Cyclocross Magazine recently reviewed the updated disc brake-adapted carbon Full Tilt Boogie cyclocross bike from Van Dessel in Issue 21, but the New Jersey-based bike company wasn’t finished finalizing their 2014 models at the time, and the bike we reviewed is already a collector’s item. Van Dessel, thanks to a recent investment, has reset its lineup and focus and will step away from the carbon Full Tilt Boogie for a year and focus on an American-made aluminum frame with canti and disc options for 2014.
We grabbed an early look at the 2014 Aloominator cyclocross frameset in Nittany, but the company will bring their iconic bus out to Vegas to officially launch the new aluminum frames on the evening of September 18 at CrossVegas. CrossVegas attendees will get a look at the new 100 percent US-made Aloominator ’cross frame.
At CrossVegas, inside the venue and next to the course, Van Dessel will have its 2014 product line on display. Inside the course tape, all of Van Dessel’s ’cross frames will be put to the test in the men’s and women’s elite races underneath members of the SEAVS/Haymarket, the Cycle-Smart and the Silverbull elite teams. Also riding Aloominator frames will be Mike Garrigan, who represented Canada at this year’s ’cross world championships, and Van Dessel’s very own founder, Edwin Bull.
“We’ve really been able to step things up this season and improve our racing program, both the bikes and the talent riding them,” Bull said. “We just signed Laura Van Gilder [of Mid-Atlantic cyclocross dominance] and Mike Garrigan, both of whom will ride the Aloominator at the Shimano New England series, as well as other key events across North America.”
The Aloominator is crafted from USA-made high-end 6061 manipulated aluminum tubing and weighs in at around 1300 grams for a 56 cm frame with a cantilever setup. It features a tapered head tube, oval top tube, Press Fit BB30 bottom bracket shell, and comes in six sizes. The Aloominator will also be available in a disc-only version with the new Easton EC90XD fork, or cantilever-only version with an Enve Composites fork. The frame’s finish is sandblasted and anodized dark grey. Zen Bicycle Fabrication will manufacture the frame, designed by Bull, in Portland, Oregon. The framesets will sell for $1599 and are available through any retailer.
“Van Dessel has always taken cycling seriously and the designs of their frames are evidence of this,” Van Gilder said. “Edwin is a top racer himself so he appreciates the importance of the finer details of having a frame be able to perform under race conditions. These things are important to riders and racers who take pedaling their bike seriously and want to invest in equipment.”
In addition to Van Gilder and Garrigan, Van Dessel’s ’cross program got a boost in July when Jared Nieters declined a $10,950 sponsorship award from Raleigh for being the top amateur finisher in the Raleigh Midsummer Nights Cyclocross Race, instead opting to remain on the Van Dessel-sponsored SEAVS/Haymarket team.
Then, Jake Sitler, Nieters’s teammate and next in line for the prize for his seventh place finish, also turned down the deal. (Raleigh-Clement ended up using the unclaimed funds to help pick up ex-Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld racer Jamey Driscoll.) Sitler attended college on a running scholarship where he focused on the steeplechase, which he likened to cyclocross. It’s a natural fit, as many people refer to cyclocross as the steeplechase of cycling.
“Steeplechase involves hurdling five barriers per lap with one barrier having a 12-foot water pit on the other side,” Sitler explained. “The barriers act as a rhythm deterrent, but the more flow you have, the faster you will run—a very important skill also associated with cyclocross.”
Van Dessel’s 2013/2014 ‘cross season started strong on September 7 at the Nittany Lion Cross in Breiningsville, Pennsylvania, with Laura Van Gilder taking the Nittany Day 1 win. Throughout the season, Van Dessel racers will be showing up at races around the country including Colorado Cross Classic and the Boulder Cup, Gateway Cross Cup, Jingle Cross, the national championships in Boulder; and at races up and down the eastern seaboard.
For more info: vandesselsports.com