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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 24 - 28, 2007
Part 12: More bikes from the floors of the Sands Convention Center
By James Huang
Seven Cycles: more carbon, please!
Seven Cycles is undoubtedly best known for its work in titanium, but the Watertown, MA-based company is apparently no slouch when it comes to carbon fiber, either. In fact, the company pioneered bonded carbon fiber-and-titanium construction (and later carbon-and-steel) on its original Odonata frame roughly a decade ago so the glue is almost certainly well-embedded in its proverbial fingernails at this point.
Seven's latest Diamas, V-II, and Triad road models use its so-called 'A6 Carbon Technology Platform', which incorporates several assembly features and techniques designed to improve the overall frame quality and enhance bond durability which still allowing for a wide range of custom geometry. Molded-in standoffs and a precision-fit CNC-machined bond surface help ensure a consistent bond layer, and carefully textured bond surfaces provide an additional mechanical lock to the joint. Moreover, joints are designed to provide an extra-large bond surface area for increased rigidity, and surfaces are prepared only just before the actual bonding occurs to minimize the possibility of surface contamination.
The mating aluminum bits are similarly designed for reliability, such as the aluminum 'spool-shaped' bottom bracket shell which is not only lighter than an identical titanium part, but also purported to offer 50% greater bond area than a typical cylindrical sleeve. Additional details include a trick titanium chain stay protector, fully guided internal cable routing, and a head tube logo that's molded right into the tubes. Tasty.
Pacific Cycle goes 'cross-eyed for 2008
Todd Wells' team issue cyclocross bike is now available to the public (well, at least the frame anyway) in the form of GT's new Type CX. According to Pacific Cycle's Chris Holmes, the Type CX is "more of a pure 'cross race bike" and comes ready-to-race with Easton's EC70X fork, Vista SL wheelset, EA70 drop bars, and EA70 seatpost, along with Tektro's high-profile Euro-style cantilevers. Drivetrain components come courtesy of SRAM's Rival group and a Truvativ Rouleur crankset (with 'cross-specific 46/38T rings), and the total package still only retails for just US$1699.
Schwinn has similarly revamped its Fastback CX to be more of a 'cross-specific rig. A carbon-bladed fork damps trail imperfections while last year's compact crankset has been replaced with a standard version with more appropriate 48/39T gearing. Schwalbe's Racing Ralph tires help keep the Shimano 105/Tiagra transmission upright, while finishing kit is supplied by KORE and Ritchey. A reasonable US$1199 retail price definitely helps ease the cost of entry into 'cross as well, and Schwinn includes the neon green paint job at no extra charge.
Schwinn has updated its value-packed Peloton LTD as well, with a substantially lighter Black Label SL tubeset that utilizes higher-end carbon fibers and a unidirectional finish that does without the woven outer layer. Last year's Mavic Ksyrium's have also been replaced by the new R-SYS wheelset, and total weight (without pedals) is still right at the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg (15lb), all for just US$4299.
Pacific Cycle's Mongoose division has updated its top-end Canaan Team XC/Enduro bike to be lighter, stiffer, and stronger than the previous iteration. Changes include a milled-out Freedom Link (the little 'H'-shaped bit behind the bottom bracket) and relocated bearings to improve rigidity and serviceability, and the tweaked frame receives some additional gussets to help it pass Europe's stringent CEN product testing standards.
As was the case on previous versions, the Canaan Team continues to pack a range-topping list of componentry, including a NoTubes Olympic Disc wheelset, Fox F100 RLC fork and RP23 rear shock, and an Easton stem, seatpost, and carbon bar. SRAM also provides a full complement of stuff, including the Truvativ Noir carbon crankset, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, and X-0 trigger shifters and rear derailleur. Pricing remains unchanged at a still-stellar US$3000.
Jamis trims the fat and slices through the air
Jamis Bicycles launched its Xenith full-carbon road platform only last year but has wasted little time in making improvements. The new top-of-the-line Xenith SL frame now drops below the 900g mark through the use of refined lay-up schedules and higher-end carbon fibers, yet supposedly the new SL is also a better performer as well.
New internal bladders and selective use of silicone mandrels are said to yield higher compaction forces for an overall higher quality product, while an updated bottom bracket shell-chain stay interface and upsized seat tube and seatpost yield additional rigidity. As with the original Xenith, the new Xenith SL continues to use Jamis' size-specific tubing diameters and lay-up schedules to retain a consistent ride quality across the range.
New to the Xenith line for 2008 is the slippery T series, aimed squarely at the triathlon and time trial market. According to Jamis Product Manager Steven Fairchild, the new carbon fiber Xenith T frame supposedly posted one of the "lowest drag figures ever recorded" during a recent visit to San Diego's Low Speed Wind Tunnel facility.
The Xenith T's aero tricks include NACA airfoil-shaped tubing, a tightly tucked-in rear wheel, internal cable routing, and cleverly shrouded front and rear brake calipers. The latter apparently is one of the most critical features of the new design, as swapping to a standard fork and front brake increases drag by a reported 10%.
The top-end Xenith T2 is thoroughly stacked, with specifications that include Zipp 808 carbon tubular wheels, FSA's Neo Pro TT crankset, and an Easton Attack TT integrated aero bar, along with a SRAM 10-speed drivetrain. Claimed weight is just 7.6kg (16.75lb), and the suggested retail price is US$6300.
Jamis gives the carbon treatment to its workhorse Dakar cross-country mountain bike as well, with the introduction of the new Dakar XCR Team and Pro models. The new 100mm-travel modified single-pivot platform is expectedly lighter than the alloy versions, with frame and complete bike weights reported at 2.25kg (4.96lb), including shock, and 10.66kg (23.5lb), respectively. More importantly, though, the material change should also yield a significantly more rigid frame for snappier pedaling response and handling.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com