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Rumors milled: Campagnolo, Shimano and FSA for 2009 and beyond, June 11, 2008
More information on what's to come for 2009 and beyond
By James Huang
New Campagnolo Ergopower lever shape confirmed
We speculated a few days ago on what Campagnolo might unveil for its new 2009 Ergopower lever shape but have now confirmed that the decidedly more curvaceous look we first saw at this year's Ronde van Vlaanderen is, indeed, what we should expect to see at the company's upcoming official press launch.
Interestingly, Campagnolo and Shimano seem to have crossed paths a bit in designing their respective 2009 lever shapes: the new Ergopower levers have a much more pronounced peak, longer lever blades and appear to have a bit more of a 'dip' at the base of your thumb like Shimano's levers used to have whereas Dura-Ace 7900 levers are flatter across the top, have more girth around the body and a markedly toned-down peak relative to the previous generation.
Unfortunately we're still after images of the rest of the lineup but those should be forthcoming in the next few days.
Eleven is the new ten?
We've also already confirmed that Campagnolo's top three groups will make the jump to eleven rear cogs but there are now new reports suggesting that Shimano may have its own 11-speed test mules already undergoing testing. While these rumors are unconfirmed, it's well known that Shimano was dabbling with 14-speed cassettes not too long ago so this seems quite reasonable.
Plausible or not, only time will tell whether Shimano will actually follow Campagnolo's lead in introducing yet another cog. In our opinion, though, it's unlikely that Shimano (or SRAM, for that matter) will remain content with the current configurations if the new 11-speed drivetrains prove to hold up well over the long run.
Lost in all the recent Shimano vs. SRAM vs. Campagnolo discussion is FSA who has long confirmed its development of complete road and mountain bike component groups, both of which are said to include integrated shifter/brake levers. Additional information has been nearly impossible to come by since then but our sources suggest that the new group may be ready for official release as early as this year's Eurobike show in early September. And yes, it will supposedly incorporate an 11-speed cassette.
Shimano to ditch the wires?
Shimano's upcoming release of its contentious Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group is highly anticipated at this point and we're still awaiting official images to go along with the released information. According to Shimano, the wired componentry is lighter than the current mechanical Dura-Ace 7800 group, shifts faster and contains some other intriguing features that mechanical systems simply can't currently offer. Power is said to come from a new high-powered and lightweight two-cell lithium polymer battery that will come with a special charger to ensure against overcharging (and its possibly catastrophic after-effects).
Although Di2 has yet to materialize, our last round of industry gossip suggests that Shimano already has wireless test mules in place that may or may not replace this as-yet-unreleased version. According to our sources, this engineering test bed uses a spread spectrum 2.4GHz system that can automatically swap to any of several alternate operational frequencies in as little as 0.8ms in case of interference.
This development, if it actually exists, is unlikely to offer any advantages in terms of shifting speed but might decrease the system weight and would certainly make for a cleaner appearance. If both transmitting and receiving hardware is fully sealed, it might also mean better all-weather durability, too.
None of this information has been officially confirmed at this point, though, and even if the information is accurate we would guess the world won't see a wireless Dura-Ace electronic group until the 2011 model year at the earliest.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Paul Smith