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News Update – June 6, 2005: Colnago, Look, Power Tap SL

June means a lot of things to a lot of people. But in context of the bike industry chatter we’ve been getting here at Competitive Cyclist, what June means most of all is that it’s only 4 months ’til Interbike and the introduction of countless cool new things for 2006. Topping the list of what we’ve seen so far:

Colnago: Our customers are eagle eyed, and one of them was nice enough to point out this picture to us of Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd on what appear to be old C40’s. Check out the old-school slender tubesets, the lack of an HP chainstay, and what appears to be a 1′ headtube. Given that this pic is of the 2005 Amstel Gold race, and that the Amstel Gold is more important than the World Championships to the Dutch, we knew Dekker and Boogerd weren’t on their ‘B’ bikes, and that something was most certainly afoot.

Fast forward to one month later at the Giro d’Italia and you saw the same bikes under Panaria, Rabobank, and Domina Vacanze. Upon closer inspection, here’s what you saw: Indeed, round tubes throughout. Nary a bit of Colnago’s bi-conic tube profiling. A 1′ headtube, plus standard (non-HP) chainstays with some serious ovalization to them, and a B-Stay seatstay. Everything about the bike revolves around one thing: Making it light, light, light. From what our sources tell us, it’ll be called the ‘C50 Extreme’ or the ‘Extreme-C’. It will be available in sloping geometry only. The rider weight limit is rumored to be in the 140-150lb range, and the price will be around 15% more than the C50 HM. When will it be available? Your guess is as good as ours. Its official unveiling most certainly won’t happen ’til the Milan bike show in September, so we’ll just be in one big holding patten ’til then, but you can say you heard it here first.

Look: The new 585 frameset has been a huge hit for 2005 -- without a doubt it’s been our best-selling ‘superlight’ bike this year. We saw glimpses of them in the spring classics, and we saw them even more widely in the Giro, especially on stage 17 when Credit Agricole’s Christophe Le Mevel won solo riding his 585 into Varazze. Given the priority Credit Agricole puts on the Tour de France, you’ll doubtless see them all over OLN during their wall-to-wall ‘Cyclysm’ coverage.

Look and Credit Agricole have had a relationship as long or longer than any other bike sponsorship we can think of, so perhaps it’s unsurprising they’re already looking forward to 2006. Look has once again extended their sponsorship with the team, and at the recent official announcement of this they showed off the paint design for the 2006 team bike. We apologize for the quality of this pic. But even though it was taken in haste, you can still likely get the idea of how beautiful this bike will be -- Pearl White with carbon fiber decals trimmed in red, with a small Credit Agricole decal on the top tube. For those of you tantalized by this, we expect to receive a small allotment of these at the beginning of July -- just in time for le Tour. If you’re interested, please give us a call.

Power Tap: It’s no secret at this point that our friends at Power Tap experienced a bit of a hiccup with production on their wildly popular Power Tap SL hub during May of this year. We’re not electrical engineers, so we won’t get too wrapped up in the lingo, but our understanding is that one of their vendors supplied them with some problematic bits that caused a small batch of temperamental hubs to get released for retail sale. It wasn’t a widespread problem, but it was more than just a couple that got out there (our ‘problem’ rate was well less than 10%, if you’d like to use us as a sample population). To Power Tap’s credit, they hit the brakes on all production ’til they got the problem completely resolved. Thankfully they found a new vendor for the offending component, they quickly took care of the faulty hubsets they had on hand, and now SL production is back at full throttle. From what we’ve been told, the SL hubs are now being manufactured differently, and the testing that each receives before being released for retail sale is even more extensive than before. This is great news indeed for those of you tempted to delve into the amazing world of training with power.