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Riding new road bikes in Vegas

By Lennard Zinn

Interbike, 2009 – Outdoor Demo: SRAM’s Bastien Donzé in Boulder City’s River Mountain skate-park-like bike trail.

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I was amazed to see the expansion of Las Vegas’s bike trail system; you can rely on bike paths most of the 40km from The Strip to Boulder City, the site of Interbike’s pre-show Outdoor Demo.

The trail is longer than that, even, meandering down to Lake Mead, much of it in drainage sluices for a skate-park-like ride. It then continues unabated along the lake in a giant complete loop back on itself to eastern Las Vegas. Amazingly progressive, it is an enormous investment in bicycle infrastructure.

I used this skate-park-like riding to test road bikes and components, including a new 11-speed Campagnolo Athena that shifts just as crisply as Chorus, Record, or Super Record, but for a lot less money.

Interbike, 2009 – Outdoor Demo: The Hive’s REVL road brake looks like a Bontrager because The Hive makes those, too.

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A new brand of carbon road brakes, REVL, from a new company, The Hive, are superlight (115g/pr. with Swisstop pads) and very powerful.

The Castelli Body Paint shorts fit like a glove despite being made of a single panel wrapped around and stitched in the back, then given a single front seam (so it wouldn’t be a skirt). The chamois pad is two layers, with the bottom layer in the shape of a saddle and simply stitched down the middle so that its thicker foam sections and three perforated gel pads sit under each sit bone and the perineum.

Not being stitched around the edge, this thicker layer won’t restrict the stretch of the shorts, and a second pad layer, the Skin Care layer, is shaped to the saddle and to the human, stretches easily, and is very soft. Instead of sticky silicone leg grippers that can cause serious irritation in the heat, the lower edge has more elastic Lycra in it. The Body Paint’s seam-free comfort is indeed a joy to experience.

Interbike, 2009 – Outdoor Demo: Castelli’s Body Paint shorts.

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Parlee’s Asian-made Z5 is stiff and super light. Its Edge fork with tapered 1.12 X 1.125-inch steerer is formed in a single piece, ready to ride straight out of the mold, with continuous fibers running from dropout to top of steerer.

Ingenious layup leads to a hollow crown with a molded-in brake hole, rather than a solid carbon crown with a drilled brake hole, for lower weight with plenty of strength to pass the stringent Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) that inspired so many manufacturers to use tapered steering tubes in the first place.


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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