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On show: Eurobike 2009 Part 1

By:
James Huang
Published:
September 02, 2009, 1:22 BST,
Updated:
September 02, 2009, 2:42 BST
The updated Orbea Orca is lighter than before yet should be more responsive thanks to its newly tapered front end and bigger BB30 bottom bracket.

The updated Orbea Orca is lighter than before yet should be more responsive thanks to its newly tapered front end and bigger BB30 bottom bracket.

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Yeti joins the ultra-lightweight trail bike club with new ASR-5C

Yeti's ASR-5C trail bike shatters the five-pound barrier with a claimed frame weight of just 2.04kg (4.5lb) courtesy of a new full-carbon front end. Though the familiar single-pivot ASR suspension architecture essentially carries over, last year's carbon rear triangle gets replaced by a completely revamped version nonetheless and there's also a new machined aluminum swing link up top, too.

The new rear end sports noticeably taller chain stays (which are also now symmetrical) plus an especially stout-looking set of carbon dropouts with an integrated disc caliper mount that should do away with any brake vibration issues once and for all.

Gone are Yeti's long-standing flex pivots atop the rear axle – any necessary geometry changes required through the suspension range is now presumably taken up through the length of the seat stays – and the interchangeable dropouts can be converted between quick release and 12x142mm thru-axle standards depending on rider preferences.

Up front, a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube (and the correspondingly bigger down tube) improves handling and braking precision while a standard threaded bottom bracket shell maintains freedom of choice for cranksets.

Yeti will offer the ASR-5C in three sizes and first production frames are scheduled to arrive around October.

Yeti claims its new ASR-5C frame weighs just 2.06kg (4.5lb).

Revamped racing flagships from Orbea

Orbea has overhauled its flagship race bikes with new Orca and Alma editions for 2010.

The updated Orca mostly retains the same curvy shape as last year but adds a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end and a bigger down tube for improved torsional rigidity and handling precision. Down below, a BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell will now come as standard equipment (with the usual optional adapter sleeve for use with threaded bottom brackets).

The Alma, on the other hand, sports an all-new shape with a more angular front triangle than before plus a novel top tube-mounted 'Direct Cable Routing' system reminiscent of Voodoo's old arrangement. Instead of the usual short sections of housing to redirect the cable, Orbea's DCR uses tiny loops on the seat cluster around which the cables simply flex. In combination with the included Gore Ride-On cable set, shift performance is noticeably slicker and more direct feeling than the norm – plus the system is fully sealed from dirt and grime.

Also, last year's co-molded aluminum dropouts are now proper carbon units and BB30 will now come standard. The down tube, however, will continue to sport Orbea's novel built-in mudguard feature.

Orbea will offer the Alma with two different carbon fiber blends: a slightly softer and heavier 'silver' version or the top-end 'gold' edition, which reportedly drops up to 150g from last year.

Last year's aluminum dropouts get replaced by lighter carbon fiber ones.

Cross country racers will get not just one, but two new Orbea Almas for 2010.

Michelin debuts new road, off-road tire lines

Michelin's new Pro Optimum road tires focuses not on the usual racing crowd but instead at long distance 'marathon' riders that want a little more comfort and durability.

The position-specific slick-treaded tires are built with a softer tread compound up front for better cornering and braking grip but a harder rubber out back for better wear and a faster roll – similar to what Continental does with its Force/Attack combo. Unlike the Continentals, though, the Pro Optimum tires are offered only in a relatively wide 25mm size and they're slightly heavier as a result: 215g for the front and 240g for the rear.

The popular Lithion mid-range tire also gets updated to the Lithion 2 for 2010 with a softer silica-based shoulder compound that Michelin claims provides 25 percent more cornering grip without adversely affecting wear resistance. The new tire also drops 10g to 220g apiece and four colors will be available to suit your bike's color scheme.

Michelin's off-road range gets a thorough (and needed) overhaul as well with the reintroduction of the 'Wild' label. Last year's temperamental A/T (now known as the WildGrip'r) gets a healthier dose of side knobs for more predictable cornering than the original while the superb 'Dry' tread pattern (now known as the WildRace'r) wisely carries over with its dense array of small knobs and tenacious traction on hardpacked surfaces.

UST tubeless versions of each also get a new 127tpi casing with the thick rubber layer that once coated the interior to retain air now being moved to the exterior of the tire for added sidewall protection. Tube-type versions will all get the durable (and easily converted, we might add) 60tpi casing of the current 'Mountain' line.

Michelin will offer 26" versions of the WildRace'r in 2.0, 2.15, and 2.3" widths plus a long awaited 29x2.1" size. The WildGrip'r will only be available in 26" in 2.0, 2.1, 2.25 and 2.4" widths.

More demanding riders can also opt for a new WildRock'r pattern with its more widely spaced knobs for added grip in varying conditions or the new WildDig'r downhill tread specifically for use in mud, both with reinforced casings.

Michelin's new Pro Optimum tires are aimed at long-distance road riders who want grip, comfort, and durability while the updated Lithion 2 gets a grippier silica side compound.

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