New Fondriest TF1 1.4

TF4

Yes, Martha, they still make Italian bikes in Italy

China’s vast carbon manufacturing capability has swallowed up the entire performance bike market, spitting out mass-market Specialized and Treks of numbing sameness (to say nothing of Asian-assembled Colnagos and Orbeas). Europhiles, fear not. For a few top-flight Italian bikes are still made in Italy. Among them is Fondriest.

Started by 1988 World Road Champion Maurizio Fondriest in the early 1990s, Fondriest’s early bikes were best known for steel construction and wild paint schemes. Post Y2K, Fondriest – like everyone else – began to embrace carbon construction. Today, Fondriest offers a full-line of performance road bikes, from the top-of-the-line, made-in-Italy TFZero to the designed-in-Italy-but-laid-up-in-Asia TF2, TF3 (featured on Bike Hugger last year), new TF4 and R20.

For 2014, though, Fondriest has added another Italian-made model, the TF1 1.4. Three years in development, the TF1 1.4 is an evolutionary design based on the flagship TFZero, featuring improved lines and a more aerodynamic tubeset. Like the TFZero, the TF1 uses butted-tube construction with UD carbon. Like its TFZero sibling, the TF1 is lightweight and stiff. Both are wicked-fast race machines.

In addition to its wind tunnel R&D, the TF1 1.4 is what Fondriest calls a “hybrid” frame, adaptable to both manual and electronic gruppos. It is available in seven sizes or can be entirely handmade to the customer’s measurements. In Italy, of course.

Other design touches include tapered head-tube (1 1/8” to 1 1/2”); monolithic carbon rear and front dropouts; integrated internal cable routing; pressfit bottom bracket without external caps, direct-mount front derailleur, and ultra-thin seat stays for less weight and smoother ride.

While the TF2 and TF3 feature swoopy monocoque carbon construction, the butted-tubed TF1 presents a more purposeful, utilitarian aesthetic. That purposefulness is bolstered by the frame’s extreme lightweight: A medium frame weights a lithe 795 grams; the fork is a mere 360 grams. Building a sub-14 pound TF1 is not out of the question.

The Fondriest TF1 1.4 – available in two colors, Matt Carbon and Carbon Red – comes complete with frame, fork, headset, and seat tube. MSRP for the frame set is $3,900. Available through importer Albabici.

Bike Hugger already is angling to get our hands on one for a lengthy test ride in 14. Stay tuned.

More photos of the TF1 1.4 are on G+ and Flickr.

An Amazon Stocking Stuffer Success

Space Juice

Clip-n-Seals

Update

It’s the last day to order for Christmas with One-Day Shipping, and the stocking stuffer story continues as a feature on Amazon.com

Amaz-Balled

Amazon is featuring Clip-n-Seals as a stocking stuffer success story on their website today. Clip-n-Seals, like the other products mentioned, are gift ideas that’ll ship in time for Xmas from Amazon’s warehouses with Prime. You may have seen my face on Amazon.com this summer, when Clip-n-Seals were featured on the homepage. That was amazing then and NOW. My response is still, “Hey I’m on Amazon and that’s exciting!”

Clip-n-Seals are made by the same company that publishes Bike Hugger and are the original, rod-and-clamp style bag clip that’s been manufactured in the USA for over a decade. Read the featured story here and get your stocking stuffers with Prime while you can.

Here’s a short video of how Clip-n-Seals work.


Update on SRAM Hydro-R Recall

For owners of SRAM Hydro-R rim and disc brake shift/brake systems, there is a dedicated web address to keep consumers updated. You can also register to receive email updates. The most recent update came out this morning:

We would like to outline for you our replacement plan. The logistics of execution are being hammered out but are not complete. Our first priority is safety our second priority is to get you back out riding just as fast as we can with mechanical brakes, and then with the new generation of hydraulic as soon as it is ready.

Europe: Through the customer’s chosen Dealer, SRAM will provide a mechanical brake system to replace the customer’s hydraulic rim or disc brakes. SRAM also will provide to the customer an option of either receiving the new hydraulic braking system when the redesign is complete, or a cheque/check for EUR 150. SRAM will provide a fair labor cost cash reimbursement to the Dealer for all installs.

