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Tour De France Showcases Multitude Of Tech

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the legs-go-round-fast dept.

Entertainment 427

whoda writes "When you think of a bicycle, you most likely think of 2 tires, a chain, some gearing of some sort, and other assorted mechanical bits. However, when Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, and over 180 other riders get together to compete at the Tour de France every year, there is a lot of technology that comes along for the ride too. From Lance's Sunglass'/MP3 Player to the advanced use of composites seen on Tyler Hamilton's time trial bike, there are many examples of high technology making the racers faster through better training, materials and aerodynamics."

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Too bad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678860)

You have to be a one-nutted freak to win.

Re:Too bad (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678877)

"You have to be a one-nutted freak to win."

I'm assuming that you probably have both... And I'll also assume that his one-nutted ass could also kick your ass.

Re:Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679221)

"And I'll also assume that his one-nutted ass could also kick your ass." in Bicycling yes he could, in a 'who has the most nuts' contest, he could not. Everything else is unknown.

Has Lance started trying yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678866)

I know they've changed the rules to make it harder for him to win his 6th straight.

First Greg Lemond [greglemond.com] , now Lance [lancearmstrong.com] ? Whatever shall the Europeans do?

Oh... and another thing... what the hell is the name of the thing that connects the crank arms? I just can't remember the f'en name for it.

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678932)

The part that connects the cranks together is called the bottom bracket. Its a cylindrical piece which screws into the bottom of the frame (junction of the down tube, seat tube, and chainstays) which contains an axle that the crank arms friction fit to.

Its also a mother to put in correctly ;)

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (1)

mr.capaneus (582891) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679098)

Its also a mother to put in correctly ;) Yeah. You have to screw it in. Into BOTH sides. It's tough.

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (1)

wk633 (442820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679105)

Crankarm Spindle (is the actual piece of metal that both crankarms attach to directly)

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678937)

The Bottom Bracket?

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678968)

That would be the "bottom bracket". Very descriptive, eh?

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (4, Informative)

3terrabyte (693824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679383)

They're not changing the rules to make it harder for him to win. I can only think of one thing that can make you say that: Team Time Trials.

They have made it so that the most you can lose is 3:00

It's true that this keeps a well-trained team like Team Postal from tearing up the General Classification, but that's all it's doing. Their goal was to keep so many teams from being out of it due to one team trial.

As Lance said, it's their race, their rules. They knew about the changes in advance, and the rules apply to everyone, so he just has to ride it.

Besides, it's the mountains that make the biggest difference in overall time, and is also where Lance excels at.

Re:Has Lance started trying yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679399)

Yeah, because he's good, it somehow reflects on you or your country.

Fuck that - Lance's achievements are his own.

If they really wanted to go faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678869)

...they'd allow recumbent bikes.

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678950)

How fast can they get up on those recumbent any ways? Last Sat(maybe it was Sun) they were crusing about 50KPH on the flats with no wind. (~30MPH)

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679032)

It depends on whether you allow an aerodynamic shell around it. If you do, they've supposedly hit 78MPH:
One of many pages. [recumbent-...or-you.com] I'll try to Google for the non-shell types.

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (4, Insightful)

wk633 (442820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679066)

Hour record for a fully faired recumbant is over 100kph, solo, on the flats. Granted, the operative word is 'fully faired'. That's a shell around a rider.

The point is, bike racing is a lot more complicated than going faster than anyone else alone in a straight line on the flats. Sprints, climbinb, break aways, team strategy all play a roll.

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679209)

Indeed. Road racing is about taking all the shelter you can get and saving your energy for when it counts.

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (1)

wk633 (442820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678988)

Actually, they do (allow recumbants). This was hashed out many times on rec.bicycles years ago. The fact is, recumbants aren't well suited to either climbing or sprinting. The specific UCI rules (at least in the early 90s when I was reading this stuff on rec.bicycles) only restricted wheelbase length, which would omit some longer recumbants, but not all.

Could be the rules changed when they decided that all hour record bikes after Mercx were not 'bikes', but even before that, pros weren't using recumbants.

