self a TT bike.

Another trick accessory is FSA's Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset that Cyclingnews first laid their eyes upon near Tour time last year. Featuring a one piece crankarm and spider, the Carbon Pro Team Issue is a step up in technology (and moolah) from its two-piece predecessor, and at 360 grams, it's a marked step down in weight (212g's to be precise).

Lever height's all the rage
Photo: © Tom Balks
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As the daytime television salesmen say, "But wait, there's more!" A pair of tasty Zipp 404 tubulars add to an already enviable package, boasting a massive 58mm deep-section, carbon fibre rim. While their design has been geared towards time triallists and triathletes alike, a certain section of the professional peloton seem to enjoy using deep section rims for road racing as well, including Laurent Jalabert, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton and Dean himself.

Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

An exaggerated lever position (angle of the brake hoods in relation to the horizontal) is another recent trend that appears to have its small but growing following, and appears to be most prevalent among sprinters and Classics specialists. Before the ergo bar came along, the theory behind the upturned brake hoods was to assume a more comfortable position while riding in the drops, especially when sprinting. Despite the advent of the ergo-shaped bar, however, the exaggerated lever height phenomenon has, somewhat strangely, grown in popularity - with Classics riders like Johan Museeuw and Oscar Freire choosing to adopt a style that accentuates their already aggressive riding style.

Also making their official debut with Team CSC is Speedplay. For the next two years, all 20 riders will be using the circular-shaped paddles that allow for both fixed and float (15° range) positions and dual-sided entry. And at 164g per pair (yes, per pair) they're certainly some of the lightest flippers around.

Whatever your preference with lever height or pedal float, however, it's full speed ahead on this Canadian show-stopper.


Images by Tom Balks/www.tombalks.com

Full specification

Frame: Cervélo Soloist Team
Fork: Cervélo Wolf full carbon, 365 grams uncut (with 300mm steerer)
Colour: Team CSC

Cranks: FSA Carbon Pro Team Issue, 53/39
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
Chain: SRAM PC-89R, 290g
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-21 (will be using SRAM R9 cassettes soon)

Hubs: Zipp 84 (front, 84g), Zipp 202 (rear, 202g)
Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray, alloy nipples
Rim: Zipp 404, 365g (per pair, rim only)
Tyres: Hutchinson Carbon Comp, 700 x 23, 220g

Stem: Easton EA70 Ahead (forged aluminium), 135g
Headset: Cane Creek integrated
Bar: Easton EA70 (aluminium), 225g

Pedals: Speedplay Zero, titanium spindles, 164g per pair
Seat post: Cervélo Carbon, Kevlar reinforced
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Genuine Gel, Ti rails, 265g