Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
A2J is a new brand out of Sweden “born from a shared passion for cycling” whose stated mission is to build top-end, no-compromise bicycles.
Their first creation, the A2Z shown above, looks like it’s well on its way to accomplishing just that. Designed by a team of folks with backgrounds in F1, aerodynamics and, well, here’s how they put it in on their website:
With our team’s experience and backgrounds, we had ready access to the most sophisticated and advanced computer aided engineering (CAE) and a thorough understanding of the most advanced composite materials and resin systems. Our first decision was to make a monocoque frame rather than tube to tube because of the freedom and customization options it would afford us. Among other things, this choice allows us to tailor a frame’s lay-up and ride characteristics to your personal specifications. The carbon layup system is a mix of UK company ACG prepreg resin-weave system and Swedish company Oxeon’s Textreme weave. The frames are made by hand, laid over a firm core into a carbon clamshell and baked in an autoclave by Richard Nordlöf at CarboComp in Linköping. Thomas Mertin from THM is overseeing the tube layup testing at their facilities in Alt Duvenstedt, Germany. Finished frames are being tested at Zedler Institute für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit in Ludwigsburg, Germany.But that’s really just the beginning…
A2J has wind tunnel testing planned for the frame and a complete bike with rider in the Toyota Wind Tunnel down the road. Regardless of the outcome, aesthetically, this bike is on the right track (our opinion). Technologically, it’s trying to get ahead of the curve. With the frame design nailed down, they moved on to cable routing and functionality. Since their goal is to build dream bikes, why not try to hit it out of the park?
Thanks to Shimano’s intentionally easy-to-hack Di2 system, they’ve built custom programmed shifting controls, electronics and battery inside the frame. Rather than traditional shifters, it’ll have simple up-and-down shift buttons that’ll automatically select the next best gear, combining whatever chainring and cassette cog makes the most sense. From there, they integrated cadence and speed sensors into the frame, too. All this creates a slick, clean frame with nothing strapped to it to mar the lines…or air flow. (do you think the boys at Fairwheel have added this form of data to there autoshifting MTB?)
The frame is made to accept either traditional mechanical shift cables or Di2, and you can upgrade to the electronics after the fact if you want to get started, uh, on a budget. I write that half chuckling because the base frame starts at €6,000 to 6,500, which includes an Acros integrated headset and MCFK seatpost clamp .
A frameset is available for €8,000 to 8,500 and includes a THM Scapula F fork, THM Clavicula M3 crank and spider, THM Fibula rear brake and MCFK non setback seatpost. Other parts are available and yes, you read that correctly, only a back brake is included because the Scapula fork has an integrated front brake. Complete bikes are also available with whatever you want on it.
Each frame is hand built in Sweden to order with the statement that nothing they make comes from a “low cost environment.”
The frame shown here is the first one out of the mold and comes in under 850g, and it’s only a proof of concept. Production models will have full carbon rear dropouts and carbon front derailleur mount from MCFK. Word is they get one under 700g with bespoke carbon layup, and their “normal” frames have a 150kg rider weight limit (330lbs).
Borrowed from BikeRumor (who looks like they borrowed it from Jason at FreshBikes)