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679130)

Actually, they do (allow recumbants). This was hashed out many times on rec.bicycles years ago. The fact is, recumbants aren't well suited to either climbing or sprinting. The specific UCI rules (at least in the early 90s when I was reading this stuff on rec.bicycles) only restricted wheelbase length, which would omit some longer recumbants, but not all.

Are you sure about this? According to this Lance Armstrong interview [suewidemark.com] , he'd try one himself if they were legal.

(Not a biker, just a Googler, so it may be mistaken)

Re:If they really wanted to go faster (3, Insightful)

avi33 (116048) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679348)

There are plenty other regulations for international competitive cycling:
-the entire bicycle must weigh at least 6.8 kg
-the frame must be of the 'double diamond' design (this rules out recumbents)
-no fairings
-all competitors are encouraged to use performance enhancing drugs (and their masking agents), as long as the team manager's girlfriend's doctor's cousin carries them.

Hmmm (2, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678870)

Sunglasses with MP3 playback built in? I'd hate to see what this [slashdot.org] guy comes up with.

Re:Hmmm (5, Funny)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679021)

Sunglasses with MP3 playback built in

I hope Jan Ullrich's cousin Lars doesn't find out about this. He'll be PISSED.

The ultimate in technology and bikes... (5, Interesting)

g00bd0g (255836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678892)

The HPV world speed championships!

http://www.recumbents.com/whpsc2004.htm

Too bad there's not enough interest to really get some money into the development of these things.

Check out my website...

Re:The ultimate in technology and bikes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9678951)

And too bad they suck as far as hill climbing is concerned. Gee, and I seem to remember there are a few hills in Le Tour.

Re:The ultimate in technology and bikes... (2, Informative)

g00bd0g (255836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679003)

It's not about hill-climbing dumb-ass. The top speed and hour records for faired HPV's are 81 mph and 52 miles in an hour respectively. Uprights are no competetion in these categories. Yes uprights are better for hill climbing. Your point? Should Top Fuel dragsters be used for F1 racing? No, every vehicle has it's place and closed minded bigots like you only serve to stifle innovation.

Re:The ultimate in technology and bikes... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679215)

And wasn't the story something about technology being used in the Tour de France?

Or would you rather have every F-1 race being led off with the "dragsters are faster than F-1 cars" disclaimer?

You, goob, are a dumbass. Why don't you sit (or lie down) on that dumbass of yours and pedal whatever you want...

Re:The ultimate in technology and bikes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679049)

The HPV world speed championships!

That sounds like the bar scene at my state college...

Tyler Hamilton's Homepage (5, Informative)

mlmitton (610008) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678943)

Tyler Hamilton [tylerhamilton.com] has a website too. I don't know why his wasn't included along with Armstrong's and Ullrich's. Personally, Tyler is my pick for the winner of the TDF this year. Riding with a broken collarbone last year (finishing 4th, and winning a stage!), and riding with a broken shoulder blade in the Tour of Italy the year before (finishing 2nd!), he has more tenacity than even Lance. And this year, Tyler has the form. Watch out Lance!

Re:Tyler Hamilton's Homepage (3, Insightful)

FlashBac (720033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679259)

I doubt Tyler will take it this year. Heras might kill them on the Mtn TT, and Ulrich might kill them on the "final" TT day, ie not the roll into Paris. These are the two crux days. It will probably revolve around these two days. Some are worried about the central Massiff, Lance et alia didnt prep there, Tyler did. But, Lances team can control this I feel.
I would say essentially three guys will be in the running going into the final TT. And, I dont think Tyler is there, it will be Lance, Heras and Ullrich.
Not to say Tyler hasnt got balls. He has plenty, but, its that last TT that will not be good for him, compared to say Ullrich, or Lance. :)

Spoilers (2, Funny)

powerpuffgirls (758362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678944)

They're not fast enough until you see spoilers fitted at the back of the bicycles!

Re:Spoilers (1)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678974)

going downhill at speeds of over sixty it might even help them.

It would slow them down but maybe less people would end nearly falling off a cliff

Re:Spoilers (1)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679026)

kmh obviously...

