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Interbike show

Las Vegas, USA, September 26-30, 2005

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Part 13: FSA, Camelbak, Smith Optics, BMC, Sheila Moon

By James Huang and Anthony Tan

FSA

Yikes, these things are pricey,
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FSA external bottom brackets
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The ceramic bearing on the right
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The word of the day at the FSA booth was ceramic. FSA has been working closely with the Danish firm, CeramicSpeed, to offer ceramic bearing upgrades on a number of drivetrain components.

The ceramic bearings, made of silicon nitride, offer hugely reduced friction, dramatically lighter weight, and reportedly, practically infinite life spans as compared to even the best steel bearings. Upgrade kits will be available for external bottom brackets (including non-FSA branded ones), cartridge bearing hubsets, as well as derailleur pulley wheels. According to the manufacturer, a full accoutrement of ceramic bearings can save as much as a full second per kilometer in a time trial.

Interestingly, the manufacturer is also quite sure that Tyler Hamilton was the only rider to use ceramic bearings in the Olympic time trial. How's he so sure? Well, there aren't exactly a bunch of people making these things, and he still has the copy of the check from Tyler (yes, he actually paid for these himself, and they're not cheap).

Skeptics of Tyler's innocence cite the whopping 19 second advantage he held over second place in that race, but if these projected time savings are accurate.... well, you do the math. I'm not taking sides here, but it is rather interesting nonetheless, don't you think? Complete external bottom brackets will run about $249USD and complete hub upgrades will cost consumers about $300-400 for six cartridge bearings. Sure, it sounds like a lot, but what's that podium spot worth to you?

 

Camelbak

The Chaos is the smallest pack
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The Mayhem is a medium-sized hydration pack
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Top-mounted media pocket
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Camelbak is hitting the freeride market hard with their Outlaw series of hydration packs. The Chaos is the smallest of the line and features a 70 oz. bladder, a bit of storage space, and accommodation for a set of pads. The medium-sized Mayhem and large-sized Havoc step up to 100 oz. bladders and can also handle a full-face helmet so you don't have to wear the thing when huffing you and bike up to the top of the run.

One notable feature on the Mayhem and Havoc packs is the inclusion of a dedicated media pocket in the top of the pack for housing a video camera body or digital music player. All three models also feature Camelbak's Air Director back panel for better ventilation as well as a toughened polyurethane bladder that now with lifetime warranty against leaks.

On the women's side of things, Camelbak sidesteps the popular "shrink it and pink it" industry trend for producing women's-specific products with a host of thoughtful details. Camelbak's women's-specific packs feature shorter overall lengths and more narrowly-set straps that curve more tightly around the shoulders. The straps themselves and also the top end of the pack are also lined with softer materials to prevent chafing against bare skin.

Smith Optics

The new Theory frame
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Adjustable nosepiece
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Prescription lenses directly replace stock lenses
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Smith Optics has quietly been making inroads in the pro cycling scene with a number of key sponsored riders, including Geoff Kabush, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Tom Danielson, as well as the entire CSC and T-Mobile women's squads.

2006 model year frames have been redesigned with input from these and other pros, resulting in slimmed down profiles to improve sightlines and a reshaped nosepiece for both better fit and reduced airflow. The new Ignitor lens uses an interesting rose tint in an effort to highlight shadows and improve color definition in mixed lighting conditions, which can be especially beneficial for trail riders ducking in and out of the woods.

Smith's convenient prescription program continues for '06. Show up at a dealer with your prescription and pick out a compatible set of glasses. Smith ships the complete glasses right to your door. Prescription lens directly replace the stock lenses so there are no clumsy inserts to deal with.

 

BMC

BMC's general manager shows
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The front end
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Nicknamed 'The Nurse',
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Made famous after former Phonak rider Tyler Hamilton turned up on one of these wild things before the 2004 Tour de France prologue in Ličge, BMC's Time Machine TT01 is made in Switzerland by a carbon fibre supplier to a F1 team and is now available to the general public.

