Tech news for September 25, 2001

By John Stevenson

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

2002 Campagnolo
New Giants
Cannondale gets 'bent
DT Shocks
Kreitler & White Bros
Salsa recall
Orbea

Index to tech updates

2002 Campagnolo

New and not so

After we featured Campagnolo's Eurus wheels in our Eurobike report a couple of weeks ago, we got a note from Arthur Anderson in Australia, who says he's been building similar wheels from standard components since 1999. He adds "As this wheel uses standard, off the shelf parts, so I was surprised to see Campag use it, as they have the ability to manufacture specific hubs for smarter designs (as with Rolf and Mavic)."

As it happens the Record-level Eurus is the top of a trio of wheels that use what Campagnolo calls the G3 System, and they do use dedicated hubs. The Eurus will weigh a claimed 1,550g per pair, while the Zonda G3 uses Centaur class hubs (2001's Daytona) and is claimed to come in at 1,660g per pair. Finally, the 1,830g/pair Scirocco has hubs derived from the Veloce rear and 1998 Chorus front. All three tale clincher tyres and have optional Shimano-compatible freehub body.

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Wheels of carbon
Photo: © Campagnolo
Topping Campagnolo's wheel offerings for 2002, though, is the Hyperon, with carbon fiber rims and hubshells and a claimed gram count of a mere 1,200g. The Hyperon pair features an offset rear rim, and needs special brake pads to grab the raw carbon brake surface. Campagnolo fansite Campy Only notes that someone at Campagnolo neeeds to do Nuclear Physics 101: Hyperons are the heaviest class of subatomic particles, so it's a slightly silly name for your lightest wheels when you also have Neutron (formerly Nucleon) and Proton in the range. Nevertheless, we're sure Hyperon will be popular with affluent weight-freaksand drooled after by the rest of us.

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More carbon
Photo: © Campagnolo
The folks at Campy Only also note the Big C's introduction of a carbon fiber Record crank, and that part has now appeared on Campagnolo's website along with all the 2002 gear. Clamed weight is 500g (against 632g for regular Record). Rumoured price: around US$700, a heck of a whack to the wallet to drop five ounces.

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Campy on a budget
Photo: © Campagnolo
Also new from Campagnolo for 2002 is Xenon, a complete new group for lower-end bikes, though once again it's an old name Campag made a Xenon group in 1991. This incarnation of Xenon has steel chainrings, composite rear derailleur body, and black satin-finished brakes. Campagnolo says Xenon is for young racers just getting started. The family that Campagnolos together, stays together.

More information: Campagnolo's website

New Giants

Standing on the shoulders

We've just had a sneak peak at 2002's Giant bikes, courtesy of the good folks at Giant USA and Giant Australia, and pretty darn tasty they are too.

For starters, there's an addition to the TCR line-up of road racing bikes. The core range still descends from the Campagnolo Record-equipped Team down to the Shimano 105-clad TCR2, but coming in very fast from leftfield is the TCR Aero. With elliptical tubes and tri bars, it's intended for time trials and triathlons.

Campagnolo Centaur

If you have a long memory you might be as surprised as we are to see Campagnolo resurrecting the Centaur name. The mountain bike group that originally carried that tag was not Campagnolo's finest hour. It featured a full grip twist shifter changed gear pretty much every time you pulled up on the bars; massive, heavy U-brakes just as the mountain bike world was moving to narrow cantilevers; the longest brake levers ever seen; and a general severe excess of metal that made it substantially heavier than its Shimano competition. The final nail in its coffin was that even when Campagnolo slimmed down the weight and produced some lovely thumbshifters to drive it, Shimano's rear derailleur still worked better. It wasn't unusual to see Campag-sponsored mountain bike racers using Shimano rear derailleurs with the name carefully sanded off. Campagnolo eventually got it together with the Record OR group in about 1992; it featured sensible weights, great looks and it worked well, but it was too little, too late and mountain bike components quietly faded from the Campagnolo line-up.

The OCR range also grows. Last year, these bikes used very similar frames to the TCRs, and were 'recreationalised' mostly with triple chainsets. For 2002 these bikes have longer wheelbase, shallower angles and a longer head tube, plus space in the frame for fatter tyres. It's a stretch to call these touring bikes, but it's a good bet they'll be popular for long-distance events, club rides, centuries, Audax and the like. All five bikes have triple chainsets, from the Dura Ace equipped OCR Elite 0 down to the OCR 3 which has Shimano Sora parts. One intriguing piece of spec is the group on the OCR Elite 1. Not Shimano Ultegra as you might expect, but Campagnolo Centaur, a group name not seen since Campagnolo's rather disastrous attempt to break into the mountain bike market in 89-91 (see sidebar, right). However, this Centaur is basically the 2001 Daytona group under another name, in this case in a 9x3 configuration.

As the world's biggest maker of decent-quality bikes, Giant can be expected to have its finger fairly well on the pulse, so an expansion of its road range to ten bikes is a strong sign of the health of the sector and the growing rebirth of interest in road cycling.

In the dirt, Giant splits its offerings into a number of ranges. There's the inevitable pair of gravity sleds for downhill racers, the DH team and DH Comp, and no doubt these will appeal as ever to weekend warriors who don't want to pay Intense or FOES prices to bash down a mountainside.

