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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 24 - 28, 2007
Part 2 - September 25: It's cyclo-cross time!
By James Huang in Boulder City, NV
The Interbike OutDoor Demo wrapped up today in Boulder City, NV. The new venue definitely provided a more inviting and open atmosphere (you could actually walk through the aisles without fear of getting run over by a demo bike), but even liberal fresh pavement and artful landscaping couldn't keep the dust at bay.
Nevertheless, 'cross bikes are already a-flowin' at this year's show, which seemed particularly appropriate given the upcoming Cross Vegas race to be held tomorrow night. The inaugural event has already landed a star-studded start list, too, with top male riders to include Jonathan Page (Sunweb-Projob), Ryan Trebon (Kona), Tim Johnson (Cannondale), and Barry Wicks (Kona), and female riders Katie Compton (Spike), Georgia Gould (Luna Chix), and Katerina Nash (Luna Chix). Be sure to check back with us later tonight to see how things played out over the barriers of Las Vegas! Litespeed debuts latest 'cross machine
Litespeed's new CX model looked ready to race with its Geometrically Enhanced Tubeset and clean lines. Large-diameter diamond-shape profiles are used at both ends of the down tube and at the front end of the top tube, and the S-bend stays incorporate a tidy brake cable hanger up top. As usual, the welds were impeccably neat and clean.
The particular CX we spotted actually belonged to Team Maxxis mechanic Adam McGrath, who had it intelligently built up with Easton's EC90X fork, Dura-Ace componentry (including a single Rotor Q-Ring), an Easton Orion II wheelset, and Paul Touring cantilevers. Still think titanium is dead? McGrath's machine was well under 7.7kg (17lbs), and could have easily been lighter with a swap to carbon tubulars. Bam!
Jamis Supernova lightens up
Jamis' Jesse Anthony will head to Cross Vegas aboard an updated Jamis Supernova built with a Kinesium aluminum tubeset and new lighter chain stays that shed 50g from last year's model. A flattened top tube is easier on the shoulder, and the front end is still graced with Easton's capable all-carbon EC90X fork.
For 2008, Jamis is equipping its top-end Supernova Team with SRAM's highly competitive Rival group, which offers nearly all of the performance benefits of Force but with just a marginal weight increase and much-improved pricing structure. The stock machine will be fully race-ready yet will command just US$1850 at the cash register.
Xpedo Twins pedals offer jump-and-go engagement
Xpedo is decidedly more of a fringe player when it comes to clipless pedals, but its new Twins model looks particularly appealing with its dual-hinged engagement mechanism. Those of you who remember Shimano's original M737 pedals likely remember their uncannily easy step-and-go engagement procedure. There was no 'toe first' entry required, since both the front and rear jaws could pivot open to accept the cleat from nearly any angle.
The new Xpedo Twins model can be set up as a conventional clipless pedal with just the movable rear jaw, but we're not sure why you'd want to do that since they can also be configured with movable front and rear jaws, possibly making it among the easiest pedals to re-engage after a quick remount in a slippery barrier section.
The Twins pedal is offered in a variety of flavors, with the top model offering triple cartridge bearings and a titanium spindle. Stay tuned for an upcoming long-term test on these, folks.
Cannondale expands 29er lineup
Okay, so it's not a 'cross bike, but this still strikes us as newsworthy anyway. After a successful foray into the big-wheeled market in 2007 with its mid-level Caffeine 29'er, Cannondale beefs up its 2008 29” line with four new models. Among the 140 bikes offered in Cannondale's OutDoor Demo fleet was the top-of-the-line 29'er 1, which uses the same frame as last year's Caffeine (which was already quite good) but brings a slightly higher end component group and the highly droolable Lefty Speed Carbon SL fork. Components include SRAM X-9 trigger shifters and rear derailleur, Avid Juicy 7 brakes, and WTB Laserdisc Trail FR wheels.
After spending some time on last years Caffeine 29'er, the '08 improvements were easily noticeable on the trail, especially in regards to the lighter weight. In spite of the rigid aluminum hardtail frame, the 29” wheels delivered a surprisingly comfortable and predictable ride over the rocky singletrack at Bootleg Canyon. The unconventional Lefty fork still takes some getting used to, but the superb ride quality is well worth the adjustment period. Suggested retail pricing for the 29'er 1 is set at US$2499.
Last year's Caffeine 29'er transforms into the 29'er 2, albeit with a new flame paint scheme. The more reasonable component spec for the 2 centers around the Lefty Speed Bonded DLR2 fork, SRAM X-5 trigger shifters, X-7 rear derailleur and WTB Speed Disc rims, and brings the suggested retail price down to just $1699.
For those of you who still have trouble changing gears (or just don't like them) Cannondale also will add the 29'er 3 singlespeed. Suspension duties are handled by the Lefty Speed Bonded DLR2 fork; braking is handled by the Avid BB5 mechanical discs, wheels are the WTB Dual Duty FR, and cranks are Truvativ Firex SS. Retail price for the 29'er 3 is $1599. /JD
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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com