Tech News March 14, 2007
Edited by James Huang
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LeMond Bicycles shatters 900g barrier with new Tęte de Course
LeMond Bicycles' new Tęte de Course
Photo ©: James Huang
LeMond Bicycles introduced its full-carbon
Triomphe line of frames at last year's Tour de Georgia and suggested
at the time that a lighter Triomphe Ultimate model would be coming later
in the season. That date was clearly pushed back a bit, but LeMond finally
made good on its word during the recent Tour of California with the introduction
of its new top-end Tęte de Course.
The Tęte de Course is built around the new Triomphe Ultimate frame, which
LeMond engineers say sheds a full 100g from the already light standard
Triomphe. Claimed weight for a 55cm frame (Greg LeMond's frame size, coincidentally)
is a fantastic 850g, including paint. The new frame carries over
the Min/Max design introduced last year in which the shape of the frame,
and the surface area of the frame's 'skin', is said to be optimized to
yield a sure-handling front end, a stiff bottom bracket and rear triangle,
as well as a compliant ride.
Lopping off 100g from a 950g frame is no easy feat, but the weight was
shaved in two ways. The new Triomphe Ultimate frame's shape has been pared
down a bit relative to the Triomphe in order to simply remove some material
volume. The top tube, down tube, seat stay yoke, and seat tube are all
slightly narrower, and there is less material immediately behind the bottom
bracket shell between the chain stays. The center of the head tube also
wears a slimmer profile, and aluminum has been replaced by carbon fiber
for the rear dropouts.
High-modulus carbon fiber chain
Photo ©: James Huang
In addition, stiffer high-modulus carbon fiber is used in the head tube,
down tube, seat tube (at the bottom bracket), and both chain stays, and
20° and 45° plies are used exclusively to maximize the efficient use of
the material. Other sections of the frame continue to use a medium-modulus
material in order to maintain impact strength (the standard Triomphe uses
HMC only in the down tube at the bottom bracket and in the chain stays).
On some initial test rides around Santa Rosa, CA (accompanied by Greg
LeMond himself), the new Triomphe Ultimate frame displayed largely the
same ride and handling characteristics of the standard Triomphe, indicating
that LeMond engineers made few, if any, performance sacrifices in developing
the new lightweight. The trimmer profile of the tubes would suggest a
slightly softer pedal response, but if that were the case, it was undetectable.
Drivetrain response was admirable during fast flat sections and steep
climbs, while the surefooted handling provided by the torsionally stiff
front end plus the surprisingly good vertical compliance were most welcome
on a particularly fast and twisty downhill that was littered with rough
pavement. Naturally, the superlight weight was a boon in just about every
situation, and our short-term 53cm test bike weighed exactly 6.8kg (15.0lb)
without pedals (LeMond advertises 6.85kg (15.1lb) for a 55cm model).
On an aside, SRAM continues to make inroads into the OEM componentry
spec world as the Tęte de Course will come equipped with the complete
Force group, complete with compact gearing. As expected, the rest of the
bike will be filled out with Bontrager items, including carbon fiber Aeolus
5.0 clincher wheels. The complete bike will carry retail price of US$6999
and will be available beginning June 1, 2007.
Continental introduces Black Chili tread compound
Smaller is apparently better!
Photo ©: Continental
The recent North American Handmade Bicycle Show was a bastion of tradition
and classic styling, but that didn't stop the folks from Continental from
showing off its new high-performance rubber compound dubbed Black Chili.
The new material incorporates rubber compound particles as small as 10nm
in diameter (otherwise known as 0.00000001m, or really, really, really
tiny), or roughly ten times smaller than what is typically used. Continental
claims that Black Chili delivers the ultimate combination of tire characteristics:
the smaller particles yield more points of contact with the road surface
(offering enhanced grip), are more tightly bound to each other (reducing
wear), and the resultant structure is more flexible (lowering rolling
Black Chili will find its way into both road and mountain tires, including
the Grand Prix 4000S (black tread only), Grand Prix Supersonic, Digga,
SpeedKing Supersonic, and Explorer Supersonic.
Saunier Duval-Prodir and Niki Gudex to ride Hutchinson tires
Saunier Duval-Prodir team riders
Photo ©: James Huang
Hutchinson announced earlier this month that it had signed both the Saunier
Duval-Prodir team and Australian mountain bike racer Niki Gudex to compete
on its tires for the 2007 season, both of whom also use framesets from
co-sponsor Scott Bicycles.
In addition to the Saunier Duval-Prodir ProTour squad, Hutchinson will
also sponsor two other French teams, the Pro Continental Agritubel team
and the Continental (UCI Europe) Roubaix Lille Metropole squad headed
by none other than Cyrille Guimard. Both will use Hutchinson's new Road
Tubeless system throughout the season.
In addition to being an accomplished XC racer, Gudex is also an active
model and graphic designer. She will compete at a diverse range of events
this year including the upcoming Sea Otter Classic and various endurance
races in her native Australia, while utilizing a new line of XC tires
that Hutchinson plans to launch next month on Monterey.
"We saw an opportunity to get behind a great team and a great rider"
said Adam Micklin, Hutchinson Tires North American Manager. "Aligning
with Scott Bicycles in the sponsorship arena is a sure way to build momentum
and we look forward to joining forces on a number of other projects in
the coming months."
First Endurance tests new products at Tour of California
First Endurance tested
Photo ©: First Endurance
Gerolsteiner and Priority Health riders at the Tour of California were
fueling up with a new prototype 'liquid shot' from their nutrition sponsor,
First Endurance. The liquid shot is said to contain 150 calories, 720mg
of electrolytes, and 1000mg of amino acids per serving, and is also claimed
to be all-natural and preservative-free.
Sponsored riders were also testing a new Pre-Race drink mix that contained
an interesting combination of taurine, quercetin, and a "proprietary neuro-stimulant
blend", all of which are said to offer the heady claims of increased mental
stamina, time to exhaustion, maximum workload, mental clarity, and muscle
Both products are scheduled to be released around mid-2007.
Almost Famous: Gaerne organizes 'Ride of Fame' in Italy with Evans and
Gaerne Ride of Famers stop in front
of Maser's famed Villa Barbaro
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
Approximately thirty cyclists, journalists and friends assembled at the
Gaerne shoe factory in Coste di Maser, Italy on a bright, sunny winter
morning late last month for a "Ride of Fame." Inspired by a trip to Hollywood,
Gaerne's Marta Gazzola told Cyclingnews, "When you are at the Walk of
Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, you kind of get a feeling you are with the
most famous actors and actresses of all time. So we were inspired to give
cycling fans and journalists an opportunity to tour the beautiful Italian
countryside around our factory with two of the most famous Gaerne cyclists
of the world, Australian Cadel Evans of Predictor-Lotto and Junior World
Champion Diego Ulissi."
Evans is a new signing for Gaerne and he and Ulissi were sporting their
sponsor's new G.Air road shoes. Gazzola explained that "our entire new
range of cycling shoes for 2007 has a completely new look and great technical
features." The company clearly prioritized a snug, secure fit as the new
uppers incorporate its new aluminum ratcheting buckle, an Adjustable Instep
Closure System that offers a more customizable feel across the top of
the foot, the Safety Lock Strap System to prevent loosening across the
forefoot, and a polyurethane 'cage' surrounding the heel to combat lift.
Both full carbon fibre as well as nylon soles are available. TM
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Smaller is apparently better!
The tiny particles of Continental's new Black Chili compound (in yellow) are said to offer increased grip, better wear, and faster rolling than more standard-sized particles (in red).