Serious cyclists gathered at Eden Bicycles in Castro Valley last week for the unveiling of what its makers are calling the "world's fastest bicycle" -- the Propel Advanced SL.
This 14.2 pound machine, easily lifted in one hand, is designed and built by Giant, a Taiwanese firm that is one of the big three bicycle brands -- the others being Trek Bikes in Wisconsin and Specialized in Morgan Hill.
Eden owners Chris and Erin Padavana held the reception Thursday evening to show off some of the first of these new Giant bikes to go on sale in the United States.
"We have a special relationship with Giant that allows us to get delivery preference," Chris Padavana said.
The new bicycles sell for about $6,000 to about $10,000.
Mike Stewart, an executive with Giant's U.S. division, based in Newbury Park, California, explained what went into making the Propel Advanced SL.
He said designers spent two years on the drawing boards and made 88 frame revisions. Prototypes were tested using computational fluid dynamics, a fancy way of saying simulated wind tunnel tests.
These simulations were checked against actual tests at the ACE wind tunnels in France, said Stewart. There Giant used a wooden dummy as the stand in for the human form which is the most important wind resistance variable.
The bicycle itself is made of carbon fiber produced by Toray Industries, the same Japanese company that supplies this light, strong metal substitute for Boeing's 787 aircraft.
The result, Stewart said, is a bicycle light enough to minimize aerodynamic drag while stiff enough to transfer the full force of the pedal effort into motion.
And just who might want a bike worth the price of a small used car?
"Someone who is trying to improve their perfomance on a specific road or route," Chris Padavana said, sipping on a beer at the open house last week
Read more about Eden's 10 year anniversary and its staff. Castro Valley Patch blogger David Ashton has his own tale to tell about Eden.
Velo News has reviewed the SL for the serious cyclist.