Tagesarchiv: 25. September 2010

Attention Wealthy Weight-Weenies: 6lb (sub 3kg) bike.

A $45,000, six pound carbon road bike assembled by Fairwheel Bikes

Nope, there’s no “teen” missing from that “six” in the headline. You read “six pound carbon road bike” and that’s exactly what the wizards at Fairwheel Bikes in Tucson assembled about a week ago for the Interbike trade show.

The six-pound bike.
Six pounds barely qualifies as a healthy weight for a newborn baby, let alone a complete, rideable bicycle. And you might well argue that this baby was born a little prematurely. According to a Fairwheel representative, the nearly 100-percent carbon machine was quickly assembled. He mentioned that the build was hasty and they’re planning to revise some of the spec.

To get the scoop, I talked to Rico de Wert, builder of the bike’s aluminum cranks. He said that most of the parts are available from small, boutique manufacturers, but some key pieces are fully custom and might never again be built. But de Wert himself plans to bring his crankset and a new stem he’s working on to market sometime in 2011.

The SPIN Custom frame was built by Marc Siebert. As far as we know, it’s the same one built for Günter Mai and profiled by VeloNews in March 2008. But according to de Wert, it was purchased by “some American,” and now wears a few new parts to further drop its weight. De Wert says the frame itself is completely rideable and has already logged nearly 20,000 miles under its former owner.

To view photos:

Spec highlights include:
Customized AX Lightness brakes (we didn’t nail down if they’re the AX3000 or Orion model)
A 281-gram (with bearings) machined aluminum crankset built by Rico de Wert
Hubs by Dash Cycles of Boulder, Colorado
Custom 24mm carbon rims by AX Lightness laced with Pillar titanium spokes
AeroLite Lite Pedals, custom drilled to shave a little extra weight
NoRa CfK carbon stem, built by Oliver Grest of Germany and his Grest & Hanke GbR company
Schmolke custom TLO road bar by Stefan Schmolke
Carbon downtube shift levers by BTP
Custom one piece Tune Speedneedle saddle integrated with a Schmolke post
A heavily modified SRAM Red rear derailleur

To give you a sense of how insanely light the parts of this bike have to be in order for the machine to make weight, De Wert said the wheels alone weigh just 585 grams. That’s both wheels together.
Sure, it’s totally ridiculous. But it’s the kind of bike porn we all live for, so enjoy.
And even if you have an extra forty-five grand burning a hole in your pocket, don’t hold your breath. We’re sorry to report that it’s not for sale.

Source: Velonews

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Carbon Deep Rim Clinchers?

I’ve been thinking about getting some new wheels this year.  Birthday coming up soon.

–The Fulcrum Racing 1 Tubeless (2 way fit) from beginning of 2009 have had enough issues so that, even though they seem fine now and ride very nicely — light and comfortable … I still don’t trust them much.  (A little loctite on the spokes seems to keep them from loosening and the spoke nipple from falling into the rim, where it is almost impossible to dig out.)

–The Open Pro/Ultegra hub 36/32 spoke training wheels are bombproof, but heavy and not aero.

–Then there are my Reynolds DV cyclocross carbon tubulars — my first tubulars, still serviceable after 4-5 years, not used for „everyday“, and very strong with extra spokes, but the rims are not as deep as true TT wheels, the spokes are not bladed, and tubulars are inconvenient for longer, unsupported events where a flat is very possible.  They did not work out well on Transalp — but that was mostly due to tire issues, I suspect caused by overheating of the rims on the descents.

What is the solution?  Is it time for some deep rim carbon clinchers — James M. almost had me convinced earlier in the year?  Which wheelset?   How many cyclists have asked the very same question?

Today I was thinking about perhaps the Reynolds Strike all-carbon clinchers — my current Reynolds have been, well, more reliable than any other wheel I’ve had, and these 66mm rims are the real thing — deep rim all-carbon clinchers.  They weigh in at just over 1700 grams and are available online from the UK for approximately $1250, or around JPY105,000 (no VAT and free shipping to Japan). 

