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Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Day two at the Taipei Cycle show and visitors continue to get intriguingpeeks at upcoming product that will likely appear in bike shops in nearfuture. Highlighting my trip through the hall today were a host of new tire options, some very economical pedals from CrankBrothers, FSA’scontinued progress toward creating a complete group and Aero guru, JohnCobb’s company, Blackwell Research, and its embrace of Taiwanese production. HutchinsonFrench tire manufacturer Hutchinson offered a little more insight toits tubeless road program, which should start making tires available thisfall. The line

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Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Photo:

Day two at the Taipei Cycle show and visitors continue to get intriguingpeeks at upcoming product that will likely appear in bike shops in nearfuture. Highlighting my trip through the hall today were a host of new tire options, some very economical pedals from CrankBrothers, FSA’scontinued progress toward creating a complete group and Aero guru, JohnCobb’s company, Blackwell Research, and its embrace of Taiwanese production.

Hutchinson
French tire manufacturer Hutchinson offered a little more insight toits tubeless road program, which should start making tires available thisfall. The line will include two models to start, the Atom a 21mm superlight option and a yet-to-be-named 23mm everyday racer. Hutchinson representativesmaintained that the technology has been ready to go for sometime, but thecompany has been investing the necessary resources to provide the dealerand customer support system for a new technology.

IRC
IRC was showing off a racer inspired high volume low knob version ofthe Mibro called the Mibro for Marathon. In a 2.25 size the tire is saidto weigh 512 grams. There will also be a 2.10, which should weigh in around480 grams. The design is a response to repeated requests from sponsoredriders who would ask mechanics to shave off the center treads of the standardMibros on race day.

Kenda
Kenda has been producing a number of John Tomac-designed signature tires for sometime. The company has been quite pleased with the line, so happy in fact that it is now out to sign other icons of the sport to co-develop two tires per year over the next three years. Tinker Juarez will offer input on a new RAAM-inspired road tire and a new cross-country design. Juarez is taking on the Race Across America this year and it looks like he’ll be riding tires of his own design.

Meanwhile, Brian Lopes, Eric Carter and Hans Rey will each be workingto bring new designs to the market. Plastic molds of each rider’s firstefforts will be on display at Sea Otter. Pictured is the Kenda Classicroad tire, and Tomac’s new Small Block 8 cyclocross tire.

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Photo:

FSA
FSA released two new road brake models at the Taipei Show. CSC willbe using both models over the season, so the new product will see someProTour action this season. Development started one year ago and the releaseof the brakes marks another major step in FSA’s effort to produce a completeroad group in the near future. The two models represent the Energy andSLK levels. The main difference is the SL-K’s use of titanium hardware.Both share the same cold forged dual pivot design. The arms have distinctlines designed to fight torsional deformation under heavy braking. Thegeometry and quick release cam allow for a seamless integration to Shimanoor Campagnolo levers.

Last year FSA released its original aluminum time trial crank at theTour, this year it offers a new carbon model at the Taipei Show. The newcrank uses the same arms that are found on the new FSA SRM model, but insteadof a SRM meter, a carbon plate style spider is used.

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Photo:

The K-Force, SL-K, and a shallow drop aluminum version. All three barsfeature a new bend that melds the advantages of an ergo shape with theperformance of a pro bend. The end product promises to offer easy reachto the brake leaver and a comfortable multi position drop that mimics anergo drop. The new bar features an eight-centimeter reach and 12.5cm dropas apposed to the traditional nine and
14.5cm measurements.

FSA was also displaying a headset with a brake cable mount integratedto its upper race. This will surely become a hot commodity come ‘crossseason this fall.

Topeak
Topeak recently received recognition from the German red dot consortium,recognizing unique and well-executed designs, including the company’s inflatable fender. The idea is to have a fender unobtrusively tucked away until you actually need it. A few quick shots with your mini pump and voila you have a full sized fender. The fender should be available this fall.

