Gear

Tech Report: Pedal choices; race gear for next year and the übertrainer

Watching the Giro or catching some of the action from Wachovia week, did you happen to notice “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez’s choice of pedals? While his team is officially sponsored by Look pedals, keen eyes may have spotted the fact that the newly recrowned USPRO National Champion was riding a pair of Crank Brothers Triple Ti Egg Beaters. We asked the folks at Crank Brothers about that one and marketing director Christina Orlandella said Rodriguez has been using the pedal for most of the year. “He’s been riding the Egg Beaters for the last four months and in that time he's won three big

By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews Technical Editor

Look at those pedals

Look at those pedals

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Watching the Giro or catching some of the action from Wachovia week, did you happen to notice “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez’s choice of pedals?

While his team is officially sponsored by Look pedals, keen eyes may have spotted the fact that the newly recrowned USPRO National Champion was riding a pair of Crank Brothers Triple Ti Egg Beaters.

We asked the folks at Crank Brothers about that one and marketing director Christina Orlandella said Rodriguez has been using the pedal for most of the year.

“He’s been riding the Egg Beaters for the last four months and in that time he’s won three big races on them: a stage of the Giro, the Trenton Classic and now the USPRO jersey – all on Egg Beaters,” she said.

The new Quattro

The new Quattro

Photo:

Initially designed for the mountain bike set, the Egg Beater design has quickly grown in popularity (thanks to their ease of entry and light weight) and has even crossed-over to the road set. In fact, just as Rodriguez was wining his stage in the 2004 Giro, Crank Brothers announced the release of its newest road-specific design dubbed “Quattro.”

Weighing just 312 grams per set (363 grams with cleats), this two-sided pedal still offers the same four-sided entry mechanism as all Crank Brothers pedals. Its composite platform is designed to optimize the pedal/shoe interface by using a unique cleat design which is adjustable in four directions for a highly tunable fit.

According to Orlandella the new pedals were designed, “to meet the high standards of pro road cyclists, so the Quattro has a narrower Q-factor and dual internal ball-bearings for a Swiss-precision feel.”

At $170, these pedals also boast a 15.mm stack height and 15 or 20 degree release angle. They’re expected to hit the streets sometime this August.

The company is sponsoring several athletes and teams here in the U.S., including the Monex squad. Interestingly, both Roberto Gaggioli and Jonny Sundt are Egg Beaters riders. I guess we have to assume, then, that they weren’t arguing over pedal choices in that recentencounter of theirs, eh?

Our British spy master
In mountain-bike tech news, occasional VeloNews contributor and singletrackworld.com editor Chipps Chippendale was able visit the Santa Cruz Syndicate tent at the opening round of the downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland, last week. In the process he managed to snap a few “spy” photos of new 2005 race product.

First off, is RockShox’s Blackbox Air Boxxer project. Although unusually tight-lipped about the new Boxxer, SRAM/RockShox PR mouthpiece Michael Zellmann would admit that the fork uses, “air sprung technology to bring the overall weight of the fork down, probably uses Motion Control damping and they have no immediate plans to produce it-it’s strictly a Blackbox race fork for now.”

With competitor Fox announcing its air-sprung Fox Factory DH fork for sale in 2005, it’s my guess RockShox will follow suit and offer their prototype fork for sale later in ’05 as well. Time will tell.

On top of catching a glimpse of the hush-hush Boxxer fork, Chippendale also spotted Nathan Rennie’s not-so-secret race rig, the new Santa Cruz “V10.” I contacted Rob Roskopp at Santa Cruz to find out more about the bike. “It has a monocoque front which allowed us to take out nearly two pounds. Frame weight is now 10 pounds. It still has 10 inches of rear wheel travel. We’ve optimized the VPP system further, so it pedals much better. The shock rate isn’t as rising in the initial part of the travel, so it’s a little more lively. The new frame is 30 percent stiffer laterally. Comes with a trick carbon rear fender and it will sell for $2199 powdercoated and $2399 anodized with laser engraved logos. It’s also available now. It is made out of 6061 aluminum with the seatstays, chainstays and downtube provided by Easton.”

The V10

The V10

Photo: Chipps Chippendale

Roskopp added that the bike “has been tested for the last year. We’ve just started racing on it this year and its first win was with Kathy Pruitt at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. The Santa Cruz Syndicate, Luna Chix and Team Big Crank will be racing on it.”

For the rider who thinks he has everything
Finally, I just got back from an especially interesting visit to the University of Colorado’s Human Performance Laboratory where I met with research assistant Allen Lim.

Lim is the proud owner of the very first Inside Ride Super Trainer-the world’s first fully dynamic cycling trainer. The trainer had just been set-up and was being put through its paces for the first time with none other that T-Mobile’s Dede Demet-Barry on board for a bit of an impromptu testing session.

The Super Trainer is a large, custom-manufactured treadmill designed specifically for cycling. The belt runs over a bed of 80 precision, high-speed aluminum rollers. The rider’s bicycle is connected to a computer-controlled tractive resistance unit, which determines the speed of the rider and adjusts the speed of the treadmill accordingly. The tractive resistance unit enables the rider to self-regulate speed and power output by simulating the real-world forces that one encounters on the road or trail, such as wind, rolling resistance, acceleration and gravity.

A lot of the simulation is accomplished by means of a nylon tether, which attaches the computerized resistance unit to the seatpost and pulls against the bike to simulate the exponential force of wind resistance.

The tether system permits realistic and motivational forward motion during acceleration (even to power levels exceeding 1200 watts) as well as natural dropping back during recovery. In addition, the fore/aft float accommodates realistic bicycle position shifts as the rider stands to climb. The treadmill also elevates up to grades of 16 percent.

At the lab, I also met the designer of the Super Trainer, Larry Popadopoulos who went over some of the nuts-and-bolts of the $40,000 cycling-specific computerized treadmill.

Dede gets a test ride

Dede gets a test ride

Photo: Galen Nathanson

VeloNews: So Larry, why is the Super Trainer such a significant breakthrough?

Larry Popadopoulos: It’s the first trainer to almost perfectly mimic riding a bike outside. While traditional trainers or rollers provide some real-world feedback, the Super Trainer provides almost every variable including slope, wind resistance, rolling resistance and acceleration. No other trainer can do that.

VN: Why did you first design the Super Trainer?

LP: I live in Portland and it rains quite a bit. I wanted a trainer that I could ride indoors that closely simulated real-world riding, but nothing was available, so I started work on my own design. It took four years and this is the forth version of the Super Trainer, and the first one I’m ready to start selling. The University of Colorado is the first owner of this type of trainer. Hopefully, once more facilities realize the benefits of using the Super Trainer for testing purposes, they’ll put in their orders as well.

VN: And the cost?

LP: Honestly, when you build something this sophisticated from scratch, it’s gonna cost a lot. In fact, I might even have to charge a bit more down the road, because even at $40,000, I’m barely recouping my costs and time on this thing. We’ll see how many orders I get.

To find out more about Inside Ride, check out www.insideride.com.

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