Friday, August 15, 2008

Beijing Bikes: Juraci Moriera’s Suplicy CS-0.7, and the Cervelo R3

If you race locally in San Diego, you know there’s a sprint race about every other weekend. And if you go to these races, you’ll always see the same guy at the top of the pro results: Brazilian Caue Suplicy.

Caue has been a friend of mine for several years, when we were both coached by San Diego Xtraining coach Sergio Borges. Like many local-level pros, Suplicy languished in pro triathlon limbo-fast enough to win local sprints, but with the payout of a box of PowerBars. (If you read Triathlete magazine, you might recall seeing Caue in a story I wrote about the unglamourous life of a pro triathlete).

Well, Caue could see the writing on the wall. Sure, he wanted to continue racing, because going fast is kinda fun. But he wanted to take his experience as an athlete, and apply it to bike design. So came the birth of Suplicy Bikes.

I didn’t think much would come of the brand, but he’s surprised me. For one, he has been scooping up wins on his own bike. and has a collection of nice gear, road and tri and his order-online website and a few local shops here. At the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon that he won a couple weeks ago, Caue told me he managed to get his bike under an athlete racing in the men’s Beijing Olympic Games Triathlon: Brazilian Juraci Moriera. And he pulled out the stops.

It was thought that Brazil would have just one spot for the Beijing Games, and Reinaldo Colucci had the points on Juraci. But a late surge put Juraci on a plane and on the start for this weekend. He needed a bike, and Suplicy, ready to help a friend, supplied his lightweight road bike, the CS-0.7.

The frame has a slightly sloping compact design a fork with a 1 1/8” carbon steerer with an integrated cut-to-fit seat mast, and, as sold, features some of Suplicy’s house gear, including wheelset, bar and stem. The bike comes in eight sizes, ranging 50cm to 60cm. The stock offering is completed with SRAM’s Force groupset. Complete with this kit, the CS-0.7 retails at $5,000.

For Moriera, Suplicy was able to secure a set of the 2009 version of the Lew Composites Pro VT-1 carbon wheelset. which feature ceramic bearings in a Tune freehub body, and weight a guaranteed 850 grams or less. Yes, it’s that $5,495 wheelset. Moriera’s race bike is fitted with a SRAM Red groupset, a Vision by FSA Mini Clip-on, and Speedplay Zero pedals.

Frame weight for his 58cm frame: Suplicy pegs it at 6 kilograms, or 14 pounds, complete. One nice little details, Moriera's bike has the plug on the top tube's underside, for a tidy race number placement on race day.

Here's what Juraci emailed me today: "I really like the bike otherwise I don't think I would be using it at the Olympics! I'm very impressed with how light it is especially for such a big frame," he said. "I definitely feel that this bike accelerates better and is more responsive than any other bike I've ever ridden. This bike will be my weapon to defeat the hilly bike course. I was able to ride on the Olympic course yesterday and felt very good — the hill didn't seem as bad as it was last year so I'm very excited to use this bike at the race. I'll be racing the lucky number "8" on the Suplicy on Monday!"

It’s not news for those that have been watching the Games to see that Cervelo has sent its road athletes to Beijing on the new S3 road bike, complete with a floating Olympic ring motif, and will make these bikes available in a limited run. Differing from the Soloist, the S3 has cable routing that ports in at the front of the top tube (avoiding the extra weight and shift slop of a full housing run) and new, more aero stays. While Fabian Cancellara used the S3 to bridge to the break, then take bronze in the road race, the triathlon will see a few athletes: Canadian Simon Whitfield and TeamTBB pros Reto Hug and Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, and Mariana Ohata and Reinaldo Colucci of Brazil.
So in a race with what will certainly be some of the finest bikes, a little Brazilian designer has the newest (and certainly one of the most expensive at $12,000 as Suplicy puts it) bikes in T2 this weekend. And Cervelo will certainly have one of the cleanest-looking (and aerodynamically-fastest) new models on the racks.

Best of mechanical luck to all the athletes racing this weekend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Look: Blue Cycles new full-carbon tri bike, the Triad

Man, I love getting the inside track. Of course, they say, as in this case, "don't say anything just yet," but fail to realize they're releasing info to a person who's reason for existence it is to shout from the rooftops. I'm working on some goods for Slowtwitch, but wanted to get what little I do know out asap.

The guys at Blue Competition Cycles showed me some something I'd been told was coming: the first full carbon fiber bike from the growing brand. They've made a concerted push in ITU racing, and will have a bike under American medal hopeful Sarah Haskins in Bejiing this coming weekend. Pretty impressive for a company that has been around for less than, what five years?

But they realize who butters their bread—age groupers. Not the ones doing ITU racing, but doing 70.3s and Ironman and non-drafting Olympic-distance racing. So to keep up with the torrid technological spike in the last few years, they got busy. The result: the new Triad.

So, I was told to keep a relative lid on this. I like to push my chances when people say relative. I'll just bank on people not seeing my blog. Understand my quandry as a journalist? Who gets into the business of not telling people news?

Here's what I know—sorta. But I didn't say nuthin....

The new Triad is full-carbon offering which, upon first glance, it has rear chainstays similar to that of the new Scott Plasma, but takes on it's own looks thereafter. The seatstays are ultra low, and the bike has a 1" headtube. Blue's plan is sell this bike complete in a couple of build kits (SRAM Red and Shimano Dura-Ace), wiht Zipp 808 rear/404 front tubulars. They'll also have an Ultegra SL and SRAM Force version , with a more price-point wheelset.

Other details: the rear brake is located under the bottom bracket shell. It will have a BB30 bottom bracket shell with an internal cable run, and a geometry similar to their existing T-16 tri bikes with a 76-degree seat angle (with wide fore/aft variance with the three clamp positions on the post). And my sources say the rear end is super, super narrow—so narrow that a Mavic R-Sys wheel won't go in. Not that you would want to desecrate a bike like that with a R-Sys...

The bike will also come with something unique: regardless the build, once the bike is registered for warranty, Blue will send the buyer a certificate for one free hour of wind tunnel adjustment at the A2 Wind Tunnel, in Mooresville, North Carolina. For those that don't know, The A2 Wind Tunnel is a growing tunnel, which is a spinoff tunnel next to its big brother, the famed Aerodyne tunnel, which is rented out for the next year and a half and running 24/7 testing NASCAR cars and trucks.

So the consumer gets a very, very valuable benefit beyond the bike itself—much better than the ol' water bottle and cage that some shops try to "throw in." When you're buying a bike like this, the fit should be your next purchase... so why not make it happen in the wind tunnel? Just get yourself to Charlotte, hop over to A2 and get a fit that will rival anything you can get in the shop. It's one thing for a bike company to do the aero thing to optimize the bike, which they say they have done in creating the Triad. Few will kick in the extra to look after the rider's own drag.

The Georgia-based company currently has their newest charges, Ironman Coeur d'Alene Winner Heather Wurtele and husband Trevor Wurtele at the N.C. tunnel doing some fine tuning with their bikes for Ironman Canada and Kona.

And the bike will show up under one other person: Haskins. My Blue contacts tell me she was so taken with the new bike that she wanted it for Beijing. So on go drop bars and the bike makes it's race debut in the Olympic Games.

Pricing? Availablity? Don't know yet. I've probably said too much at this point... better sign it off.