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Pro bikes, November 3, 2008

Georgia Gould's Luna Orbea Lobular Cross

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Photo ©: James Huang

Straightforward workhorse for US powerhouse

By James Huang

Standard top tube routing keeps the cables out of the way.
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Shimano XTR pedals are a staple of the 'cross circuit
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The minimal Selle Italia SLR saddle
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Gould's cables are sealed in between the housing stops
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Georgia Gould's Orbea Lobular Cross bike may not be quite as fancy as the Alma hardtail on which she campaigns the cross-country mountain bike season but she wields the lesser weapon with just as much potency.

The 28-year-old Fort Collins, Colorado resident won four out of six rounds of the 2007 USGP series (she finished second in the other two) and took home the overall title as a result. She then even qualified to represent the United States at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships last season but declined the invitation in order to focus on the mountain bike event at the Olympics.

In contrast to the Alma's all-carbon construction, Gould's Lobular frame is a relatively straightforward all-aluminum construct TIG-welded from 6000-series tubing. However, Orbea says the lobed cross-sections lend more lateral stiffness and comfort than more common round or oval shapes - key attributes for any 'cross rig - and the proprietary heat treatment process provides more strength and durability than usual.

Light weight is also a major concern, however, and the Lobular is easily within the ballpark of other top offerings. Claimed frame weight is approximately 1400g and Gould's complete bike weighs in at a competitive 7.57kg (16.69lb).

More weight could have been saved with tubular wheels and tires but as team sponsor Maxxis only produces clinchers, Gould's bike is fitted with standard carbon-spoked R-SYS wheels from Mavic with aluminum hook-beaded rims. Plenty of other bits are decidedly feathery, though, including the carbon fiber Easton EC90 seatpost, EC90 Equipe SL handlebar, and EC90X 'cross fork, and forged aluminum EA90 stem, all of which are among the lightest in their respective categories.

Gould adheres to the single-chainring school of thought and opted for a single 42T chainring setup for both rounds of the Boulder Cup in spite of the second day's significant dose of climbing. An aluminum outer guard and N-Gear Jump Stop keep the chain reliably in place and the standard Dura-Ace STI Dual Control left-hand lever has been swapped in favor of a more basic BR-600 brake lever from Shimano.

The Dura-Ace label also graces the right-hand lever, rear derailleur, chain and wide-range 12-27T cassette but another non-group substitution comes with the BR-R550 cantilever brakes. SPD pedals are borrowed from Shimano's XTR group.

This formula may strike some as a bit boring as compared to some of the carbon fiber wunderbikes out there but history has shown it to work in the past regardless. Based on this past weekend's performance where Gould took home back-to-back victories, it is apparently still working now, too.


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Orbea Lobular Cyclocross
Fork: Easton EC90X

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.73m (5' 8") ; Weight: 61.2kg (135lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 545mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 585mm
Top tube length: 550mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 748mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 510mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 635mm

Front brake: Shimano BR-R550
Rear brake: Shimano BR-R550
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800 right, BR-600 left
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800, rear only
Front derailleurs: N-Gear Jump Stop
Rear derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800-SS
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 12-27T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech II FC-7800, 42T w/outer guard, 172.5mm
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech II SM-FC7800


Wheelset: Mavic R-SYS Premium clincher
Tyres: Maxxis Raze, 700x35c

Bars: Easton EC90 Equipe SL, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: Easton EA90 90mm x 0°
Headset: FSA integrated
Tape/grip: Easton cork

Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M970
Seat post: Easton EC90
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR

Total bike weight: 7.57kg (16.69lb)