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New Arrivals – June 13, 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.

SRAM Rival group

The SRAM Rival group promises nearly all of the performance
Photo ©: James Huang
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We extolled the virtues of SRAM's Force road group some time ago, but also mentioned the performance potential of its sibling, Rival. SRAM's mid-level group spares the exotic carbon fiber and magnesium bits of Force for more conventional forged aluminum to bring the price down, but Rival's largely identical innards and mechanical features should yield the same eye-opening capabilities. Save for those material substitutions, the only major discrepancy between the two is the significantly heavier Rival crankset made from solid-forged aluminum, which is offered in the same standard and compact sizes.

At a very significant US$630 cheaper than Force (a difference of roughly 40%), Rival is aimed directly at Shimano's Ultegra group in terms of cost. However, though, Rival gives up only about 100g relative to Force and is several hundred grams lighter than Ultegra (though that gap has narrowed a bit with the introduction of Ultegra SL). We'll be thrashing our test group in cyclocross style this season and will report soon on how things stack up when things get ugly. Actual test weights are as follows:

SRAM Rival DoubleTap levers, pair


SRAM Rival rear derailleur


SRAM Rival front derailleur, braze-on


SRAM Rival crankset, 34/50T, 172.5mm


SRAM Rival GXP bottom bracket


SRAM OG 1070 cassette, 12-26T


SRAM PC 1070 chain, 114 links plus PowerLock connector


Price: US$345 (DoubleTap levers); US$105 (rear derailleur); US$57 (front derailleur); US$190 (crankset with bottom bracket); US$97 (OG 1070 cassette); US$33 (PC 1070 chain); US$991 (complete Rival group)

Ritchey WCS Protocol wheels

The WCS Protocol wheelset from Ritchey
Photo ©: James Huang
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Ritchey's mid-priced WCS Protocol clinchers feature a laundry list of features, including de-stressed 24mm-deep aluminum clincher rims with machined sidewalls, forged and CNC machined WCS hubs with cartridge bearings and a six-pawl convertible rear driver, and DT Swiss New Aero bladed stainless steel spokes and alloy nipples.

The rear wheel also incorporates the company's trademark Off-Center Rear (OCR) rim and Zero System hub technology to eliminate dish, which Ritchey claims delivers improved durability. In a marked departure from much of its competition, the fully hand-built wheels use a 1-cross front and 2-cross rear lacing pattern (20h front, 24h rear) in an effort to "provide better compliance while preserving lateral stiffness".

Our WCS Protocol test clinchers weigh in at 1592g per pair (688g front/904g rear) without the included titanium-shafted skewers (86g per pair).

Price: US$249.95 (WCS Protocol front); US$399.95 (WCS Protocol rear); US$29.95 (freehub conversion kit)

Ritchey WCS Carbon Evolution handlebar

The new WCS Carbon Evolution handlebar from Ritchey
Photo ©: James Huang
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Ritchey taps into the vast potential of carbon fiber shaping as well as several decades of designing road handlebars for its newest model, the WCS Carbon Evolution. The oversized carbon bar features 3° backswept tops similar to its aluminum Biomax models for a more natural wrist angle, a flatter transition from the tops to the levers for a more comfortable perch, and moderate reach and drop dimensions for easier access when it comes time to sprint. Slightly ovalized tops also provide more surface area for improved grip and to relieve pressure, and the unique bend of the drops reduces reach to the levers for smaller hands.

A single deep cable groove should suffice for most Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM users, and textured and graduated stem and lever clamp areas facilitate setup. A long and suitably reinforced 31.8mm center section also makes for easier mounting of computers and other accessories, as well as factory-approved clip-on compatibility. The WCS Carbon Evolution handlebar is offered in four sizes from 38-44cm (c-c), and actual weight of our 42cm test sample is 216g.

