| All aboard
the Captain Cooke!
Just what the Cookie Monster ordered
By Anthony Tan
Not just mustard from Dijon
Photo: © Tom Balks
With just about every material suitable for building road bikes extruded,
forged, welded, bonded, brazed, bent or butted, it appears we are now
entering a phase of refinement rather than revolution. Baden Cooke's
FDJeux.com Lapierre is testimony to that.
Founded in 1948, Lapierre, a relatively unknown brand outside of France,
began their foray into the two wheeled world rather modestly with a
range of commuter and utility bikes some fifty years ago. Around 30
years later, just when mountain bike murmurings were gaining momentum
in the US of A, the Dijon-based company changed their focus in line
with these northern American happenings, and still today, mountain bike
sales account for more than half of Lapierre's total production of 50-odd
thousand bikes annually.
Ritch way up?
Photo: © Tom Balks
However, a reversion in popularity to the road in recent times cannot
be ignored. Possibly a consequence of this and being part of the Dutch-based
Acell group - which includes Batavus, Koga-Miyata, Dawes and Mercier
- Lapierre became the official bike sponsor of France's number one team,
La Française des Jeux, their name now "webberised" to FDJeux.com.
Having a yarn with FDJeux.com's mechanics at the Tour Down Under a
few months ago, I was told that Marc Madiot's team of merry men are
perched on ostensibly the same bikes as last year. Their 2003 Lapierre
is a sub one kilo, custom-built, scandium-aluminium alloy, the main
difference this year being the slightly thicker top and down tubes for
increased stiffness and lateral rigidity.
Photo: © Tom Balks
Interestingly, most of the taller FDJeux.com boys prefer the traditional
rather than "compact" frame design, their claim being that the former
inspires more confidence when steering their trusty steeds down those
mammoth mountain passes in the Alps and Pyrénées - something Brad McGee
needs plenty of after overshooting a turn at 70 km/h down the Col d'Abisque
in last year's Tour (thankfully, Brad managed to get back on his bike
and made it all the way to Paris).
Shimano have certainly made their presence felt with the group, cycle
computer, pedals and wheels all courtesy of the ze big S. The Dura-Ace
wheel, while rather Rolf-ish looking with a quad-flange design and spoke
heads protruding from the rim sidewall, was tested extensively in last
year's Tour de France, and so far, so good.
All aboard the Capt'n Cooke!
Photo: © Tom Balks
In what seems to be a pro cyclist's bread and butter (or should that
be bars and butter), ITM's Millenium stem and bars have featured on
more pro bikes than any other brand since, well… the millennium. One
noticeable change, however. In an oversized aluminium bicycle world,
the diameter of the mid-section of the bars has now increased from 25.8mm
to 31.7mm, reflecting the Millenium's new surname, "Super Over".
Another upgrade to an ever-popular product is Michelin's Axial Pro
Race, which is essentially the popular Axial Pro with a new tread compound
called Silicium that is claimed to be more puncture resistant and provide
improved grip. The Pro Race is also a tad lighter than its predecessor
- so on a set of 700x23c tyres, you'll save about 40 grams, but it'll
cost you an extra 20 bucks.
All in all, a refined, well-trained, race-ready road machine. Just
what the Cookie Monster ordered.
Images by Tom Balks/www.tombalks.com
power courtesy of Shimano’s well designed dual-pivot brake design.
in case you forgot where you bought your wheels from.
an oversized aluminium bicycle world, the diameter of the mid-section
of ITM’s Millenium bars and stem has now increased from 25.8mm to
31.7mm, reflecting the Millenium’s new surname, "Super Over".
stylish, very French, very Lapierre.
once gleaming bottle cages are looking rather worse for wear.
sprinter from Benalla, Victoria gets plenty of use from his 11
cog, regularly rubbing shoulders with the likes of Cipollini, Zabel
it’s still early days, so Cookie needs his 39 chainring for the
aboard the Captain Cooke!
of shiny silver around the bottom bracket.
Cooke’s a true-blue Aussie, and proud of it.
close-up of Michelin’s Axial Pro Race tyres, an extension of the
ubiquitous Axial Pro.
Dura-Ace wheel, while rather Rolf-ish looking with a quad-flange
design and spoke heads protruding from the rim sidewall, was tested
extensively in last year’s Tour de France, and so far, so good.
follows the trend of internal headsets with their high-end road
Flight Deck cordless computer tackles the Cateye and Sigma Sport
yet functional Dura-Ace levers - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix
Cookie Monster’s cockpit.
boy Baden continues to use the older style, SPD-R road pedals
in favour of the SPD-SL,"Lance pedals".
Italia have been making saddles since 1897, with their Flite saddle
continuing to be a popular choice, sprinter, climber or roleur.
WCS Road seat post uses a lateral, 2-bolt design and is made of
2014 T-6 cold forged aluminium for the head and machined 7075 aluminium
for the tube.
what seems to be a pro cyclist’s bread and butter (or should that
be bars and butter), ITM’s Millenium stem and bars have featured on
more pro bikes than any other brand since, well... the millennium.
Frame: Lapierre FDJeux.com Scandium
Fork: Lapierre carbon
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace 39/53
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-23
Wheels: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7701, front: 756g, rear: 952g
Tyres: Michelin Axial Pro Race, 700C x 23
Bars: ITM Millenium Super Over, 240g
Stem: ITM Millenium Super Over, 165g
Headset: Cane Creek integrated
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace PD-7700 SPD-R, 300g/pair
Seat post: Ritchey WCS Road Post, 27.2mm, 190g (280mm)
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Genuine Gel, 265g
Bottle cages: Elite
Cycle computer: Shimano Flight Deck