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Tech Report: Zero G cranks; max-dB sounds; Campy gets BIG again; and Kabush’s Turner

Zero Gravity is stepping up both its component development and its support for the sport in 2006, signing a three-year deal to co-sponsor the Jittery Joe’s road team and bringing a new crank project to market. Regarding last week’s sponsorship deal, Jeff Stewart, Zero G’s director of sales and marketing, said the boutique brake manufacturer has been "super happy with Jittery Joe’s." "We really have a great relationship with them. We put products on their bikes and get real world feedback," Stewart continued. As for the new Zero G cranks, which debuted at Interbike, Zero Gravity hopes to

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By Matt Pacocha

The Zero G crank

The Zero G crank

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Zero Gravity is stepping up both its component development and its support for the sport in 2006, signing a three-year deal to co-sponsor the Jittery Joe’s road team and bringing a new crank project to market.

Regarding last week’s sponsorship deal, Jeff Stewart, Zero G’s director of sales and marketing, said the boutique brake manufacturer has been “super happy with Jittery Joe’s.”

“We really have a great relationship with them. We put products on their bikes and get real world feedback,” Stewart continued.

As for the new Zero G cranks, which debuted at Interbike, Zero Gravity hopes to have them in production by January or February, said Stewart. Designed with a focus on rigidity with an eye on the Zero G reputation for lightweight gear, the new crank has a target weight of 620 grams, including chainrings and bottom bracket. Phil Wood produces the bottom bracket’s external bearings, and though the system incorporates large bearings, stance width (Q-factor) got special attention in development.

A 2006 update to the Zero G brake is in the works, too. “We are incorporating all of the ’06 changes into the late-’05 models, so people don’t get stuck in between,” said Stewart. The changes include a deeper spherical cut, which allows the brakes to open 3mm wider for wheel changes, and an improved cable clamp incorporating a larger grooved washer for increased purchase on the cable.

Trek team, JBL and audio shop are rockin’ the Rockies
Trek’s Rocky Mountain Regional Team had the visuals down with its shiny new Volkswagen Touareg and Trek-Volkswagen sticker kit. All the squad needed was a little audio — which isn’t a problem when your sponsors include JBL and kustom kar audio of Boulder, Colorado.

Watson displays the Touareg's tail section . . .

Watson displays the Touareg’s tail section . . .

Photo: Marty Caivano

So, a couple weeks ago, at the end of a long, hard racing season, rider-manager Nick Martin asked Clay Watson, owner of kustom kar audio, what he needed to give the team Touareg a more audible presence. Watson took his ideas to JBL, the mobile cousin of Harmon Kardon (the company produces high-end speakers, amps and subwoofers), and two weeks later the team was on its way to Moab with a trunkload of watts.

“Mostly the attention has been at the stop lights when people are trying to figure out where all that noise is coming from,” said Martin. “(Nick) Ranno laughing in the front seat usually gives it away.”

The system consists of two JBL 10-inch GTO drivers (sub-woofers) run off of a 1200-watt JBL amplifier. The rest is bone stock.

“It’s really a simple system, just a sub add-on for the factory system,” said Watson. “I like building eye candy within usable vehicles. All they have to do is put the factory cover back in place and chuck bags or whatever they want back there and they are good to go.”

What would a job like this set a paying customer back? “They would probably be looking at $5000 to $6000 to do what we did in there, including the equipment.”

It wasn’t Watson’s first sonic sculpture for Trek. His company also did the Trek trailer so national-team mechanic Zack Vestal “could have some tunes,” Watson said. “We have known each other for about a year now.”

Vestal and his goods

Vestal and his goods

Photo: Marty Caivano

In case you’re wondering, the technology stream runs in both directions. Trek recently presented Watson with a Session 7 freeride bike for his hard work on the trailer and Martin’s Toureg. And a pile of JBL equipment is sitting in Watson’s shop, waiting to be put into the national team’s tow rig, a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel truck.

“We have a few more projects lined up for Trek-Volkswagen,” said Watson. “We are doing Martin’s trailer, which is going to be ridiculous, I have some absolutely silly plans for that thing. The trailers have been fun. They are just a great way to attract people to Trek.”

Next time you run into these guys at the races, make sure you ask them for a taste. You won’t have to twist Martin’s arm too much before he throws in Run-DMC’s “Bounce” and your kidneys start vibrating.

Campagnolo gets BIG again
Campagnolo has re-introduced its silver BIG, Tullio Campagnolo’s solution to the age-old problem of how to open a bottle of your finest wine. The mechanism was originally developed 30 years ago, but the silver BIG was a special edition, cut from the line two years ago. But the public outcry has been fierce, and Campy has decided to return the BIG to its product line.

Features include Campagnolo’s patented self-centering telescopic bell, which allows for the precise placement of the tool’s screw ensuring that a user will never break a cork. The screw is made from hardened steel, promising years of dependable operation, and the long dual levers make extracting the cork a smooth process so as to not upset a special wine. The tool’s arms are affixed using Campagnolo’s own chainring bolts. The opener costs roughly 132 euros.

What the pros ride: Geoff Kabush’s Turner cyclo-cross bike
Last year at the U.S. cyclo-cross nationals, Geoff Kabush had just narrowly missed taking the inaugural U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series and won Canadian nationals; his successful cyclo-cross season was over. But the Deaner’s season had just begun, and Kabush’s alter ego showed up to cheer on his Maxxis teammates Jonny Sundt and Adam Craig.

Kabush's Turner prototype

Kabush’s Turner prototype

Photo: Neal Rogers

This year, Kabush raced just enough to make an impact after wrapping up a stellar mountain-bike season. But if his season was shorter, it was also sweeter, because Kabush was racing on a cool ‘cross bike – a prototype from Turner.

The aluminum frame was prepped and built by Kabush’s Maxxis team mechanic, Gary Wolff, and features dress from all of the team’s regular-season sponsors: Turner, TruVativ, Avid, SRAM, SDG, Maxxis, King and Crank Brothers. The bike ialso sports nine-speed components from Shimano, Zipp 404 CX wheels and an Alpha-Q ’cross fork. The tires are a prototype clincher called (of all things) Prototype B). And Kabush chose a 38/44 chainring combo and a 12-26 cassette. The bike is light and fast, and (in case you didn’t notice) you didn’t notice – bright orange.

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