After the team imploded and their clothing went on blowout sale, Rock Racing all but disappeared from our collective consciousness in 2010.
The company, inactive for eight or nine months after Italian businessman Roberto Tronconi
purchased partnered with Michael Ball to revive Rock Racing, has been quietly developing an all-new, three-model road bike line up for 2012. The leader of the pack is the all-new RX5Ri. It’s handmade in Italy using a carbon/Nomex honeycomb sandwich construction -similar to how composite aircraft tail fins and helicopter blades are made- to make it not only super strong but also reduce vibration to a claimed “near zero.” The RX5Ri comes in six stock sizes and, because it’s hand made, is also available in custom sizes.
Update: Corrected, Michael Ball still owns the Rock Racing brand, Tronconi manages R&D and production.
During the hiatus Rock Racing’s R&D department moved to Faenza, Italy, which Tronconi says gives them a very central European location. It also lets them take advantage of Italy’s established carbon frame manufacturing base and proximity to top tier fabrics and clothing accessories.
Click through to check out the RX5Ri and more, including some frame cutaway photos of the honeycomb structure…
Nomex honeycomb structures are also used in acoustic applications (noise cancellation and vibration reduction), making them an intriguing material for bicycles. Rock Racing uses a sandwich construction with the honeycomb wrapped around an inner carbon fiber tube then wrapped again on the outside (Looks like corrugated cardboard, no?)
The tubes use various shapes throughout the frame to maximize stiffness and tune the ride.
The RX5Ri is available as a frame only for €3,200.
- Bottom bracket is Shimano’s PressFit 86
- Integrated seat mast
- Asymmetric seat tube
- Heavily sculpted mono-stay at the top of the seat stays
While the brand faces some social stigma left over from the wild party persona Ball imbued it with, the new bikes seem to be well thought out. We can’t lie, we really want to ride one of these.
The lower two models share some of the aesthetics, including a somewhat sculpted monostay. They’re also made in Italy, though Tronconi says some elements come from open mold sources. The RX5Ri is a completely original design.
The RX4Si uses a T800 frame with 1K weave carbon outer lamination. Frame weight is a claimed 1000g as shown. Custom sizes are also available, and an integrated seat mast and Di2 wiring ports are also offered as upgrades. The standard version has internal brake and shift cable runs. MSRP is €2,700.
The X-3Si gets a slightly less shaped frame and external cable routing. Frame weight is 1000g (claimed) using a T800/3K carbon mix. Di2 wiring ports and custom sizes are optional, but no seat mast is available on this frame. MSRP is €1,990.
We’re waiting to hear about U.S. distribution plans, but word is they’re looking to sponsor both European and U.S. regional teams.