Or I could be an early adapter go for something more expensive and exotic.  How about the 1085 gram Mad Fiber tubulars (no rider weight limit)??

Or maybe just some Shimano 7850 C50mm clinchers … about the same price as the Reynolds strike, nice Dura hubs.  But I worry about a 50mm rim with 20/16 spokes for me.  Though with a 66mm rim like the Reynolds Strike, and its shorter spokes, 20/16 seems quite reasonable.

Or I could splurge and consider some Lightweights (!) in honor of Juliane (but got to go with the tubulars, even though they do make a clincher now for even more money).

Or there are the new Zipp 404/303 models, with a much wider tire bed, lower pressures, more durability, and in general a much better design for someone large/heavy like me (according to all reports).  If they could support Cervelo Test Team on the cobbles of Paris Roubaix with 100% reliability …

Zipp seems to be following (copying?) some things that HED has done with its C2 rim/wheel bed — a much wider rim design that actually helps the aerodynamics and rolling characteristics of a 23mm tire.  And HED has the „stallion build“ for riders over 190 lbs.  Maybe a HED Jet6 — 60mm rim?   MSRP $1600 … I see one place that is offering 15% off. 

I really like what I read about the Zipp and HED new designs. …  and so must a lot of other people, since I don’t see them available online in many places.   Hmmm.

I’m leaning toward the HEDs, if I can find them and get the „stallion“ build.

Any suggestions?

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Eingeordnet unter David

Sky After Rain

Tokyo had rain off and on over Thursday and Friday, very heavy at times including early Saturday morning. The skies cleared today and by mid-day it was sunny and nice, not hot, really nice. The morning rain and work kept me off the bike this morning, but I took a spin out to C Speed to visit Hiroshi in the afternoon.

We had a nice talk — he was readying a bicycle for shipment to Hokkaido — one of his blog readers had ordered a Fuji track bike.  Hiroshi said he is getting decent business from blog readers.  (Yes, MOB, Positivo Espresso now has 30,000 views.  Hiroshi’s blog has over 200,000).

A couple stopped by to browse, but the shop was otherwise quiet.  We talked about the need to break through the traditional importer/wholesaler („tonya“) structure in order to provide good imported products at competitive prices.  He showed me a Focus Izalco bike on the Wiggle site for about 360,000 yen, with Mavic Cosmic SLR Carbon wheels and Campy Super Record components, and said in Japan the wheels and Super Record gruppo alone would exceed that price.  He sees lots of products offered online overseas for much less than the price Japanese wholesalers offer to him.  He is thinking about teaming up with a small European brand that does not have a presence in Japan, to import direct — a great idea.  MOB is suggesting that Hiroshi import and fix up old steel frames from Europe — there are plenty of beautiful ones to be had, and they would probably be a hit in Japan as long as you could find the smaller sizes.  And he is thinking about maybe doing something in the nutrition area, though „proper“ imports (as opposed to mail order by individuals) require various testing, labeling and other requirements.

At this point, with the yen stronger than any time in the past decade against the dollar and the euro, a direct import model might work very well. 

I took Rte 246 and some local roads out to Center Minami — an unpleasant experience until I got close to the Kohoku area where the streets widen and the traffic and pedestrians thin.  On the way back, at Hiroshi’s suggestion, I took Nakahara Kaido.  I used to ride this with Jerome and Juliane coming back from Yabitsu in 2005, and was pleased to see that in parts it has been widened and now has a nice shoulder.  The last 5-6 km to Marukobashi is still slow going, with narrow lanes, standing traffic and cyclists and pedestrians.  Today, I was rewarded with a very nice sky, beautifully clear after the rains, as I crossed the Tamagawa and headed for home.  Pick your favorite photo.

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