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Pro bikes, February 23, 2006

Gene Bates' Team LPR Guerciotti Khaybar

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Photos ©: Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

The perfect workout partner

By Anthony Tan

The compact design
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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Unusually shaped seat stays
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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We've had black carbon,
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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Bates parks his bum
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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SRM cranks
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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Being the only Aussie
Photo ©: Shane Goss
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Taking ownership of a new team bike one day before the start of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under is less than desirable - especially for 24 year-old Gene Bates, who had just began his neo-professional year with Team LPR and was looking to impress.

But as the results showed in Adelaide, the former under 23 Australian champion wasn't impeded in the slightest by a lack of familiarity with his new Guerciotti machine, finishing fifth overall behind tour winner Simon Gerrans, who happened to be Bates' predecessor to national title he won in 2003.

"I pretty much get on anything!" laughs the diminutive crew-cut Aussie from Carey Gully in the Adelaide Hills.

I can only assume (or at least hope) we're still talking about bikes, which Gene confirms with his next statement: "So long as the handlebars are straight and the seat's at the right height, then we're away.

"I got it the day before Down Under started, and straight away it felt great. And I just got another new one the other day which is lighter again, and it's just fantastic to ride," adds Bates when we catch up for chinwag in Malaysia at the Le Tour de Langkawi.

While the Langkawi race was celebrating its eleventh year, Italian frame builder Guerciotti enters its forty-first year of operation in 2006. Conceived by Italo Guerciotti, an accomplished cyclo-cross racer in his day, he and his younger brother Paolo decided to open a 'piccolo negozio per la bicicletta' (small bike shop) in Milano in the year 1964.

Like his bro, Paolo was also a talented cyclist, winning the national cyclocross championship in 1971 and racing until 1980 before their bike business took precedence. And as bike sponsorship became big business in the mid-70s, Guerciotti sponsored its first pro road team, Fiorella-Mocassini in 1976. Following that, Fiorella-Citroen, Magniflex-Fam Cucine, Santini-Selle Italia, Alfa Lum and Dromedario-Sidermec riders all rode aboard their eponymously-named machines.

As the business expanded, the Guerciotti fratelli moved premises several times around central Milan. However, one element remained constant: supporting the growth of racing in Italy through sponsorship of road and cyclocross teams, including an amateur team in 1979 called Pedale Saronnese, who had an interesting young rider by the name of Claudio Chiappucci...

The Guerciotti Khaybar carbon machine Bates and the rest of the LPR team is all-new for 2006, so prospective customers may be waiting a while until it shows up on the showroom floor of your LBS.

Certainly, the carbon weave mixed with lime-green highlights is quite striking, but apart from that, there's nothing too unconventional about this 'compact compact' frame if you will (Bates is 169cm tall or 5'7" in the old language), whose top tube measures just 52 centimetres long, centre to centre. Upon closer inspection, possibly the most eye-catching thing is the rear triangle that employs some unusual S-shaped wishbone seat stays, which flare out past the brake mount.

Components and wheels are fairly standard: the ubiquitous Dura-Ace group, Deda bars, stem and seat post, and good ol' box-section rims from Ambrosio, with rubber courtesy of Panracer.

In his final season as an amateur at Zalf Désirée Fior, the young Australian held the number one ranking in Italy for two months, where he rode carbon frames from another Italian mark, Battaglin. Although he says both had a similar feel, Bates believes his Guerciotti to be a nicer ride.

"I'm not sure why, maybe going downhill's a little bit different, but no, this one's a lot more comfortable, a lot more forgiving," he says. "And when we're running the Ambrosio carbon wheels, it's a beautiful ride."

Photos

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

Full specification

Frame: Team LPR Guerciotti Khaybar
Fork: Guerciotti
Colour: Team LPR

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 169cm/ 5'7"
Rider's weight: 58-61kg/ 128-134lbs
C of BB to C of seat tube: 428mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 470mm
C of BB to T of seat: 676mm
Top tube length: 520mm (C-C)
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 526mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 526mm

Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace, 170mm, 39/53
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: Ambrosio Excellight (Ambrosio carbon wheel also used)
Tyres: Panracer Extreme Duro, 23mm

Bar: Deda Newton 26.0, 42cm (O-O)
Stem: Deda Newton 26.0, 115mm
Headset: FSA 1'1/8"

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL
Seat post: Deda Blackstick carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Bottle cages: Sole
Cycle computer: Cateye Astrale 8

Total bike weight: 8.03kg/ 18lbs