A Quantum Leap #1 - Introduction

Postby Oli on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:11pm

I flew into Auckland not really knowing what to expect from my day. Tama Easton had asked me to be Vorb's representative at the media launch of Avanti’s new Cadent and Quantum road bikes, along with a tour of Sheppard Industries new factory/offices. Having dealt with Sheppards for many years through various bike shops I guess I had a picture of what the set-up was, but this was to be blown away by what the reality entailed…

I arrived earliest of the media and was very impressed by my first glimpse of Sheppards. A modern and airy building situated near the waters of the Panmure Basin contained both the Sheppards/Avanti offices and warehouse, along with the latest Avanti Plus retail store. I was greeted warmly by Avanti’s promotions officer, Aysha Rowe, who showed me to a seat beside a display featuring the 2009 Avanti Quantum we were here to see, which was festooned with the very latest incarnation of Shimano’s flagship road component group Dura-Ace 7900. I have to say that I was much taken with the looks of this bike – it’s black carbon complemented by clever red and white trim, and a superb parts selection, but more on that later…

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I had been joined by Chris Sutton, Sheppards marketing guru, who was giving me a quick rundown as to what the day would hold, when we were joined by the other media representatives. They came from NZ’s cycling and multisport magazines, RadioSport, BikeNZ and included a couple flown in from Australia from Bikeradar.com and Bicycling Australia magazine. Eventually the seven of us were ushered into a conference room where we were presented with a cool Avanti satchel with press kit, and Avanti jersey, water bottle and socks.

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We sat down and were introduced to Sheppards founder John Struthers, and Quantum/Cadent project developers Kim Struthers and Stephen James. John told us a bit about the lineage of Avanti – from his involvement in the earliest days of NZ’s BMX scene helping build the Barry’s Point BMX track in the early 80s, and developing and manufacturing the venerable Supersport 202 BMX bike, his launching of the Avanti name onto the market in 1985, jumping into the Australian market in ’91 and even exporting bikes to Sweden. Sheppards sponsor over 100 events a year in NZ and Australia, 45 of NZ’s Elite cyclists ride Avanti and 4 of the NZ Olympic tri team are on Avanti bikes…

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Sheppards produce over 300 models of bike over the brands in their stable, so it would probably be easiest for them to simply pick and choose from the Taiwan Buyers Guide when it comes time to produce a carbon road bike, but that’s not how John, Kim and their team think. They clearly take great pride in being a New Zealand company producing an iconic Kiwi brand, and they see no reason why NZ should not be able to produce a bike the equal of, if not better than, the best the world has to offer.

With this in mind, and following on from the success at Olympic level of Sarah Ulmer, Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty on Avanti bikes, in 2004 the process that lead to the 2009 Cadent and Quantum began…We were to learn much more about this process of evolution, but first we were to be given the Grand Tour of the impressive facility where all the work is done.
Oli
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Postby sifter on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:26pm

More... (please!) :)
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Postby Oli on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:30pm

Don't worry, there is! :D
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Postby SlackBoy on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:30pm

now now, we want now, now now, we want now!!!!
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Postby Joel on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:32pm

that Quantum looks really good!
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Postby SlackBoy on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:33pm

CAn you say wide frame at teh BB
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Postby Joel on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:34pm

SlackBoy wrote: CAn you say wide frame at teh BB


are you saying i have big hips :hmmm:
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Postby Oli on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:34pm

Exactly the same Q-Factor as any modern frame. They've just done away with the clunky threaded external bearings and made them inboard...
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Postby Tugboat on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:36pm

That old school cro-mo Avanti Sprint brings back some memories. My very first roadie back in 1991 was one of those :)
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Postby Oli on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:39pm

Apparently, the Supersprint was the last frame John Struthers personally designed. A lot of thought and love went into those, judging by the misty eyes whenever he looked at or talked about it.
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Postby Spokes on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:41pm

Oli wrote: Apparently, the Supersprint was the last frame John Struthers personally designed. A lot of thought and love went into those, judging by the misty eyes whenever he looked at or talked about it.


And I remember building them..............
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Postby SlackBoy on Wed 13/Aug/08 2:41pm

Joel wrote:
SlackBoy wrote: CAn you say wide frame at teh BB


are you saying i have big hips :hmmm:
Nope, I'm saying yuou have a fat arse


Oli wrote:Exactly the same Q-Factor as any modern frame. They've just done away with the clunky threaded external bearings and made them inboard...


And it looks pretty as well
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Postby MikeCrawford on Wed 13/Aug/08 3:20pm

Is it just me or does that Avant Quantum look like an S-Works Tarmac?

Very slick bike though, about time Dura Ace put the shifter cables under the bar wrap.
Tarmac SL.jpg
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Postby Dazzle on Wed 13/Aug/08 3:31pm

Tugboat wrote: That old school cro-mo Avanti Sprint brings back some memories. My very first roadie back in 1991 was one of those :)


I had one of those back in the day. :thumbsup:

Bring them back!
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Postby Malcy on Wed 13/Aug/08 3:43pm

ha ha ha, that was my second roadie. First was a Morrison Freeway!! (It doubled as my first MTB too, as I used to tear around all sorts of bush trails in the Might Manawatu on it.)

The Super Sprint (might have been a Sprint?) was a big improvement though. Very fond memories. Ahh.... steel. Rust.

I thought I was so cool having index shifters!! Click clickety click. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have the shift levers right where your nuts could slide into though?!?!?! :crazy:

Those were the days.

ps, MORE Oli, MORE. I have a bit of respsect for Avanti so loving the story so far.
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