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2009 Las Vegas Interbike Bicycle Show

September 23 - September 25, 2009
Page 3

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Products on Interbike report page 1: Cinelli, Milani Bicycles, Limar Helmets
Products on Interbike report page 2: Selle Italia, Carnac Shoes,Torelli, Campagnolo
Products on Interbike report page 4: Orbea, Bici Support, Miche
Products on this page: Gipiemme, Scott, Woolistic

TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.


When Carol and I first started Torelli in 1981 we distributed Galli components. Almost immediately thereafter we switched to Gipiemme, a much finer component line. In fact, I submit that the Gipiemme Cronospecial parts of the early 1980s were very much equivalent in function, design and quality to Campagnolo Nuovo Record. The firm, headquartered not far from Campagnolo in Vicenza, sponsored one of the best teams in the world at the time, Inoxpran with Roberto Visentini and Giovanni Battaglin.

While the firm was capable of producing race-winning parts, it was unable to handle the 2-pronged assault that hit them. I was told the tough history of the firm by one of the founder's sons. He said that first of all, old Tullio Campagnolo hated the idea of another top-line component maker existing not only in Italy, but in the northern Italian region of Veneto. I was told he did all he could to do the company in, but finally ended up buying a portion of the firm. I was told Gipiemme made a lot of the Campagnolo Triomphe and Victory components. I remember visiting Gipiemme and asking about the covered crates of components sitting just outside the factory building. I was eventually informed that they were filled with unsold Triomphe and Victory parts.

The bigger problem was one all European firms of the time faced faced. Japan was making very fine parts that came closer to meeting the needs of cyclists. I begged Gipiemme to make a crankset that would accept a 39-tooth inner ring because the 42-low was unacceptable, but was told that they didn't have the funds for the new tooling. Facing declining sales of an outdated product line in a savagely competitive market, at some point in the late 1980s the original Gipiemme company was shuttered. Yet, because Gipiemme made such fine components, the firm's excellent reputation for making pro-level goods endured.

The very successful ISCA Selle company, which then specialized in making mostly economical saddles for bike factories, acquired the Gipiemme name soon thereafter. ISCA wanted to produce very high-end products and wanted a name that would convey the top-end quality of their goods. The new Gipiemme produced the "Wide Guy" and "Speedster" wheels and rims for Torelli in the mid 1990s. They were so well made, some of them are still on the road.

I asked Marco Bernardi of Gipiemme what the company had for 2010 that was hot. He showed me their H40 carbon clincher wheels. Bernardi says there are several aspects of the H40s that merit attention. First of all, the wheel can use regular rubber brake pads. Because of a ceramic and fiberglass powder impregnated in the carbon rim's braking surface, the obnoxious problem of using special brake pads when using carbon wheels is obviated. The wheels are made with self-locking (I assume this means something like nylock) aluminum nipples doing away with the need for any thread-locking compound on the spokes.

The wheels come in both Shimano and Campagnolo versions. The rims are 40mm deep and 19.5mm wide. The 20-spoke front wheels weighs 626 grams and the 24-hole rear is 748 grams. Gipiemme says the weights given are plus or minus 7% and do not include the QRs.

Gipiemme wheels

Gipiemme's Marco Bernardi poses with what looks like an H40 rear wheel and a lower profile H25 front carbon wheel.

I don't have any pricing at the moment.

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Mounted outside Scott's booth was a really effective attention-grabber, Mark Cavendish's Tour de France bike.

Mark Cavendish's Scott bike

The stem looks like a giant carbon brick. If there is any flex in this bike when Columbia's speedster pulls on the bars, it won't be because there is give in the stem. I noticed that the bike has Conti sew-ups, not clinchers. Even though there are lots of studies out there that claim that clinchers are faster (and maybe they are), it still looks like top pros use sew ups unless they are paid to do otherwise.

Mark Cavendish's Scott bike

Note the fighter pilot theme with the nose art and the "kill" wings (TDF stage wins) on the top tube.

Here's Scott's web site.

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Call me old. Call me grumpy. Call me a retro-grouch. It's all true. But for me there is only one miracle fabric, and that is wool. Nothing feels as good on a cold, wet day than having knitted sheep hair under the jacket keeping me warm. Those who came to the sport after synthetics took over have missed the comfort that wool gives. The people at Woolistic go one better by making and selling historic team jerseys out of merino wool. They also produce custom wool jerseys.

Woolistic jerseys

Jan Johnson of Woolistic displays 2 retro jerseys. The Faemino, of course, is the jersey worn by Eddy Merckx in 1970 (available late November 2009). The EMI jersey on the left is a real classic, worn by Charly Gaul in 1959, the year of his second Giro win. Sadly, it's discontinued.

Retro Woolistic short sleeve jersey suggested retail: $138.00.

Here is Woolistic's web site.

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Interbike report page 4