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Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn: The great Olympic coverup

Olympic cover-upDear Lennard,After watching the Olympic road race and time trial, I noticed an abundanceof tape covering helmet, bike and component logos. Why would countriesgoverning bodies force this on riders knowing that they race professionallyfor other teams?Some examples: Julich and Hamilton covering up the Bell logo on thesides of the TT helmet but not the front. While it looks like most peoplein the TT field were covering up bike and fork logos on the headtubes andfork legs. What gives?ShawnI’ll let Bell Sports answer that:It basically comes down to limits on equipment logo sizes

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By Lennard Zinn

That tape keeps you from seeing what Backstedt is riding... as long as he doesn't move his foot

That tape keeps you from seeing what Backstedt is riding… as long as he doesn’t move his foot

Photo: Graham Watson

Olympic cover-up
Dear Lennard,
After watching the Olympic road race and time trial, I noticed an abundanceof tape covering helmet, bike and component logos. Why would countriesgoverning bodies force this on riders knowing that they race professionallyfor other teams?Some examples: Julich and Hamilton covering up the Bell logo on thesides of the TT helmet but not the front. While it looks like most peoplein the TT field were covering up bike and fork logos on the headtubes andfork legs. What gives?
ShawnI’ll let Bell Sports answer that:

It basically comes down to limits on equipment logo sizes asdictated by the IOC. We had prepared new helmets with no side logos forthe Olympics, but Tyler Hamilton, Bobby Julich and a few others chose towear their trade team helmets and were asked to cover the logos. You’llnote that Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (NED, women’s TT and pursuit goldmedals), Dede Demet-Berry (USA, women’s TT silver), Karin Thürig (SWI,women’s TT bronze) and some of the track athletes are wearing the sameBell Meteor II with only the more modest front logo.It wasn’t just helmets, however…it looked like the logo regulationswere unevenly enforced on other equipment as I noticed Magnus Backstedt,Viatcheslav Ekimov and had their bike logos covered up, while others withmuch larger logos were left stock. Go figure.In any case, logos or no, we’ll take five of the six medals (the otherone went to Giro) in the TT any day.
Don Palermini
Marketing Communications Manager
Bell Sports

Is that cheap solution available to all?
Dear Lennard,
Earlier in the year, Giro sponsored athletes had those nifty clearcovers for their helmets. Does Giro have any plans to mass market those?Being not professionally sponsored, and living in the upper midwest, itwould be quite nifty for both cold weather purposes and the odd collegiatetime trial.
TimAnswer from Giro:

At this time Giro does not plan to make the clear Pneumo™ coversavailable to consumers.Simply put: those covers were designed as a simple solution for veryspecialized need over a limited time. They are made of a thin polycarbonatein order to keep weight to a minimum, they require proper installation,and they offer a limited aero benefit compared to a genuine aero helmet.Given all of these factors, we don’t feel that the covers offer the durability,value or significant benefit that a consumer product should bring.We want your readers to know that as a company with a history of strongperformances against the clock, everyone at Giro recognizes the steadydemand for TT-specific helmets and related equipment, and we take thatdemand seriously. But given the time and energy required to continue improvinghelmets, we have to remain focused on the greater demand for lighter, coolerhelmets with advanced technologies – like the Atmos™. Why? Because innovationslike carbon fiber Rib Cage™ and internal Roll Cage™ reinforcements, multi-pieceIn-mold outer shells, soft rubber over-molded Roc Loc® systems andinternal strap anchors are helping us to advance all helmets. And ultimately,that’s a greater benefit for most riders.If readers have any additional questions about Giro helmets, they canget answers in the FAQ section of giro.com.
Eric Richter
Marketing Communications
Giro

More mix-and-match
Dear Lennard,
I recall an article some time ago regarding converting Campy shiftersfrom 9-speed to 10-speed, and was wondering what the cost and difficultywould be converting Campy Record 10-speed to 9-speed? Do you also knowif it is possible to use a Shimano 10-speed cassette and chain with Record10-speed shifters and derailleurs?
SeanDear Sean,
.The procedure is the same, takes the same amount of time, and the partsare cheaper. You can even get (stand by for shameless commercial plug)mynew book to see how.You cannot use a Shimano 10-speed cogset with Campy 10-speed shifters,although you can get away with a Shimano 9-speed cogset with Campy10-speed shifters, the cog spacing is similar between Shimano 9-speed andCampy 10-speed.
LennardThe bigger the rider…
Dear Lennard,
You recently stated that Magnus Backstedt used 177.5mm cranks. As a6-foot-5-inch tall rider I have been following your many articles overthe years on crank length which appear to conclude that longer is betterfor tall riders. I’m surprised then that Magnus doesn’t use at least 180mmcranks if not longer. Can you provide further insight into what the tallpros are currently using for crank length and why. Why don’t we see morecustom cranks in the range of 190-210mm for the Axel Merckx’s and MagnusBackstedt’s of the peloton?
NatDear Nat,
I suspect it has less to do with testing and more to do with what isavailable from sponsors, what a rider has used in the past, and the inertiaof tradition in the cycling industry and of professional racing managers,coaches and riders. The industry is devoted to selling product and makinga profit, and offering a lot more crank lengths does not make economicsense, because the cost per crank goes up, and they would still sell veryfew lengths outside of the traditional 165-180mm range. Also, the old-schoolideas of their directors sportif and coaches are hard to buck.Not many riders approach their equipment with personal interest in theway that Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong have, and tall riders are definitelyin the minority in the peloton. Miguel Indurain’s career was over beforeI started going to the Tour, but he was reputed to have used custom 190mmCampy cranks.
LennardWhen can I go tubeless?
Dear Lennard,
Do you have any info on when Mavic is going to release their tubelessroad wheels? I need a new wheelset, but if the tubeless will be out ina month then I will wait for those, but if it is not going to be untilmid-2005 then I will get the regular ones now.
MattDear Matt,
I understand from Hutchinson that the tubeless road system will notbe shown at the upcoming fall shows but will probably come out in spring2005.
Lennard


Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of several books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “ Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” and “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance.”Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.