New year, new bike
By James Huang
Scott Bicycles admittedly had a rough time last year what with the
fiasco surrounding Saunier Duval-Scott stars Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo
Piepoli at last year's Tour de France. The 2009 season is looking far
brighter, though, as they have now realigned themselves with not only
one of the winningest teams in the sport but also one with a squeaky-clean
image: Team Columbia.
In total, Columbia riders scored over eighty wins in 2008, stood on
the podium a staggering 153 times in total, took home five stage wins
in the Tour de France - four by British superstar sprinter Mark Cavendish
alone - and even enjoyed an extended stint in yellow courtesy of Kim
Not bad for a team that many wrote off barely a year ago before being
resurrected by new owner Bob Stapleton.
This year's team road bike of choice - the Scott Addict - may be new
to Cavendish but it's been a familiar sight in the pro ranks since debuting
in late 2006. Thanks to 100 percent carbon construction - even the housing
stops, front derailleur mounting tab and dropouts are made of the stuff
- the Addict is one of the lightest frames in the industry. In fact,
a medium-sized frame we tested last season tipped the scales at just
880g with an uncut integrated mast. Cavendish's version is likely even
lighter being one size smaller.
Cavendish's new Addict frameset is thus estimated to be about 100g
more svelte than his outgoing Giant TCR Advanced SL and well over 300g
lighter than the specially reinforced previous-generation TCR Advanced
that Giant had built for him before that. Adding another 40g to the
gram savings is the team edition's press-fit integrated bottom bracket,
which foregoes a conventional threaded metallic insert in favor of a
bare carbon sleeve.
Though ultralight, Scott still claims nonetheless that the stock Addict
is stout enough to withstand the efforts of the powerhouse sprinter.
Tube sections are dramatically oversized throughout and Scott also says
the press-fit bottom bracket design yields an 8 percent improvement
in drivetrain stiffness as compared to a standard Addict's 68mm threaded
shell since the bearings are now wholly captured within the frame.
"Team Columbia is using our standard Addict LTD frame and fork," said
Scott team equipment manager Hermann Pacal. "We have no plans to make
another frame for the team."
Most of the team's key equipment suppliers have continued on for 2009,
including Shimano, PRO and SRM, so Cavendish will at least have a familiar
handlebar bend, pedal system and wheels beneath him. However, while
some of his teammates upgraded to the latest generation Dura-Ace 7900
in mid-season, the 'Manx Missile' stuck with the 7800 version all the
way through September's Tour of Missouri and clearly will have some
mental adjusting to do if for no other reason than the significantly
revised lever shape.
The Dura-Ace 7900 crank's dramatically redesigned hollow arm and relieved
spider design has also apparently proved difficult to adapt to the power
measuring spider of team sponsor SRM, though, so Cavendish's power meter
retains the familiar polished 7800 arms of last year's edition.
As long as Cavendish can get accustomed to his new machine in time,
we're expecting it to be business as usual for the young speedster as
the 2009 season gets underway. First stop is the Tour of Qatar later
this month followed by the newly lengthened Tour of California in mid-February.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here