Bicycle company marketing folk love to push the latest and greatest technologies on the consuming public but when it comes to racing, it's still the rider that does the work and few examples demonstrate that old adage better than Luna's Georgia Gould.
Gould's Orbea Lobular Cross does without most of the current buzzwords with its straight 1 1/8" head tube, threaded bottom bracket, and normal-sized tubing throughout - not to mention the full alloy construction - and yet the US mountain bike and 'cross pro has still nabbed wins at two USGP races and the Boulder Cup plus numerous podiums against other competitors on more technologically advanced hardware.
In fact, barring the different paint job it's the same frame model as what she used last year.
"It's pretty straightforward but this sucker gets it done!" she told us just before the New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colorado. "I get what I get and everything works well and it's quality - that's for me the biggest thing, to have stuff that works and lasts."
Despite the lack of carbon fibre, Gould's all-alloy Lobular Cross frame is still competitively light at around 1,400g; in fact, it weighs less than some composite chassis we've tested in-house. Moreover, the modestly massaged tube profiles - especially the lobed down tube by which the frame gets its name - helps eke more performance out of the triple butted 6000-series alloy.
The build kit is straightforward as well, with a Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 drivetrain, carbon-spoked Mavic R-Sys Premium wheels wrapped in Maxxis clincher tyres, KORE wide-profile cantilevers, an Easton EC90X carbon 'cross fork, and a Selle Italia SLR saddle. Changes from previous season include the new PRO carbon seatpost and alloy bar and stem. Total bike weight as pictured here is a respectable 7.88kg (17.37lb).
Gould was running a two-ring setup when we caught up with her in Colorado but she says she's done it both ways and doesn't have a strong preference in most cases.
"I've done the double and I've done the single in the front," she said. "There are some courses where I haven't even ridden that much in my big ring but the double in the front is definitely great, especially for Europe where you have a 200-metre paved start. When I was running a single 42T at the front I'd be a little spun out."
Experienced 'crossers will quickly deem Gould's clinchers to be inferior to most of her competitors' more supple tubulars and while that might be true for most racers, the gap isn't quite as wide here. Gould successfully runs her Maxxis tires at shockingly low pressures - as low as 23psi up front and 25psi out back - and says the company's latest Mud Wrestler tread offers excellent traction.
"I raced these at the Boulder Reservoir and they were awesome in that loose, sandy stuff."
Gould says her main goal for the rest of the season is to the win the US cyclo-cross national championship in Bend, Oregon, and depending on the outcome her season may simply end there - or not.
"Winning nationals is a big goal of mine," she said. "If I win nationals I have to go to worlds and definitely, if you have a chance of getting on the podium or winning the world championships, you should probably go! I'm definitely open to it but I'm not going for Christmas week or Koksijde so if I do end up going it'll probably right before or maybe ten days before."