By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor
Since we’re hunkering down to produce the 2005 VeloNews Buyer’s Guide, I’m going to have to keep this week’s column a bit tighter (read: shorter) than usual.
Excuses aside, I have to say that the most exciting part of producing this year’s BG has got to be the “Bikes of the ProTour” section. When the idea of rounding up every production ProTour replica bike was first pitched in November, I have to admit it seemed more than far-fetched to me. I mean, I was going to be the guy responsible for ordering 15 of the hardest-to-get road bikes of 2005 – a long shot in full production months of May or June, but a near impossibility in December and January. But I kept my mouth shut, nodded my head in partial agreement and hit the phone, putting in requests to every manufacturer with a true ProTour team replica bike in its 2005 catalog.
The calls went out in December, drawing few responses. But after a bit more “prodding” in early January (which involved explaining to manufacturers that their one-of-a-kind photo-sample bike would be treated better than a newborn by the VeloNews photo staff), almost every manufacturer agreed.
For some, it was as easy as wrapping up an in-stock bike and handing it over to the UPS guy. For others, it took a little more doing. For example, to make sure the right bike got into the right hands at the right time, Specialized had to ship a Team Gerolsteiner S-Works Tarmac second-day air freight all the way from Germany (don’t even ask about the shipping costs on that one). And Trek had to tear down an actual Team Discovery Channel Madone 5.9 team bike, reassemble the frame with the correct parts to create the bike that you will be able to buy later this year, and FedEx it to Boulder.
Equally impressive were the efforts by the five manufacturers who were selected to have a bike photographed for our “Racing Scenarios” photo shoot. Not having the right color in stock, Intense was kind enough to custom-build us a beautiful red Spider XVP (in one day) and overnight it to us. Cannondale, not wanting to have the right bike end up in the wrong hands, asked one of its field service representatives, 20-year-old Jeremy Wolf, to hand-deliver us a Saeco Team Edition Six13. No easy task – considering Wolf had to drive from Houston to Boulder to get the job done. But 17 hours of wintry motoring later, photo editor Don Karle was snapping pix of the Six13.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to brag about how cool we are for getting our hands on these bikes. It’s just that I’ve just come up from our tech room, where many of these bikes are being built, and I’m still a bit in awe. Like some lucky museum curator, I feel honored to be in the presence of these technological wonders. After a bit of phone work, I am surrounded by a collection of bicycles that will soon be piloted by some of the greatest cyclists in the world in some of the most important races of 2005.
And the best part is, you get take part in the joy when the 2005 Buyer’s Guide is delivered to your mailbox (or you swipe one from your buddy’s coffee table.)
Lightening the load
In a bit of product news, RockShox recently released information on its lighter-weight, light-duty freeride fork, Pike Air. The 140mm-travel fork boasts two of RockShox’s latest technologies: Motion Control damping and Dual Air Spring system.
RockShox’s Motion Control Damping system is designed to provide on-the-fly, tool-free adjustments, light weight and easy serviceability. The RockShox Air Spring system features a combination of adjustable positive and negative air chambers for a custom fork feel, allowing for infinite adjustability of the spring rate and spring curve.
The Pike Dual Air will have two versions: the Pike Team Dual Air and Pike Race Dual Air. The forks share many of the same features, including Maxle 20mm thru-axle, External Floodgate adjust, 32mm upper tubes, integrated cable stop and cable routing tabs, PopLoc Adjust and PopLoc remote options. The Race features a steel steerer and solid crown while the Team has an aluminum steerer and hollow crown. Look for pricing to be around $630.