Tech news for January 25, 2002

Edited by John Stevenson

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More on Acqua&Sapone's Specializeds
Crank Bros seals. pt 2
Shimano takes a hit
Cyclespin's in-house training
Stella Azzurra updates Vice Versa

More on Acqua&Sapone bikes

First up, a couple of follow-ups from last week's stories. Sean McLaughlin from Specialized dropped us a line to clarify the meaning of 'custom-sized', Specialized's description of the Acqua&Sapone team bikes:

"About half the team will be on stock frames (stock tubing, stock geometry, production frames). The other half will be on custom-sized versions of the same bikes. Some of the riders have substantially different body proportions or well-ingrained fit preferences, hence the custom frame geometry." So that clears that up, though Sean didn't say if a custom-building service would be available to mere mortals with well-ingrained fit preferences.

And on That Launch, Sean added: "I think one of our designers, Eric Horton said it best: 'They sure party different over there.'" Quite.

Crank Bros seals, part 2

We also heard from Egg Beater man Frank Crank. Okay, I'm sure that's not his name, but the Crank Bros guys are friendly, first-name-only types, and he's Frank, and a Crank Brother, so… Anyway, here's Frank's take on Crank Bros recent improvement to the seals in the Egg Beaters:

"We think that the new seal is slightly better than the current o-ring, however we have not experienced any problems with the current configuration. We simply saw a possibility for improvement. In general we fully stand behind all our products, and our warranties are extremely liberal. If any of our costumers have any problems with the seals, (or anything else) we will take care of them."

In other Crank Brothers news, Franks tells us there's a road cleat on its way, available in 6-8 weeks and "similar to the MTB version, except that it has small rubber "pontoons" on each side, for walking, and stability, when using a road shoe."

Finally, we're reminded that there's a titanium version of the Egg Beaters in development/testing, though it will be 'a while' before it's ready. In fact, I hesitated to mention it at all, given the bike industry's history of problems making things out of titanium that are perfectly easy and successful in other materials. If I were running Crank Bros, I'd keep shtumm about titanium pedals till I actually had a box of production pedals on my desk.

Maybe I'm just over-cautious, but I remember watching onZa get everyone all excited about a titanium crank back in the early 90s. OnZa squandered vast amounts of money on what turned out to be one of the bike industry's biggest-ever pieces of vapourware, beaten out only by the notorious Cannondale/Pong CNC bike. Sometimes it's better to play your product development cards a bit closer to your chest.

Shimano takes a hit

The long-running court case between rival component manufacturers Shimano and SRAM seems to have ended with a win for US-based SRAM, reading between the lines of a report from the Nikkei news service.

Nikkei reports that Shimano announced on January 21 that it will book a 2 billion yen (US$15 million) extraordinary charge in the fiscal year ending Dec. 31 to pay damages for anti-monopoly violations in the U.S. The charge consists of about 1.8 billion yen in damages and 200 million yen in delinquency charges.

SRAM brought the case against Shimano for anti-competitive behaviour in 1996 and Shimano was found guilty in 2000. The company appealed to a higher court, but its appeal was dismissed on January 14.

Cyclespin presents in-house training

Video company 11th Street Communicationswill feature triathlete Mike Pigg in the third of its series of Cyclespin training videos for riders who are currently trapped indoors by the Northern hemisphere winter.

Cyclespin videos are 'workout tapes' for use while riding a home trainer. They contain original music composed at the speed that you should be pedaling as well as helmet cam and on the road footage. The third in the series, "Ver 3.0, Race of Truth" will be designed for cyclists and triathletes who want to improve their time trialing skills. The tape will feature video of Pigg in race and training footage as well as footage shot specifically for the video. Pigg will also offer commentary and instruction in the video.

The workout aspects of the new video were created by USCF certified Coach Jay Marschall. Marschall has been coaching multi sport athletes and cyclists for 11 years, and is a successful triathlete himself.

Ver 3.0, Race of Truth follows the two previous Cyclespin videos, "Ver 1.0, Nuts and Bolts" and "Ver 2.0, Speedworks". The first is an all purpose 46 minute workout geared to anybody who wants to achieve better fitness on the bike while the second is an hour and 10 minute collection of high intensity intervals. Ver. 1.0 is available now, while Ver. 2.0 and Ver. 3.0 will be available in Spring.

The idea for the Cyclespin series came from 11th Street Communications president James Klotz, a keen rider himself. "For a cyclist, there are a few really good workouts on video tape, but none that are well produced." Said Klotz. "I wanted to make a video that gets you going - one you want to turn up loud. I wanted to make a video that would motivate me as much as my weekly training rides and races do." To that end, he partnered up with Jay Marschall, composer Omar Torres and a whole host of graphic designers, television professionals, video editors, sound designers and cyclists.

More information: Cyclespin's website

Stella Azzurra updates Vice Versa

Click for larger image
Light and flippable
Photo: © Stella Azzurra

Stella Azzurra has announced the availability of the updated 2002 version of its 100g (claimed weight) Vice Versa magnesium stem. The changes appear to be mostly cosmetic, with a new logo and graphics, but Stella tells us there are 'under the hood' tweaks.