Thursday, September 29, 2005
Tonight I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Here's one left over from the Outdoor Demo. These are baggy shorts (there's a Lycra bib version, too) with a leather panel to better handle crashes.
Brooks was showing off their new leather handlebar tape. Price: around $70.
The new Free:k free-ride saddle by Fi:zi'k has no padding. Displayed here on meat-hooks.
Scott had their new all-carbon 6 inch travel bike for us to gawk at.
Their own shock design has multiple chambers that can be opened or closed (via a remote switch on the handlebar) to vary the travel: locked-out, 3" or 6" of travel.
The new Blur LT which can handle up to a 6" single or dual-crown fork.
Big gussets on the Blur LT.
Weighing in at 14 1/2 lbs for the complete stock bike, the new Tarmac SL is very light, and very pretty.
Specialized's new S-Works crank uses an over-sized bottom bracket (similar to Cannondale's SI).
Specialized is also getting into the wheel business. Here are the light carbon clinchers found on the Tarmac SL.
Here is Specialized's carbon Stumpjumper S-Works with remote Brain valve.
New for 06, Topolino is introducing bladed stainless spokes which, of course, go through the hub from rim to rim.
Here is the deep carbon tubular version with bladed steel spokes.
Posted by James at 1:09 AM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Another sunny day in Boulder City. Day 2 started out early with a Scott-sponsored
ride out to Lake Mead. For the ride, we rode a Six/13 and a Synapse carbon from Cannondale. I won't go into detail on those bikes, suffice it to say, we liked them... a lot.
Today we focused on road bikes.
I have never been on an extremely light bike before. I mean, I've been on a super light bike (like the Synapse, but the Calfee Dragon Fly (their top bike) I rode today came in at just under 14 lbs. It was stocked with Campy Record Carbon, Topolino carbon tubular wheels. It also had a beautiful carbon bar/stem combo by Calfee--shaped just perfectly for my hands. Adding to the weight--or subtracting, as the case may be--was an all carbon saddle (i.e. no padding). This bike was so fun to ride. It was quick and light, and accelerated with ease. I loved to stand up and pound the pedals--and not just because of the saddle. The frame was very responsive and stiff, and so were the wheels. We're a big fan of the Topolino's over here at GearReview, and they played a lead part in the great ride of the Calfee.
Another super light bike I rode was the famed Litespeed Ghisallo (770g frame for the small). In case you haven't heard, this is an all-metal (in this case, titanium) frame. Even though it was super light (right around 15lbs for the large I rode), it wasn't flexy at all. Although not as stiff as some carbon bikes we rode (like the afore-mentioned Calfee), it was pleanty stiff and very comfortable. There's something to be said for titanium by a company like Lightspeed.
I also rode the Vortex, by Litespeed. This bike has diamond shaped top and down tubes, and a seat tube, like the Ghisallo, that is flared dramatically at the bottom bracket. There is something about the ride of Titanium. All of the carbon bikes, with the exception of the Calfee, tended to blend together. I'm talking Look, Colnago, Felt and Giant. They are all really, really good bikes, but the Vortex and Ghisallo had a feel to them that is hard to pinpoint. They weren't as stiff as the carbon bikes, and the carbon bikes rode well, but the titanium bikes rode more to our liking.
Posted by James at 7:37 PM
Monday, September 26, 2005
Good news and bad news. We did go to the demo, did take pictures of the new Anthem bike by Giant and we did ride other bikes.
Bad news... I can't transfer my pictures to this computer because we forgot a cable. One little cable. We'll do better the rest of the show. Promise. We have remedied the problem, nothing but good news from here on out.
Anthem and Glory
Last year, Giant rolled out the Maestro suspesion design. This replaced the VT and AC bikes, and added a third. At 4, 6 and 8 inches they now have the Trance, Reign and Faith bikes, respectively. They kept the NRS as the pure race bike and the DH Team as the downhill race bike. This year, they wrapped the entire full suspesion line up in Maestro with the introduction of Anthem for the XC-er's and Glory for the DH-ers. We weren't given too much info on Glory but we will have more from Interbike proper after we meet with the Giant reps.
Anthem was designed from the ground up with the help of Adam Craig, one of Giant's pro racers. The head angle is a little steep so that when sag is taken into account, it is right at 71 degrees -- normal NORBA geometry. The Anthem 1 - which we rode - comes in under 25 pounds for all sizes.
How did it ride? Well, with only 3.5 inches of travel, I wouldn't call it plush. I would, however, say that it doesn't bob... at all. The bike was light enough to race -- obviously -- but didn't feel fragile. I can't give the bike a full review off of one ride, but I liked what I felt. The bike seemed to work well. Of course, the components were all top teir, CrossMax SL, SRAM XO, Hayes 9-Carbon. It should all work well. More on pricing later.
The Rush is Cannondale's endurance racing XC bike. Shorter travel than the Prophet, but longer than the Scalpel. With just over 4" (110mm) of front and rear travel, it has pleanty to soak up most trail abnormalities. It is lighter than the Prophet, and very efficient for a 4" XC rig. As with the Anthem, I can't give it much of a review, but it was quite fun to ride.
Posted by James at 5:50 PM
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Slacking before the Big ShowJust a note to let you all know that I am not ignoring you, my readers. As usual, you can see some new stuff at Cyclingnews.com, Velonews.com, etc. There is a little lull right now, but next week cycling related gear news is going to explode with Interbike. We'll be there... with camaras.
