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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 22-26, 2008
Part 10 - September 30, 2008: Hitting pay dirt in Las Vegas
By James Huang
Rocky Mountain revisits hardtail roots
Rocky Mountain arguably made its name with racing hardtails and now brings a carbon platform to the range with the Vertex RSL.
Not surprisingly, Rocky Mountain's goals for its premium race bike were stiffness and weight. While we don't have official weight figures just yet (though it's apparently the company's lightest frame to date), the stiffness claims seem well founded with the pronounced lateral ribbing throughout, heavily reinforced seat cluster and enormous down tube.
Details include a stainless steel chainsuck guard, continuous seat stay/chain stay assemblies that are hollow throughout (even at the dropout), and a new direct-mount front derailleur that allows for more material around the bottom bracket shell. In typical Rocky Mountain fashion, the dropped top tube offers plenty of standover clearance.
Rocky Mountain will offer the Vertex RSL as a complete bike in two men's and one women's model plus a frame-only Vertex Team that uses higher modulus carbon fibers. All of the Vertex models are slated to be available this January.
New on the road side is a carbon fiber time trial bike called the Solo 90 SST. Though it's Rocky Mountain's first foray into the aerodynamic arena, the usual array of currently hot technologies are still included such as the shielded rear wheel, dropped down tube, two-position seatpost and internal cable routing.
Ellsworth reaches for lower price point
Ellsworth hopes to tap into new markets with a new, lower-priced full-suspension rig called the Glimpse. Unlike the rest of the Ellsworth line which will continue to be US-made, the Glimpse will be built overseas but the upside is that complete bikes with Shimano SLX will go for as little as US$3,299.
Rear travel is set at 130mm (5") and Ellsworth's excellent ICT (Instant Center Tracking) design will be faithfully maintained to retain the company's trademark pedaling performance. Slightly less fancy rockers will be used, though, and all Glimpse frames will be powdercoated, not anodized. As a result, quoted frame weights are said to be just a bit higher than the current Epiphany.
Remember that ultra-stylish Ride cruiser? Well, Ellsworth not only keeps it in the lineup but builds on it with two new Rides: a seemingly over-the-top Ride 2 tandem and a commuter-oriented Ride 3. The Ride 3 will be available with either a NuVinci CVP or traditional three-speed internal hub and will offer the now-familiar Ride look but in a more utilitarian format. Geometry is based on the Evolve 29" mountain bike.
Commuter-friendly details include a chain guard, front and rear fenders, cable-actuated disc brakes, 700c wheels and yes, even a custom kickstand. Anyone up for some errands?
Ellsworth will also expand its charity efforts after successfully launching its Project Pink initiative in 2006 to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. The new Project Rainforest will offer the same terms as Project Pink: for no upcharge, customers can opt for a special green anodized finish complete with a laser-etched tree frog on the top tube on any Ellsworth frame (the new Glimpse excepted with its powdercoated finish). In return, Ellsworth will donate US$50 to a rainforest charity that is still to be determined.
Intense introduces dirt jump model
Intense has long fielded requests for a dirt jumper but never pulled the trigger on the project given the prohibitive cost of producing it domestically. For 2009, Intense will finally yield to demand with an overseas-made frame that will retail for just US$700.
Though it won't be built by the usual Intense hands, the new model bears familiar design cues such as the burly reinforced 1.5" head tube and monocoque top tube. The rear triangle is expectedly tucked-in and both the chain stays and seat stays are appropriately oversized.
Intense's Uzzi will get a second-generation VPP suspension system similar to what was launched at Sea Otter this year on the new Tracer. Among the claimed improvements are reduced chain stay growth (thus reducing pedal feedback), better pedaling performance and more usable travel. Rear wheel travel is adjustable between 170-190mm (6.75-7.5").
The Uzzi is decidedly more heavy-duty than the Tracer, however, with its more aggressive reinforcing throughout and though it offers more travel than the current SS Slopestyle, it's clearly more pedaling-friendly with its more traditional geometry.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com