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Consumer version of Giant's radical TT bike on the way

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More aggressive machining will save 25g per ring, however, bringing them down to a more reasonable 140g or so apiece.

More aggressive machining will save 25g per ring, however, bringing them down to a more reasonable 140g or so apiece. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Five teams are using the new KeO 2 Max pedal, including Astana (save for Lance Armstrong who is still on Shimano), Cofidis, Silence-Lotto, Quick Step, and Agritubel.

Five teams are using the new KeO 2 Max pedal, including Astana (save for Lance Armstrong who is still on Shimano), Cofidis, Silence-Lotto, Quick Step, and Agritubel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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There are no front vents on the new Giro helmet - just a pair of rear exhaust ports. Rather than draw air in through the front of the shell, this new design instead essentially sucks hot air out of the back.

There are no front vents on the new Giro helmet - just a pair of rear exhaust ports. Rather than draw air in through the front of the shell, this new design instead essentially sucks hot air out of the back. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Giro debuted a new time trial helmet at the opening stage of this year's Tour de France.

Giro debuted a new time trial helmet at the opening stage of this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The key to the ventilation performance of the new Giro helmet is these incredibly deep channels that run through the entire length of the helmet. Riders can reportedly actually feel air being draw in through the front of the helmet around their foreheads and over the top of their heads.

The key to the ventilation performance of the new Giro helmet is these incredibly deep channels that run through the entire length of the helmet. Riders can reportedly actually feel air being draw in through the front of the helmet around their foreheads and over the top of their heads. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The tapered lower section supposedly performs better than traditional aero helmets when the rider's head is down, and especially so at greater yaw angles.

The tapered lower section supposedly performs better than traditional aero helmets when the rider's head is down, and especially so at greater yaw angles. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Covering the underside of the tail is wind tunnel-proven to reduce drag so Giro built it into the new design. A strip of stretchy fabric seals the area tightly against the back of the rider's head while a retention system keeps the helmet securely in place.

Covering the underside of the tail is wind tunnel-proven to reduce drag so Giro built it into the new design. A strip of stretchy fabric seals the area tightly against the back of the rider's head while a retention system keeps the helmet securely in place. (Image credit: James Huang)
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According to Giro, the new as-yet-unnamed helmet's unusual shape better accommodates the wide range of positions used by today's riders.

According to Giro, the new as-yet-unnamed helmet's unusual shape better accommodates the wide range of positions used by today's riders. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The visor smoothes airflow even further and it's apparently available in several tints. Of course, it can also be removed in case the rider - or sponsor - prefers standard sunglasses instead.

The visor smoothes airflow even further and it's apparently available in several tints. Of course, it can also be removed in case the rider - or sponsor - prefers standard sunglasses instead. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The bottom of the body is pared down to minimize weight and keep cornering clearance reasonably high.

The bottom of the body is pared down to minimize weight and keep cornering clearance reasonably high. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Look's new KeO 2 Max makes its Grand Tour debut in this year's Tour de France.

Look's new KeO 2 Max makes its Grand Tour debut in this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Look will offer the new KeO 2 Max in both composite and true carbon fiber bodies.

Look will offer the new KeO 2 Max in both composite and true carbon fiber bodies. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Spindle diameter has increased from 10mm to 12mm and 2mm of extra thread makes it easy to add spacers for riders who need a wider stance width.

Spindle diameter has increased from 10mm to 12mm and 2mm of extra thread makes it easy to add spacers for riders who need a wider stance width. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The revised body offers 12 percent more surface area for your feet to push on and a wider platform for better stability.

The revised body offers 12 percent more surface area for your feet to push on and a wider platform for better stability. (Image credit: James Huang)
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As far as we're aware right now, the integrated carbon aerobar setup currently used by the Rabobank team is among the items that will make it into the production version of the bike.

As far as we're aware right now, the integrated carbon aerobar setup currently used by the Rabobank team is among the items that will make it into the production version of the bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The protruding Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box probably doesn't have the aero effect Giant originally was hoping for but it has to be exposed in case an adjustment is needed. Perhaps this will be relocated in production.

The protruding Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box probably doesn't have the aero effect Giant originally was hoping for but it has to be exposed in case an adjustment is needed. Perhaps this will be relocated in production. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Unless something has changed with the bike's overall configuration and cable routing, the unique scissor-type front brake is likely to be included in the package as virtually nothing else on the market will work. Don’t count on the trick orange and blue anodizing, though.