Re:Spoilers (2, Interesting)

oostevo (736441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679168)

No, not kmh (obviously). I've done over 70 (mph ... obviously) going down a hill. You actually don't need a spoiler for going those speeds - the faster you go on a bicycle, the more stable it gets, even to the point where it gets hard to turn at speeds of 60-70mph. Hey ... motorcycle racers don't use spoilers, and they can go twice as fast.

Re:Spoilers (1)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679262)

yeah, it's easy to hit 30-40 mph, and that's off-road on a mountain bike.

Flat land it's easy to hit 30mph on a road bike. Before I broke some bones I used to keep a steady 20mph pace on flat dirt bike trails on my mountain bike.

Re:Spoilers (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679322)

And stickers. Don't forget the stickers.

Wind tunnels & race numbers (5, Informative)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678955)

Lance et al have spent a lot of time in wind tunnels reducing drag (see Trek [trekbikes.com] ). I watched a bunch of the Lance Chronicles on OLN. One significant source of drag they discovered- the race numbers on their backs. All riders have their number attached to their jersey on their lower back, on both sides (as seen here [bbc.co.uk] ). They found that the number caused significant drag, and they were quite unhappy that there was no way to design a sharkskin suit or the like to include the number. Technology taken down by paper!

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679000)

Wouldn't fitting the paper under a tight clear-plastic vest do the trick?

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (1)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679051)

I don't recall the exact reason why they couldn't do that (stupid beers I drank while watching!), but I think it had to do with regulations- such as numbers cannot be covered up. Lance ran into problems a year or so back with a redesigned sprinting helmet. It was really aerodynamic, but the Tour organizers wouldn't allow it because it did not conform to the rules. The rules were slightly changed, and now he can wear a revolutionary design. I susepct the number thing will change as well.

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (5, Interesting)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679297)

Interestingly enough as well is the fact that there is a limit in the rules as to the minimum allowable weight of a bicycle. There are lighter bikes that have been proven to be faster that cannot be ridden in this race.

Haven't been able to decide how I feel about this yet...actually I wish it was one way or the other:

a) riders can use _any_ man powered 2 wheeled vehicle of whatever design they want...

OR

b) ALL riders ride the exact same bike.

Either technology is a factor, or it isn't. I think it's the middle ground stance that annoys me.

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (3, Informative)

brer_rabbit (195413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679089)

Wouldn't fitting the paper under a tight clear-plastic vest do the trick?

I'd have to assume, "if they could of, they would of." The Tour rules probably state the race number must be fixed to your back. Here's an excerpt from the Tour website:

Article 2 - Riders' identification Riders must affix the number plates to the front of their bicycle frames and wear two riders' numbers (small format) exactly over their hips, one on the right and one on the left side.

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679188)

I'd have to assume, "if they could of, they would of."

That's weird, I would have assumed that, "If they could have, they would have.".

</grammar nazi> :)

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (1)

VoiceOfRaisin (554019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679256)

"if they could of, they would of."

I think you mean "could have" and "would have". The "of" sound is from the contractions could've and would've.

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (1)

mr.capaneus (582891) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679038)

Luckily, every competitor has to use numbers, so it is a zero sum game. Personally, I am much more interested in the athleticism than the gadgets.

Re:Wind tunnels & race numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679291)

Don't be so sure... the resistance due to the paper numbers is obviously a huge advantage to heavier riders. Every rider will experience a decrease in efficiency due to this drag, however that inefficiency corresponds to a lower percentage of power for a heavier rider.

Numbers (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679056)

I used to race (badly). The fact that numbers are a source of drag is pretty much common knowledge. I can't remember how the pros attach their numbers in big races, but for most USCF events, they are pinned on, and are pretty much sails on windy days.

Re:Numbers (1)

bamf (212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679191)

I can't remember how the pros attach their numbers in big races

They tend to be self-adhesive. You can see this when someone retires and they have their numbers removed from their jersey.

Re:Numbers (2, Informative)

oostevo (736441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679203)

Pins are for USCF racers only. International UCI races use stick-on numbers that are really big stickers (so they aren't really that drag-inducing). The only time UCI racers use pins is when they want to reuse numbers (sometimes they want to take a number or two home from the Tour for memory's sake).

