Big and massive for an all-or-nothing effort
By James Huang in Sacramento, California
The bulbous shell houses
an integrated BB30 bottom bracket.
The matching KR1 fork uses
The OUCH team is running
a new set of fully sealed cables
SRAM-sponsored teams we
saw were finally running SRAM chains
A simple number holder
The spoke ends aren't anchored
within the sleek aluminum hub shell;
Floyd Landis has returned to the sport this season though the stage
on which he is competing isn't quite as grand as it was when he left.
Landis and his OUCH Pro Cycling Team squad are concentrating solely
on U.S. domestic events - not the European theatre he was once accustomed
to - with the Tour of California being his biggest show of the year
and his one shot at proving his mettle against some of the world's best
riders. Landis is sure to put in some massive efforts as the race winds
its way to the finish in Escondido and appears to be on an appropriate
machine for the job in the Kuota Kredo Ultra.
Kuota has earned a reputation for using enormously oversized tube sections
for extra frame rigidity and the Kredo Ultra's overgrown proportions
look to provide a suitably stout platform for putting down the power.
The front triangle is particularly overgrown starting with a bottom
bracket area that comes up nearly level with the large chainring. Integrated
BB30 bearings allow for a larger-diameter bottom bracket spindle than
usual, too, while also offering a generous amount of ankle clearance.
Kuota was an early adopter of tapered steerer tubes and naturally its
latest Kredo Ultra is suitably equipped. Though not quite as massive
as some, the 1 1/8" carbon steerer still flares out to a healthy 1 1/4"
at the crown and combine with the relatively deep fork blades for more
precise steering and surer braking. The broad top tube also works to
combat unwanted torsional flex but Kuota has at least given it a shallow
vertical profile and a slight bow for some rider comfort.
The theme continues with large-diameter asymmetrical chain stays: while
the driveside stay is relatively tall to resist upward movement and
narrow for clearance, the non-driveside is substantially broader to
keep twist in check. As was the case with the top tube, the seat stays
are relatively slender for a smoother ride. In spite of the generous
amount of surface area, thin tube walls keep the claimed weight to around
Unlike most top European teams, OUCH's title sponsorship from Maxxis
limits it to clincher tires. Thankfully, casing and rubber compound
technology has vastly improved in recent years such that the performance
differential in most situations is modest - if at all - and some studies
actually suggest they can offer lower rolling resistance than
tubulars since they tend to be more round.
The performance gap is also minimized by the matching Mavic Cosmic
Carbone SLR wheels whose 52mm section depth and bladed unidirectional
carbon spokes provide good all-around aerodynamic performance. On today's
wet stage into Santa Rosa, Landis will likely find more confident braking
in the aluminum rim, too. Carbon tubulars still hold a firm upper hand
in terms of weight, though, as the clincher setup still gives up at
least 500g in comparison.
Total weight for Landis' bike is a very good - but not great by pro
standards- 7.36kg (16.2lb) in light of the otherwise premium build.
SRAM provides Landis with a complete Red group, including its latest
BB30 crankset with a stiffer 'SPR'-edition outer chainring and updated
PC-1090R chain with stronger pins and extra grease. Ritchey handles
the cockpit components with its WCS aluminum bar, stem and 1-Bolt seatpost
- all in gloss white - while fi'zi:k takes care of the contact points
with its Arione Wing Flex saddle and grippy black tape.
As is the case with a whopping seven other teams in this year's race,
OUCH team bikes are fitted with Speedplay Zero pedals and Arundel provides
colored-to-match carbon cages.
Landis has already started this year's race on a bit of a sour note
after apparently crashing the day before the start of the race and posting
a 20-second deficit on the short 3.9km (2.4mi). Thankfully for him (or
not, depending on your perspective), there are still about 1200km (750mi)
to go and Landis will have ample opportunity to try and spoil the Astana
party. Allez, allez!
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here