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Pro bikes, February 16, 2008

Floyd Landis' OUCH Pro Cycling Team p/b Maxxis Kuota Kredo Ultra

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Photo ©: James Huang

Big and massive for an all-or-nothing effort

By James Huang in Sacramento, California

The bulbous shell houses an integrated BB30 bottom bracket.
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The matching KR1 fork uses full-carbon construction
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Setback, anyone?
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The OUCH team is running a new set of fully sealed cables
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SRAM-sponsored teams we saw were finally running SRAM chains
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A simple number holder
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The spoke ends aren't anchored within the sleek aluminum hub shell;
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Floyd Landis has returned to the sport this season though the stage on which he is competing isn't quite as grand as it was when he left. Landis and his OUCH Pro Cycling Team squad are concentrating solely on U.S. domestic events - not the European theatre he was once accustomed to - with the Tour of California being his biggest show of the year and his one shot at proving his mettle against some of the world's best riders. Landis is sure to put in some massive efforts as the race winds its way to the finish in Escondido and appears to be on an appropriate machine for the job in the Kuota Kredo Ultra.

Kuota has earned a reputation for using enormously oversized tube sections for extra frame rigidity and the Kredo Ultra's overgrown proportions look to provide a suitably stout platform for putting down the power. The front triangle is particularly overgrown starting with a bottom bracket area that comes up nearly level with the large chainring. Integrated BB30 bearings allow for a larger-diameter bottom bracket spindle than usual, too, while also offering a generous amount of ankle clearance.

Kuota was an early adopter of tapered steerer tubes and naturally its latest Kredo Ultra is suitably equipped. Though not quite as massive as some, the 1 1/8" carbon steerer still flares out to a healthy 1 1/4" at the crown and combine with the relatively deep fork blades for more precise steering and surer braking. The broad top tube also works to combat unwanted torsional flex but Kuota has at least given it a shallow vertical profile and a slight bow for some rider comfort.

The theme continues with large-diameter asymmetrical chain stays: while the driveside stay is relatively tall to resist upward movement and narrow for clearance, the non-driveside is substantially broader to keep twist in check. As was the case with the top tube, the seat stays are relatively slender for a smoother ride. In spite of the generous amount of surface area, thin tube walls keep the claimed weight to around 1100g.

Unlike most top European teams, OUCH's title sponsorship from Maxxis limits it to clincher tires. Thankfully, casing and rubber compound technology has vastly improved in recent years such that the performance differential in most situations is modest - if at all - and some studies actually suggest they can offer lower rolling resistance than tubulars since they tend to be more round.

The performance gap is also minimized by the matching Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels whose 52mm section depth and bladed unidirectional carbon spokes provide good all-around aerodynamic performance. On today's wet stage into Santa Rosa, Landis will likely find more confident braking in the aluminum rim, too. Carbon tubulars still hold a firm upper hand in terms of weight, though, as the clincher setup still gives up at least 500g in comparison.

Total weight for Landis' bike is a very good - but not great by pro standards- 7.36kg (16.2lb) in light of the otherwise premium build.

SRAM provides Landis with a complete Red group, including its latest BB30 crankset with a stiffer 'SPR'-edition outer chainring and updated PC-1090R chain with stronger pins and extra grease. Ritchey handles the cockpit components with its WCS aluminum bar, stem and 1-Bolt seatpost - all in gloss white - while fi'zi:k takes care of the contact points with its Arione Wing Flex saddle and grippy black tape.

As is the case with a whopping seven other teams in this year's race, OUCH team bikes are fitted with Speedplay Zero pedals and Arundel provides colored-to-match carbon cages.

Landis has already started this year's race on a bit of a sour note after apparently crashing the day before the start of the race and posting a 20-second deficit on the short 3.9km (2.4mi). Thankfully for him (or not, depending on your perspective), there are still about 1200km (750mi) to go and Landis will have ample opportunity to try and spoil the Astana party. Allez, allez!


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Kuota Kredo Ultra, size L
Fork: Kuota KR1

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.75m (5' 9") ; Weight: 68kg (150lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 510mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 606mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 727mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 571mm
C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 583mm
Top tube length: 550mm

Front brake: SRAM Red
Rear brake: SRAM Red
Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Front derailleur: SRAM Red
Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Cassette: SRAM OG-1090, 11-23
Chain: SRAM PC-1090R
Crankset: SRAM Red BB30, 172.5mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: SRAM BB30

Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR
Front tyre: Maxxis Columbiere, 700x23c
Rear tyre: Maxxis Columbiere, 700x23c

Bars: Ritchey WCS Logic II, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: Ritchey WCS 4-Axis, 120mm x -6º
Headset: Stronglight integrated for Kuota
Tape/grip: fi'zi:k bar:tape

Pedals: Speedplay Zero Titanium
Seat post: Ritchey WCS 1-Bolt
Saddle: fi'zi:k Arione Wing Flex
Bottle cages: Arundel Dave-O
Computer: Mavic Wintech

Total bike weight: 7.36kg (16.2lb)