The monocoque, airfoil-shaped frame is mated with a unique integrated fork design, eliminating the need for a stem. Each one will be custom-made for the specific rider. Price: 11,999 Swiss Francs. How's that for a hole in your wallet?!

BMC has also got themselves into making track bikes, and hope their new TRC01 Track Machine, nicknamed 'The Nurse', due to its white, red and black livery, not to mention use of the Swiss national emblem, will be ridden by some of the sport's leading trackies in 2006. Available in eight sizes from 49cm to 61cm in two centimeter increments, the TRC01 ain't cheap, either, but comes in at one-third of the price of the Time Machine.

 

Sheila Moon

Sheila Moon (l)
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Right at the end of Interbike, we met Sheila Moon (pictured left), who was exhibiting a very feminine, very floral line of women's cycling clothing that still possessed all the good technical qualities cyclists need and expect.

Unlike the regular technical clothing (think bold colours, trade team designs, chunky images, cartoon characters, etc), Moon's designs are aimed expressly at women who want to look like, well, women. A competitive cyclist as well as clothing designer and patternmaker, the San Francisco-based Moon says of her clothes: "My pieces are luxurious because of the fabrics and the attention to detail, but they are exceptional because there is an emphasis on fit and function. Ultimately, I design for women like myself, strong and confident yet sexy and feminine." Pictured in her advertising is cyclo-cross racer Barbara Howe, soon to be a diarist on Cyclingnews.

 

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Jacob Csizmadia/CeramicSpeed

  • Yikes, these things are pricey, but allegedly worth every penny. Tyler Hamilton paid 1500 Euros out of his own pocket for enough bearings to outfit a bike and a half. According to the manufacturer, running ceramic bearings instead of steel ones can drop a full second per kilometer in an individual time trial. Apparently the entire CSC team is now so-equipped.

Images by James Huang

  • FSA external bottom brackets equipped with ceramic bearings will have red-anodized cups so that everyone knows why you keep pulling away during your local group ride. Pulleys that come with ceramic cartridge bearings pre-installed will also be available.
  • The ceramic bearing on the right is not only much lighter and impervious to corrosion, but also much more resistant to impact. Ceramic bearings earn their reduced friction due to much tighter roundness tolerances as compared to even the best steel bearings.
  • The Chaos is the smallest pack in Camelbak's Outlaw series and is available in both black/grey and tan, if you're more interested in blending in with Las Vegas desert backgrounds...
  • The Mayhem is a medium-sized hydration pack that includes a 100 oz. toughened polyurethane bladder and enough storage room for your full-face helmet and full complement of pads.
  • More stuff! Must carry more stuff!!!
  • Top-mounted media pocket is ideal for housing a small video camera body (with remote unit attached to your helmet, of course!) or your digital music player.
  • The new Theory frame fits smaller faces and features a trim frame with adjustable nosepiece and rubberized temples. The new Ignitor lens is reported to highlight shadows and heighten color definition in mixed lighting conditions.
  • Adjustable nosepiece should accommodate a wide variety of nose shapes and sizes.
  • Prescription lenses directly replace stock lenses so there are no clumsy inserts to deal with. Prescription lenses are available in similar tints to standard non-prescription lenses.

Images by Gerard Knapp/Cyclingnews.com

  • BMC's general manager shows the innovative 'Time Machine'. The one TT frameset can be used by the vast majority of riders, he said.
  • The front end of the patented-new 'Time Machine' being offered by BMC.
  • Nicknamed 'The Nurse', due to its white, red and black livery, not to mention use of the Swiss national emblem, this is BMC's new track bike that the company is hoping to place under leading track riders in 2006.
  • Sheila Moon (L) exhibiting her very feminine line of women's cycling clothing that still possessed all the good technical qualities cyclists expect.

Images by Sheila Moon/www.sheilamoon.com

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