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Tech News – June 6, 2007

Edited by James Huang

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

FSA looks ahead to 2008

FSA added another piece to its complete drivetrain puzzle
Photo ©: Full Speed Ahead
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Rumors and speculation have circulated wildly about FSA's new complete road and MTB groups, and while the company has still been rather tight-lipped on details, it did release information on another critical piece of the puzzle.

Three new chains will grace the 2008 FSA catalog for use with both 9-speed and 10-speed drivetrains. The SL-K 10S will feature beveled outer plates that promise quiet running and smooth shifting, while the inner and outer plates will also be slotted to yield a claimed weight of just 240g for a full 114-link chain. The Team Issue 10S makes do without the slotted plates to add 20g.

The road- and mountain bike-compatible Team Issue 9S, however, will include the hollowed plates as well as a more aggressively-profiled outer plate for enhanced shifting, especially under load. Quoted weight is 260g for 116 links, and all of the new FSA chains will include a tool-free master link.

The intriguing Neo Pro TT crankset will utilize the same double-hollow carbon fiber arm construction as FSA's current top-tier K-Force Light models for a claimed weight of just 720g for the complete set. However, those arms will now fully shroud the external-bearing bottom bracket cups for improved airflow, and the driveside arm will be smoothly blended into the chainring for the same reason. Three arm lengths will be available (170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm) along with two chainring combinations (55/44T and 54/42T, both in 130mm BCD).

The new FSA Neo Pro TT crankset
Photo ©: Full Speed Ahead
(Click for larger image)

The new K-Force Light MTB crankset also gains the '3rd Generation' double-hollow carbon fiber crankarms and hybrid ceramic MegaExo bottom bracket bearings of its road-going cousin for a total claimed weight of 750g. The standard 44/32/22T triple-chainring model will be accompanied by a dedicated 2x9 version whose sole 42/29T chainring option on that model suggests the use of a unique four-arm spider BCD.

The Gravity line also gets a reduced-fat crankset with the new Gravity Light MegaExo. Not surprisingly, there will be no carbon here, but hollow-forged 6061-T6 aluminum crankarms reduce the total weight to a class-leading 800g, including bottom bracket. Multiple arm lengths and configurations will be available, including two-ring with bashguard, triple chainring, and single-ring DH.

Up top, a new OS-99 stem will be forged and machined from 7075 aluminum and will include a pared-down face plate and titanium hardware to yield a claimed 98g weight. The ovalized extension will be offered in 80-130mm lengths in 10mm increments, all in a +/- 6° angle and exclusively to fit oversized 31.8mm bars.

The Gravity DH wheelset will use a wider 32mm rim
Photo ©: Full Speed Ahead
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A new semi-integrated aero bar based on the version supplied to the Astana ProTour team will feature a wealth of adjustability to optimize fit and aerodynamics. Carbon extensions boast 10cm of length adjustment and the armrests can adjust laterally through 4cm. The wing-shaped base bar will utilize both carbon fiber and aluminum construction, and custom-shaped extensions are molded entirely in carbon. Claimed weight for the complete assembly is 1000g.

Two new wheelsets will round out the initial introduction, including the XC-specific XC-500T and the burlier Gravity DH. The XC-500T will finally deliver full tubeless compatibility courtesy of a solid outer rim wall. Sealed cartridge bearing hubs will be offered exclusively in six-bolt disc rotor compatibility for conventional quick-release frames and forks, and claimed weight for the set is 1.95kg.

The Gravity DH will be built with a 32mm-wide rim, straight-pull 14g stainless steel spokes, and DH-specific hubs with oversized cartridge bearings and a fast-engaging freehub body. Front wheels will only be offered in 20mm thru-axle versions, but both 135mm QR and 150mm TA rears will be available. Total claimed weight for the pair is 2.5kg.

Shimano offers lighter Ultegra SL group

Shimano adds an Ultegra-branded compact crankset
Photo ©: James Huang
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Shimano announced an upgraded version of its ubiquitous Ultegra road component group to address the ever-widening price gap between its top-level Dura-Ace group and its second-tier offering. The new Ultegra SL package shaves nearly 100g off of the standard edition and also wears an optional bolder and darker 'Ice Grey' anodized finish to complement the standard silver.

Much of the weight loss is due to the new Dual Control levers, which make increased use of aluminum to shave 43g. A refined crankset (offered in both double and triple varieties) now utilizes a lighter and stiffer machined-from-billet steel bottom bracket axle, lighter cups, and aluminum chainring bolts to shed another 35g. Finally, a new rear derailleur and brake calipers subtract an additional 9g and 10g, respectively.

