Montreal-based Guru Cycles is introducing its 747g Photon carbon road frame at Interbike next week.
The US$4,900 frameset was developed from the ground up, according to Roberto Rossi, Guru's director of marketing and communications. "We conducted extensive qualitative research with hardcore riders to better understand their needs.”
According to Guru, today’s high-performance rider is looking for a technological advantage to justify a new bike purchase, and the primary way they identify that advantage is through weight, or lack thereof.
Guru’s design team drew inspiration from the most elemental of shapes.
“To make a bike frame this light, we had to use the most efficient tube shape possible — the perfect circle,” said Simon Bergeron, lead engineer for the Photon project. The base round tube shape was then meticulously modified, based on FEA analysis, to handle area-specific loads.
“From there, we had no choice but to use the very best materials available,” added Bergeron.
At the root of Photon’s gram-for-gram weight savings is the use of aerospace-grade HS 40 carbon fibre. According to Bergeron, the successful utilisation of this premium yet laborious material was facilitated by Guru’s in-house manufacturing, where experienced workers do the layup for every carbon frame by hand. Guru’s internally pressurised molding method also plays a role in optimising weight and ride quality as it results in a unique 70/30 fiber-to-resin ratio.
“I was the first to race this bike and, at first, I have to say it was kind of scary because all I could feel was a handlebar in my hands”, said Mathieu Fagnan, Guru’s engineer in charge of product testing. "It doesn’t take long to get addicted to Photon’s singular performance and ride quality.
“This bike has achieved the greatest level of stiffness-to-comfort level I have ever experienced in a bike,” added Fagnan, who had tested over 150 different bikes as a bike reviewer for a Canadian bicycle magazine. “To me, it’s not an ultra-light bike. It’s the best carbon bike I’ve ever ridden.”
Guru’s development team eliminated as many joints as possible in the frame design, integrating elements such as compression-molded carbon drop-outs and opting for threaded inserts for bottle cages and the front derailleur hanger to enhance frame integrity. A one-piece seat tube and bottom bracket junction also optimised stiffness-to-weight levels and structural integrity.
In addition, Photon was subjected to stress and impact tests before getting the green light for launch. The Guru Photon is completely customisable, both from a geometric and carbon layup standpoint, and will be available through Guru dealers in December 2009.
The US$4,500 Crono 2.0 time trial frameset will be also be unveiled at Interbike and is scheduled to hit stores in January of 2010.
For more information, visit www.gurubikes.com.