Unless something has changed with the bike's overall configuration and cable routing, the unique scissor-type front brake is likely to be included in the package as virtually nothing else on the market will work. Don’t count on the trick orange and blue anodizing, though. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The radical front end that is such a defining trademark of Giant's slippery time trial bike will make its way into production.

The radical front end that is such a defining trademark of Giant's slippery time trial bike will make its way into production. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Eager consumers interested in picking up a Rabobank Giant time trial bike of their own will soon have their wishes granted.

Eager consumers interested in picking up a Rabobank Giant time trial bike of their own will soon have their wishes granted. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Internally routed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 wires make for a cleaner package.

Internally routed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 wires make for a cleaner package. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rabobank team bikes were a mix of generations.

Rabobank team bikes were a mix of generations. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Many team bikes have their rear brakes conventionally mounted on the back of the seat stays but production bikes will see them moved to below and behind the bottom bracket.

Many team bikes have their rear brakes conventionally mounted on the back of the seat stays but production bikes will see them moved to below and behind the bottom bracket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The relocated rear brake presumably produces less drag than before and there will also be an available integrated mount for a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery.

The relocated rear brake presumably produces less drag than before and there will also be an available integrated mount for a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery. (Image credit: James Huang)
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These strips of electrical tape will ultimately be replaced with a much neater molded rubber gasket.

These strips of electrical tape will ultimately be replaced with a much neater molded rubber gasket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Electrical tape is useful for a lot of things, including covering up the bolt holes on the stem to ever-so-slightly reduce drag.

Electrical tape is useful for a lot of things, including covering up the bolt holes on the stem to ever-so-slightly reduce drag. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Other Astana and all Saxo Bank team bikes were recently retrofitted with team-only lever blades sporting far bigger logos that are easier to spot.

Other Astana and all Saxo Bank team bikes were recently retrofitted with team-only lever blades sporting far bigger logos that are easier to spot. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM has also provided the Astana team with custom anodized crank hardware.

SRAM has also provided the Astana team with custom anodized crank hardware. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The effect is subtle but the white accents undoubtedly look good on Contador's custom white Trek 6 Series Madone.

The effect is subtle but the white accents undoubtedly look good on Contador's custom white Trek 6 Series Madone. (Image credit: James Huang)
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While Lance Armstrong's groups get yellow accents, Alberto Contador's groups get finished in white.

While Lance Armstrong's groups get yellow accents, Alberto Contador's groups get finished in white. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even the back of the crankarms don't go unnoticed.

Even the back of the crankarms don't go unnoticed. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM is providing certain members of the Astana team with custom finished versions of its top-end Red group.

SRAM is providing certain members of the Astana team with custom finished versions of its top-end Red group. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM road PR man Michael Zellman says well more than forty man-hours of work went into repainting each group. Production components were fully disassembled and refinished at SRAM's Chicago headquarters.

SRAM road PR man Michael Zellman says well more than forty man-hours of work went into repainting each group. Production components were fully disassembled and refinished at SRAM's Chicago headquarters. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM-sponsored riders will use the company's smooth-sided outer chainrings for time trials as usual.

SRAM-sponsored riders will use the company's smooth-sided outer chainrings for time trials as usual. (Image credit: James Huang)

First it was Scott, then Specialized, then Trek, and now Giant.

One of the UCI's latest technical rulings dictates that all race bikes must not only meet the stated dimensional guidelines but now also should be either currently "marketed" or at least "marketable." Interpret that as you will but not surprisingly, team sponsors have made quite sure to officially provide information on their latest and greatest aero rigs in order to provide more evidence of their intent to release publically available versions.

Giant is apparently next to confirm that its radical aero bike will be offered to consumers with an official statement expected before the upcoming team time trial around Montpellier on Tuesday. We'll have more concrete information then but certain technical aspects of the consumer version are already readily discernible.

Team bikes – including that of Rabobank team leader Denis Menchov – have their rear brakes mounted in the conventional position on the back of the seat stays but production models (and a few team bikes) will relocate them to a lower drag position behind and below the bottom bracket. Those frames will also feature integrated mounts on the non-driveside chain stay for a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery plus a neater-looking rubber gasket around the top of the seat tube instead of the 'mechanic's special' strips of electrical tape currently used by the team.

