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Tech News March 7, 2003
Edited by Paul Mirtschin
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Cannondale goes back to work
Troubled US bike manufacturer Cannondale yesterday took a step toward a return to normality as production workers at the company's Bedford, Pennsylvania bike factory began a return to work, according to Cannondale spokesman Tom Armstrong.
Cannondale employees have worked sporadically over the last few weeks building bikes for Cannondale Europe, but yesterday's return of workers in fabrication departments such as parts preparation, welding, weld sanding, heat-treating and frame machining heralds a restoration of full production.
Over the course of this week, employees who work in departments such as finishing and assembly will return to work as frames move through Cannondale's production system. Cannondale anticipates that all the company's production workers will return to work by March 11.
The workers' return and continued cold weather across much of the U.S. are combining to minimize the effects on Cannondale dealers of the temporary factory shutdown, according to Cannondale's Scott Montgomery. "We're very, very excited to have full production coming back on-line," said Montgomery. "It's fortunate that we went into the factory shutdown with a good inventory of bikes. The fact that it's been such a cold winter has allowed that inventory to go quite a bit further than it otherwise might have, so by and large I think our dealers haven't been too affected by the shutdown."
Steel is real
Richard Sachs, the one man army behind Richard Sachs Cycles and sponsor of 2002 U.S. Cyclocross Elite National Champion Jonathan Page, likes to do things the old way. He selects the geometry, cuts and brazes the tubes, files the lugs, and does all the tasks necessary to complete the 8 to 10 frames he builds each month. So it was no surprise to get an email telling us all about the new lugs he has had made for his next run of bikes. The lugs will also be made available to other frame builders.
And if you love well made lugs, you might want a towel.
I will let Richard describe his lugs. "The design of the lugs is an evolved version of the detailed work I did on various frames built in the 1970s and 1980s, coupled with some shapes I have explored for the last 6-7 years. In addition to being spec'd for oversized tubes, the lower head lug has cast-in threaded bosses for modern gear systems. The upper head lug has a built in 14mm extension to better complement modern headset and stem dimensions. And the seat lug is just plain bitchin'!"
"The fork crown represents the first change to my flat crown shape since 1982. I widened the centrelines by 8mm and increased the pocket height by 6mm. The brake holes are pre-drilled and counter-bored, while a built-in lip exists to keep the steerer 'in place'. Newly added contours on the crown's shelf will help better position the headset race. Each pocket has a precision cast 'well' built in to receive decorative reinforcements - brazed in simultaneously with the fork blade - which will be supplied. Because the crown is hollow, these additions & revisions will not affect the overall weight."
Richard told Cyclingnews that the motherlode of parts will arrive next week so the completed frames won't start to appear for a little while yet, but he has promised us a look at the first frame off the stand. We can't wait.
Name that bike
K2 Bike's Code6Development Group has launched a contest to help name the new full suspension frame platform that is currently in process. The new frame will span the gap between the K2 Tirade and the K2 Razorback, and will feature 4"/5" of adjustable rear travel.
The lucky winner will receive K2 swag and a 2003 RockShox SID Team suspension fork, as well as the warm glow of naming a bike model range.
Contestants can enter as often as they like, and can check the site for updated postings of recently submitted names. Entries will be accepted until March 20th. www.k2bike.com for more details
Smash and Grab
GT Bicycles Southern California research and development centre was broken into on March 4 and a number of bikes were stolen. The thieves drove a vehicle through the rear door before driving off with six bikes, including a prototype i-Drive.
The bikes stolen were:
S-EXy cafe cruiser
"Guru" Gary Silva and the 3G Bikes team are about to release one of the stranger bikes to have passed the eyes of Cyclingnews for a while. Called the S-Rod, and to be distributed by Jaguar Sports Japan as the S-EX Type Jag, the S-Design, 4130 Chromoly full suspension frame will ship with a 9-speed Shimano Deore group, Rockshox Metro forks, a rear disc brake and Silva's Slicky-g tyres.
Based on a 1940's design, Silva said that he sketched out his version of it, handed the design to a fried who works in the aerospace industry and asked him to "test the shit out of it". Six versions later and Silva had the bike he wanted.
The bikes are expected to be ready in late April.
"The first 150 bikes will be numbered, and we will be selling the first 150 models directly from Taiwan" said Gary Silva.