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Go Russ, Go!
By Anthony Tan
Reminiscent of Maggie Bäckstedt's winning ride at the 2004 Paris-Roubaix, Benaroya Research Institute rider Russell Stevenson took a second consecutive Washington State 'cross championship aboard his Bianchi Cross Concept just over a week ago in the style of the Swedish strongman.
A aluminium/carbon composite, Stevenson's Bianchi uses Easton's top-shelf Scandium 7000 series aluminium for the main triangle, bonded to a carbon rear and joined with a 1' 1/8" carbon fork (alloy steerer) up front. Available in six frame sizes, Russ' mostly celeste coloured frame measures 57cm centre-to-top and has an effective top tube dimension of the same length, but measured centre-to-centre to keep things confusing.
Also interesting - and thoughtful - is the shape of the top tube. Ovalised at the head tube before morphing to a square at the seat tube join, Bianchi have done this specifically for shouldering one's steed over the barriers... or anytime you feel like carrying rather than riding your bike!
The group is mostly Shimano, but quite a mixture. Beginning at the cockpit with Dura-Ace 9 speed levers, moving our way down to the Ultegra front and rear derailleurs and 12-25 cassette that runs on a Sachs chain, and ending with a touch of MTB; Shimano's XT cantilever brakes both front and rear, swapped with Cool Stop pads. The rest is equally eclectic: from the Salsa Poco anatomic bar to the Profile Hammer stem; to FSA's carbon team issue cranks with Crank Brothers' Egg Beaters Triple Ti pedals; to the Bianchi carbon post clamped to Fizik's Aliante saddle.
Consistent with the rest of his tried but true accessories, Stevenson's stuck with an oldie but a goodie for his race hoops: a pair of hand-built Mavic Open Pro CD Ceramic 28-hole rims on Shimano's no-nonsense Dura-Ace hubs. Rubber is courtesy of Michelin, with Russ favouring the French firm's Mud2 tyres both front and rear.
Should Russ ever get sick of the mud, Bianchi claim the Cross Concept to be road ready in an instant: a quick tyre-swap and away you go!
Images by Hyun Lee
Frame: 2005 Bianchi Cross Concept, 57 cm model
Cranks: FSA Carbon Team Issue 172.5, 172.5mm, 39/46T
Rim: Mavic Open Pro CD Ceramic 28H clincher
Stem: Profile Hammer, 10 cm
Pedals: Crank Brothers Egg Beaters Triple Ti