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Pro bikes, November 19, 2005

Amber Neben's Buitenpoort - Flexpoint Team Stevens Vuelta SL

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All Photos ©: Chris Davidson
SRM/Dura-Ace crankset
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The SRM head unit
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Continental Competition 22 tubulars
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Bontrager carbon wheels
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All-aluminium featherweight

By Chris Davidson

I first worked with Amber Neben last year when she was a member of the T-Mobile squad based in the US. She is very particular about her bikes and their fit, as a mechanic it is great to work with her as she is very direct and specific with her feedback. Last year she was aboard a pink carbon Giant, however this year (and for 2006) Amber is riding for the Dutch power house squad Buitenpoort - Flexpoint, directed by former pro Jean-Paul van Poppel. Her new team rides the all aluminum Vuelta SL from the German manufacturer Stevens. I had a chance to scope out her current ride in Park city this summer at US Nationals. She flew into Utah with no team or support, so she rung me for some bike help. As it turned out, the airlines had done some damage in the process.

Amber has had a super successful year riding the Stevens. In May she won the grueling Tour de L'Aude in France, flew to Montreal for the World Cup and then headed home before road nationals. In Park City she recorded a fifth in the RR and second in the TT, while riding solo against complete teams. In July she was top five in the Giro d'Italia Femminile overall, taking foourth in the crucial uphill time trial.

Amber's Stevens is a stock model in their lineup. It is made of Dedecciai's EM2 tube set, and maybe surprisingly for 2005, does not contain a set of carbon rear stays. For Nationals in Park City Amber chose a 12X27 cassette on her carbon hub/carbon rim Bontrager wheels. As she says, "why not spin if you have the chance to save your legs?"

The SRM power measuring unit has become very standard these days as the current version is integrated into the Dura-Ace 10 speed crankset. Amber's cranks show the signs of heel rub, again not too uncommon among the pros. I did not get a chance to weight the bike, but with the carbon tubular wheels and the other light parts (Ti Speedplay pedals, ti seat rails, etc.) this 50cm bike is obviously down near the UCI limit.

Full specification

Frame: Stevens Vuelta SL, Dedecciai EM2 aluminium
Fork: Full Carbon M-Blade, 1 1/8
Colour: Team Silver

Frame Size: 50cm
Cranks: SRM Dura-Ace 170mm, 39/53
Chain: Dura Ace 10 speed
Front derailleur: Dura Ace 10 speed
Rear derailleur: Dura Ace 10 speed
Brakes: Dura Ace 10 speed (with special brake blocks for carbon rims)
Shift Levers: Dura Ace 10 speed
Rear sprockets: Dura Ace 10 speed, 12-27


Rim: Bontrager Race XXX Lite with carbon hub
Tyres: Continental Competition 22 tubular

Bar: Oxygen Scorpo Road 26.0, 38cm (C-C)
Stem: Oxygen Scorpo Road 26.0, 80mm
Headset: FSA Integrated 8C, Carbon Cap 1 1/8

Pedals: Speedplay X-1
Seat post: Scorpo OS Al 32.4
Saddle: Fizik Arione
Bottle cages: Tacx
Cycle computer: SRM