Asia: Through the customer’s chosen Dealer, SRAM will provide a mechanical rim or disc brake system to replace a customer’s hydraulic rim or disc brakes. SRAM also will provide to the customer an option of either receiving the new hydraulic braking system when the redesign is complete, or a cheque/check for US$ 200. SRAM will provide a fair labor cost reimbursement to the dealer for all installs.

North America: SRAM is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to finalize a comprehensive and approved solution. Here is what we can commit for customers as we work through this process: Through the customer’s chosen Dealer, SRAM will provide a mechanical rim or disc brake system to replace a customer’s hydraulic rim or disc brake system. SRAM will provide a fair labor cost cash reimbursement to the dealer for all installs. SRAM will provide a voucher for product or cash reimbursement in an amount to be determined between SRAM and the CPSC.

If you have Red22 Hydro, you’ll receive Red22 standard levers with either standard Red calipers or Avid BB7SL cable disc calipers, depending on whether you had rim or disc brakes. In a similar manner, if you have the 10sp S700 levers, you’ll get 10sp Force and either Force brakes or BB7S.

CPSC rules limit the language that SRAM can use with respect to North America, but reading between the lines it sounds as if SRAM is planning on providing the non-hydraulic replacments AND LATER either new, revised hydraulic systems or a cash compensation.

If that’s the case, consumers would actually be getting a lot of product even if there would be some short term inconvenience. It shows that SRAM really wants to keep their customers; I’m sure that this is going to be expensive for them. Since I already like SRAM road & mtb components, I’m going to sign up for the warrantee process and wait it out.

Finding the Lines with Russel Stevenson

Russie Wins

Russie on his way to winning Seattle CX at Enumclaw

As the regular CX season ended in Seattle, I said to Russ, “If you’re judging how fast you are by the time it takes you to lap me, then that was the fastest!” I had a lap one mechanical, but still that was impressive. “Well,” Russ said…

It starts with good fitness. If you’re feeling good, fit and fresh you’ll usually have a good race on any course. Enumclaw for me was just one of those days where the pain wasn’t registering. When that’s out of the way you’re just out there riding having fun. And when that’s going on you’re fully aware, making fast lines happen and 100% checked into the task on hand, the perfect marriage!

Finding speed is simply not riding in the muck. That course wasn’t muddy by my standards but I saw a lot of covered bikes. It’s easy to get out of rhythm and tossed into bad slow lines. I think that’s the case with many of us. When your not suffering you can usually put more into where and how you’re putting your power down. A lot of this line selection happens in pre-ride. If you can see it there you can usually see it racing, but not always. In these sort of courses I prefer to go out on my own controlling my own destiny and no, I don’t always have this luxury. Often the course, your fitness level or your competitors force you places you don’t want to be.

I’ll also point to the course design itself. That really was an excellent layout. It reminded me of old school SCX courses at Sea Tac where you’re legs hurt after the runs and you had to focus 100% of the time on your lines. No spacing out or drifting! The course was hard and that to me is what CX should be. It demanded of course good fitness but also bike skills, agility and creativity. The on-off punchy style suited me and my strengths. I’m not surprised I did so well, I usually do when I’m enjoying myself.

And he’s right, form and fitness are so elusive as you get older, celebrate those times you’re in it, as Russie did. For me, this season had no measurable results, except for being out there, finishing every race, and at the end I fit into some fine Italian kit from Nalini. Props to Matt Hill, cause without his encouragement, I’d have ended the season after CrossVegas. He insisted I start AND finish the races.

You bigger guys like me, know what I’m saying about Italian Kitarexia. It was a long season too, with Worlds in January, where I think I had one of my best rides from the back of the starting grid.

Russ is a racer to watch next month in Colorado at CX Natz. He’ll have on his World Championship jersey and Hugga cap.

Up next, big miles in Maui and then more dirt in 14.

Photo: DBC Photography who is shooting in Belgium next with the EuroCrossCamp.

A Superman Double Backflip Bicycle Trick


First saw this on G+ as a GIF and here’s the video and wow. Ethen Godfrey-Roberts performed the trick at the Nitro Circus tour.

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