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Germany, August 31-September 4, 2005
Part 3 - SRAM, Colnago, Pinarello, Opera
SRAM goes on a road trip
Over the last decade, Chicago's SRAM has quietly become a global powerhouse in bicycle components. But up until now, SRAM's focus has been on mountain bike and trekking market segments via their core brand SRAM, RockShox suspension forks, Truvativ components and Avid brakes, but now the boys from Chi-Town have decided to make the big plunge into the road bike components market.
Cyclingnews spoke to SRAM's marketing manager Dave Z at the Eurobike show, who gave us a sneak peek at the SRAM's road group's world premiere. Although SRAM isn't choosing to release specific info on their new road group, a brief company statement explained that "SRAM introduces a professional level road groupset with cutting edge technologies and race light materials, an elegant and durable finish and superior ergonomics."
According to company sources, SRAM will place their new groupset with several professional team is 2006 and plans to make it available to the public during calendar year 2006. At first look, the SRAM Road groupset is intriguing. Yes, there is a shift lever behind the brake lever, no second trigger is evident. And the brake lever doesn't appear to have sideways shifting action. Our guess, and that of several readers who have written in, is that the lever pivots forward and can be used as a 'trigger' from the hoods.
Colnago's Extreme-C & Cristallo
Ernesto Colnago's Extreme-C is the commercial version of a special Colnago frame that began life as a prototype in the 2004 Tour de France for a few Rabobank riders. We caught up with Ernesto Colnago at Eurobike for the worldwide debut of the Extreme-C and il Mago di Cambiago proudly told us that "We made this bicycle to be extremely light, but still safe and solid. It is is the perfect frame for riders looking a very light frame for climbing. In 2005, Rabobanks Michael Rasmussen rode our Extreme-C to a stage win and best climber at the Tour de France."
Colnago explained further that "I developed the Extreme-C for long and hard mountain climbs, where every gram of weight is important. So the weight is under 1.000 grams in a medium size. We have engineered the Extreme-C by using round (carbon fibre) tubing, which is still the best shape for lightness and to increase stiffness. We also added new oversized, more rigid chainstays for the Extreme-C to increase power transmission for long, hard climbs. This frame could have been even lighter, but we won't compromise safety, even for professional riders."
Colnago also showed off his new Cristallo carbon fibre road bike, with a unique photo-silkscreen decoration. "Every year we go to Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomiti Mountains for our summer holidays and I was inspired by the unique shape of the Gruppo di Cristallo mountain range to create a frame with this unique curved shape", Colnago told us at Eurobike.
Colnago's dramatic new model has an exciting new sloping carbon fibre frameset with an arcing rear triangle. Colnago pointed out that Cristallo looks similar to last years E1 model on the outside, but inside, "this is a completely new and different bike, where the frame weight has been reduced to less than 1,100 grams for a medium size frame. The weight savings is due to an innovative new carbon fibre manufacturing process that lowers the weight but does not compromise frame ridigity."
The Colnago Cristallo's new conception seatstays are specially designed to increase braking power and efficiency. And Colnago pointedly told Cyclingnews that "despite some recent rumors, Cristallo, and all of Colnagos carbon fibre frames are only made in Italy."
Pinarello 2006: carbon dreams come true
Over in Treviso, Fausto Pinarello and his team have been busy creating their 2006 range, topped by the all-new Paris Carbon. Earlier this year, Cyclingnews got the first-ever look at Pinarello's F 4:13, but Pinarello now has new, top model called Paris Carbon. Last year, Pinarello re-launched their legendary Paris model with a hydroformed alu frame and this model will continue. For 2006, the Paris Carbon frameset in 9 sizes, with Pinarello's Onda rear triangle and full carbon Onda fork and a uniquely shaped monocoque front triangle that echos the Paris Alu with it's wave shaped ribbing.
Paris Carbon uses carbon fibre that is designated 46HM3K, which means the carbon fibre used can withstand a pulling force of 46 tonnes square/mm, while 3K indicates the frame finsh, with the Paris 3K finish where each visible square of material contains 3 carbon strands. Pinarello claims that a medium sized Paris Carbon will weigh in at 950g. Pinarello's mid-range Galieo model has been substantially upgraded for 2006, with an all-new 7005 alu triple butted Dedaccai frame, plus Pinarello's Onda carbon fibre seat stay & full carbon fork and is available as a complete bike only.
Opera Leonardo FP, powered by Iles Balears
Major pro talent Alejandro Valverde rode his Opera Leonardo to a dramatic stage win in this year's Tour de France in Courchevel ahead of Lance Armstrong. For next season, Valverde and his Iles Balears teammates will have a brand new Opera Leonardo FP that uses the same 46HM carbon fibre as the Pinarello Paris with a 12K finish. With new internal lugs that make this bike's lines sleeker than ever, Opera Leonardo FP weighs in at 990 grams in a medium size. The new Opera Leonardo FP is available in 9 sizes, all with a M.O.st. oversize 55mm. bottom bracket.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com