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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Pro bike: May 19, 2005

Christine Thorburn's Webcor Orbea Dama Race

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Photos ©: Mark Shimahara/Bikezen.com

One for all

By John Stevenson

SRM Dura-Ace cranks
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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Easton wheels
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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Aluminium combined with carbon
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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Quick, plug the sponsors!
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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Fizik Aliante saddle and Easton post
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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The front view
Photo ©: Mark Shimahara
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You find an astonishingly wide variety of equipment in the women's peloton as sponsors, team managers and mechanics juggle the issues of getting bikes and parts to properly fit smaller and differently-proportioned female bodies, and pull together top-quality gear within the smaller budgets of women's teams.

One squad that's not struggling to get the right bikes for its female riders, however, is Webcor. Bike sponsor Orbea makes two women-specific models, the Mitis Dama and Dama Race, and the latter is the standard issue for Webcor's female racers including 2004 Olympian and US time trial champion Christine Thorburn.

The decision to equip Thorburn and her team-mates with the Dama Race was not made by a sponsor wanting to carve itself a chunk of the growing women's cycling market, though. Rather the call was made by Karen Brems and Carmen D'Aluisio, directors of the Webcor Builders Women's Cycling Team. While other women's teams sometimes see their top riders on men's frames, Brems sought to achieve parity among the riders.

With its 1226g frame combining Columbus Altec aluminium tubing and Orbea's Zeus fork and stays, the Dama race certainly gives little away to high-end men's frames. The main geometry difference between the Dama race and Orbea's men's frames is a shorter top tube: 525mm for Thorburn's 53cm frame, compared to the 535mm for a men's 51cm frame (both have 460mm seat tubes).

Thorburn's bike spec is centered around Shimano's Dura-Ace component group. Chainset, derailleurs, brakes and shifters all come from the top-line ten-speed group from Shimano. While Thorburn uses 170mm cranks, it's worth observing that Shimano is now one of very few crank makers offering shorter cranks, often a necessity for smaller riders.

Much of the rest of the team's hardware comes from component maker Easton, which provides wheels, bars and stems, and seatposts. The most striking Easton element is the deep-rim Tempest II Carbon wheels. These 1265g/pr uber-hoops feature 58mm rims with ceramic impregnated brake surfaces, elliptical Sapim spokes - 18 up front and 20 in the rear - and cartridge-bearing hubs with alloy cassette body.

Specialized provides Webcor with helmets, tyres and tyres, and the Easton wheels are therefore shod with custom Specialized tubulars.

Easton also provides carbon fiber handlebars and seatpost with its EC90 Equipe bar and EC90 Composite post. The stem is the forged aluminium EA70.

Perched on top of the Easton post is a Fizik Aliante saddle, which seems to be a comfortable choice for Thorburn as well as for the many male riders who swear by them.

The first link between legs and bike to make it all go is provided by Speedplay, with the light and popular Zero pedals, while Cateye provides the team's computers.

Photos

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Shimahara/www.bikezen.com

Full specification

Frame: 2005 Orbea Dama Race
Fork: Zeus (by Orbea) FCM full carbon
Color: Blue

Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace 170mm, 53/39 (SRM Dura-Ace option)
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
Sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace 12-25

 

Wheels: Easton Tempest II Carbon (1270g/pr)
Tyres: Specialized custom tubulars

Bar: Easton EC90 Equipe
Stem: Easton EA70, 10cm
Pedals: Speedplay Zero

Seat post: EC90 Carbon
Saddle: Fizik Aliante
Computer: Cateye & SRM