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Pro bikes, February 18, 2008

Francisco Mancebo's Rock Racing Kestrel RT 800

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Photo ©: James Huang

Big win for Rock Racing's new bike

By James Huang in Sausalito, California

Mancebo's Dura-Ace crankset rotates on a standard external bottom bracket.
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PRO provides Rock Racing with cockpit components
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A different seat clamp allows for the use of a round post
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Mancebo's Vibe carbon seatpost
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Rock Racing enjoyed a bit of a respite from the latest controversy surrounding the team's long-term viability with a well-earned victory by Francisco Mancebo. Mancebo made a lone breakaway from the peloton after just 5km - leaving a foreboding 167km to the finish in Santa Rosa - yet still had enough energy remaining at the end to outsprint Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Jurgen Van Der Waale (Quick Step) just 500m from the finish. Making the win even more impressive is the fact that the team had supposedly only received their race bikes from new sponsor Kestrel just before the race started so Mancebo had little time to get acquainted.

Mancebo's new Kestrel RT 800 road machine comprises a decidedly unusual mix of curves, angles and creases that stand in stark contrast to the smooth and highly organic shapes that once defined the brand. The moderately oversized, slightly sloping top tube and nominally aero-shaped down tube appear to completely envelop the ends of the head tube while the seat tube sports a deep cross-section and modest rear wheel cutout. Kestrel fits consumer versions with a matching aero-shaped carbon post, too, though the team has opted for the round seatpost option here.

The multi-shape top tube arcs into the curved seat stays out back, which then meet the chain stays at a pair of sculpted aluminum dropouts. All throughout, visible bond joints illustrate the modular monocoque construction and Kestrel's own EMS fork is fitted up front, but with an alloy 1 1/8" steerer instead of the stock carbon tube.

Though perhaps not the tidiest-looking frame on the circuit, at least the team's primary bikes wore a proper paint job instead of the spares' hodge-podge graffiti scheme.

Rock Racing has also switched its component sponsor this year from Campagnolo to Shimano. In addition to the complete Dura-Ace 7900 group, Shimano has also fitted the team with a variety of wheels as well as bits from its PRO division.

Mancebo crossed the line in Santa Rosa with a 50mm-deep Dura-Ace carbon tubular rear wheel mated to a 24mm-deep carbon-aluminum Dura-Ace clincher up front. Yet this odd pairing was not the result of a puncture on the road. Stage 1's bitter, wet cold and gusty winds had many riders reaching for shallow-section front wheels for a modicum of control and in Rock Racing's case, these may have been the only ones on hand.

In terms of cockpit components, Mancebo is in the minority what with his carbon fiber seatpost, stem and anatomic handlebar. Registering speed and distance for the day - and little else - is a surprisingly basic Cateye Velo 5 computer.

Total weight for Mancebo's RT 800 that day was a reasonable 7.52kg (16.6lb). Though a bit heavier than the UCI-mandated 6.8kg minimum, that extra mass apparently had little effect on what ended up being a golden ride regardless. Chapeau!


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Kestrel RT800, 53cm
Fork: Kestrel RT EMS, alloy steerer

Critical measurements
Seat tube length, c-t: 500mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 738mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 560mm
C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 547mm
Top tube length: 542mm

Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control, ST-7900
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control, ST-7900
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900 w/ removable link
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7900

Front wheel: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-C24-CL
Rear wheel: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-C50-TU
Front tyre: Vittoria Diamante Pro clincher, 700x23c
Rear tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo-CX tubular, 21mm

Bars: PRO Vibe Full Carbon Anatomic OS, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: PRO Vibe Carbon OS Road, 120mm x -6º
Headset: FSA Orbit ZS
Tape/grip: cork

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: PRO Vibe Full Carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow
Bottle cages: PRO carbon
Computer: Cateye Velo 5

Total bike weight: 7.52kg (16.6lb)