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Eurobike show

Germany, August 30-September 2, 2007

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Part 9 - New rides from Kuota and Canyon, and the world debut of Max Lelli Bikes

By Tim Maloney

Passion and technology from Kuota for 2008

The Kuota KUEEN-K TT's aerodynamic tube profiles.
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
(Click for larger image)

German triathlete Norman Stadler set an all-time record of 4:18:23 for the 112-mile bike leg of last year's Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, Inspired by the fantastic performance, Stadler’s bike sponsor, Kuota, has created an all-new speed machine for the Ironman champion called Kueen-K. According to Patrice Lemieux of Eurospek, Kuota's North American distributor, "We called this new bike Kueen-K as a tribute to the Hawaiian gods to give Norman the most support possible in the upcoming Ironman!" The sleek, low profile Kueen-K will be Stadler's secret weapon in Hawaii at this year’s event and will already be available to Stadler-wannabe multisport athletes this fall.

Kuota has also made significant upgrades to their popular Kredo model for 2008 to form the new Kredo Ultra. The Kredo Ultra features an extended seat tube (offering much of the benefit of integrated designs without their drawbacks), a stiffer bottom bracket shape, all-carbon dropouts, and internal cable routing. Kuota says the Kredo Ultra is lighter as well with a claimed weight of 1.5kg for a medium frame and fork.

Another new model from Kuota for 2008 is the aptly named Kross. The reinforced monocoque carbon composite frame has classic cyclocross geometry and a claimed weight of just 1.6kg for a medium frame and fork. The Kross will feature top tube-routed cables, an integrated housing stop for the rear cantilever brakes, and big clearances essential in any mud machine.

Kuota's popular Kebel will carry into 2008 mostly unchanged with four new colorways along with its distinctive aero tube shapes, excellent overall performance, and competitive component spec.

‘Pure Cycling’ from Germany's Canyon

Canyon's Ultimate CF Pro 9.0 SL Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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The Ultimate CF Pro 9.0 SL integrated head tube Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Canyon's Lux MR full-suspension frameset. Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Koblenz, Germany-based Canyon has become well known for its innovative use of composite materials and the superb stiffness-to-weight performance of its framesets. More recently, the company has also received a healthy dose of inadvertent publicity thanks to the controversy surrounding the Unibet team, which it supplies with its Ultimate CF 9.0 Team. For 2008, Canyon pushes forth with its ’Pure Cycling‘ slogan with some of the most unique and interesting bicycle designs on display at Eurobike 2007.

According to Canyon Head of Engineering Michael Kaiser, "We work with the Institute for Composite Materials in Kaiserslautern, Germany for R&D. It's part of the University of Kaiserslautern and probably the best carbon composite lab in Germany. We work with them to decide how to combine the correct composite material and use the correct layup, and which kind of carbon fibre to use. For example, it's very easy to build a stiff frame using only high modulus fibres, but that makes no sense because then you just have a stiff frame. So when we design a carbon fibre frame at Canyon, we are careful to make sure that each tube fulfills the correct design requirements and is then built with the correct fibre and layup that works for that specific application. So for example, on a downhill mountain bike, we will use long elongation high modulus fibres for stiffness, except in the underside where we use a different fibre layup to protect against stone and rock impact. We may use three or four types of carbon fibres and then combine them in the layup for the best performance and weight."

Canyon integrates that expertise into its new Ultimate CF Pro 9.0 SL. "You can see the design of [the Ultimate CF Pro 9.0 SL] as you can see in how the top tube shape goes from very wide to very thin,” continued Kaiser. “This design has more evolved tube shapes than the previous design. We looked at how to improve it and there were two things we found: one was to find a way to decrease the weight and the second was to increase the flexibility in the upper seat tube area because comfort is important because you can then have increased performance. We have a really stiff down tube that square tapers to the stiff bottom bracket, coupled to big chain stays for high lateral stiffness. Yet we have achieved incredible vertical compliance and comfort with our special design and layup in the seat cluster area where we are using a 27.2mm diameter seatpost."

