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Tech News – May 3, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson & James Huang

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

Bontrager’s new Aeolus 6.5
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Bontrager worked with Stronglight and Race Face
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Bontrager engineers found
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As with the XXX Lite VR handlebar
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The new Aeolus TT disc wheel
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Bontrager borrows the oversized spindle
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Bontrager expands Aeolus wheel line and adds carbon crankset

Bontrager's Aeolus aero wheel line grows from one model to five with the addition of a clincher version of the current 65mm deep Aeolus 6.5 as well as both clincher and tubular versions of a shallower 50mm deep Aeolus 5.0 and a tubular-only Aeolus TT rear disc wheel.

Bontrager engineers teamed with renowned aero guru Steve Hed to develop the new offerings, all of which begin life as a Bontrager OCLV rim which is then shipped off to Hed to have the skins bonded. Unique features include a 22mm wide rim across the board and rounded tails on the deep section wheels. The former is said to smooth the transition from tire to rim, and the latter allegedly greatly improves the crosswind performance.

The Aeolus TT is particularly unique in that it is neither a flat or true lenticular disc. Rather, it employs a complex shape that starts out 36mm wide at the hub then narrows significantly just below the rim before bulging back out to 22mm. Bontrager engineers claim the new shape not only improves aerodynamics, but also enhances the strength of the wheel.

All of the wheels are built around custom-made DT Swiss hubs and will feature easily interchangeable compatibility between Campagnolo and Shimano cassette spline patterns.

In addition the new wheel offerings, Bontrager also will introduce its first full-carbon road crankset, developed in conjunction with Stronglight and Race Face. Individual chainring tabs and crank head are co-molded with the fully hollow OCLV crankarm assembly to which an aluminum pedal end cap is later bonded. Actual weight of a preproduction version (172.5mm arms with 39-53T rings) was a paltry 700g, complete with X-Type external bearing bottom bracket, chainrings, and hardware. Both standard and compact versions will be available in lengths ranging from 165mm to 175mm./JH

More information: www.bontrager.com

Ultimate Support
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Ultimate Support wants you to weigh more stuff

Ultimate Support has supplemented its currently offered Alpine Digital scale with a new tabletop model. The new scale features a large 5.5in2/14cm2 metal surface on which to place items and offers a 1g weight resolution and 6.6lbs/3kg capacity. In a refreshing change from most electronic products offered these days, batteries and a 1 year warranty are included in the US$54.99 asking price./JH

More information: www.ultimatesupport.com

Chris King machines a wide range
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Need some more color in your diet?
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CNC machines busy at Chris King

In addition to the company's coveted headsets and hubs, a comprehensive line of single-speed cogs, cog lock rings, and headset spacers is keeping the CNC machines busy at Chris King. Shimano spline-compatible single-speed cogs are available in either clear-anodized aluminum (16-19T) or bead-blasted and heat-treated stainless steel (12-20T), and both incorporate a 5mm wide base to prevent digging into soft aluminum cassette bodies. Cog lock rings are offered in aluminum or titanium in either 11T or 12T varieties, and both feature slightly longer threads for better engagement on today's longer 10-speed cassette stacks.

And finally, for those who can't quite have enough color on their bike, Chris King also lathe-cuts a full size range of aluminum headset spacers that are not only held to the same machining standards as its other components, but are also offered in eight anodized colors to perfectly match its headsets./JH

More information: www.chrisking.com

DMT gets Flash on the track too

DMT Track Flash shoes
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Shoe maker DMT has announced a lace-up version of its Flash shoe, intended specifically for use by track riders who will appreciate the adjustability and super-firm hold of a lace closure, as well as the light weight and - let's be honest here - stylish retro looks.

The Flash Track features DMT's Super Light Hardened Carbon sole and like the road shoe, the Flash Track's upper is moulded in one piece which saves weight and removes any chance of chafing from seams because there aren't any. The sole is drilled for a three-bolt Look-style cleat and is compatible with Look's cleat adjustment memory feature.

The Flash Track will retail for US$359.95, and weighs a claimed 460g per pair and will be available in sizes 41 to 50, with half sizes 41.5 to 45.5. It will be available in September this year from US importer Upland Sports Group./JS

More information: www.diamantdmt.com; US importer: www.uplandsg.com

Shimano XTR brake lever
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Shimano XTR 140mm rotor
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The new lever and RapidFire unit
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XTR V-brake
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The new XTR brake caliper
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Shimano XTR brake lever
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Shimano brakes the XTR mould

Shimano has released details and official photos of the brakes that will be part of its new XTR group, expected to be available later this year. In keeping with the company's unofficial slogan for the new group - "lots of options" - Shimano will offer a separate hydraulic brake lever at XTR level for the first time, the BL-M975.

The new lever has clearly been designed with weight reduction as a main priority, and also to be as compact as possible after users of Shimano's last generation of Dual Control combined brake/gear levers complained that they needed a lot of handlebar room. Shimano has tucked the main oil reservoir into the lever mount and redesigned the hose routing so the levers won't interfere with each other. The new Rapidfire Plus gear shifter trigger is designed to sit tidily against the lever.

At the wheel end, Shimano has introduced a new design of disc rotor, following from the previous Center Lock design. The new rotor will be available in four different sizes: a rear-only 140mm version, plus 160, 180 and 203mm for front or rear. To save weight, Shimano has come up with a spoked carrier design with a very pared down steel braking surface.

The BR-M975 disc brake caliper itself doesn't look much different from the current BR-M965 model, with an opposed two-piston design and a one-piece forged body. Shimano says it has improved heat dissipation and brake feel by the use of titanium backing plates for the brake pads, and also claims a 50 percent increase in durability of the resin pads (sintered metal pads will also be available).

Shimano will also continue to make V-brakes at the XTR level, though here the design has hardly changed at all since the first XTR V-brakes; certainly the new model resembles the M951 brake of a few years ago closely enough that they could be coming out of the same moulds. Shimano says that the matching BR-M970 lever has a redesigned blade./JS

More information: www.shimano.com