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Cowboy up
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Discovery Channel Unveils New Team Bicycle

Associated Press (AP)
April 1, 2006
For Immediate Release

The Discovery Channel team announced a major change in bicycle sponsorship for the season today. Speaking from the team’s headquarters in Solvang California, Johan Bruyneel unveiled the new generation of racing bicycles. LLBeam will be replacing Trek as the new sponsor. LLBeam saw a great cross marketing opportunity by expanding its product line into new sports and providing a racier image to the brand.

The Dynamic Ricochet will be the bicycle for the ProTour. Inside sources credited Julien DeVriese, the head mechanic, with pushing for the new bicycle design, which includes a shaft drive as one of its many advanced features. DeVriese said that they are much more efficient than typical chain driven bicycles due fewer moving parts and friction points. “Most people don’t give it much thought but a bicycle chain has hundreds of friction surfaces and these slow a rider down. The chain really is the weak link on the bicycle.” Further efficiency gains are achieved by eliminating the cogs and derailleur including “those little sprocket wheel thingies” as DeVriese noted in plain language.

“The chains were a real pain from a maintenance and reliability standpoint” DeVriese said. If one fell off during a stage you could blow the whole tour right there.” He pointed to David Millar who dropped a chain during the 2003 Tour de France opening prologue and lost the time trial, and the Yellow Jersey, by 0.1 seconds. “The fuss and muss of the chain was a real drag. I got oil on everything. Honestly my wife pushed me in this direction because she was complaining so much about all the fingerprints on our linens and flatware.”

Some sources, not wanting to be named due to the politics involved, said DeVriese has enough seniority with the team to make these calls. Another team member with a good deal of seniority, Viatcheslav Ekimov, wasn’t ready to accept the new technology so they compromised. “Eki’s bike has a belt drive” DeVriese noted.

In addition, the new frame represents an “ultra compact” design allowing it to be stiffer and lighter. The front triangle stiffness is greatly increased—tests show by up to 83.14159% and the rear triangle stiffness is also greatly increased by the addition of a middle brace point from the top tube. The increased torsional rigidity is obtained while enhancing vertical compliance.

The lighter frame allows other areas of the bike to be made stronger and safer. The tires are a new airless design from Bontrager and are extremely flat resistant. This improves safety especially on high speed descents and will make the reliance on a team car for wheel swaps a thing of the past.

Other benefits of the bike design include a greater degree of standover clearance and an adjustable stem. “If the team leader ever has a mechanical issue with the bike, which should really never happen, the other team members can swap bikes easily because they are one size fits all.” The new bikes are tested to have “five 9’s reliability” in the Grand Tours according to DeVriese. “If the team leader goes up the road by himself it’s no big deal” said Bruyneel, “it gives us more options.”

Other team members had positive comments about the new sponsor and bicycle. Paolo Savoldelli said “Finally we will be able to have some stylish threads to wear apre-course” as he lamented the lack of fashion generally offered in the US. Michael Barry also noted the seats are “sofa king more comfortable” than the traditional saddle. “Who knew we could use a seat” he exclaimed, “not this saddle stuff!” As an added bonus the team is expected to receive some canoes for mid-week team retreats.

LLBeam is strategically positioning its brand to be a full lifestyle company with the branding of SUVs, bicycles, boats, clothes, furniture, linens, sleds (both gravity and fossil-fuel powered snowmobiles) and fly and ice fishing equipment, along with credit cards and debt. A company spokesman, Jim McMansion, noted that summer homes and real estate were next on the horizon. “We are looking to supply discerning members with a comfortable and cozy summer cottage, tastefully appointed and starting at 4,000 square feet.”

Resident Curmudgeon
11,981 Posts
Check out the bar-to-seat drop on that thing. Must be 8 inches.
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