The relatively small 27.2mm seatpost seems to be at odds with the current industry trend of oversized posts, but Kaiser explained that the size selection was fully intentional. "A smaller tube diameter means more flexibility and so we chose the 27.2mm diameter, and used the correct carbon fibre and right layup configuration in the laminate for the seat area with a lower stiffness that provides more vertical compliance and comfort."

Canyon claims that the Ultimate CF Pro 9.0 SL weighs 140 grams less than the '07 Ultimate CF 9.0 Team. "Our weight is 920 grams for a size 58 frame and our new fork is 340 grams, but [it is] more rigid and stronger," explained Kaiser. "We also have a new integrated head tube design that uses 1 1/4" top diameter with 1 1/2" bottom diameter. We think this will be the new standard in the future and already FSA, Ritchey, and Syntace are making 1 1/4" diameter stems. It makes sense in carbon fibre as this combination is the optimal design. We have a headset designed together with German headset manufacturer Acros that includes very small diameter bearings that work with the larger diameter and a special clamping system for the stem where you don't have to use an internal clamping system."

Canyon's ‘Pure Cycling’ approach isn't just about road bikes, either. The German firm sponsors international mountain bikers Fumic Brothers with its full-suspension Lux MR. Built with aerospace-certified carbon fiber and a double-walled ‘HollowTech’ bottom bracket shell, the Lux MR 9.0 frame delivers 100mm (4") of travel through its true four-bar linkage rear suspension design.

According to Kaiser, "We made a FEA (Finite Element Analysis) optimization to find the best shape for stiffness-to-weight ratio. You can see by the design that the Lux has a very short rocker arm which saves a lot of weight [and] we made the down tube and chain stay zones very stiff. [The] frame is built in three elements with a monocoque front triangle, monocoque seat stay, and monocoque chain stay. It's what you could call a semi-integrated design because we tried to combine the advantages of tube-to-tube technology with monocoque design...very smooth transitions at the tube joints. With tube-to-tube you can design the fibre direction easily and then adding it to the monocoque tube in the mold it all happens in one step."

Max Lelli Bikes: cool new Italian machines from Il Cinghialino

"Cinghialino" (Little Wild Boar) is Lelli's nickname Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Lelli was 1994 Italian TT champ while at Mercantone Uno Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Massimiliano Lelli may be best remembered in pro cycling for his audacious solo win in the 1997 Core States championships in Philadelphia, PA. The 39-year-old retired in 2004 with fifteen career wins and launched a new line of bikes just three years later at this year’s Eurobike show.

"It's always been a dream for me to have my own name on a bike I created,” said Lelli. “I've used all kinds of bicycles in my career, all the top brands, good and not so good. I raced for almost 30 years and I think I learned something about bicycles in that time so I wanted to create my own brand. After all of that riding, I think I even have the bicycle in my soul!"

Lelli’s new bike line first began to take shape after meeting Italian-American stockbroker Marco Bonelli a few years ago. Bonelli was totally passionate about cycling and had come to Lelli's ‘agriturismo’ (country inn), "Il Raduno", in Manciano, Italy to ride with friends. Lelli and Bonelli hit it off and last year decided to launch Max Lelli Bikes, with four road bikes, two mountain bikes and one TT bike, all in carbon fibre.

Lelli's top of the line road and TT bikes are called "Cinghialino" (Little Wild Boar), Lelli's nickname. "We're starting small but with the right bikes, with good design and excellent technology," Lelli explained proudly. The Cinghialino Team 3K is a striking road bike with an integrated seatmast and sloping geometry in a monocoque 3K carbon composite frame with a unique overlay design for its integrated headtube. Lelli specifies the Cinghialino Team 3K with FSA componentry throughout save for the Shimano Dura-Ace transmission.

Lelli's Cinghialino Liger 3K Triathlon is suitable for multisport or time trials. Bonelli is also an avid triathlete who has competed in Ironman, while Lelli is a former Italian TT champion. "We wanted to build a fast and comfortable bike for triathlons and time trials and this Cinghialino Liger 3K Triathlon is all that," said Lelli.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com

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