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Part 10 - Noah navigates by Orion - September 30, 2006

By James Huang in Las Vegas, NV

McEwen 'Noah' replicas in limited supply

Ridley's Noah is unique in its lineup
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Ridley Bicycles will offer fifty exact replicas of Robbie McEwen’s official Davitamon-Lotto Noah as used during the 2006 Tour de FRance, including official team paint and McEwen’s personal component preferences.  The McEwen replica bike will also include a TdF-replica green sprinter’s jersey signed by the Aussie himself and will carry a total price tag of US$10,000. 

Functionally, the carbon fiber Noah frame will be identical to Ridley’s standard Noah.  As befitting a proper sprinter’s bike, the Noah features a heavily reinforced front end complete with a head tube that flares to a monstrous 1.5” at the fork crown.  When combined with the aero-profile seat tube with integrated post, the result is a super torsionally and laterally rigid chassis, according to Ridley. 

Ridley will also offer a full replica of Erwin Vervecken’s official Team Fidea X-Night carbon fiber cyclocross bike that was piloted to this year’s UCI World Championship.  As with the replica Noah, an autographed Team Fidea World Championship jersey will also be included, and the package will carry a similarly steep price tag of approximately US$10,000.  Just 25 of these special edition X-Nights will be offered. 

Like it? Want one?
Photo ©: James Huang
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In other Ridley news, the popular Excalibur receives an integrated seat post to become the Helium.  At 1090g for the complete frame, the Excalibur is the lightest bike in the lineup and carries a MSRP of US$2999, just below the Noah.

The new “entry level” Orion frame features monocoque carbon fiber construction with a T-shaped top tube and heavily reinforced bottom bracket area for what Ridley says is an optimal stiffness to weight relationship.  Cost-cutting measures include a non-flared 1 1/8” front end with an aluminum fork crown and a marbled carbon finish with smatterings of 3k weave for impact resistance.  The Orion still qualifies as a lightweight at 1200g and will be offered at a MSRP of US$1500.

A new Heracles aluminum and carbon fiber model is arguably the most unique looking frame in the Ridley lineup.  An aluminum top tube, head tube, and down tube are paired with a carbon fiber rear end and seat tube, which passes down through an aluminum seat cluster and also includes an integrated post.  Frame weight is quoted at 1350g and the suggested retail is $1450.

Easton refines its component lines and updates wheels

Easton has switched from the mega-offset
Photo ©: Easton
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Once known as just an aluminum tubing manufacturer, Easton continues to expand, refine, and update its extensive bicycle component offerings.  The new EC90 Equipe SLX carbon fiber drop bar marks a return of the uniquely angled tops of the original EC90, but the SLX will retain the semi-ergonomic drops of the current Equipe.  The “D”-shaped cross-section remains for clean cable routing, and both the reach and drop have been slightly reduced for a more versatile fit.  Four widths will be offered at a MSRP of US249.99, and the weight is quoted at approximately 200g.

Complementing the bar is the new EA90 stem.  At just 125g (for a 120mm extension), the EA90 offers a secure four-bolt faceplate and 3D forged aluminum construction for dependable performance.  Sizes will range from 90-130mm in both 0° and 10° angles.  Last year’s workhorse EA70 stem gets an overhaul with a larger diameter and thinner-walled extension for increased stiffness and reduced weight.  Gone are the fussy (and easily lost!) backing nuts for the handlebar faceplate in favor of steel helicoils. 

The new EA90 is Easton's top aluminum stem,
Photo ©: Easton
(Click for larger image)

Easton’s entire line of CNT-reinforced carbon fiber mountain bike bars will now be offered in oversized 31.8mm clamp diameters for 2007.  In addition, last year’s popular Monkeylite XC, SL, and DH all get revised bends to more closely mimic the 25.4mm versions.  The current bend will continue to be offered under the “MX” designation.

Easton’s road wheelsets all receive substantial revisions.  Last year’s Ascent II becomes the EA90 SLX, the Orion II transforms into the EA90 SL, and an all-new EC70 SL carbon clincher joins the Easton family.  All wheels receive a new R4 hubset, which abandons the long-standing dual-threaded T3 spoking system in favor of a more conventional straight-pull design.  Rear freehubs get an upgrade from 24 to 32 ratchet teeth for faster engagement, and larger diameter aluminum axles front and rear increase lateral rigidity and bearing durability. 

Zipp introduces premium Zedtech line

Mmm…. Blue anodizing.
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Riders seeking a more “personal” approach to carbon fiber wheelsets may find solace in Zipp’s new Zedtech line of premium hoops.  Six different rim profiles are included in the program, which includes dimpled hubs, 2:1 rear spoke lacing patterns, two hub anodization colors, and customizable rim graphics as standard options. 

From there, though, the sky’s the limit.  Zedtech “Ultimate” options include silicon nitride ceramic bearings, stiffer or lighter rim laminates, custom-anodized nipples, unique spoke lacing patterns, and custom-embroidered wheel bags. 

Zedtech wheels will command an approximate US$750 premium over the standard versions, not including any Ultimate upgrades, and each wheel will be handled by a single Zipp wheel technician from start to finish. 


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Image courtesy of Easton

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

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