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Tech News – February 24, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson

Got tech? Send press releases, news, and tech questions to the Cyclingnews tech desk.

Shimano 2007 details emerge

By John Stevenson

A Norwegian website has posted what appear to be leaked images of 2007 Shimano Deore XT and Deore LX mountain bike components. The two groups are in for a substantial facelift for next year, though it looks like the core functions are unchanged - indeed, in some departments Shimano seems to have taken a step backwards.

New versions of the XT and LX rear derailleurs feature logos embossed into the parallelogram, and are 'top-normal' designs rather than the Rapidrise derailleurs which were all Shimano offered for the 2006 line. The new groups also include trigger shifters, though its not clear yet whether Rapidrise and Dual Control are gone, or whether Shimano is just widening the range of options it offers.

A hint of a new function is offered by the words 'Dual release' on the new triggers, though. The finger trigger has been enlarged and 'Dual release' sounds to us like it will provide a shift if it's pushed in more than one direction - we'll see when Shimano eventually shows parts to the press.

Another apparent concession to widely-used standards is the return to a six-bolt rotor option for disc brakes, making this writer wonder whether the Center Lock compatible wheels he just ordered were such a great idea after all.

I for one am sorry to see Shimano step back from some of the ideas it's been pushing for the last couple of years. RapidRise, in my experience, works extremely well once you retrain your shifting reflexes, and mounting disc rotors with a lockring instead of half a dozen fiddly Torx bolts just makes sense. Okay, Dual Control is nothing to write home about - it works, but it's hard to make a case that it's better than the trigger shifters we'd all been using for the best part of a decade. With so many alternative disc brake manufacturers out there, Shimano was always on a hiding to nothing trying to integrate the brake lever and the shifting, and could well have pushed customers to SRAM by not offering triggers and top-normal rear derailleurs that completely matched the appearance of the rest of the group.

With this much activity at LX and XT level, it seems unlikely that the rumoured new XTR group will happen for 2007 - for Shimano to replace three groups in one go would be unprecedented. However, our industry spies tell us we should look out for official prototypes of the next XTR at Sea Otter.

You can check out the pics of the new gear for yourself at terrengsykkel.no.

Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada team mostly still on Shimano… for now

By James Huang

Ben Jacques-Maynes in on SRAM
Photo ©: Seng Chen
(Click for larger image)

SRAM announced way back in late 2005 that its new road group would be raced by the US-based Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada team starting with the '06 season. However, some keen eyed readers following our coverage of the Tour of California have noted that most of the team appears to still be sporting Shimano Dura-Ace kit.

According to SRAM's road PR head honcho, Michael Zellman, some minor details are still being finalized but he assures us that they will have everything ready to go in time for Sea Otter in early April. In the meantime, a select few on the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada squad, such as Ben Jacques-Maynes, are running preproduction SRAM parts to provide some last-minute feedback.

Rocky Mountain goes custom

Canadian bike builder Rocky Mountain has announced a customized bike building service that allows buyers to choose the colour scheme and components of Rocky Mountain Solo road bikes.

The scheme applies the three bikes, the Solo CR in Columbus Mecano carbon, Columbus Spirit Solo ST and Columbus Metal and carbon Solo AC. A simple on-line ordering system takes you through the options and shows you how the bike will look at you go.

"We're very pleased to offer this new service to our customers, "said Jean Poisson, general manager of Rocky Mountain Bicycles. "Our philosophy has always been to build our bikes to a higher standard of quality and greater level of innovation to give the rider a better, more enjoyable riding experience. To allow the rider to personalize their bike this way is a natural extension of that philosophy."

More info: www.bikes.com.

Fulcrum paints the town red

Fulcrum Racing7 wheels
Photo ©: Fulcrum
(Click for larger image)

Wheel maker Fulcrum has extended its range in two directions for 2006. Up at the top is the RacingLight, a carbon-rimmed clincher that will not doubt be gracing the bikes of a few top pros this season, but is unlikely to be affordable for most of the rest of us.

Rather more within the everyman price bracket, and sure to turn heads, are Fulcrum's new racing 7 wheels. Although intended as entry-level wheels for recreational riders and for training, the new wheel's red finish means they look a million dollars, if Fulcrum's publicity shots are anything to go by.

It's also hard not to note the similarity of colour scheme between Mavic's top-of-the-line Ksyrium SL wheels and the new Fulcrum wheels. It's either a spooky coincidence or a tidy piece of ambush marketing!

Racing7s have 24mm aero-shaped aluminium rims with machined braking surfaces and wear indicator. Hubs are oversized with sealed cylindrical bearings. Twenty 2 mm spokes are laced radially on the front wheel to while there are 24 spokes on the rear wheel, in Fulcrum's Two to One arrangement.

Fulcrum says a pair of Racing7s about 1,855 grams. They'll be available in June and will retail in Europe for about €142 plus VAT.

More info: www.fulcrumwheels.com

THE LUX LV saddles
Photo ©: THE
(Click for larger image)

THE goes light on the saddles

THE Products has announced a new range of saddles for road, cross country MTB and racing BMX bikes. The THE LUX and LUX LV seats are built on carbon hulls with titanium rails, and topped with high-quality leather covers.

Both models are available in black or tan leather, and THE claims very respectable 180g weights for them. RRP is US$99.99

More info: www.the-industries.com

Mematec shoe warmers
Photo ©: Mematec
(Click for larger image)

Toasty tootsies

Readers still in parts of the world gripped by the depth of winter, could maybe do worse than take a look at these devices from German company Mematec: heated insoles for cycling shoes.

The battery unit on the Mematec Bikeset sits on your ankle and a carbon fiber-reinforced cable powers a heating element in the sole. There are three versions - XL, XXL and XXL special - with run times of 5, 7 and 14 hours respectively. The XXL special model uses the same 4000mAh NiCad batteries as the XXL but switches itself off half the time, a feature Mematec calls 'intermittent heating'.

The heating unit has three settings - 32°, 36°, and 38°C to provide customised warmth for the conditions.

More info: www.mematec.com