Marketing folk love to push the latest and greatest technologies on the public but when it comes to cycle racing it's still the rider who does the work, and few examples demonstrate that old adage better than Luna's Georgia Gould.
Gould's Orbea Lobular Cross does without most of the current buzzwords, with its straight 1-1/8in head tube, threaded bottom bracket and normal-sized tubing throughout – not to mention the full alloy construction.
But the US mountain bike and cyclo-cross pro has still nabbed wins at two USGP races and the Boulder Cup, plus numerous podiums, while competing against riders on more technologically advanced hardware.
Barring the different paint job, Gould's Orbea is the same model she used last year. "It's pretty straightforward but this sucker gets it done!" she told us just before the New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colorado. "I get what I get and everything works well and it's quality – that's for me the biggest thing, to have stuff that works and lasts."
Despite the lack of carbon fiber, Gould's all-alloy Lobular Cross frame is still competitively light at around 1,400g and in fact, weighs less than some composite chassis we've tested. Moreover, the modestly massaged tube profiles – especially the lobed down tube from which the frame gets its name – helps eke more performance out of the triple-butted 6000 series alloy.
Orbea's Lobular tubeset features a down tube that morphs from vertically ovalized at the head tube to horizontally ovalized at the bottom bracket – with a unique four-lobed shape in the middle
The build kit is straightforward as well, with a Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 drivetrain, carbon-spoked Mavic R-Sys Premium wheels wrapped in Maxxis clincher tires, Kore wide-profile cantilevers, an Easton EC90X carbon 'cross fork and a Selle Italia SLR saddle. Changes from last season include the new PRO carbon seatpost and alloy bar and stem.
Total bike weight as pictured here is a respectable 7.88kg (17.37lb). Gould was running a two-ring setup when we caught up with her in Colorado but she says she's done it both ways and doesn't have a strong preference in most cases.
"I've done the double and I've done the single in the front," she said. "There are some courses where I haven't even ridden that much in my big ring but the double in the front is definitely great, especially for Europe where you have a 200m paved start. When I was running a single 42T at the front I'd be a little spun out."
Shimano don't offer dedicated Dura-Ace 7900 outer chainrings in 'cross-specific sizes so the usual seamless look is somewhat interrupted here
Experienced 'crossers will quickly deem Gould's clinchers to be inferior to most of her competitors' more supple tubulars. However, Gould successfully runs her Maxxis tires at shockingly low pressures – as low as 23psi up front and 25psi out back – and says the company's latest Mud Wrestler tread offers excellent traction: "I raced these at the Boulder Reservoir and they were awesome in that loose, sandy stuff."
Gould says her main goal for the rest of the season is to the win the US cyclo-cross national championship in Bend, Oregon. Depending on the outcome, her season may simply end there – or not.
"Winning nationals is a big goal of mine," she said. "If I win nationals I have to go to worlds and definitely, if you have a chance of getting on the podium or winning the world championships, you should probably go! I'm definitely open to it but I'm not going for Christmas week or Koksijde so if I do end up going it'll probably be right before or maybe 10 days before."
Gould says these Maxxis Mud Wrestler clinchers offer excellent grip in the wet – and that she's able to run as little as 20psi up front
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Orbea Lobular Cross, 54cm
- Fork: Easton EC90X
- Headset: FSA Orbit IS
- Stem: PRO Vibe 7 OS, 90mm x -6°
- Handlebar: PRO Vibe 7 OS, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape: cork
- Front brake: KORE Race+
- Rear brake: KORE Race+
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 12-27T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 39/46T w/ Thorne outer chainring
- Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-BB7900
- Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M970
- Wheelset: Mavic R-Sys Premium clincher
- Front tire: Maxxis Mud Wrestler, 700x35mm
- Rear tire: Maxxis Mud Wrestler, 700x35mm
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio
- Seatpost: PRO PLT
- Rider's height: 1.75m (5ft 9in)
- Rider's weight: 61kg (135lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 748mm
- Saddle setback: 55mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 585mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 545mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 515mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 60mm
- Head tube length: 155mm
- Top tube length: 550mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.88kg (17.37lb)