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New Arrivals – January 24, 2007

Edited by James Huang

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Welcome to New Arrivals, a section showcasing the latest equipment that's landed on the Cyclingnews tech desk. Look out for reviews over the next few months when we've clocked up some saddle time with this stuff.

Sidi Genius 6.6 Carbon road shoes

Sidi wasn't the first to introduce a full carbon fiber road sole,
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Dino Signore was among the last to introduce a full carbon sole on his heralded Sidi line, but the Italian cycling shoe icon has clearly done his homework with the introduction of the Genius 6.6 Carbon road shoe. Sidi has long held that most carbon soles are too rigid, so it engineered its version with a unique internal 'grid' construction that provides excellent stiffness where it is needed, but a small amount of give in other areas to prevent hot spots and enhance overall comfort. The new sole is also 100% carbon fiber with no filler materials, which Sidi claims produces a lighter part than competing construction methods. Naturally, Sidi shoes have always been among the frontrunners in terms of fit, and the interior surface of the sole is also anatomically shaped to the rider's foot to provide a better fit than a flat sole.

Speaking of fit, Sidi's trademark glove-like feel is provided with a Lorica and nylon mesh upper paired with a ratcheting Ultra SL buckle and two Velcro forefoot straps that incorporate nylon 'teeth' to prevent slip. New for 2007 is the Heel Security System, which closes down the top of the heel cup around the rider's foot for reduced lift when climbing and sprinting.

The Genius 6.6 Carbon is offered in sizes 39-48 (with half sizes up to 47) as well as women's-specific versions from 39-43 with half sizes throughout the range. Both are offered in a sharp white/silver color combination, and the men's version is also available in a Team CSC black/white/red scheme. Weight on our sz44 test shoes is just 636g for the pair.

Price: US$399.99

FSA K-Force Light crankset

The new K-Force Light road crankset from FSA is the company's lightest yet,
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FSA adds a new crown to its carbon crankset line with the introduction of the K-Force Light. A proprietary bladder molding process results in a unique double-hollow cross section (picture the grill on your overextended neighbor's new BMW) that eliminates the need for any internal support structure whatsoever. Naturally, the deletion of that component should yield a greatly reduced weight, and indeed, our complete test assembly with 172.5mm arms and 50/34T compact rings is just 658g, roughly 80g lighter than Shimano's Dura-Ace. In spite of the minimal mass, FSA claims that the hollow K-Force Light arms retain the strength and reliability of a solid part while offering a best-in-class stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Naturally, FSA continues the use of its MegaExo external bearing bottom bracket for its new top model, but now includes its premium hybrid ceramic bearing version as standard equipment. The K-Force Light also utilizes a new tapered spline pattern to secure the non-drive arm, replacing the original, non-tapered, and occasionally problematic, spline configuration. FSA has yet to announce plans to carry over the new pattern to other models.

Arms are available in the usual 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm lengths, but the new crankset is only available in a compact 110mm BCD. However, FSA now also offers a 52/38T option to fit the pattern to suit riders that prefer standard gearing.

Price: US$699.99

FSA Spoke Tension Gauge

FSA's Spoke Tension Gauge was designed by none other than Jobst Brandt himself.
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Opinions are somewhat mixed on exactly how much spoke tension wheels should be built with, but it is a virtually universal law among competent builders and manufacturers that the tension should at least be the same all around (or for a given side in the case of most rear wheels). Likewise, there are a number of tools to obtain a measure of that tension, and the more precise they can be, the more useful they are in ensuring a quality build.

FSA's Spoke Tension Gauge uses a low spring tension three-point measurement configuration and an easy-to-read jeweled dial movement that is claimed to be shock-, dust-, and waterproof. Cartridge ball bearings are used at two of the fulcrum points for greater accuracy and precision, and since it's coming from FSA, the Spoke Tension Gauge uses a finger-friendly body that is (of course) made from pressed carbon fiber. Perhaps most important, though, is that it was designed by legendary wheel guru Jobst Brandt himself.

Each unit is individually calibrated and serialized, and FSA guarantees the gauges to be accurate for ten years. We'll be integrating measurements from FSA's Spoke Tension Gauge in our future wheel tests to provide more objective information on how our test wheels have been built.

Price: US$259.99

Vredestein Fortezza Quattro TriComp clincher tires

The Vredestein Quattro TriComp Fortezza clincher was designed as a true all-conditions race tire,
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Vredestein's newest racing clinchers were developed using input from the Davitamon-Lotto team (now Predictor-Lotto) in response to rider requests for a true all-conditions tire. The Fortezza Quattro TriComp uses a similar dual-density silica tread compound as on the standard TriComp but with center siping to evacuate water and a diamond pattern on the sides to enhance grip on marginal pavement. Also included on the Quattro TriComp, and new for Vredestein, is the Full Contact Protection feature, which provides bead-to-bead resistance against cuts and punctures.

As with Vredestein's other top clinchers, recommended inflation pressure is a stratospheric (for a clincher, anyway) 145psi. While significantly higher than much of the competition, Vredestein says the higher inflation pressure reduces rolling resistance and is critical in maintaining the intended cross-sectional tire profile during cornering, but the unique dual-overlapping casing will still provide a compliant ride.

The Fortezza Quattro TriComp is offered only in 700x23c, but in your choice of black or black. Our test tires weigh in at 232g each, varying just +/- 2g between the pair.

Price: US$54.99


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com