On top of its best-of-the-best red dot award, Topeak’s PropShock garneredthe Volvo Sports Design Award this year. The PropShock is a daily use shockpump that can be fitted in place of a rear shock on a full suspension bikeshould you have a major malfunction on the trail. The pump can even beused as an emergency replacement for a blown shock, it effectively turningyour full-suspension rig into a hardtail. It’s a great way to let you limphome after a catastrophic failure. I will say that I have never had such a problem with a shock in 10 years of riding full-suspension bikes. Still, it does seem logical if you were to blow a seal and were forced to ride a longdistance before repair, the PropShock will prevent any further damage.The shock pump function utilizes Topeak’s Pressure Right system, whichminimizes air loss of more than one psi during air pressure adjustments.

CrankBrothers
CrankBrothers was displaying two new economy pedals, the Smarty andthe Mixer. The Smarty is based on the Candy’s design, while offering itsown flair. The pedal’s colored accents are replaceable and come in an arrayof options. The Smarty weighs 282 grams per pair and costs $59.

The Mixer is based on the original Eggbeater and is also positionedat the entry level retail and OEM markets. It weighs 278 grams and alsocosts $59. The catch on these new pedals are their bearings, they are looseball, and the entire pedal is pressed together removing any the elementof serviceability from the consumer. The pedals do, however, carry a one-yearwarranty.

The yet to be named Enduro-style pedal was designed after a specialrequest from Scott Bicycles, they were looking for a specific pedal tomatch to their Ransom Enduro bike.

The new pedal splits the difference between the Candy and Mallet. Itwill come in two versions both with cartridge bearings. One will featurean aluminum body with composite inserts while the other will be cast inmagnesium and have carbon inserts. They will be priced at 99 euros, and199 euros and have target weighs of 378 and 329 grams respectively. Thedesign saves well over 100 grams over the Mallet. CrankBrothers unfortunatelydoesn’t think the U.S. market is ready for an Enduro offering, it willonly be available in Europe for ’06, there may be a U.S. release if thereis demand when CrankBrothers evaluates demand in six months. The pedalwill be offered on the ’07 Scott Ransom.

Blackwell Research – John Cobb
Aerodynamics guru John Cobb is well known for his new designs and hiswork at the Texas A&M wind tunnel where he served as an aerodynamicsadvisor to some of the best athletes in cycling, including that other guyfrom Texas.

His company, Blackwell Research, features Cobb-designed products thatare now manufactured in Taiwan, resulting in impressive high-end componentsthat, in at least some case, are very competitively priced.

Cobb says his new Concord carbon aero’ bars took more than 1000 hoursto design. They prominently feature a wrist relief bend, which gives aflat aero orientation of the wrist while supporting it comfortably. Thebar has a target weight of 750 grams, comes in a 42cm width, with a 31.8mmclamp. The extensions offer almost six inches of adjustment and the padsoffer 12 different positions. This one’s not cheap at $1195.

The Time Bandit is not even close to being UCI legal, but it’s fasterthan the old lotus time trial forks and much stiffer. The fork’s legs areover 70mm wide and feature pressure relief vents on each leg. The ventsare said to cut the fork’s air resistance by one-third. Surprisingly, thefull monocoque fork only weighs 390 grams. This could be the hot fork fortriathlons or for unleashing it at your local TT.

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Photo:

Cobb’s 100mm carbon tubular wheel has four waves throughout the widthto manage airflow, while the basalt impregnated braking surface helps dissipateheat an provide consistent braking. The 100mm wheels retail at $1500.

Cobb paired with Steve Toll to create a new Adamo saddle, which incorporatesthe pro trick of cutting off the nose of a saddle, so that the rider canthen push it all the way forward and still comply with the UCI’s geometryrequirements for TT bikes.

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Taipei Day Two: Tires, pedals and that critical blood flow

Photo:

Pair that with a focus on nerve pressure-relief and you have a saddlethat offers both performance and comfort. Cobb sent the seat to be testedby Dr. Frank Sommer, a men’s health professor at the University of Hamburg.Sommer is the same doctor who works with Specialized on the Body Geometryseats. Cobb claims his seat scored an 80 in Sommer’s infamous one minutepenile blood flow test, while Specialized’s scored a 78. A traditionalsaddle is rated at around six.

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