Edge Composites had one of the most talked-about booths at the show what with nearly a dozen stunning bikes from several premium niche builders such as Independent Fabrications, Vanilla Bicycles, Rüe Sports, Crumpton Cycles, KirkLee Bicycles and Temple Cycles, all of which use either tubing and/or componentry from the up-and-coming company from Ogden, Utah.
Among the most striking examples was a pair of bikes from Parlee that included a long awaited ‘cross rig. The bike is based on Parlee’s Z2/Z3 road frame and borrows much of its DNA such as the signature tube-and-lug construction, impeccable finish work, carbon housing stops and titanium dropouts. Naturally though, this new creation isn’t just a road frame with cantilever bosses tacked on.
The ‘cross frame wears a new rear end that was designed by Bob Parlee (and built by Edge) to allow more tyre clearance. Geometry has also been suitably adjusted and the top-routed cables run through new carbon housing stops.
As is usually the case with Parlee, both geometry and ride characteristics are fully customisable and frames are already in production. According to Parlee Cycles’ Tom Rodi, frame weights range from just under 1000g to around 1200g.
Parlee also displayed the latest development in its time trial frame project which looked distinctively more production-ready than earlier samples we’ve seen. The head tube wears a more pronounced aero cross-section than before and its slight upper extension is set up for fully guided internal cable routing.
The previously integrated seat mast has also been traded for a more conventional telescoping design with a multi-position head that should easily accommodate both time trial and triathlon-style setups. The rear brake caliper is neatly positioned behind the bottom bracket below the chain stays.
Of course, Edge had its own range of items on hand as well. New for ’09 is a shallow carbon tubular rim that measures just 24mm deep and weighs only 220g. Depending on what hubs are used, these would easily build up into a sub-1kg wheelset.
Edge is also continuing to expand beyond the carbon rim world with a line of componentry that includes road and mountain handlebars, seatposts and road and ‘cross forks.
The new drop handlebar looks particularly interesting with its semi-anatomic drops, slightly downsloping tops and unique bullet-shaped ends that Edge’s Kevin Nelson says fits better in the palm of your hands. The only round section on the entire bar is in the stem clamp area and the well-recessed double cable grooves should work well with the newest crop of levers. Claimed weight is 200-210g depending on size.
The seatpost won’t be available until the spring but looks to be a good design. The mast and head are all made from a single piece of carbon and the entire head is also carbon save for the titanium hardware. The clamp mechanism reminds us a bit of USE’s Alien head though the hardware is substantially stouter-looking and looks like it’ll be easier to access.
Projected weight is around 160-170g and Edge will eventually offer it in 27.2mm and 31.6mm sizes, all in a versatile 350mm length.
Crankbrothers’ unique Cobalt wheelset has spawned three additional models that now span the full intended use range from cross-country to downhill. All of the wheels will use Crankbrothers’ unique ‘Y’-shaped rim extrusion and externally attached twinpair steel-and-aluminum spoke concept.
The Opium downhill and Sage freeride models share most of their components, including the new thru-axle front and rear hubs and 24mm-wide rim extrusion. The Sage leaves its central rib at full-height though, while the Opium’s is milled down a bit to shave a few grams and slightly soften the ride. Claimed weight on the Opium is 2062g (956g front, 1106g rear); the Sage is slightly heavier at 2172g (1011g front, 1161g rear).
Alternatively, the more versatile Iodine all-mountain wheelset’s 21mm-wide rim extrusion falls in between those of the 19mm-wide Cobalt and Sage/Opium. The quick-release rear hub is matched to a convertible front hub that can be used with either 20mm thru-axle or 9mm quick-release forks.
Claimed weight on the Iodine is 1895g (870g front, 995g rear) and the suggested retail price for all of the new wheels is US$1,000.
Crankbrothers obtained an exclusive license for Maverick’s novel Speedball adjustable seatpost and now has done what the Colorado-based company was never able to do. Crankbrothers has now introduced a 27.2mm size of the handy
Finally, last year’s intriguing Directset headset concept now includes a 1.5” variant of the Sage freeride model. Claimed weight is still a very impressive 129g and retail price jumps to US$140.
Zipp’s ZedTech program
We already showed you most of Zipp’s new lineup for 2009 but now have a few more details on its custom ZedTech program. As in previous years, Zipp will continue to offer performance-enhancing tweaks such as the lighter SL rim laminate or stiffer SS lay-up and optional hybrid ceramic bearings.
In addition to the usual assortment of spoke nipple colour choices though, the new 188 hubs will add six anodised colour options for the dust caps and bearing adjustment collars. Moreover, rim decals can now be produced in any mix of hues from the Pantone scale.