Titanium in a Spin and more
Spin, a new frame company with an aeronautical theme is up and flying now a deal has been signed with Velotech, the same firm that distributes Rotor components to bike shops in the UK.
The brand offers two titanium road frames under the 'Spitfire' banner; the MkII configured for comfortable all-day riding and the MkIII for out-and-out racing.
There is also a range of Spin wheels and super light components, including a fabulous-looking 100-gram cassette, which all take advantage of its claimed expertise in machining titanium.
The two frames are made from heavily-manipulated and welded ductile 3Al-2.5V Ti tubes with the ancillary parts machined from harder 6Al-4V material. I say 'heavily manipulated' but not to the extent that Sabbath have curved theirs, which may go down well with traditionalists, especially since the top tubes are strictly level in classical style as well.
In fact, the geometries of both the MkII and MkIII frames feature identical, equally classical 73-degrees-parallel-ish format, the difference being that the 'Super Sportive' moniker attached to the MkII means it has a smaller diameter seat tube for a 27.2 seat post and has clearance and subtly concealed eyes for mudguards.
Common to both is that there is a choice of head tube length for the two most common top tube lengths which means that buyers of either frame have better sizing choice. There are not as many options as, say, Colnago but they don't offer a titanium frame for lovers of the beautiful metal.
Pricing initially looks shocking at £2,150 and £2,350 respectively for the MkII and III, until you absorb that the bill includes not just a top-notch all-carbon fork but also a Spin carbon handlebar and titanium headset, seatpost and stem.
Details: spinmyride.com velotechservices.co.uk
Spin Spitfire MkII 'Super Sportive' uses 27.2mm seat post
Giro Selector aero helmet at tomorrow's Giro
The prologue time trial of the Giro d'Italia will feature Giro's sponsored riders wearing a new aero helmet called Selector. It's the final production-ready version of a helmet that the company has been trialling at two previous Tours de France as well as last year's Giro.
The result, according to their spokesman, is that, "based on extensive wind tunnel and ride testing, we can report that the new Giro TT helmet that will debut on Giro riders tomorrow in Monaco is the fastest TT helmet in the world. The helmet is considerably faster than any other helmet in zero degree yaw situations, and remarkably faster in 5, 10, and 15 degree yaw situations. The helmet represents a paradigm shift in aerodynamic helmet technology."
The new helmet features a new 'TT' version of Giro's Roc Loc retention system; not only is it faster to put on and take off - a big issue for triathletes - but the design allows a closed-off rear which is one reason for the aerodynamic improvement.
The big story, though, is that the lower portion of the helmet, aft of the ears, comes in two versions to ideally fill in the gap between rear of the helmet and the rider's back. Price, included a cleverly ventilated visor, will be £240 when it's available in June and there will be four colour combinations.
Official Team GB Kit now available
Mail-order specialist Wiggle now has stock of the Team GB kit that is official issue now and up to the Olympics next year, according to British Cycling. Eventually, the items consisting of bib-shorts £72, short-sleeve jersey £49.60, long-sleeve top £72, socks £9.60 and race gloves £28.80 will be available in local bike shops as well.
Production is by Adidas in Italy and BC are keen to point out that it's not replica kit; it's the real deal as worn by Bradley Wiggins, shown right, National Road Race Champion Geraint Thomas, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy.
Video: Zipp Firecrest now in clincher form
Firecrest is the codename Zipp gave their new carbon rim profile when they aimed to improve strength even across cobbles as well as aerodynamic efficiency in a wide range of wind conditions.
The last 'Firecrest' video we saw from them - prior to last year's Paris-Roubaix which was won on their wheels - showed how the tubular-tyre version of the 404 model was developed. This new film shows the next step which was to develop the idea for the clincher tyres that a far greater number of actual 404 buyers will use. The 16-minute film explains that far from simply gluing an aluminium rim onto the same carbon-fibre wheel, the clincher format throws up a whole new set of engineering challenges, mostly to do with braking and heat build-up.
Zipp's Michael Hall on the horror of scrapping all their new clicher rim tooling once they'd realised how the Firecrest rim profile would be so much better.
SRAM purchases Quarq
Chicago-based component maker SRAM has bought out the bicycle power metering specialist Quarq in a move that will inevitably bring more affordable and fully integrated power metering to club racers. Quarq's founder and CEO Jim Meyer, who is set to continue with SRAM, said "We started Quarq 5 years ago to push forward power meter technology. We have had wonderful success to date and are very excited about joining forces with SRAM. SRAM has a long history of innovation and is a natural fit with Quarq. We look forward to further pushing forward power measurement technology."
Cannondale SuperSix Evo breaks cover
As we spotted back in March when the UCI included on its online list of 'approved' frames an unknown model called Cannondale SuperSix Evo, we wrote that we suspected it heralded a Giro d'Italia launch. Sure enough, our Neil Webb has been in Italy these last two days not just stroking the latest version of Cannondale's racing flagship but riding it as well.
The effort has gone into slimming everything down and reducing weight to a staggering 695 grams - 1g lighter than Cervelo's R5 - while also improving lateral stiffness and what is now termed by Cannondale 'Micro Suspension.' The goal being, apart from a comfortable ride, greater speed by keeping the rear wheel in better contact with the road.
You'll have to wait for next week's Cycling Weekly magazine for Neil's riding impressions but meanwhile Cannondale's Mike Cotty posted yesterday showing the weight of an even more advanced SuperSix that's further along the development cycle . As he put it, "Mmmm, that's pretty light then!"
Proper screw-on handlebar end plugs from BBB
Dutch company BBB seems to be making inroads into UK bike shops, partly due to upscaling their distribution via Windwave but mostly that the products themselves - consisting of all those bits and pieces that every cyclist needs from bottle cages to sun glasses - display a healthy dose of Netherlands pragmatism. In other words, they work well and they're sensibly priced. Having had a bad week with suicidal push-in handlebar end-plugs, we're loving these quality alloy items in silver or black that cost just a few pounds.
'World of Celeste' now available on iPhone app
Bianchi whose bikes' trademark shade of pale green, properly called 'Celeste Blue' and as iconic in cycle sport as red for Italian motors, has launched a free iPhone app to provide a quick portal into racing and product news for the Italian brand. They're promising soon a GPS facility to record riding data and your nearest Bianchi dealer but for now you can do a lot worse than simply admire some very lovely - celeste blue - bikes.
Have a good weekend, everyone.