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Tech Report with Lennard Zinn – From Friedrichshafen to Moab

By Lennard Zinn

Unassuming, Julien Absalon was able to cruise the halls like a regular guy.

Unassuming, Julien Absalon was able to cruise the halls like a regular guy.


Dear Readers,
I’m back in Boulder for a few hours after returning from Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany and am working ahead a bit before heading off to Moab.

By the time you reading this, I’ll be shepherding 100 middle school students around trails in Moab as I’ve done every third year since 1999 with Horizons K-8, a public school in Boulder of which my wife is principal.

Among other goals of teaching self-reliance, communication, camping skills, appreciation for the desert, and building some fitness, I’ll be aiming to ignite some enthusiasm for lifelong bike riding. It’s worked quite well in the past, as the bike racks are generally full at the school, as are my Friday-morning mountain biking classes at the school every spring and fall.

Among graduates of the school who had their enthusiasm for the sport kick-started on the Moab bike trip, Luna Chix’s Chloe Forsman, Team Columbia’s Mara Abbott, and Garmin-Chipotle’s Peter Stetina have all won multiple national championships.

Needless to say, this is one of the highlights of my year and reason enough to fly 11 hours from Germany one day and drive eight hours to Moab the next.

Unlike Mario Cipollini, whose presence on Day One of Eurobike could hardly be missed, Olympic gold medalist and Mr. Win Everything in XC Julien Absalon was able to walk around the show with few people noticing him.

Garmin's new Pearl Izumi time trial skinsuit.

Garmin’s new Pearl Izumi time trial skinsuit.


Fast skin
Garmin-Chipotle physiologist Allen Lim worked in the wind tunnel with team rider Tom Danielson on the seam placement and on the placement of different fabric panels on the team’s Pearl Izumi time trial skinsuits.

Cache Mundy, Pearl’s vice president of marketing, says that the suit the company came up with for the team was faster than Danielson’s Discovery Team suit. The rough texture of the fabric on the upper arms and around the legs was something Pearl had already developed in the wind tunnel, and it reduces drag around a cylinder upright against the wind. You may have wondered why the edges of the shorts and the sleeves were left raw when you saw them in the Giro and the Tour; that’s because Lim found it was aerodynamically slippier to forgo seams and leg grippers.

Pearl Izumi's aero glove.

Pearl Izumi’s aero glove.


Fast hands
Lim’s and Pearl Izumi’s wind tunnel research also came up with a glove that slips through the wind faster. It was intended for time trials, but many Garmin-Chipotle riders wear them in road races as well to save a bit of energy here and there.

Low-friction butt
Pearl Izumi’s new fusion-welded chamois is cut to conform to the body like an old-school three-piece leather chamois with the triangular piece in front and two side pieces, but Pearl avoids using stitching to hold the pieces together. It hearkens back to the day when the chamois was not a “pad,” but, rather, it was designed to reduce friction (unlike an old-school chamois, however, Pearl’s new “Insanely Anatomical” chamois also incorporates padding).

Lynskey’s belt-drive single-speed 29er


Ti cruiser
Lynskey’s belt-drive single-speed 29er cruiser is made of elegantly curved titanium tubes. To remove the Gates toothed belt, unbolt the seatstay from the horizontal dropout.

Smooth curves
“We are Italian; we love elegant curves,” says Fulvio Acquati, Deda’s head of marketing, so the company has patented the “continuous incremental radius” bend of its short-reach/short-drop Presa carbon and Zero 100 aluminum road handlebars.

Acquati points out the need for handlebars with less reach and drop, since brake levers, specifically Shimano 10-speed STI and Campagnolo 11-speed Ergopower, have gotten longer, and the drop from the saddle to the top of the handlebars has increased by around 5cm on racing bikes since the 1970s, which had deep-drop, round-bend handlebars and quill stems. However, sprinters still need a place to pull from the drops, and Acquati says that the Presa and Zero 100 are at least 7mm longer at the ends than any other high-end drop bar on the market.

Look familiar?
You may notice strong similarities between Sun Race’s nRZ Driven and R90 road groups and Sampson’s Stratics and ShowTime component groups.

Build me lots of bikes
Want to see your brilliant bike designs come to fruition and mass production? You can get it done at Eurobike. Here, a would-be bike company works out specification details with the Salloy Co., Ltd., of Taichung, Taiwan.

What's in a name?

What’s in a name?


Say what?
Usually I find some really ridiculous things at bike shows that I cannot help but poke some fun at, but this Eurobike show seemed fairly low on the crazy ideas doomed to complete failure in the marketplace. However, when a bike company chooses to call itself “Puky,” I’ve got to mention that.

Is that so?
Asking about a wheel I was not familiar with, the folks selling the 16-spoke Citec 300S Aero answered that it had indeed won the Tour Magazine wheel test in June 2008 (as it says on the little orange tag). I found Tour’s June 2006 road wheel test, in which it did not do so great, but the search in 2008 did not bring it up. Its now 1480 grams/pair, down from the 1625g in the 2006 Tour test, and I think it looks quite nice, so presumably the rim milling which Tour found to make an unfortunate impression in 2006 has been changed.

Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.

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