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Next year’s gear, ridden. Interbike Outdoor Demo

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Sep 22, 2010
  • Updated Sep 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM UTC

The country’s cycling manufacturers have descended on Sin City and they brought next year’s goodies with them. Today was the Outdoor Demo, and visitors had the chance to take the products on a quick test ride around the Las Vegas area desert. These tri-related toys caught the attention of Triathlete tech editor Aaron Hersh.

Lemond Revolution wind trainer

The Lemond Revolution’s wind resistance unit applies resistance directly to the chain rather than relaying the resistance through a small metal drum that presses against the bike’s rear tire, as most trainers do. The Revolution’s fan attaches to a drive belt, which turns a plastic wheel with a cassette mounted to it. The bike clamps onto the stand and turns the cassette that is directly attached to the resistance fan. Resisting the drive train directly, rather than resisting tire rotation, saves the rear tire from being quickly worn out by the small metal drum. In addition to lengthening rear tire life, mounting the rear dropouts to the trainer firmly joins the two so they rock as one unit, just like a real bike.

Spin the trainer up to speed and its resistance is amazingly road-like. No herky-jerky acceleration with every pedal stroke and the unit even maintains its inertia when coasting to allow the rider to stop and start without re-accelerating the resistance unit. Jump out of the saddle and the Revolution immediately responds. We only rode it for a few minutes, but riding the Revolution felt more natural than any other trainer we have tried this year.

For the power training addicts, Lemond built the Power Pilot. The $349 upgrade doesn’t directly measure power with strain gauges (like a PowerTap or SRM), instead it uses an equation that includes temperature, humidity, altitude and fan blade revolutions to estimate power. The rider inputs their altitude and Power Pilot does the rest. Humidity and temperature change air “thickness,” which changes the resistance on the fan blades as they spin at a certain speed. Power Pilot calculates these differences and measures fan revolutions to create an estimate of rider power that Lemond says is accurate to within +/- 3%.

In addition to displaying real time effort, Power Pilot can display pre-programmed workouts alongside the rider’s true output. It cannot, however, apply a specific amount of resistance like the PowerBeam and Computrainer can.

Revolution is ANT+ compatible, so it will display data on many current wireless computers.

Incredibly realistic road feel doesn’t come cheap and the Revolution sells for $549 with a cassette, $499 without. Add the Power Pilot and the unit reaches $898. It will be available at the end of October.

DA Re-Redesign

Felt first pulled back the curtain on their prototype flagship triathlon bike this summer, but that design is going back to the drawing board for an overhaul. The next, next DA will have a new aerobar attachment system, new front brake, alterations to the seat stays and the unique S-shaped down tube will be no more. In short, this version is being scrapped.

Felt hopes to have a prototype later this fall, and this current version that was at Outdoor Demo will die in the development phase.

Ellsworth Coefficient

Ellsworth is one of the most respected bike builders in mountain biking and they are bringing their expertise to the triathlon scene. The Coefficient is their first stab at a multisport bike (although they have been producing road bikes for years) and it has some compelling features, mainly its ride quality. Tony Ellsworth calls himself a “ride-oriented designer” and his goal with the Coefficient was not to create a wind tunnel champion but rather a bike that rides well.

To achieve that goal, they invested in high quality carbon and tried many different layup patterns to optimize the ride experience. Although it doesn’t have the refined aero features of some other tri bikes from drag-focused companies, the Coefficient does in fact (at first impression) ride better than many tri bikes.

Although Ellsworth is new to tri, their first stab at tri geometry was a good one. The Coefficient has a 79-degree seat tube angle and the head tube and top tubes scale-up appropriately through the sizes. We will report more fit details when the info becomes available.

Ellsworth didn’t provide a specific price point for the bike, but it will be high—in the ballpark of $3,000 for the frameset. The Coefficient doesn’t have the aero features of other frames at this price, so it may not satisfy aero geek hunger, but the ride is sturdy and predicatble, two characteristics that are hard to come by at any price.

Madfiber

There are several ultra-light, carbon spoked race wheels out there, but only Madfiber sells a pair that is price-competitive with Zipp wheels. At $2,599 they certainly aren’t cheap, but they are about half as pricey as carbon spoked wheels from Reynolds and Lightweight.

They are stunningly light (1080 grams) but have no rider weight limit and they come with a 4-year warranty, which proves Madfiber’s confidence in their product. The rim has a sharp and narrow V shape and the hubs. Look for more in-depth analysis when Triathlete.com gets these featherweights on the road.

PowerBar Perform

If you are a long course racer, you had better get accustomed to PowerBar Perform. It is the official sports drink of Ironman and will be on IM and 70.3 racecourses for years to come.

Each 20oz bottle contains 175 calories, 475mg of sodium (which is a ton), 30mg of potassium, a little magnesium (another electrolyte) and 42g of carbohydrate (25g of sugar, 17g of complex carbs). Using both simple sugar and complex carbs allows Perform to give a quick shot of energy from the simple sugars and still provide long-term energy from the complex carbs. Research suggests that combinations like this improve performance in endurance events.

It tastes good, too.

Mixed Berry has a subtle, albeit artificial-tasting, strawberry flavor and moderate sweetness. Lemon Lime is distinctively different than Gatorade’s flavor by the same name. The PowerBar option tastes less sweet and has a little more tang.

Perform seems to have the total package—scientifically validated nutritional value and taste worthy of the 7-11 refrigerator.

f:iz’ik Arione VS

f:iz’ik believes in saddles with flat tops rather than cutouts. The majority of their saddles will continue to have this traditional design, but the Italian company has created the VS line of saddles that feature a recessed channel. They are offering VS versions of the Arione, Aliante and Antares for riders that need a little extra undercarriage relief.

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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