Queue the... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678970)

..."At what point is it no longer the same sport?" complaints.

Re:Queue the... (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679214)

Cycling is not like Formula One, something I hesitate to call sport any more. Some of the new technology is well cool and anything that makes a bike lighter and stiffer is welcomed by racing cyclists but one fact remains, the cyclist still has to pedal the damn thing. In racing it boils down to legs, lungs and desire at the end of the day because there is no major technology diffentiator possible on a bike. Lance Armstrong on his postmans bike will always thrash his postman on the latest and greatest technology.

Re:Queue the... (1)

laigle (614390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679328)

At least it's not as bad as "sports" like auto racing, in that the rider is still a determining factor. And tech like lightweight frames and wind tunnels is available to most serious national teams, so it's not too lopsided.

Still, I'd be a lot more impressed with these sports if the rules required standard equipment. In the Olympics, you don't get to use your technical know how to create a lighter shot put so you can throw it further. Equipment standardization should be the first chapter of any rule book.

Standard Equipment (2, Insightful)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679434)

I seriously doubt that standard equipment will make it into the UCI rules. Mainly, there are too many variables for proper bike fit. Something minor, like pedal style, can make a big positive or negative impact on a rider. Other things, like leg to torso to arm proportions, make geometry standardization totally unfair.

Hah. (3, Funny)

manseman (582150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678975)

So, this proves that anyone using the latest cool tech stuff is just trying to make up for something missing in their pants. One day I'll throw out this type-writer and get a computer.

Wild e Coyote (1)

alfal (255149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678990)

No mention of the episode where Wild e Coyote strapped some ACME Rockets to a bicycle. But, I guess that would be considered cheating....

Is there a rule? (2, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679114)

I don't know if they have a rule against strapping on an Acme(TM) rocket to the bike. If noone has tried it before, they may not have a rule against it. Or if someone tried it before, they fared was well as Wild E. Coyote, so it didn't effect the outcome for the people who finished -- without going into a brick wall or off of the cliff.

Re:Is there a rule? (1)

oostevo (736441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679261)

There is actually a rule. I can't quite send my 200-page rulebook over the internet, though. Sorry.

Re:Wild e Coyote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679352)

ummm... it's not "Wild" it's Wile E. Coyote [toonzone.net] as in full of wiles [reference.com] . That one was like nails on the Super Genius chalkboard ...

seats that don't kill legs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679002)

They need to come up with seats that are comfortable !

Re:seats that don't kill legs (-1, Offtopic)

Dav3K (618318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679156)

It's not the legs the seats kill...

Re:seats that don't kill legs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679395)

Brook Saddle.

Ride steel.
Sit on leather.
Wear wool.

It gets a little overboard too (4, Insightful)

slutdot (207042) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679018)

I know we're talking about the TDF and those guys are on a different plane of existence here but there's something I've got to say about some non-pro cyclists out there.

While I agree that the use of technology is important in cycling, there's only so much one can do without having to rely on natural talent and training. Spending $180 for a 13 cm piece of metal [performancebike.com] in order to save 50 grams, is a problem. I see it with the guys I ride with. They'll spend a shit load of cash on a Litespeed titanium bike or a Trek 5200 [trekbikes.com] but will still mow down a pizza after a ride and not think about the fact that they can get over those hills a little faster if they weren't carrying a anchor on their gut.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679104)

I have seen guys on $99.00 HUFFY bikes outpace the "serious" guys riding with $7000-9000 worth of bike.

The technology helps you ONLY if you are in peak performance. the guy that is in perfect shape WILL see a difference getting a lighter bike completely as well as getting low rolling resistance tires.

most weekend riders that have the money to blow on "flashy" crud like that are far from being in perfect shape and therefore get put in their place by the poor local olympic hopeful riding a piece of absolute junk.

and I grin wide as I see it happen as they pass me on my recumbent.

