Tech news for January 9, 2001

Welcome to's tech update, a semi-regular section where we'll keep you informed of tech and product developments, post reader tech tips and queries and generally geek out on new stuff.

John Stevenson, cyclingnews' official technoweenie, can be contacted here:

Cannondale announces dual suspension XC rig

Cannondale's new XC duallie with EPO rear suspension
Cannondale has announced a new cross-country dual suspension race bike which will be unveiled at Sea Otter in March and will be used by the Cannondale team for most races this year. Because of "patent concerns" the company is being extremely cagey about the actual design of the suspension, and the few available images have a sheet-of-rippled-glass effect over the business end.

About all you can easily tell is that the shock mounts vertically and the front triangle is very standard so the bike can be slung over your shoulder and carried, or "portaged" as it's known. (Great mysteries of our time #754: how did "portage" start to get used instead of the clear and simple word "carry"? We blame MBA.)

Cannondale's press release says the bike will have 2.5in of rear suspension travel, bringing it in line with other XC racing duallies like the Trek Fuel. Quite why that's been settled on as the right amount is anyone's guess, though it's a relatively straightforward amount of travel to create without too much extra weight or effect from pedaling. And speaking of weight, Cannondale is claiming the bike will weigh 23lbs, another number that's attainable without too much difficulty, though it'll be impressive if it's attained with the target spec of disk brakes and tubeless tyres.

Cannondale's TLA for the rear suspension design is EPO, and setting aside the slight tastelessness of the name (will the bike kill Dutch road racers in their sleep, we wonder), we wonder if the secrecy is warranted or just hype. Cannondale's PR honch Tom Armstrong is apparently even refusing to reveal what the initials stand for because that might give the game away. Either Cannondale have come up with something genuinely new, or we're seeing the company's mastery of marketing in action. If the latter, it's working - here we are three hundred words and a pic into wibbling on about it!

Cannondale says the bike will be officially unveiled March 19 at Sea Otter, and available in shops in May. Since this bike looks like it will actually happen, we won't add the bit of bike industry waggery that greeted the infamous Cannondale/Pong vaporware bike of a few years ago: "What year?"

Avid mechanical disk brake clarification

A few weeks ago various tech and trade websites carried a warning that mechanics should be careful about how they adjust Avid's mechanical disk brake. Avid had issued a warning that a common way of setting up brakes posed a danger of weakening or breaking the caliper, leading to the potential for a nasty accident.

The way this was reported in some quarters made it sound as if Avid was warning against squeezing the lever hard at all, which of course would be rather silly. A brake that can't stand a good yank on the lever is a bit less than a brilliant idea, after all.

In fact, Avid was warning against a very specific procedure. What you should not do with an Avid mechanical disk brake is adjust the caliper so the pads are against the rotor, then heave on the lever. A similar procedure is standard for bedding in cables on rim brakes, but Avid insists it's unnecessary for these disks and stresses the caliper unreasonably. As Avid Ed Kuh of Avid put it in an email to "The bottom line is, technicians shouldn't try stretching the cables when the pads are tightened against the rotor, when the lever is at rest. In fact, they really don't need to pre-stretch the cable in the first place."