All of the bike's critical aero features will apparently remain intact, including the innovative front-end assembly – which will reported be carbon in production and not aluminum as on some team bikes – the intricate internal cable routing, the integrated made-by-Giant carbon aerobar, and the weight-saving press-fit bottom bracket cups.

Unless the design has further evolved, production bikes will presumably also include front and rear brakes given the unique long-reach scissor-type front caliper and mirror-image rear (the cable arm is on the opposite side of the mounting stud from the normal placement).

Specific information on Giant's pending new time trial offering such as retail pricing, available sizes and model configurations – or an official name – will have to wait until next week but for now, eager consumers can at least rest assured with the confirmation that they'll be able to get one – eventually.

Custom SRAM bits for Astana, Saxo Bank

"Special athletes deserve special treatment." That's how SRAM US road PR manager Michael Zellman put it just prior to the start of this year's Tour de France, where SRAM has provided its Astana and Saxo Bank teams with a few custom finished bits plus complete custom groups for a handful of key riders.

Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador (Astana) in particular will head out on complete one-off Red packages highlighted with yellow accents for the returning Texan and white graphics for the 2008 Tour de France winner. According to Zellman, the groups are otherwise standard but still required over forty man-hours of work per ensemble – each of which had to be disassembled and repainted by hand in SRAM's Chicago headquarters.

The yellow groups will also be used in the event that a SRAM-sponsored rider finds himself in the maillot jaune - such as Stage 1 winner Fabian Cancellara – and all other Astana and Saxo Bank riders' DoubleTap levers will be fitted with team-only graphics that are easier to spot in a crowd.

SRAM-sponsored riders will also use the company's more aerodynamic smooth-sided outer chainrings for this year's time trials as usual but more aggressive machining on the reverse side shaves about 25g per ring relative to the current consumer version. Actual weight is now a more reasonable 140g or so.

Giro debuts new aero helmet in Monaco

Second-place finisher Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong (Astana), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) and others departed the start house in Monaco using a new Giro time trial helmet. According to Giro brand manager Kevin Franks, the as-yet-unnamed helmet has been independently tested at the Kirstin Wind Tunnel to be "considerably faster than any other helmet in zero degree yaw situations, and remarkably faster in 5, 10, and 15 degree yaw situations," – by as much as 60 seconds over 40km depending on conditions.

Franks goes on to say that the new helmet "represents a paradigm shift in aerodynamic helmet technology." How exactly, you might ask?

Giro designed the new helmet to work with the wide range of positions employed by today's time trial riders – from Levi Leipheimer's (Astana) more contemporary 'lotus' position to the more classic pose of David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) – and the varied head positions used throughout. As such, the lower edge of the helmet is noticeably more tapered than usual to work better when a rider's head is down but still stays aero when tucked against the back.

Further drag reduction comes courtesy of the integrated visor – which is presumably removable depending on rider's eyewear preferences.

Interesting, the new helmet has no forward-facing vents whatsoever. According to Franks, there is however an "intricate series of internal channels that exhaust out the back of the helmet," suggesting that cooling will be more of a passive process than the more active ones currently used.

Stay tuned for more.

Look's new KeO 2 Max pedal makes Grand Tour debut

Five teams in this year's Tour de France (Cofidis, Silence-Lotto, Quick Step, Agritubel, and Astana – save for Lance Armstrong who remains on Shimano and Andreas Klöden who stays on Time) are competing in this year's Tour de France aboard Look's next generation pedal, the KeO 2 Max.

The new pedals feature a larger platform with 12 percent more surface area plus a co-molded stainless steel wear plate for a more stable feel and smoother float. In addition, the pedal spindle diameter grows from 10mm to 12mm for additional stiffness and the mounting threads are also 2mm longer to better accommodate riders who may need to increase their stance width for biomechanical reasons.

A newly pared-down body design helps keep the weight low however. Actual weight for a pair of KeO Composite pedals is 260g without cleats while the KeO Carbon pedals are just slightly lighter at a claimed 244g. Both are fitted with steel spindles but Alberto Contador gets a special lighter set of KeO Carbon pedals with titanium axles.

Conveniently, the new KeO pedals will use the same cleat design as on the existing KeO, which will eventually be wholly replaced by the new body style. Some regions already have the KeO on store shelves but Look anticipates any remaining markets will have them by the end of the month.

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