Oh, and I'll chanllenge any of them to a 1000 mile ride.. let's see if their overpriced bike can take them as far as my recumbent can. I regularly get 2X the distance between stops than a regular bike rider get's.. and every second you are stopped I gain on you or increase my lead extremely fast.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (2, Interesting)

lakeland (218447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679278)

Everything you're saying is true, but if you lower your standards even more you will see the opposite effect. For example when I go out riding with my wife I use my (20 year old) touring bike while she uses her (new) mountain bike. Now, my bike was pretty flash when it was new, but things have changed in 20 years... And despite her being fitter than me, I have to constantly slow down not to leave her behind -- casual effort on the touring bike is the equivilant of fairly hard work on the MTB.

Conclusion? At the top end the difference between a $500 bike and a $5000 bike may be swamped by the difference in rider ability, but at the bottom end the difference between a bike designed for on-road, and a bike designed for off-road swamps any difference in rider fitness.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679296)

Just remember - roadies are forced to look down upon recumbents.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679173)

But think of the psychological advantage! Seriously, I seem to remember that the number one thing that beat me in a race was nerves and lack of confidence. If you panic, it takes a lot of power away from your muscles.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679178)

The ones I always get a kick out of are the people riding $2000 alumininum, fully suspended, knobby-tired mountain bikes down the street. Guys, you realize a $200 steel road bike would be much faster, right?

Re:It gets a little overboard too (5, Funny)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679200)

Cycling is just like any other hobby. Its fun to have nice toys. I've yet to hear of a computer that runs faster because it has a window and a light inside...

Not unique to cycling (1)

Dav3K (618318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679212)

You could say the same thing about golf. But to say that you have to be in top condition to get any gain from these products is not true. It IS easier to ride a lighter bike, no matter how fit you are. Sure, your buddies could forego the pizza and shed pounds from the middle, and yeah, it would be easier to climb the next hill....or they can spend the cash and have an easier ride without the hassles of giving up pizza. This is a trend you see everywhere.

Re:Not unique to cycling (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679389)

But to say that you have to be in top condition to get any gain from these products is not true.

More correct would be that no sane person can justify spending $1000's for a improvements that are at best going to help by a few seconds over many miles, unless they're doing time trials and have someone else paying for them....

they can spend the cash and have an easier ride without the hassles of giving up pizza.

I suspect that, compared to having the bike adjusted and maintained well, any improvements towards an "easier ride" due to high-end components are likely to be lost in the noise....

--Bruce Fields

How to get a lighter bike... (5, Insightful)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679230)

Q: What's the cheapest way to shave 500g off your bike weight?

A: Lose 500g.

Re:It gets a little overboard too (2, Funny)

alanh (29068) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679360)

That's not a 13 cm piece of metal, that's a 13 cm piece of carbon fiber composite. It may not have any actual performace advantage, but carbon fiber is much sexier than metal. ;-)

Re:It gets a little overboard too (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679364)

Even though I do it too, it kills me how me and many slashdoters love technology, but frown upon those that buy/use it.

By spending $180 on a 13cm piece of metal that saves 50 grams does things. First, if it really does save 50 grams and this part is 180 grams, then the "normal" weight is 230 grams, or 27% lighter. 27% is significant. Think of a road bike that goes from 30 pounds to almost 20.

Also, the pizza eating gearhead is promoting (keeping a job for) some other materials geek, whereas the guy that keeps with the stock stem and quits eating pizza is 1) putting the material's geek job someplace like India and 2) putting the pizza delivery guy in a worse job than he's already got.

Freaks like this are good (and I'm one of them).

Re:It gets a little overboard too (1)

MacBorg (740087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679391)

i wasn't aware you could mow a pizza... does it grow like grass?

Technology makes the Tour de France bearable (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679045)

What if all the competitors used some sort of internal combustion conveyance and tried to make it across the desert? Now, that sounds like something I could get behind.

Re:Technology makes the Tour de France bearable (1)

KUHurdler (584689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679096)

YOu mean like
Pork & Beans?

Recently scoped out new bikes (5, Interesting)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679048)

Ok, I'm an old-timer now I guess. My current roadbike is the one I bought in highschool in the 80's. I recently decided I needed a new derailer so I brought it in to a shop.

