Straightforward workhorse for US powerhouse
By James Huang
Standard top tube routing
keeps the cables out of the way.
Shimano XTR pedals are
a staple of the 'cross circuit
The minimal Selle Italia
Gould's cables are sealed
in between the housing stops
Georgia Gould's Orbea Lobular Cross bike may not be quite as fancy
as the Alma hardtail on which she campaigns the cross-country mountain
bike season but she wields the lesser weapon with just as much potency.
The 28-year-old Fort Collins, Colorado resident won four out of six
rounds of the 2007 USGP series (she finished second in the other two)
and took home the overall title as a result. She then even qualified
to represent the United States at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships
last season but declined the invitation in order to focus on the mountain
bike event at the Olympics.
In contrast to the Alma's all-carbon construction, Gould's Lobular
frame is a relatively straightforward all-aluminum construct TIG-welded
from 6000-series tubing. However, Orbea says the lobed cross-sections
lend more lateral stiffness and comfort than more common round or oval
shapes - key attributes for any 'cross rig - and the proprietary heat
treatment process provides more strength and durability than usual.
Light weight is also a major concern, however, and the Lobular is easily
within the ballpark of other top offerings. Claimed frame weight is
approximately 1400g and Gould's complete bike weighs in at a competitive
More weight could have been saved with tubular wheels and tires but
as team sponsor Maxxis only produces clinchers, Gould's bike is fitted
with standard carbon-spoked R-SYS wheels from Mavic with aluminum hook-beaded
rims. Plenty of other bits are decidedly feathery, though, including
the carbon fiber Easton EC90 seatpost, EC90 Equipe SL handlebar, and
EC90X 'cross fork, and forged aluminum EA90 stem, all of which are among
the lightest in their respective categories.
Gould adheres to the single-chainring school of thought and opted for
a single 42T chainring setup for both rounds of the Boulder Cup in spite
of the second day's significant dose of climbing. An aluminum outer
guard and N-Gear Jump Stop keep the chain reliably in place and the
standard Dura-Ace STI Dual Control left-hand lever has been swapped
in favor of a more basic BR-600 brake lever from Shimano.
The Dura-Ace label also graces the right-hand lever, rear derailleur,
chain and wide-range 12-27T cassette but another non-group substitution
comes with the BR-R550 cantilever brakes. SPD pedals are borrowed from
Shimano's XTR group.
This formula may strike some as a bit boring as compared to some of
the carbon fiber wunderbikes out there but history has shown it to work
in the past regardless. Based on this past weekend's performance where
Gould took home back-to-back victories, it is apparently still working
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