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2009 Las Vegas Interbike Bicycle Show

September 23 - September 25
Page 2

Back to Bicycle Tech index page

Products on Interbike report page 1: Cinelli, Milani Bicycles, Limar Helmets
Products on this page: Selle Italia, Carnac Shoes, Torelli, Campagnolo
Products on Interbike report page 3: Gipiemme, Scott, Woolistic
Products on Interbike report page 4: Orbea, Bici Support, Miche

Selle Italia

Selle Italia's Monolink single rail saddles and posts will please the weight-conscious rider, given that a Team SLR saddle mounted to the matching carbon post in the 300 mm length weighs under 300 grams. While this weight can be achieved using already existing saddles and posts, Selle Italia says that the Monolink system gives substantially improved functionality. Not having tested the system, just looking at it, Selle Italia appears to have come up with a very good system.

The saddle rails, in carbon, can be made much beefier than the slender dual rails now used. I used to import and distribute high-end saddles, and broken Ti and hollow Cro-Moly rails occured often enough to really irritate me. I'm sure the riders trying to finish a long ride with a broken saddle have stronger feelings than that.

The result is a rail system much stronger than the titanium ones most of us have. Also, more fore and aft adjustability is available. This should be particularly welcome to riders with long femurs who have despaired of getting their saddles back far enough.

The seat post, listed only in 31.6mm diameter in the show catalog, has a 160 gram claimed weight in the 300 mm length. It is also available in 350 mm which tips the scales at 165 grams. A 27.2 mm version is in the works.

Two saddles are currently available with the Monolink rails: the SLR at 130 grams and the SLR Flow with an anatomical hole (I didn't make up that name for it) weighing 125 grams.

Selle Italia says that once the saddle is mounted, adjusting the tilt and for-and-aft positioning is simpler than with other posts using dual rails. It sure looks that way to me.

It might be hard to tell from this photo, but the Monolink system uses a pair of over and under bars for a firm mount in the post.

Another view of the seat and post.

Suggested retail for the monolink carbon post with the SLR Monolink saddle is $700.00.

Like Detroit automakers, Selle Italia shows concept products to judge the market's reaction before investing years of R&D (and it does take a couple of years for Selle Italia to bring a high-performance saddle to market) to produce a reliable race-worthy product. This year they showed their "Naked" full carbon saddle with the Monolink system. For now it's vaporware, but very cool vaporware at that.

Don't ask your shop for one of these, this is the only one.

Selle Italia's literature says that weights can be plus or minus 8 percent. I guess they have to give that caution to keep nut jobs from flying off the handle when they find their saddle weighs an extra 9 grams. You know who you are and you've been duly warned.

Selle Italia's web site


Carnac Shoes

In the 1990s and early 2000s Carnac Shoes were wildly popular (and justifiably so) in the U.S. Capably distributed in America by Sinclair Imports, with design and sales driven by such great riders as Laurent Jalabert, the French company seemed to go from strength to strength. Then, for a while Carnac seemed to have lost its way with shoes that were heavier than what the market was demanding and prices that were a bit too high. After a couple of changes in its American distribution, Carnac is back being distributed by Sinclair and the firm has been acquired by the Rivolta group, an 60-year old Italian distribution and manufacturing company. It looks like the change did Carnac a lot of good.

For 2010 Carnac unveiled its new magnetic closure system. Rather than pull on velcro straps or crank a ratchet, the rider merely pulls the strap snug and lets a magnet grab and hold the strap end to the shoe. It looks awfully clean and neat. The strap tension is set by moving a slider that receives the strap's magnet along a little rack. Carnac says the magnets will always remain strong and that the mechanical parts can be replaced. If it works as well on the road as it did in the show hall, Carnac has found itself with a winner. The road shoes using this system is called the "Attraction". The MTB shoes are called "Pulsar".

Carnac still makes 2-velcro, 1-crank ratchet shoes, of which their Helios is the top of the line. I was so taken by the "Attraction" I didn't get a picture of the 2010 Helios.

Carnac says it's carbon sole is particularly well ventilated, allowing air to come in the front and exit up under the rider's arch.

Carnac "Attraction" showing the magnetic closure with the adjustable rack and slider. Carnac people told me several times that this probably doesn't represent the final design. Their engineers are still tweaking things a bit. Besides what looks like an innovative closure system, I think the shoe looks damn good.

The carbon sole with the mesh-covered intakes and the ventilated insole.

The Attraction will be available in early 2010.

Suggested retail is $499.95.

Here is the American distributor's (Sinclair Imports) web site.

Here is the Rivolta Group's web site. Navigate to "2-wheels" and "consumables" to get to their catalog pdf with Carnac.


Torelli Bicycle Company

Torelli's product manager Christian Feldhake warmed my little heart by adding a Italian-made lugged steel cyclocross frameset to Torelli's 2010 lineup. Now I know that if any racer wants to be competitive at the highest level he must use modern super-lightweight equipment. For me, an aging baby-boomer whose racing days are behind him, how a bike rides and looks matters a lot. And no one has come up with a way to make a better riding bike than one using a well-designed steel frame. And no steel frame looks more lovely than a well-done lugged frame.

Torelli has a fine line of carbon racing frames, but it always makes me happy when someone reaches back a bit to cycling's roots and does somethign really nice.

A bike built the way it should be, with steel tubes and lugs.

Torelli also continues to distribute Mondonico frames and this black beauty at the booth captured a lot of attention.

This bike has a threaded fork with a quill stem. Mondonico frames can be spec'd with threadless steel or carbon forks.

The reader should know that from 1981 to 2007 I was the general manager of Torelli Imports.

Suggested retail for Torelli cross frame only: $1600.00

Suggested retail for Mondonico Spirit frame and fork: $2000.00

Torelli's web site


Campagnolo

While I was at the Torelli booth talking with Larry Theobald of CycleItalia cycling tours we had the pleasure of a visit from a very nice gentleman, Valentino Campagnolo. The reader may be aware of a company he owns in Italy that makes the best bike parts in the world.

From the left, Larry Theobald, Valentino Campagnolo, and me.

He came by to do more than say hello. He really wanted to know our feelings about the new product line and the company in general. He repeatedly asked the same questions in different ways, clearly trying to get a handle how we really felt.

Campagnolo's groupset displays were certainly the most eye catching I have ever seen. This case shows the new Athena which will have 11-speeds.

Campagnolo's web site


Interbike report page 3