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CZoom Imaging, BMC’s new SLC 01, LAF Fundraiser — Win an SRM!

CZoom Imaging Technology

We’ve worked quite hard over the last several years to provide our customers (and potential customers) with thoroughgoing product overviews. We try our best to avoid regurgitating the boilerplate marketing palaver most manufacturers provide us. Rather, we strive to evaluate each product with the same exacting eye shown by our customers. We express our findings in the informational text that accompanies each product on our site. Our hope is that these write-ups are a useful resource as you make purchasing decisions. Nevertheless, we recognize that sometimes what you really need to do is hold a product in your hand and take a good, hard look at it. The problem, though, is this: We’re in Little Rock, and chances are high that you aren’t.

We’re in Little Rock, indeed. Which is why we invented CZoom imaging technology. With CZoom, you can mouse over almost any product we sell and get such a close-up view of its detail that you can nearly feel it tickling your eyelashes. Take a look at the Giordana Forma Jersey, for example. Are you curious to see its Liquid Elastic gripper waist and just how invisible its invisible zipper really is? Mouse over the small picture on the left and look in the box to the right to get all the detail you can possibly get without trying it on. How about the exact shade of Blue or Red each is made in? Same deal -- mouse away and feel as though you’re holding it in your hands. How about its aerodynamically-minded silicone dimples on each shoulder? Just click on ‘Back View’ and get the same hyper-detailed view of the back of the jersey.

This isn’t just something we’re offering for apparel. Take a look at any almost any component we sell -- Zero Gravity Ti brakes, FSA SL-K Compact Carbon cranksets, Michelin Pro Race 2 tires -- and you’ll feel like you’re standing in our warehouse. When you combine CZoom imaging with our thorough product overviews, you’re better prepared than ever before to make the most informed buying decisions possible.

BMC’s mystery bike: The SLC 01 Pro Machine

Our ever-eagle eyed customers have noticed that Team Phonak has been racing the 2005 Tour de France on a bike that is most definitely not a standard BMC SLT 01. It not only bears little resemblance to the SLT 01, but it doesn’t even have the distinctive green, yellow, and white colors of the bikes they were using through the Tour of Switzerland. We’ve seen them in red, and we’ve seen them in black. And we’ve seen them long enough now, in fact, that we felt no choice but to hound BMC for more information.

What we’ve learned is that they’re riding the final prototypes of what promises to be BMC’s new top-dog bike for 2006: It’s been referred to by some as the SLC 01, and been called ‘The Pro Machine’ by others. Whatever the name ends up being, we know this much: It’s a full carbon frame made hand-in-hand with Easton utilizing the CNT-Nanotechnology Easton made infamous in 2005 with their fantastically popular EC90 Equipe carbon handlebars.

What, exactly, is CNT? It’s short for ‘Carbon Nanotubes’ -- layers of graphite seamlessly wrapped into cylinders which are a few nanometers in diameter, and only 10-20 microns long. Apparently, the key innovation here is this close length-to-width aspect ratio. It leverages the inherent attributes of carbon to provide a new benchmark in just how light and tough carbon fiber can be. How much so? CNT provides tensile strength 20 times that of Chromoly steel at 1/6th of its weight. It has a strength-to-weight ratio 100 times higher than aluminum, and 10 times stronger than previous generations of carbon.

The bottom bracket threading is the only metal on the Pro Machine frame. Otherwise, it’s full-on carbon, even the dropouts and the headset surfaces. The cable guides are even integrated into the carbon frame structure. Thanks to Easton’s mastery of CNT technology, none of the carbon surfaces on the Pro Machine need to be machined after production. Machining has a nasty habit of destroying carbon fibers and results in damage to the fiber structure -- and ultimately increases the possibility of frame failure.

CNT has allowed BMC to make their lightest ever frame in the Pro Machine -- it’s 2.2 lbs. and it sacrifices none of the stiffness that made the SLT 01 one of our most popular bikes in 2005. You still get radical shaping at the top tube, the bottom bracket area, and the chainstays to make the Pro Machine equally suited for both violent accelerations and sustained high-power efforts. And BMC’s signature Crosslock Skeleton seat cluster is still in effect, though in a substantially evolved form. Rather than being made from an ornately CNC’d piece of aluminum, the Pro Machine’s Crosslock Skeleton comes in the form of a dual intersection of the top tube and the seat tube. As the top tube makes its way from the head tube to the seat tube, it splits into two segments several cm before it gets to the seat tube. This double-interface of the top tube with the seat tube adds even greater resistance to torsional and lateral flex.

Based on what we’ve been told, production on the Pro Machine is ready to go. We should expect to see our first allocation of framesets in October of this year. It will be available in Matte Black and in the Swiss Championship Edition. It will come with an Easton EC 90 SLX fork, an FSA headset, and an Easton EC90 full carbon seatpost. It will have a retail price in the ballpark of $3,600.

Lance Armstrong Foundation Raffle – Win an SRM!

Competitive Cyclist has teamed up with Peloton Project member Andrew Clarke of Greeneville, TN to raise $25,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. As part of this fund raising effort, Clarke will hold a raffle for a variety of high-end roadie accessories. He will limit the raffle to 100 entries, and each raffle ticket will cost $100 -- every penny of which goes directly to the LAF and is tax-deductible. Participants in the raffle will have a one in ten chance of winning prizes whose total value exceeds $5,800.

The grand prize of the raffle is a SRM Professional Dura-Ace 10-Speed Powermeter system valued at $3,400. The first place prize is a Power Tap SL hub built on a Zipp 280 carbon rim valued at $1,625. Other prizes include jerseys from Giordana and Litespeed, a set of Vittoria tires and carbon bottle cages from Arundel.

Please join Competitive Cyclist in supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation whose primary mission is to help those affected by cancer to ‘Livestrong.’ To read more about the LAF, this raffle, and to purchase one of only 100 tickets, please visit www.competitivecyclist.com/livestrong.