Of course, with a bike that old, they would have had to replace, well, just about everything in order to put in a new derailer. In fact it would be only slightly more to simply buy a new bycycle!

So I started looking at bikes. I could get a nice road bike for $800 (US) that was far superior to my existing bike. Then I started looking at the carbon composite bikes, like the Roubaix series. I really didn't think I'd feel the difference until I test-rode one.

Holy S*it! If the $800 bike was an order of magnitude better then my existing one, the Roubaix Comp (at $2600) was an order of magnitude better then the $800 bike. All carbon-composite construction, vibration dampening... the works. Unbelievably light, I could lift the whole bike with my pinky pretty much! Smooth ride, ultra smooth shifting, huge gearing range. The technology is really amazing.

-Matt

Re:Recently scoped out new bikes (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679307)

Ok, I'm an old-timer now I guess. My current roadbike is the one I bought in highschool in the 80's. I recently decided I needed a new derailer so I brought it in to a shop. Of course, with a bike that old, they would have had to replace, well, just about everything in order to put in a new derailer.

Of course?? I'm no expert, but I've never had trouble finding derailers for bikes from the 80's. I thought they were pretty standard. I'd shop around a little more if I were you....

--Bruce Fields

Mp3 Sunglasses (5, Funny)

gphinch (722686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679055)

So 35 songs for 22 days...how many times can you really listen to 'Eye of the Tiger'?

Re:Mp3 Sunglasses (2, Funny)

Crinos (201310) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679194)

Nah, it's a 2.5 hour loop of "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Let's see.. so far... (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679073)

We've had stories on:

F1 Racing Technologies [slashdot.org]
Tour de France Technologies, particularly Lance Armstrong

To be expected:

NASCAR Technologies
Soap-box Derby Technologies

Re:Let's see.. so far... (1)

victor_the_cleaner (723411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679213)

Don't forget:

Monster Truck Tech
Low-Rider Tech
Lark [valuemobility.com] Tech

you could go on and on

They're missing the obvious (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679077)

They're spending countless thousands on newfangled gadgets, while victory could be assured by adding nothing more than a $50 used lawn mower engine to their bikes.

Er, one missing (0, Troll)

RobertTaylor (444958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679078)

"....making the racers faster through better training, materials and aerodynamics"

and drugs.

Plasters? (3, Funny)

Skiron (735617) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679103)

Still hurts when 50 'nodes' of the pelaton decide to crash all at the same time, in a cascade, rather like nodes on a M$ network. I wonder what this stuff was designed on...

As an aside, these guys are the best athletes in any event the world over.

Re:Plasters? (1)

oostevo (736441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679356)

What are these things designed on? Probably some of the worst-maintained paved roads in all of Europe. Seriously, when it rains, some of the European roads the Tour goes through are literally more slippery than ice. And their bumps will rattle your eyeballs out.

Re:Plasters? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679425)

Not to knock the insane amount of pain and willpower in the tour, but a friend posted this to my lists the other day:

Subject: TDF vs. GDR
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 17:38:49 -0400

TOUR FACT SHEET
2107 miles
23 days total: 1 prologue, 20 stages and 2 rest days
11 flat stages
6 mountain stages
3 individual time trials
1 team time trial
21 nine-rider teams
$3,687,619.22 total prize money
$491,648.51 to the winner (winning team)

Great Divide Race Fact Sheet:

2450 miles.
200,000 feet of climbing.
7 competitors.
Drafting not allowed.
No team cars.
No mechanics.
No post-stage massages.
No nutritionists preparing perfectly balanced meals.
No scheduled sleep in altitude tents.
Last, but not least - No pavement.

Mike Curiak won in 16 days and 57 minutes, after making several wrong turns and riding for over 2500 miles. He averaged 158 miles a day. He rode through snow, two days of downpours, opressive heat, mosquito attacks and 40 mph headwinds. And he did it almost entirely alone. I'd like to see anyone on the Tour match his feat.

Unmentionned Tech (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679132)

Lest we forget:

www.fossilfool.com/down-low-glow.htm

'course, you can just take any two cold cathode kits, cut the molex pin and splice a 9V battery connector, a 8xAA battery holder from Radio Shack, and a seat-bag to get a similar look for your bicycle.

