by Jamie Mack
Redline Bicycles is typically one of the first manufacturers to unveil its cyclocross line-up, as the company prides itself in having its bikes ready for dealers well before the ‘cross season is underway. Redline unveiled its new Conquest Pro at the Sea Otter Classic Expo back in April, and has just unveiled its top-of-the-line Conquest Team today.
The top-end, race-ready offering from Redline has gone on a bit of a diet during the off-season, with the frame coming in a reported 160 grams lighter than last year’s model (see our comprehensive review of the 2010 Redline Conquest Team in Issue 8) due to the new carbon rear triangle. The frame also features a more aggressive geometry, most notably the shorter chainstays. Redline cut the chainstays down by a centimeter, which should give the Conquest Team frame quicker handling and a bit more rear wheel traction.
The frame includes an integrated headset, though Redline has eschewed the current trend of oversized bottom bearings and uses the same 1 1/8″ bearings top and bottom. The frame is constructed similarly to previous years, with the main triangle built with 7000 series alloy and the seatstays made from 3K Weave carbon fiber. The frame also adopts the BB30 bottom bracket, giving a narrower Q factor and increasing stiffness in the beefed up bottom bracket section.
The Conquest Team is available as a frameset or with a build kit fitting of a top-of-the-line frame. A SRAM Force 20 speed group keeps the Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels rolling while TRP Euro-X brakes with custom hardware provide stopping power. Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires help keep the bike upright, while FSA provides the BB30 compatible crankset and the integrated headset. The details of the build show attention to the overall look of the bike as small parts, including brake hardware and headset cap, are red anodized to better accent the overall color scheme. Surprisingly, although it is still one of the lighter complete bikes available, the Conquest Team gains a few ounces for 2011 despite the lighter frame, and this extra weight is found mostly in the wheels. Redline swapped the tubeless-ready, relatively svelte Alex wheels for the popular Mavic Ksyrium Equipe hoops. It is important to note that racers with tubular race wheels won’t notice this slight weight penalty.
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for more from Redline and other manufacturers as the 2011 model year gets underway.