Race tech: New gear at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California

New gear, team-only mods, and other tech

GoPro have outfitted a number of teams and riders in this year's Tour of California peloton with their tiny high-definition video cameras to provide fans with a rare in-the-peloton look at the race from a rider's point of view.

While some final details were still being sorted out, GoPro's Dean Dealy told BikeRadar that cameras would be fitted to bikes used by the HTC-Highroad, Rabobank, Garmin-Cervélo, Radioshack and Liquigas teams. Footage would then be collected each day, edited, and included as part of daily television coverage. Additional clips were likely to appear on the company's website.

Custom modified brackets were built in an effort to allay rider objections to having extra widgets attached to their bikes, including one integrated into SRM's aluminum computer mount and a tidy clip-in bit that snaps right into ICS-equipped Fi'zi:k saddles. GoPro also worked with HTC-Highroad TechDev manager Lars Teutenberg on a third clamp-on, rear-facing mount to work on any saddle with conventional rails. Dealy said GoPro don't have plans to bring the modified mounts to market – though enterprising home mechanics wouldn't have too much trouble recreating them.

This gopro hangs inconspicuously below an srm computer:

Dean Dealy of GoPro was busy fitting a number of team bikes with custom mounts for the company's tiny video cameras, such as this one that hangs below an SRM computer

HTC-Highroad bikes equipped with beefed-up Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleurs

HTC-Highroad's Specialized S-Works Venge carbon fiber aero road rigs arrived at the Tour of California with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groups across the board – but with one notable variation from the consumer version. While standard Di2 rear derailleurs boast all-carbon-fiber pulley cage plates in an effort to save a few grams, HTC-Highroad's mechs instead used custom assemblies with aluminum inner plates.

HTC-Highroad TechDev manager Lars Teutenberg was mum on the reasoning behind the modification but a cursory hands-on inspection showed the hybrid cages to be notably more rigid than stock setups. The more ductile metallic construction likely makes HTC-Highroad's derailleurs more tolerant of crashes, too. 

…but flip around to the other side and you can see that the standard carbon fiber inner pulley cage plates have been replaced with stouter aluminum ones:

The standard carbon fiber inner pulley cage plates have been replaced with stouter aluminum ones on this HTC-Highroad Di2 rear derailleur

Oakley debut new frame colors and lens tints in South Lake Tahoe

Oakley sports marketing man Steve Blick was busy making the rounds at the Tour of California, making sure sponsored teams and riders had whatever eyewear they wanted and/or needed prior to the start of the race. Included in his impressively well-stocked gear bag were some new frame colors and lens tints.

Making a fresh appearance after a multi-year reprise is the translucent 'crystal red' frame color in select styles. Adding to that is a new 'sky blue' hue that Blick says is similar – but notably not identical – to that used by the Sky team. 

Oakley have added this new 'sky blue' color option to their collection, though the company's sports marketing man, steve blick, is quick to point out that it's not quite the same tint used by the sky team:

Oakley have added this new 'sky blue' color option to their collection, though they're quick to point out that it's not quite the same tint used by the Sky team

Oakley are also launching a new 'Echelon' collection aimed at road riders, with purpose-built lens tints, including a Ruby Iridium-coated VR50 photochromic option for heightened contrast of typical road features and better usability in varying conditions. "On the road, this is a good lens on days that may start early with zero light or rain that may have changing conditions throughout the day," Blick told BikeRadar

"The riders are claiming to have better vision under the lower light conditions as if you're in a clear lens. For a guy like Swifty who won in them today, they worked in both sun and rain. It's a lens a rider can depend on to get the job done with the signature Oakley Iridium 'pop', and the rider can leave the eyewear on his face without taking it on and off under changing light conditions."

Oakley's new road-riding-specific

Oakley's new road-riding-specific "Echelon" collection includes dedicated tints such as this Ruby Iridium-coated VR50 photochromic lens

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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