As far as America’s bike brands are concerned, for the most part we’ve already seen what they’re working on for 2011. Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale and Scott, to name a few, already invited the media to various and sundry press events to display their latest bike projects.
But smaller component manufacturers don’t have the luxury of high-dollar product launches in ritzy locations. They have to do their best to under the lights of Eurobike’s cavernous halls to highlight their hard work.
Fulvio Acquati showed us a new handlebar and stem from Deda. His company was among the first, if not the first, to adopt the large 31.8mm stem and handlebar interface that is now widely accepted as the preferred standard. Now Deda wants us to go even larger — it’s introducing a 35mm stem and bar interface. The 136-gram stem is called Trentacinque and the 210-gram bar is called the M35.
The handlebar is 35mm in diameter and completely round across its entire top section. With such a huge tube, you’d expect it to be exceptionally stiff for sprinting. It’s not meant to be taped across the tops. It already feels massive in the hands and taping it there might make it feel as fat as the business end of a baseball bat. But the 35mm size actually feels really good, kind of like a thick mountain bike grip. I could see people with big hands, and people with a need for massive stiffness, really liking the 35mm bar and stem.
I talked to former Formula 1 engineer Richard McAinsh, 3T’s technical director, about the wild-looking META crankset his company developed. It sports a carbon fiber bottom bracket spindle and carbon fiber arms with threaded metal inserts for the pedals.
More than just materials, the big story with META is 3T’s decision to separate the bottom bracket spindle and chainring spider (as one unit) from the crankarms themselves.
“The axle is now a separate, full-carbon sub-assembly carrying the five mounting points for the crank and chainrings,” said McAinsh. The drive side crank attaches via three bolts to the crank spider side, and the non-drive crankarm attaches via a three-lobe interface inserted into the BB spindle.
McAinsh described how the project evolved when a colleague from the motorsports industry offered to loan a week’s worth of time with finite element analysis software. The software is too expensive for most companies to purchase, so they rent time with it. Apparently this particular company had an extra week of time it didn’t need and gave it to 3T. So McAinsh and his team ran load studies on crankarms and discovered (after running programs continuously for several days) that surprising amounts of material could be removed from unexpected places on the cranks and spider.
In addition to optimizing material placement for strength to weight, the design offers another benefit. With the spindle and chainring spider built as one piece to which the arms bolt on separately, crank length and chainring sizing can be changed without removing the spindle from the frame. Therefore, bearing preload doesn’t have to be readjusted just to change rings or crank length.
3T’s target was a sub-600 gram package with stiffness equal to industry leaders like Shimano and Campagnolo. McAinsh said they’re nearly there — the complete crankset with 110 BCD compact rings, bolts, and BB30 bearings weighs just 560 grams. He says it’s not quite as stiff as 3T’s targets, but very close. Further refinement and testing is in the works but 3T intends to bring the cranks to market in 2011.
The Spanish aluminum workers at Rotor brought a few new pieces, including 3D cranks made to fit BB30 bottom brackets and Cervelo’s new BBright spindle size. It’s called the 3D+ and Rotor says it weighs 470 grams for the compact BCD version and 493 grams for the XC2 version (measured without rings or bottom bracket).
Additionally, Rotor showed 3D crank variants with special chainring spiders for time trial and triathlon bikes. They’re meant to be stiffer and more aerodynamic. Rotor’s oval Q-Rings are updated with new graphics and machining for 2011.
Among other things, Ritchey showed a new deep section carbon fiber road wheelset. WCS Apex wheels have 88mm deep rims, cold forged WCS hubs, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and are laced by hand.
Campy is taking full advantage of the upcoming 2011 model year to highlight its 11-speed groups. Super Record gets new graphics and some weight savings by way of materials changes. The composite in the Ergopower lever bodies is new and lighter, and cable routing changes for smoother action. Rear brakes are upgraded for power, and new pad compounds enhance brake performance. Additional upgrades to carbon fiber pieces, titanium hardware options and a lighter bottom bracket round out weight savings for Super Record.
Prologo introduces two women’s saddles for 2011. The shapes fit into the company’s Scratch Pro (most curved) and Nago Evo (flat to mid-curve) shapes. The Nago Evo DEA and Scratch Pro DEA saddles for women both feature slight cutouts along the midline for comfort. They come in white or black with pink accents.
Also new from Prologo is the Zero family. Prologo’s Paolo Mion said that customers asked for a saddle with no curvature, completely flat both across the width and length, so the company delivered.
Check the photo gallery for more news from Eurobike.