First look: Blue NorCross carbon crosser and AC1 aero road bike

Carbon fibre racers from the US

Georgia-based Blue Competition Cycles are introducing new models for 2010, including the NorCross carbon fibre cyclo-crosser, to be raced by American pro 'crosser Jonathan Page, and the AC1 aero road model.

The NorCross frame is ultra stiff and weighs just 1,050g. Blue designed the NorCross, with input from Page, with a head tube to taper from 1-1/8 to 1-1/2 inch, giving more purchase for the burly down tube which in turn allows for a larger bottom bracket. Blue used the more expensive tube-to-tube moulding process in the construction, rather than tube-to-lug.

The NorCross offers more tyre/mud clearance under the fork crown than most production forks. The bike is specced with a SRAM Force gruppo, American Classic wheels, TRP cantilever brakes, Hutchinson tyres and Blue's own Aerus house brand of finishing components (stem, bars, seatpost), and comes in five sizes.

The split seatstays are svelte and strong

The NorCross will retail for $US3,800 and be available early in time for the 2009 season, on sale from late July or early August. All Blue models are International Cycling Union (UCI) legal.

The Blue AC1 aero road bike

Following in the footsteps of Felt and Ridley, Blue are introducing an aero road bike, the AC1, designed purely for slicing the wind. It tips the scales at 15.2lb, just inside the UCI legal limit.

Check out the head tube/down tube curvature - purely for aerodynamics but looks cool too

The monocoque carbon frame, based around a standard 1-1/8-inch head tube, has slippery written all over it from the chiselled down tube that spills into a massive BB30-compatible bottom bracket area to the beefcake carbon chainstays. Blue decided against an extended carbon seat mast, choosing instead to engineer its own Aerus teardrop carbon seat post.

The top tube flows into a sculpted seat tube, slippery against the wind and ready to be raced

Superflow Technology Tubing (STT) is what Blue refers to as its reverse teardropping of the down tube. According to Blue's product designer and former pro racer Chris Pic, wind tunnel tests have shown nearly an 18 per cent increase in aerodynamic savings over their 2009 model, the RC8.

The massive carbon bottom bracket shell is designed around the BB30 oversized standard, and can be sleeved to fit everything else

Pic emphasised the versatility of the AC1, claiming it to be good for both road racing and criteriums, despite its time trial machine looks. All internal cable routing is sleeved right through the frame, eliminating the frustrating 'fishing' process of trying to blindly shove a cable through the frame.

Available in standard (US$2,300) and SL ($3,200) framesets, the AC1 will be on sale this autumn. Other kits available for the AC1 include Shimano Ultegra ($4,100), SRAM Red ($6,300) and SRAM Force ($4,800). The AC1 SL kit options include Shimano Dura-Ace ($7,999) or SRAM Red ($7,800) as on the bike pictured .

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