Price: US$309.95

FSA K-Force Light MTB crankset

The FSA K-Force Light MTB
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Full Speed Ahead adapts its K-Force Light road crankset to the dirt to create the K-Force Light MTB. FSA claims a best-in-class strength-to-weight ratio for its new offering by virtue of its '3rd Generation' double-hollow molded carbon crankarm construction and fully integrated carbon spider. Also included with the package is the company's excellent hybrid ceramic bearing MegaExo bottom bracket (with bearings by CeramicSpeed) for reduced friction and improved durability. In addition, the new K-Force Light MTB uses the same updated tapered spline attachment as the road version for a more secure fit.

The included 22/32/44T CNC-machined 7075 aluminum chainrings feature similar shift-enhancing pins and ramps as before, and alloy Torx T-30 chainring bolts complete the package which will be offered in 170mm and 175mm arm lengths. Actual weight on our 175mm test sample is 772g, complete with bottom bracket, chainrings, and all associated hardware.

Price: US$599.99

Descente MTB clothing

Descente's Newton MTB short and Theorem jersey
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Team CSC clothing sponsor Descente rightfully holds a solid reputation on the road side of things, but also offers a thoroughly technical line of mountain wear, too. Included in our test wardrobe are the Newton MTB short, Theorem and Genetic jerseys, Free Ride and DNA XC gloves, as well as some DNA socks.

The Newton shorts feature a lightweight matte nylon shell with welded seams, plus a four-way stretch center gusset and stretch rear yoke for enhanced fit and maneuverability. A pair of welded and zippered pockets offer up some secure storage options, and the piggybacked mesh pocket on the thigh allows quick access to smaller items such as energy gels. A removable D-Vente six-panel mesh liner includes Descente's molded Spectra chamois and wide elastic waistband and DNA leg grippers for comfort.

The Theorem jersey is made from Descente's D-Ply nylon and polyester moisture-wicking fabric cut in a more casual fit, but still includes standard jersey features such as a 35cm (14") front zipper and zippered single rear pocket. The similarly relaxed Genetic Tee does without the front zip and pocket, but still offers wicking H2Zero fabric and embroidered DNA and 'Fishbones' logos plus some additional rear graphics for a bit of extra style.

Free Ride gloves feature an armored back
Photo ©: James Huang
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The new Free Ride and DNA XC gloves both use Kevlar-reinforced nylon padding with pre-curved palms for a better fit, plus silicone grippers on the fingertips and palm for enhanced grip. The Free Ride gloves add lightweight and flexible armoring on the back and fingers for additional protection plus a streamlined Velcro wrist closure, while the decidedly more minimal DNA XC glove carries on with a more breathable full mesh back and fingers and a simple pull-on style.

Socks feature acrylic, nylon, and elastic construction with additional arch support and Descente's DNA and 'Fishbones' logos.

Price: US$120 (Newton MTB short); US$75 (Theorem Jersey); US$40 (Genetic Tee); US$45 (Free Ride Glove); US$45 (DNA XC Glove); US$9 (DNA Sock)

Fox Racing Shox F120 RLC

The new Fox F 120 RLC fork
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We first reported on the remarkably improved ride quality of Fox Racing Shox's new damper valving back at Sea Otter and now we have our own long-term test sample that we'll compare directly with a similar '07 model. The 120mm travel F120 RLC is the first longer-travel offering to grace the air-sprung F-Series family, and features the same lighter-weight tapered magnesium lower leg casting, forged aluminum crown, and 32mm diameter aluminum upper tubes as its shorter-travel compatriots, but in a format more suitable for today's modern crop of featherweight trail bikes.

Our top-of-the-line RLC tester features independently adjustable low-speed compression and rebound damping, as well as a crown-mounted lockout dial with adjustable blowoff threshold. As always, fittings and dials are quality anodized aluminum, but the new lockout knob is now a bit taller to prevent inadvertent rebound adjustments. Actual weight on our test sample is 1675g (3.69lb) with an uncut 1 1/8" aluminum steerer tube.

Price: US$665


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com