For those of us with a more normal ratio of brain-to-gonad size, the range hasn't changed hugely. New kid on the block among the XtC SE hardtails and NRS and AC suspension models is the AC Air Lite. Last year's AC Air got rave notes for its combination of do-everything 'freeride' setup and sane weight, so a lighter version with a RockShox Psylo SL fork was almost inevitable. You could say that this is a refined version of the original AC Air, and the 2002 AC Air with a Manitou Black Elite fork and Shimano LX/XT components is the real new model. Either way you look at it, you now have two to choose from.

More information: Giant's website

Cannondale gets bent

Sit back and think of Pennsylvania

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Easy chair on wheels
Photo: © Cannondale
One of the less well-kept secrets in the bike industry in the last few months, in unconventional bike circles at least, is that Cannondale was working on a recumbent. Confirming the rumours, Cannondale has acknowledged that a lie-back-and-be-counted bike is indeed in the offing, and here it is.

As you'd expect, it's welded from 6061 aluminium. According to Cannondale, the 'bent is the creation of Cannondale designer Chris Dodman, a Brit who has been building, riding and racing recumbents since 1988.

However, unless things have changed dramatically since I was last there in 1998, Cannondale's claim that in the UK recumbents "enjoy a level of popularity that is unmatched in the U.S." needs salting. The UK's not short of out-of-the-box thinkers, but the streets are hardly full of recumbents.

Nevertheless, Cannondale says this bike is aimed at "cyclists who traditionally have opted for hybrids or comfort bikes." Makes sense to us at Cyclingnews. With luck, they'll give one a try for the comfort factor, get hooked and move on up to a proper bike.

More information: Cannondale's website

Snippets

DT Shocks

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Shocking.
Photo: © DT Swiss

Comfortably reclining on a bed of best Swiss limestone, this is the unexpected but distinctly competent-looking new shock from DT Swiss that we mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

First samples are expected to be in the hands of OEMs and importers after the Interbike show at the beginning of October, and DT plans actual production in February.

More information: DT's website

Kreitler & White Bros acquired

Eko Sport, manufacturer of the popular Englund Total Air cartridges (a spring and damper replacement for many models of mountain bike fork) has bought Al Kreitler Custom Rollers and the White Bros line of mountain bike suspension forks.

White Bros wants to concentrate on the motorbike side of its business, according to a report on the website of US trade bible Bicycle Retailer, while Kreitler has been for sale since the death of company's principal, Al Kreitler in July

More information: Kreitler's website     White Bros' website

Salsa recalls rims

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Salsa Alto recalled
Photo: © Salsa Cycles
Salsa Cycles is recalling their Alto disc-brake specific rim. 466 rims are affected by the recall. A faulty extrusion in the manufacturing process could cause the rim to fail causing a loss of control of the bicycle, which could result in injury or death.

The Salsa Alto Disc rim is a black mountain bike rim with a 543 ERD made in 32 and 36 hole models. It is a disc-brake specific rim. The rim is labeled "Salsa Alto" in yellow, red, and white. The rim also has large "Salsa" decals on the side.

Salsa Alto rims were sold by Quality Bicycle Products and other distributors to retail bike shops across the United States. The rims were sold from January 26, 2001 to September 6, 2001.

Consumers are asked to stop using the product. Consumers are then directed to contact the retail bike shop from which they purchased the rim to facilitate the recall replacement. Bike Shops can then secure a return merchandise number. Salsa will either credit the purchasing retail bike shop for the rim or provide a replacement rim or wheel depending on whether or not a rim or wheel was originally purchased. Salsa can be reached at their Alto Recall Hotline 877-887-2572, faxed at 877-337-2572, or by e-mail at pman@salsacycles.com. Their address is 6400 West 105 the Street, Bloomington, MN

More information: Salsa's website

Orbea Rave

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Extebarria's Orbea
Photo: © Orbea

Our mention of Orbea in the second Eurobike show report, brought this rave from Andy at the UK Orbea importer Prendas Ciclismo. We wouldn't normally run such a blatant plug, but when someone's this enthusiastic, we get all soft-hearted.

"Just read your comments about Orbea bikes from the recent show. I've attached a pic that might interest you – David Etxebarria's bike. We are the UK dealer for Orbea bikes and we have received great reports from everyone who's bought an Orbea from us. Mick here has one the same as your picture and says it's the best bike he's ever ridden. Considering the Italian exotica he's had in the past that's no mean boast!

"We love the way the customer can specify which tubing/forks/groupset etc they want, even down to choosing the colour and whether sloping or standard top tube. All hand made in Spain within 4 weeks with a lifetime warranty. The first one we sold was the Altec 2+ tubing with carbon rear stays and full carbon Time forks. The guy wanted Euskaltel colours (which is semi-metallic when seen up close – you really do need those shades!) but no Euskaltel logos so it would match his club kit and his name on the top tube. This was done with no problems from Orbea. Comparing prices on this model with equivalents – Pinarello Prince £1499.00 – Orbea just mentioned £720.00!

"At the moment I'm having to dodge the cabs as my bike isn't arriving until Tuesday next week, then it will be cap on backwards with peak turned up and shades on!"

More information: Orbea's website