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Tech Report: In the thick of it; LAX

Like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, this is the time of year that VeloNews staff get to pump-out another edition of our Buyer’s Guide. In its third year of production, the VeloNews Buyer’s Guide has grown from a “let’s see if it works” publication to a “keystone property,”or so our marketing staff likes to call it. To me, the tremendous amount of work we put into it is well worth it because of the Guide’s sheer usefulness and “drool factor.” You won’t see a larger collection of “to-die-for” bikes anywhere in 2005 than our Buyer’s Guide. This year we’ve enlisted the help of

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By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor

Photo: Zapata Espinoza

Like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, this is the time of year that VeloNews staff get to pump-out another edition of our Buyer’s Guide. In its third year of production, the VeloNews Buyer’s Guide has grown from a “let’s see if it works” publication to a “keystone property,”or so our marketing staff likes to call it.

To me, the tremendous amount of work we put into it is well worth it because of the Guide’s sheer usefulness and “drool factor.” You won’t see a larger collection of “to-die-for” bikes anywhere in 2005 than our Buyer’s Guide.

This year we’ve enlisted the help of recently crowned national singlespeed cyclo-cross Champion Matt Pacocha to help us weed through the hundreds of components and bicycles that will be included in the 2005 edition. His insight and enthusiasm for competitive cycling has breathed new life into the popular “Race Scenario” and “Small Builders” sections of the Guide.

Shameless plugging aside, we’re currently polishing-up 19 of the hottest 2005 road and mountain bikes for an organized photo shoot. This “dream team” list includes 12 ProTour replica road bikes that will be available in the U.S. this season. From Discovery’s new Madone 5.9 to Saunier Duval’s new Scott CR1 Team Issue, these are some of the most technologically advanced, most expensive, most beautiful road bikes you’ve ever laid eyes on. And the cool thing is that all of them will be for sale right here in the States.

While working with these bikes, it was interesting to note just how many of these ultra-exclusive rigs come close to the UCI’s weight limit of 14.998 pounds. That’s right off the showroom floor. 2005 will go down in history as the year in which any rider (with enough cash) can easily own a barely legal road racer. For those without the substantial banks accounts, weights on all of even the more affordable models have dropped measurably in 2005 thanks to further infiltration of carbon technology and improved material science.

Armstrong all ‘Crossed Up
When Lance Armstrong showed up to a local Southern Californian cyclo-cross race on December 19th, he ended up piloting a relatively stock Trek X0 1 ‘cross bike. With the fresh taste of victory in his mouth Armstrong asked if it might be possible for Trek to put together a bit more competitive bike for him to campaign in the final race of the Scary Fast ‘Cross Series (which he ended-up not racing). The result is this one-off Trek engineering marvel. Trek Brand Manager Zapata Espinoza explained:

“Our team frame engineer Mark Andrews was the man behind this effort. He started with a Trek XO-1 tubeset, had them joined and then spread a little extra Lance Love to them by having them get the double pass, smooth weld process we normally reserve for the high end Klein road bikes. He also had to get he hydraulic brake line guides put on.

Photo: Zapata Espinoza

Complete with the Bontrager parts kit including: OCLV Race XXX Lite Carbon wheels, Race XXX Lite carbon crank, Race XXX Lite carbon stem and seatpost, saddle, Tufo tires, sweet Wound-Up carbon fork and painted in the new Discovery team colors. The bike weighed in at 18 pounds without pedals.”

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