Posted by James at 8:46 PM
Monday, September 19, 2005
As I mentioned this weekend, and Jon mentioned in his post, our High End crankset review is live. A couple of items of note... the combined cost for all three cranksets is $1217. Ouch. The lightest of the bunch was the Aluminum Race Face Deus XC. The same tool was needed to install all of the bottom brackets, but not one crankset came with the tool. I used the one that came with my personal set of XT cranks. Jon had to buy one. With cranks this expensive, is a $5 tool that hard to include? FSA did include the Torx driver for the T30 bolts used on the chainrings, so kudos there.
I think that it is interesting that the lightest cranks were aluminum. EICMA, the bike show in Milan, is going on right now, and FSA is showing off the Afterburner mountain cranks. These are hollow aluminum, have the MegaExo BB and weighs 100 grams less than the K-Force carbon cranks. In fact, they weigh less than the Deus XC, too. I'm trying to find a picture and as soon as I do, I'll let you guys see it. No word on pricing or availability, either.
Posted by James at 10:00 AM
Saturday, September 17, 2005
2005 CranksWe recently got the chance to ride some of the best cranksets in the world. We rounded up the likes of the FSA K Force MegaExo, Race Face Deus XC and Truvativ Stylo Carbon. All three are impressive. All three would be at home on bicycles that are priced higher than some cars but there could only be one winner. I won't spoil the suspense here... read the review.
Interbike is just a little over a week away. The pressure is mounting, the excitment is building and the anticipation is bubbling over to see what new silly acronyms the industries marketing departments can come up with for 2006. (Is it me, or is the Interbike website one of the weakest around?)
Posted by James at 11:04 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Am I the only one that is shocked and amazed to see a product highlighted on Cyclingnews' Eurobike coverage that is made by Kore? They are alive? The last time I saw that name it was affixed to some lousy pedals that were selling for around $30, down from an msrp of nearly $100. Ouch. I might have seen a stem or two since then, but come on, you can't keep a company in the black selling three stems a year.
Well, I guess they are back - if they ever really left - with a new hubset.
What's nifty about these is that they take splined and standard 6-bolt rotors. I nice idea, though there are some wicked-cool adaptors out there by DT/Swiss to attach 6-bolt rotors to a splined hub.
Frankly, I like the cleaner interface that splined hubs have, and using an adaptor like the above keeps that nice interface. One question, though, regarding the splined interface, what happens when you need to do a trailside repair?
A few weekends ago, a buddy of mine slipped off of a skinny and D-ringed his front rotor. Had we not had a T-25 Torx wrench the ride would have been over. As it was, we were merely inconvenienced. For an hour. But the ride continued. Now who the heck rides with a cassette lockring tool in their pack and the wrench to turn it?
Posted by James at 11:07 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
InterBike 2005I think that this years InterBike trade show is going to interesting, not only for who is there, but who is NOT going to have much of a presence. The Trek family of bikes - Trek, Lemond, Gary Fisher, Bontrager - will only have a cursory presence, as will Specialized. These companies flew select dealers in their respective product launches already (and I still can't find my invitation) so there is little need to blow a ton - and it is a ton - of money a huge booth and people to staff it. Huchinson tires won't be at the show but will be at the outdoor demo introducing their new tires. Cannondale will be at the show and will be showing off the new bikes and appearal. Giant will also be introducing the Anthem at the outdoor demo. We'll be there and will be updating this space during the show.
Posted by James at 10:49 AM
Monday, September 12, 2005
Friday, September 09, 2005
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I like Cannondale's Lefty Struts. I really do. I've owned one in the past and still think that it was the best performing fork I've ever ridden. Last year, they bumped travel to 140mm for the Prophet and added a rarely seen intertia damped version for their race bikes like the Scalpel. One problem, though, with the longer travel version is that they are TALL. Combine that with a relax-angled bike and climbing can be an issue. I personally run a TALAS on my Jekyll just for that reason... and so that I can bum rides off of friends with fork mount racks.
For 2006 Cannondale will introduce a first for them, a travel adjustable Lefty. They recently showed it off at Eurobike and Singletrackworld.com was on hand to photograph it.
Now it might be the perfect fork. Hmmm... I wonder how it works?
Posted by James at 9:21 AM
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Eurobike brings out some crazy designs. Take Onion bikes, for example. Heres a bike that looks like it was made out of an Erector Set. I wonder if it fits into a suitcase, thereby reducing the travel expence for the budding downhill racer.
They do have some more normal looking bikes, like this cross country frame, but you wouldn't mistake it for, say, a Specialized FSR or anything else, for that matter.
Check out Velonews.com for more info and more moutain bikes from the Eurobike show.
Posted by James at 8:49 AM
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Oh, all right, I'm not wearing black, but, with a nod to AC/DC, it is catchy. Sorry for the lack of posts last week, work was busy and I took Thursday and Friday off to hang out with the family. But, a ton has been going on, so I'll jump right in.
Eurobike happened over the weekend, and man-o-man there was some cool stuff on show. Velonews has some goodies from AX-lightness. If you area a weightweenie, you have check these guys out. All Carbon all the time. And I do like carbon. How's this little number, sure, other brands have integrated carbon cranks, but not with a carbon axle!
I don't even want to know the price. Really.
Speaking of Carbon, what do you get when you combine Carbon fiber and Titanium? How about an unreal chainring and more! Carbon-Ti is a German company that makes stuff out of... well... carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and titanium. Cyclingnews.com has a little info on the chainrings and the WeightWeenies site has this image. Wow. Really, really, cool looking. Who knows if it is strong enough. I don't, but then, I might not even care if I could afford the stuff in the first place.
On the mountain bike front, SingleTrackWorld is reporting that Hope will offer rotors from 140mm up to a Gi-normous 225mm. That's HUGE!
Posted by James at 10:34 AM