Edited by John Stevenson
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Acqua&Sapone on Specialized bikes&equipment
Crank Brothers upgrades Egg Beater seals
SRAM X.0 Experience for first 2000 X.0 buyers
FOX offers shock seal mod
Another former GTer finds a berth
Bill Shook regains American Classic
Mountain Cycle sells up
OK, I admit I just couldn't resist another chance to use a pic of that, er, striking Acqua&Sapone kit. Team Cipo will be riding Specialized's S-Works E5 frames in 2002, as well as a swag of other S-brand gear: a new edition of the Turbo racing tire; SpeedZone computers; helmets; Body Geometry shoes and saddles; and even Specialized bottles and cages.
Specialized describes Team Cipo's frames as 'custom-sized', which implies something between a full custom job for each rider -- the traditional way top riders get their bikes -- and the approach of, say, Trek. US Postal rides stock-geometry frames because Trek's glued carbon fiber construction doesn't lend itself to customisation, but Specialized's welded frames should be customisable. We've asked Specialized for clarification.
The bikes also use Mavic wheels, Shimano Dura Ace groups, and 3T stems and bars.
And thanks to Specialized we now know what the heck was going on with the under-clad girls at the Acqua&Sapone launch. It was a parody, it seems, of the masked party in Stanley Kubrick movie 'Eyes Wide Shut' and Fidelio was the password Tom Cruise's character used to get into that party.
Now, if we wanted to be smart-asses we'd point out that if you're going to parody a film it's a good idea to parody one that people actually turned out to see, but on the other hand who'd want to see a bunch of semi-naked hobbits?
More pics from the Acqua&Sapone team launch
We've heard rumours of some Egg Beater owners experiencing less-than-great service life from the bearings in these pedals and it seems the guys at Crank Brothers have acknowledged the issue too. The most recent batch of Egg Beaters features upgraded seals to help keep out the muck and so preserve the bearings.
The new seals are able to be fitted to the original pedals, though our source at the Australian importer Dirt Works was unable to say whether or not this would be a free upgrade for owners of the original pedals. More details when we hear from Carl at Crank Brothers.
SRAM tells us that its ultralight X.0 nine-speed rear derailleur and shifter system will be in the shops March 1 and there's a substantial carrot for gear freaks and early-adopters to grab one of the first off the production line: the first 2000 buyers will be enrolled in the SRAM X.0 Experience.
X.0 Experience membership will entitle you to benefits at any of the eleven X.0 Experience events (five in the US, and six in Europe) including celebrity rides, a free bike tune up from SRAM's mechanics, free demo rides, much swag, and "behind the scenes access to SRAMdom."
The X.0 rear derailleur debuted in development form at last year's early season races and has been in testing ever since. It features a mixture of composite and metal construction for a total weight of under 200g for the short-cage version.
FOX Racing Shox has announced that the company has discovered a batch of 2002 Float rear shocks that are subject to slow air loss. FOX acknowledges that it received a shipment of air-sleeve seals made from an incorrect rubber compound and that these seals were used in a low percentage of 2002 Float shocks.
The questionable seal will hold air pressure while the bike is not being ridden but has the potential to slowly leak air while ridden. If you are experiencing this air-loss symptom, you should contact FOX for a free upgraded seal kit.
The kit will come with complete instructions on how to perform this 10-minute service. No special tools are required, according to FOX. In fact, the steps required to replace this seal are the same as the Air Sleeve Service listed under the General Maintenance section of the FOX Rear Shock Owner’s Manual and as a downloadable service video on the FOX website, www.foxracingshox.com
FOX feels very confident that this upgrade can be easily performed at the consumer or dealer level. However, if a consumer does not feel comfortable performing this service, they may send their shock to an Authorized FOX Service Center to receive this product upgrade free of charge.
Only a limited number of 2002 Float rear shocks are affected by this issue and only 2002 products are eligible for this free upgrade. You should contact FOX or its local importer if you are unsure of the model year of your shock. In the USA the number is 1-800-FOX-SHOX.
Pedal maker Speedplay has hired former Schwinn/GT product manager Mark Pippin as senior product development manager.
Bill Shook, founder of American Classic, one of the first US companies to make lightweight bike components, has regained ownership of the company he founded.
"It was a long haul, but well worth it," said Shook." My former partners weren't bike people and didn't have my vision for the company. They wanted to operate the business like we did years ago and that just doesn't fly in today's marketplace. When my partners refused to sell and refused to bring the business into the 21st century, I had to make a bold move to get their attention -- so I quit."
Shook started Bill Shook Designs and exhibited at Interbike, and three months later, he has his company back. "I am glad I am back in charge of American Classic and have everything under one roof here in Tampa so I can focus on designing and customer service."
Shook's latest designs include a splined bottom bracket, and a six-pawl cam actuated cassette hub.
Shortly before Christmas mountain bike manufacturer Mountain Cycles became part of Kinesis USA and the california-based company, including founder and chief designer Rob Reisinger, moved to Kinesis' Portland facility.
Mountain Cycles was one of the last of the innovative small companies that drove mountain bike technology in the boom years of the late eighties and early 90s. Reisinger is credited with the introduction of monocoque frames, modern disk brakes and upside-down forks to mountain biking, all ideas that had proven their worth in motorcycle design.
Reisinger announced that he was seeking an investor back in September, when the lease on the company's building expired and he was given 60 days to vacate. At the time, he said, "In the face of the tough financial burdens that a move puts on a company, I have decided to look for a substantial investor or buyer for Mountain Cycle; one that can put to use our frame manufacturing methodologies and equipment that we spent the past 10 years building up."
Reisinger thinks he's found such a partner in Kinesis USA, the American branch of one of Taiwan's biggest frame-building companies, and Kinesis USA's Chief Operating Officer Michael Nover agrees: "It should be a very synergistic relationship. We think we can help Mountain Cycle achieve the level of production it has been striving for all these years. It was hindered in the past by a lack of capital and a low economy of scale. We plan to help in both areas, giving the company a financial boost, and taking advantage of the fact that in ourUS facility we produce many more frames per year than Mountain Cycle, thus making us more efficient."
The bike industry has a history of mixed success when small innovative companies are acquired by larger ones. Keith Bontrager is still creating new components for Trek, and though his name no longer appears on bike frames his gusseted influence is obvious on many of Trek's welded frames. Schwinn, on the other hand, was never quite able to figure out what to do with Yeti founder and figurehead John Parker, and shortly after he sold Yeti, Parker left to return to working as a welder in Hollywood. The next few years will be interesting ones for Mountain Cycles, we suspect.