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Amgen Tour Of California Tech: An Abundance Of New Product In Sacramento

May 10, 2014
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A walk through the team trucks the day before Amgen Tour of California rolls out for Sunday’s Stage 1 in Sacramento netted us a look at a handful of new products. Similar to Kask’s Infinity aero helmet, Bell has provided UnitedHealthcare and Belkin a new helmet that uses a lever at the rear that can open and close the vents on the fly. 
With temperatures expected to reach the high-90s by mid-week, having an aero helmet with the option of greater ventilation should be a welcome addition for the riders. Although they weren’t allowed to discuss details of the helmet, nearly all of the Belkin and UHC riders have been wearing it since getting to California. 
Tornado Tom Boonen stole the show in bike bling this year with his new Specialized Edition Venge. A tornado motif on the seat tube and chrome flakes in the paint give the S-Works Venge some extra pop. 
Depending on how the sun is hitting the Boonen’s bike it can look like it’s multiple different colors. Other than the paint, it’s a stock S-Works Venge frameset with SRAM Red and Zipp 404 wheels. 
Designed with the help of Boonen’s Omega-Pharma teammate, Mark Cavendish, the Zipp SL stem is a sprinter’s dream due to its remarkable stiffness. 
Even though SRAM electronic has been turning up since this past winter, Tour of California will be the first time its been raced at the pro level on the road, and it’s the Bissell Development Team that gets the honor. SRAM is still tightlipped with details, but the shifters look nearly identical to the current Double-Tap design. 
The front derailleur looks to retain the same Yaw features and aesthetics of the current Red design.
If going off finish appearances, and the fact that SRAM is confident enough to send a few of the Bissell kids into their biggest race of the year with the prototype drivetrain, it’s possible we could see a SRAM electronic group hit the market by early 2015. 
Like the front derailleur, the rear retains similar aesthetics of the current Red derailleur’s polished look and carbon cage. Unfortunately, team mechanics whisked the bike away before more shots could be taken.
We’re guessing that the SRAM electronic system could be similar to Campy’s EPS in the fact that the brain and battery are combined, and at the moment it’s being attached under the stem. The under-stem attachment is the only part of the system that looks to need further refinement before production. 
Although Stages Power isn’t a new product, the fact that Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins are using the power meters is a newer development. After using SRMs since Sky’s inception, the team switched to Stages this past Spring. 
Bradley Wiggins had an interesting Di2 satellite shifter mounted to his bike that resembled a much smaller version of Shimano’s climbers switch.
Pioneer’s second generation power meter has only been out for about two months, and it’s already turning up all over the place. UnitedHealthcare is the latest team to be using the power meter that measures individual leg power at 12 points per pedal stroke. 
K-Edge was called upon to deliver custom Pioneer computer mounts to the UnitedHealthcare team, in addition to Belkin. The mounts are CNC-machined and laser etched in K-Edge’s Boise Idaho shop. Between chain catchers, race number mounts, and computer mounts, K-Edge has a presence on nearly every team in the peloton. 

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