What do you do if you're stuck in Frankfurt for a five-hour layover? We made a beeline for Storck's headquarters in nearby Idstein and got an exclusive sneak peek at the company's key new models for 2012. Time well spent, we'd say.
Absolutist gets a complete redesign for 2012
This year's Absolutist carries on into the 2012 range in name only. It's gained a little weight – Markus Storck tells us a new 57cm frame weighs 1,070g – but the new shape promises a substantial jump in pedaling and torsional stiffness relative to the already-stout current version.
The key change is the move to an 86mm-wide bottom bracket shell with press-fit bearing cups, which allows for a much broader, slightly squared-off down tube plus chunkier chainstays that are also set further apart. The top tube has gained some girth, too, and rather than reduce the diameters of the main tubes at the still-tapered 1-1/8 to 1-1/4in head tube, Storck instead choose to maintain their full width and partially wrap them around for extra reinforcement.
Storck fit the redesigned Absolutist with an extra-wide bottom bracket shell housing press-fit bearing cups
Out back, Storck include their so-called "Super Size Chainstays" to retain a solid pedaling platform and the seatstays boast similarly healthy proportions. Despite the size of the seatstays – which goes against current industry trends – Markus Storck insists that enough flex has been built into the wishbone area that the new Absolutist is actually more comfortable than the previous one. Moreover, he says the Absolutist is actually the most comfortable bike in the range when the company's latest flex-tuned Ultra Comfort carbon seatpost is used as well.
Other details include neatly done internal cable routing throughout, with entry points positioned right on the sides of the barrel-shaped head tube. The rear derailleur cable re-emerges just aft of the bottom bracket shell – so there's still some potential for weather contamination – but at least there's a tidy cover over the bottom bracket guide to fend off most road grime kicked up by the front wheel. Despite the improvements, Storck will hold firm on the Absolutist's pricing, with the 2012 model fetching €1,999.99 for the frame, Stiletto 340 OS carbon fork and headset.
Storck's redesigned Absolutist is built with "Super Size Chainstays" to aid pedaling efficiency
All-new Scentron goes all-in with Shimano Di2
Slotting in just above the Scenero in terms of price is an all-new carbon road model called Scentron. As is usually the case with Storck, tube shaping is free of folds, kinks, hard edges and any other abrupt changes in shape that aren't deemed completely necessary from an engineering point of view. Similar to the approach some other companies are now reverting to, it's all smooth curves and roundish forms that allow the carbon fibers to take a mostly straight and efficient path.
Likewise, Storck stick with a conventional threaded bottom bracket and straight 1-1/8in head tube. Despite this, from previous experiences with Storck bikes, we expect pedaling and torsional stiffness to be extremely high.
The company will offer the new Scentron in Shimano Di2-compatible versions only – meaning there are no provisions for traditional derailleur cables. As such, the external frame surfaces are clean and uncluttered, with just the usual small entry and exit ports for the wiring harness and a tidy battery mount atop the down tube by the bottom bracket shell.
Claimed weight for the Scentron is virtually identical to the revised Absolutist at around 1,070g for a 57cm frame plus 360g for the Stiletto Race SL fork. Suggested retail price is €1,699 for a frame, fork and headset or €4,400 for a complete bike with Shimano Ultegra Di2.
As always with Storck, the tube shaping on the new Scentron is smooth and organic with few, if any, abrupt changes
Storck have been busy with other models in the range, with several receiving tweaks that will be shown at the Eurobike trade show in August. Accompanying the groundbreaking Aero II IS time trial/triathlon frame with its trick integrated carbon fiber mini-V brakes will be a lower cost version that will retain the original's key features and shape but with conventional brake calipers fitted instead. That change will drop the new Aero II's price to €4,999 for the frame, fork and Corima bar – a full €2,000 cheaper than the full-blown Aero II IS.
Markus Storck hasn't only devoted his attention to carbon race bikes, either, saying the company will also unveil an all-new aluminum road chassis as well as a "very radical" electric bike. We only saw renderings of the latter and have been sworn to secrecy but suffice to say the aesthetics are eye opening.
Other changes include an updated look for the Fascenario 0.7, a new Rebel Six 26in carbon hardtail to go along with the Rebel Nine shown at Sea Otter earlier this year, and tweaks to the Adrenalin 1.7, Adrenalin 2.0 and Rebelion 1.0. Finally, Storck say the groundbreaking Fascenario 0.6 – using a similar ultralight carbon fiber mini-V brake concept as on the Aero II IS – is in production and shipping to dealers.
Storck have revamped nearly their entire mountain bike line for 2012, which includes an all-new Rebel Six carbon hardtail