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Germany, August 30-September 2, 2007
Part 4 - Who said CNC-machined stuff was dead?
By James Huang in Friedrichshafen , Germany
Tr!ckstuff continues to deliver the goods
The CNC machining craze may have mostly come and gone in the US , but milling machines worldwide are still humming along like crazy if this year's Eurobike show is any indication. Germany-based Tr!ckstuff showed off a beautifully constructed hydraulic disc brake dubbed ‘The Cleg'.
We have no idea why it's named after a horsefly, but we can say that ‘The Cleg' quite possibly displayed the best feel and fluidity of any disc brake in recent memory. Both business ends of the system are wholly constructed of CNC-machined 7075-T6 aluminum, and the precision work yields a near-invisible seam between the halves of the two-piece caliper. The caliper body is amazingly rigid (which contributes to that solid feel) and houses four differentially-sized pistons that accept standard Shimano XT BR-755-compatible pads.
Even cooler, though, was Tr!ckstuff's new Excentriker external bearing bottom bracket. As the name suggests, this unit incorporates 3mm of adjustable offset (yielding 6mm of total adjustment) that enables users to easily convert nearly any vertical dropout-equipped frame into a singlespeed or fixed-gear, all without having to deal with a chain tensioner or eccentric rear hub which can wreak havoc with brake adjustment.
The Excentriker is a drop-in replacement for more external BB-type cranksets, and uses standard 6805 cartridge bearings. Tr!ckstuff acknowledges that the 6mm range isn't quite enough to accommodate all gear combinations, but adjustments are easily accomplished by hand using just a simple 3mm allen wrench. The Excentriker isn't cheap at €150 a set, but it's easily one of the coolest items we've seen at this year's Eurobike show.
Tune continues its weight weenie ways
Tr!ckstuff's German compatriot Tune is one of just a few companies that managed to survive the CNC machining blight of the 90's. Its new Princess/Prince front/rear MTB disc hub combination incorporates carbon fiber-reinforced hub shells CNC-machined from 7075 aluminum. The Princess uses a fairly conventional oversized 17mm aluminum axle, but the rear uses a decidedly exotic carbon fiber one measuring 15mm in diameter. The freehub body is also machined from 7075 and runs on titanium pawls. Claimed weights are just 105g and 190g for the front and rear hubs, respectively.
Tune also adds a new carbon fiber seatpost to its mix which weighs just 145g in a 31.6mm x 340mm size. The minimalist CNC-machined two-bolt head is a bit scary-looking, but Tune insists that there is no rider weight restriction.
Not all of Tune's stuff is spit out of a milling machined, though. Need a carbon fiber chainring? Yup, Tune has those. Maybe a 4.5g carbon bottle cage? Or how about a 6.5g carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium seat clamp? Coming right up…
FRM broadens range of lightweight MTB stuff
Italy-based FRM is no stranger to a floor full of aluminum chips, and delves further into the MTB market for 2008. Its new SP-M21 XMD TR Aerolite wheelset sports a 330g scandium tubeless-compatible rim laced with DT Swiss Aerolite bladed spokes to a set of its own CNC-machined aluminum-and-carbon fiber SP-M Team Disc hubs. Quoted weight for the set is just 1380g, and FRM says even more weight can be saved by ditching the removable six-bolt rotor adapters and using its own proprietary splined aluminum-and-stainless steel rotors instead. Yikes.
Just when you were absolutely sure CNC-machined cranks were dead, FRM added another one to its stable for this season. The CU2-M18NS Integral crankset is a dedicated two-ring setup that sports a machined aluminum bottom bracket spindle and crankarms, all of which ride on an external-type bottom bracket. The machined 42T chainring also acts as a spider for the 27T inner, meaning that both rings are totally proprietary. Is it stiff? Probably not, but it's pretty light at just 668g with bottom bracket.
Acros Professional Bike Components: yup, more stuff machined in Germany
Acros actually seems poised to hit the (relative) big time with a rather comprehensive range of impressive-looking mountain bike components that includes headsets, seatposts, hubs, bottom brackets, and even suspension forks. Just about everything is CNC-machined in Germany , and its headsets and bottom brackets are both available with ceramic bearings.
New for 2008 is the A-Hub .75FR hubset designed for heavier duty action. The rear hub sports a unique 5-pawl driver and 30-tooth ratchet ring for fast engagement. An oversized 17mm aluminum axle supports the rear while the front is specifically intended for 20mm thru-axle applications. Claimed rear hub weight is 340g; front hubs are said to be just 210g.
Reset Racing Components: clever solutions
The guys at Reset Racing components clearly must ride a lot of suspension bikes with awkwardly-placed rear shocks and air valves as it boasts what certainly must be the largest assortment of CNC-machined and color-anodized air valve adapters we've ever come across. The Reset AirPort EVO turns the straight head of your suspension pump into a compact 90° version with a built-in no-bleed valve, while the Modular ‘Winkeladapter' (sorry, no idea how that translates) attaches to the shock valve and converts it into a swiveling head. Need still more flexibility? The Snake offers remote access to shock air pressure via a short section of pneumatic hose.
Reset Racing also specializes in ‘problem solver' items for frames that use proprietary headset and/or bottom bracket fittings. Its BBS Cartridge allows owners of select Storck and Klein frames to run standard Octalink-style or square taper bottom bracket interfaces in a variety of lengths, while the Cannondale SI adapter allows for standard threaded bottom brackets to be fitted into BB30 shells.
Also on tap are specific headsets that adapt Headshok-equipped Cannondales or older Klein frames for use with standard 1 1/8” forks. While this may not seem all that significant to you, it's probably very important to your buddy with that neon-hued Rascal that he just can't quite manage to part with.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com