Home  Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Tech News – March 14, 2007

Edited by James Huang

Got tech? Send press releases, news, and tech questions to the Cyclingnews tech desk.

LeMond Bicycles shatters 900g barrier with new Tęte de Course

LeMond Bicycles' new Tęte de Course
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

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 The center of the head tube also wears a slimmer profile, and aluminum has been replaced by carbon fiber for the rear dropouts.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 stays
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

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
(Click for larger image)

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 resistance).

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
(Click for larger image)

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
(Click for larger image)

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 oxygenation.

Both products are scheduled to be released around mid-2007.

Almost Famous: Gaerne organizes 'Ride of Fame' in Italy with Evans and Ulissi

Gaerne Ride of Famers stop in front of Maser's famed Villa Barbaro
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
(Click for larger image)

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

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Continental

  • 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).

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by First Endurance

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com