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Pro Bike: Jai Crawford’s Fly V Australia De Rosa King 3 RS

Australian Continental squad Fly V Australia returns to North America this year with lofty ambitions and new bike and wheel suppliers De Rosa and Reynolds to help accomplish its goals. The team’s evolution hasn’t been limited to its equipment suppliers for 2010, either, with the outfit adding more climbing power in 2009 Tour de Langkawi runner up Jai Crawford.

After rushing to make its US debut at last year’s Tour of California aboard hastily assembled Parlee Z4 and TT bikes, Fly V Australia has enjoyed a more structured approach to this season, in part due to its new supply relationship with US distributor Trialtir USA. The team took delivery of its De Rosa frames in time for January’s Australian national championships, allowing the riders to be fitted properly and spend over two months familiarizing themselves with the new equipment before heading stateside.

The King 3 RS frame that Crawford will use – supposedly 15 percent lighter and 19 percent stiffer than its predecessor – made its Grand Tour debut at last year’s Giro d’Italia in the hands of Danilo Di Luca. With a claimed frame weight of less than 1000g and the Reynolds DV46T UL wheelset adding just another 1155g to the equation, the complete bike measured just 6.7kg at the team’s training camp on the Gold Coast – music to the ears of a climber like Crawford.

“It’s obviously pretty damn light, which is fantastic when you’re a climber,” said Crawford. “I’ve found that it’s a really comfortable bike. It’s really comfortable to ride over long distances as it seems to soak up the vibrations from the road a fair bit. That’s a very positive thing as it means you don’t get as fatigued over a long ride.”

Made from a blend of T700sc and 46T HS40 carbon fibre the King 3 RS features an integrated seat mast, internal cable routing and a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube. While Crawford was using the 46mm-deep tubular option from Reynolds’ competition range, the company will also provide the team with 32 and 66mm options as well.

“It handles really well,” said Crawford. “I’ve raced it over in New Zealand where we had a few descents. A couple of them were windy, fast descents and it handled really well. It’s probably one of the better bikes I’ve ever had as it seems to be quiet predictable.”

While much has changed year on year for Fly V Australia, the groupset remains the same with the team retaining a nearly complete SRAM Red package. Crawford’s drivetrain is also supplemented with a SRAM S975 crank, which integrates a QuarQ CinQo Saturn power metre into the carbon fibre arms.

All of that data would only be of limited use without proper analysis, though, so the squad is pairing the hardware with powerful TrainingPeaks software throughout the season to help develop its riders' training routines. While Crawford’s bike had a Cateye Strada wireless computer (which can't display the S975's power output) on it when shot by Cyclingnews, ultimately it will apparently be replaced by Garmin's increasingly popular Edge 500 to collect the QuarQ’s data.

It’s hard to look at any of Fly V Australia’s equipment for 2010 without seeing an area involving Trialtir USA, further demonstrating the importance of the new relationship. In addition to supplying the De Rosa bikes, which includes the Formula Crono for time trials, Trialtir USA has also fitted out the bikes with Stella Azzurra stems, handlebars and bar tape while the riders themselves are wearing Diadora shoes and Santini clothing.

With the right gear to do the job, Crawford is hopeful the team will get another invitation to this year’s Tour of California (which has been implied by V Australia’s sponsorship of the queen stage, but not yet confirmed) where he’d like to claim a stage victory.

Complete bike specifications:

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