The new Ice Grey color option will also be optional on a new Ultegra-branded compact crankset, as well as the PD-6620 SPD-SL pedals and WH-6500 clincher wheelset.

In other Shimano news, the Dura-Ace wheel family will bear a new road tubeless-compatible clincher, two new carbon-rimmed tubulars, as well as a carbon and aluminum composite clincher set. 105 will also get its own dedicated compact crankset and the wider SPD-SL pedal body of its Dura-Ace and Ultegra stablemates.

Cannondale issues limited edition Di Luca SystemSix

Cannondale will offer just twenty-one copies
Photo ©: Cannondale Bicycles
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On the heels of its well-earned Giro d'Italia victory under Liquigas rider Danilo Di Luca, team sponsor Cannondale has wasted little time in happily announcing the release of a very limited edition Danilo "The Killer" Di Luca SystemSix Replica model.

Cannondale will manufacture only twenty-one reproductions (one for each Giro stage) throughout the US and Europe, and each will be available on a strictly first-come-first-served basis. Naturally, the commemorative bike will feature a unique paint job in addition to the Di Luca "Killer" edition fi'zi:k Arione saddle and white handlebar tape, Campagnolo Record componentry, FSA cockpit, and Fulcrum Racing 1 wheelset with Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX clinchers.

Each frame will be individually numbered and its corresponding Giro stage listed, and each purchaser will also receive a signed maglia rosa and commemorative poster.

Cannondale recalls pair of Lefty suspension forks

Unfortunately, Cannondale's fantastic Giro win has also been accompanied by some bad news as a supposed assembly error has prompted the company to upgrade a service bulletin issued earlier this season to a voluntary recall notice on its Lefty Speed Carbon SL and Lefty Speed DLR 2 suspension forks. According to a recent press release, "The origin of the problem is an improper application of a thread locking compound to the damping cartridge. The result is that the lower half of the assembly could potentially unthread and slide out of the upper sleeve."

That flaw could result in a catastrophic failure and some injuries have been reported. However, according to Cannondale Vice President of R&D Chris Peck, "Riders should know that this is not a design flaw. This is an assembly error. Lefty product has been on our high performance mountain bikes for nearly a decade. It is race-proven at the World Cup level and has passed the highest testing standards in the industry when manufactured correctly."

Cannondale dealers have already been notified of the recall and have been supplied with proper inspection and service procedures. Given the nature of the failure, Cannondale urges riders to cease using affected bikes and forks immediately, and further assures consumers that manufacturing quality control steps have been put in place to ensure that future product is properly built.

Further information and a list of affected bicycle models are available on Cannondale's web site.

Trips for Kids to hold 16th annual bike swap

In addition to a full spread of road and mountain bike racing, a sports expo, and special family-oriented events, this year's Infineon Cougar Mountain Classic in Sonoma, California will also play host to the 16th Annual Bike Swap to benefit Trips for Kids on Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, 2007.

"Each year individuals and companies within and outside the bicycle industry donate product to or participate in our annual fundraiser," said Trips for Kids Director Marilyn Price. "We are delighted to offer cyclists one of our biggest swap meets ever."

Participants can support the swap by either reserving a space to sell bike-related products, donating items for Trips for Kids to sell, or by simply offering a financial contribution. Sales of donated materials reportedly covers sixty percent of the total Trips for Kids annual operating budget. Regardless, all of the proceeds from the swap will support Trips for Kids cycling programs for disadvantaged youth in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as across North America.

Giant Bicycles chairman complete tour of Taiwan

Giant Bicycles chairman King Liu
Photo ©: Giant Bicycles
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Proving that you can never been too old, Giant Bicycles chairman King Liu recently wrapped up a fifteen-day bicycle tour of Taiwan at the age of 73. King began in Taipei on May 7 and then proceeded counter-clockwise and returned along the eastern coastal roads back in Taipei on May 21.

Seeking to explore the island in a more intimate fashion, King naturally decided the best option was to do so by bicycle (a Giant, of course). According to King, "Driving is too careless, walking is too slow, and only through cycling can you truly experience the beauty of this island and have this once-in-a-lifetime adventure."

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Full Speed Ahead

Images by Shimano

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Shimano

Images by Cannondale Bicycles

Images by Giant Bicycles