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Tech News – April 27, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

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IRD goes back to the future with alloy cluster

IRD alloy cluster

When I first got seriously into cycling, back in the mid-eighties, one component lusted after by my friends who raced on the road was a 'dural block' - Brit-speak for an aluminium freewheel and sprocket cluster. Freewheels of the day were pretty hefty steel affairs that screwed on to the rear hub, and about the only way to save weight in the area was to replace as much steel as possible with aluminium, and put up with the resulting dent in the bank balance.

Since then, Shimano and Campagnolo have lightened their clusters with aluminium carriers for the sprockets and even titanium sprocket teeth, but for ultimate weight-weenie pleasure, there's still no substitute for aluminium. Interloc Racing Design (IRD) knows this and its latest offering is an upgraded version of its 11-32 aluminium cluster for cross-country mountain bike racers, featuring a hard anodized coating instead of the previous Teflon.

The largest seven sprockets are machined in one piece from 7075 aluminium, while the top two sprockets are steel. IRD claims a weight of 135g (Shimano says its XTR 11-32 cluster is 240g). While the sprockets isn't the first place you'd look to save weight on a mountain bike, it's somewhere you'll get to eventually if you're on a quest for a wow-how-light-is-that XC set-up. When you reach this place, IRD's cluster will cost you US$298.99.

More info: www.interlocracing.com

Oval RBT faceplate

Oval turns the bolts

Oval R700 stem

It's hardly an world-changing innovation, but we like the looks of Oval Concepts' latest handlebar stems. Instead of pointing the face plate bolt heads out into the big wide world, Oval has turned round the bolt and threads arrangement, so that the face plate presents a smooth aspect.

Oval claims the design, dubbed RBT for Reverse Bolt Technology, is stiffer than a conventional set-up because of its four-bolt, 43mm wide clamp and is also stronger in fatigue, giving a two to three times longer life in German DIN Plus fatigue tests. A definite practical advantage is that you need only replace the face plate if you strip a thread, and Oval offers a carbon plate with titanium bolts as a hop-up for weight weenies.

All Oval's stems use RBT, including the top model, $79 R700.

More info: www.ovalconcepts.com

Fizik's Giro edition Ariones

Giro team replicas from Fi'zi:k

In celebration of the imminent Giro d'Italia, Italian saddle make Fi'zi:k is making available team replica versions of its top-end Arione saddle in the colours of the three teams that will be using its saddles in the Giro: Saeco, Alessio-Bianchi and Vini Caldirola.

Fi'zi:k says its last batch of limited-edition Ariones, 650 world championship saddles released to commemorate Igor Astarloa's world's win in Canada last year, sold out in three days, and expect similar demand for these Giro models, one of which will set you back US$139.

More info: www.fizik.it


Camelbak camouflages MULE

Worried that you're too easy to spot out on the trails? Drinking system maker Camelbak has the solution in the latest version of its popular MULE backpack, now available in camouflage pattern. The MULE comes with a three liter water bladder and 4.9 litres of additional storage space.

More info: www.camelbak.com



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