Monday, February 25, 2008

More Tour of Cali goodies and news...

At the final stage of the Tour of California (before the rains came), I snagged a couple of minutes with SRAM marketing manager Michael Zellmann and Zipp marketing manager Andy Paskins, to talk about the acquisition of one of the most progressive race wheel manufacturers in the world by SRAM, a company on the rise with the addition of its Force and Red road componentry. and how it will affect us, the consumer.

By the way, Zellmann slipped us a little piece of news: the SRAM Red groupset will be aboard the Argon 18 of one Samantha McGlone in 2008.

After the soggy finale at the Rose Bowl, Scott Bicycles marketing man Adrian Montgomery invited me to dinner with the Spanish Saunier Duval team. After a week of racing, the boys were enjoying red wine, king crab, oyster and jumbo shrimp appetizers and steak dinners, with rousing toasts to the staff and Adrian as their host that rose in volume and laughter as the wine began to take effect. When a dish of cheese pasta came to the table, the fellas asked me "que es esto?" I replied "pasta con queso." You shoulda seen the soured faces, who had been eating pasta all week. There were no takers, one replying "basta pasta" (enough pasta).

Adrian also showed us Scott's new road Limited road shoe. It has the same Boa closure that I love about the new Specialized S-Works Road shoe, with an even distribution of closure down the length of the instep. That carbon fiber heel actually molds to the foot while riding, Montgomery says. I've been using the S-Works shoe in tri racing last year (finding the Boa rather quick to get out of), and imagine the same can be done with the Limited. We're looking forward to testing. With all that gold and carbon, they definitely look the part.

We also ran into Ming Tan, longtime Look cycles overseer. He had two items of interest, one that will be par of a coming test: the Look 586, and the HSD stem. The stem was gorgeous, all square angles full carbon (no carbon wrap here). Didn't get a weight, but the heft on it exceptionally light. One to look out for.

The other item was the 586, Look's new road/tri tweener—Tweener in that yes, it's a road bike. But it's an aero road bike there fine aero aspects, led by the aero seattube and mast that rises to the integrated post. If you click on the photo, you can indeed confirm what that digital scale reads: 13.80 pounds. That's with pedals (Look Keo's of course), and Look carbon cages, as well as the Zipp Vuma crankset. This thing was getting picked up more than a baby at a family reunion... and with as much adulation. While this bike has a fixed-angle layback post, Look does have a serrated half-moon clamp that is reversible, providing a light, aero bike with an added amount of fore saddle positioning on the clamp. With clip-ons installed, we're taking one for a test in the coming weeks with that post flipped forward, and will let you know how we dig it in the coming months.

OK, to the right you'll find my mini-interview with Michael and Andy. I think we all have some good things to look forward to with this merger between two progressive brands.

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