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by Shane Stokes
February 2, 2018
Valverde takes emotional victory on stage 2 of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana; Carnage in the crosswinds: How a chaotic stage 1 of the Sun Tour unfolded; Laporte seizes stage 2 victory at Etoile de Besseges over embarrassed Coquard; Report: Froome case moves next step towards judgement; Giro race director calls on UCI to clarify Froome situation; New sea-level world record for Glaetzer at Australian track nationals; Brodie Chapman’s journey from unknown rider to Herald Sun Tour champ; Quintana and Henao spearhead Movistar and Sky teams in new Colombian race; LeMond takes up special roles with Velodrome Development Foundation and World Cycling League; Atlantic City set to host 2018 USA Crits series finals; Time Alpe d’Huez climbing bike unveiled; SRAM launches its first direct-mount rim brake, the S-900; Analysing the Strava/secret military instalments fiasco; Video: Netherlands builds highway for bikes
High-end French road bike company Time has announced its first all-new model since being acquired by Rossignol late in 2015. As the name suggests, the new Alpe d’Huez is purpose-built for climbing, prioritizing low weight and high stiffness over aerodynamic efficiency.
Claimed weight for a small frame is just 840g – 80g lighter than the current Izon, which the Alpe d’Huez will eventually replace, and 110g lighter than Time’s Skylon aero platform. Absolute stiffness ranks slightly behind the Skylon, according to Time, but the stiffness-to-weight ratio of the new Alpe d’Huez is now the best in the company catalog.
Time may have been targeting lower weight for the Alpe d’Huez, but ride comfort supposedly hasn’t been compromised; it’s one of the brand’s hallmarks, after all. Rhomboid-shaped tubing and a D-shaped seatpost are both designed to flex on rough roads, and the Aktiv fork incorporates a pair of mass dampers near the dropouts that Time claims reduces vibration by 30% over a conventional fork. Vectran fibers are also mixed into the frame and fork to help further smooth out the ride.
As with other Time bikes, the Alpe d’Huez is built in France using the company’s woven-in-house braided carbon fiber tubing and Resin Transfer Molding manufacturing process.
The three-bike range will be topped by the Alpe d’Huez 01 Ulteam model, which will include Enve 3.4 carbon tubular wheels, a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, and Time carbon finishing kit for a whopping US$16,200 (plus another US$400 for the optional custom paint); production is limited to 50 pieces worldwide. The standard Alpe d’Huez 01 frameset, which is identical save for a more conventional paint job, will retail for US$5,800.
For climbing-minded riders interested in something different, there will also be the Alpe d’Huez 21, which uses a conventional round seatpost, a slightly taller head tube, and a less-expensive carbon fiber blend. Claimed frame weight creeps up to 930g, and overall stiffness is tempered somewhat as well. Retail price is far more reasonable at less than US$4,000 for a complete bike built with a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset.
“There’s a lot of high-end product out there, but this is a small-batch product,” said Ryan Green of Time USA. “It’s just a unique thing that you don’t see all over the place.”
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