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By Lennard Zinn
Saturday is the last dealer day at the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This is arguably not only the biggest but also the most important bike show in the world.
There is a central courtyard with freeride exhibitions surrounded by 14 separate show halls, including one in the giant hangar where Zeppelins are built. If you were wondering why Zeppelins are still being built, apparently they are used for things besides flying around as advertising with big company logos on their sides. They are also used to haul heavy equipment and building materials in to areas inaccessible by road and airplane and with loads too heavy for helicopters.
Avoiding the inevitable evening traffic jam on the small roads leading out of the show grounds, Friday evening, I rode 10km to Tettnang from the show on Tom Danielson’s Felt AR using his Garmin 705 with the European card installed to find the way. (The only hitch was when I lifted the front wheel for a small curb to save the Zipp 808 wheels and discovered that the stem bolts were not tight enough to hold the handlebar from slipping.)
On Sunday the public is invited into Eurobike, at which time it will be too crowded to see anything. I’m out of here today, flying to Denver on the nonstop Lufthansa flight from Munich on Sunday and then on to Moab on Monday.
The RockShox BoXXer has notched 56 World Cup downhill wins and 345 podiums since its inception in 1996. Jeremiah Boobar, the engineer responsible for the BoXXer, is proud of it and excited to announce that for the first time, the stance and stanchion size will be changing (changes in recent years have only been to the internals).
Getting 35mm stanchions (up from 32mm) a 20mm Maxle Light DH axle, forged truss crowns, magnesium Power Bulges, and improved damping, the Team and Race will models will drop 180 grams to 2950 grams (6.5 lbs.), while the World Cup model will drop 90 grams, weighing in at 2720 grams (6 lbs.).
The new Pedro’s Vise-Whip tool finally can free bike mechanics as well as bike riders from the hassles of a chain whip. A Vise-Grip-type handle attached to a pair of jaws with pins to engage cog teeth allow the user to hold the cog so tightly than he or she can hold the entire wheel up by it while installing and turning the lockring tool. This is a great tool, if I do say so myself.
Thomas Frischknecht is finally retiring after a long and storied career, and longtime sponsor and friend Tom Ritchey made him a rocking chair to relax in during his retirement. Ritchey said that he had been inspired while on a bike ride in the California wine country, and bought an old wine barrel with the intention of making it into a chair for Frischy.
He said that it took him a month to build the chair, and he assembled it with wooden dowels, glues and screws here in Friedrichshafen after transporting it disassembled from California. The rich red color, stained by fermenting wine, of the curved staves used for the seat and back is also found on the underside of the chair’s arms. A plaque notes the Swiss star’s two marathon world championships.
Hot women’s bikes
Taking a risk at the high end, Scott’s Contessa line of women’s bikes led to Scott recently being voted the favorite women’s bike brand in Germany.
Where other companies bring in their highest-level women’s-specific bike a number of notches down from the most expensive men’s model, the Scott Contessa goes all of way to the top. There are top-specced Contessa models of the Spark superlight full-suspension MTB, Scale hardtail MTB, Plasma TT/triathlon, and CR1 road bikes, all with a distinctive Contessa paint job.
New SRAM investor
SRAM president Stan Day talked about the invest from Lehman Brothers, as reported here last month. Day pointed out that Lehman’s merchant banking division is separate and immune from the sub-prime hassles sustained by Lehman Brothers. Day described it as a 40 percent investment in the company that will step down to 20 percent provided that SRAM meets performance targets.
Charlie Moore, the Lehman executive in charge of the SRAM account, says that Lehman Bros. looks at around 200 investment opportunities per year, invests in only two or three, says he is excited to work in the bike industry. Day also announced SRAM’s plan to invest $10 million in bicycle advocacy, $4 million of which will come from Lehman Brothers.
Giant’s City Speed commuter bike takes city bikes up to a new level. It won a Eurobike gold medal for design this year. It features an aluminum hydroformed frame, internal-gear hub, and Deore LX hydraulic disc brakes.
Not only are its stem and handlebar integrated, but an LED headlight is also integrated right into the front of the handlebar on Giant’s City Speed commuter bike.
The Giant City Speed’s taillight is integrated elegantly into the seatpost clamp.
Like a chain master link, the keyhole mount on an SKS Shockblade Vario fender for suspension forks snaps in and slides to lock into place onto the bolt of an expander tightened into the steering tube. The height of the individual front and rear fins can be raised and lowered by prying a tab out of ladder notches in the aluminum mounting bar.
Before the SKS Shockblade Vario fender is snapped on, the separation of the two blades can be adjusted to the width of the suspension fork’s crown. This is accomplished by removing two orange tabs from a notched track, allowing the two parts of the track to slide in and out and adjust their combined length.