With one pack of 8 NiMH 1800mA AAs powering two CCs, I get over 4.5 hours of neon light.

Sunglass mp3 player. (1)

Some Dumbass... (192298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679135)

This is probably not the safest bicycling accessory in existence. Trust me, when you're riding anywhere near traffic, being able to hear cars coming up from behind you is a good thing. Perhaps that's why they're not for sale just yet?

Re:Sunglass mp3 player. (4, Insightful)

Dav3K (618318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679294)

Funny thing about the Tour de France though...automobile traffic is SO not an issue.

Re:Sunglass mp3 player. (1)

Joe Sixpacks (650107) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679295)

yes, that would explain the lack of portable music players.

Re:Sunglass mp3 player. (1)

MacBorg (740087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679431)

Well, at least where I live (MA, USA) any headphones on and powered when riding or driving are totally illegal... be ready to eat a ticket if you want to rattle your eardrums.

but this is France... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679144)

where the object is not to win but rather who surrenders the fastest

Not just tech... (0, Troll)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679190)


Cycling also has a "proud" history of "bio-tech" and using the very latest in chemical enhancements. And even on the legal side of the fence the training exercises and regimes are defined down to the last millimetre and measured even more precisely.

I used to like cycling, and the last day of the Tour is still fantastic. But the passion has been replaced by automaton.

MP3 (3, Interesting)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679199)

From the Sunglasses/MP3 Player link [engadget.com] :

We have a little addendum to our Tech from the Tour de France feature from a couple of weeks ago: this special pair of Oakley sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player that Lance Armstrong was spotted wearing [weblogsinc.com] . No idea whether they're planning to ever sell these or not, but a little bit of research reveals that the sunglasses only have enough room on them for 35 songs, which makes us think that they probably have somewhere around 128MB of storage somwhere in there.


True, but that doesn't mean Lance plays only 35 songs for the entire Tour. Does anyone know if the Tour rules prohibit changing electronic media and so forth? He could play a new set of 35 songs every day. At least that would be interesting trivia, what songs did Armstrong listen to every day of the Tour..

Re:MP3 (2, Insightful)

wk633 (442820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679319)

I see the sunglasses as being a better replacement to the current radio ear-bud.

What I'd like to know more about is what kind of technology is in place to protect those radio conversations. You'd have to bet that Saiz, Godefroot and Riis would love to listen in on Bruyneel and Armstrong. (directors sportif for Heras, Ullrich, Hamilton and Armstrong)

Re:MP3 (3, Informative)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679410)

He doesn't wear it in the race. Riding in a peleton takes every bit of concentration, and you have to be able to hear, feel, see and practically smell the other riders around you if you're going to avoid the crashes and not miss the breakaways. I've seen him training with an iPod, so maybe he's using this for training and warm-up rides.

Let's just make one thing perfectly clear... (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679224)

I'm not on a first-name basis with "Lance".

Slashdot bias towards bicycles (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679299)

When you think of a bicycle, you most likely think of 2 tires, a chain, some gearing of some sort, and other assorted mechanical bits.

I would like to request that Slashdot drop it's discrimination/bias against unicyclists and tricyclists of the world. The poster assumes that everybody will think of two-wheeled "bicycles" when they think about cycles. This is not the case. I would also like to request all Girls to stop being biased against unicycle and tricycle riders. We are every bit as good as the so called "bicycle" riders.

Please join the fight against even-wheeled cycle fanatics.

Thank you.

Practice, not technology (1)

thomasa (17495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9679372)

I remember many years ago I used to have a 40 LB
Schwinn bicycle that I used to ride a lot. I put
toe clips on it but that was all. I used to ride
with other riders who had 20 to 25 LB bicycles that
were all Campy and expensive. I could keep up
with them as I was a stronger rider. It is not all Tech.
Tech might give you the edge if you are all equal but
if you do not practice and ride a lot it is not worth it.

High-tech, but trikes aren't allowed to compete. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9679429)

I believe Lance commented about trikes last year. I don't think they are allowed to compete, so all the HPV racers have to have their own events.
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