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Germany, August 30-September 2, 2007
Part 8 - Things that go 'round and 'round
By James Huang
Rotor applies new DTT concept to line of components
Rotor hit the big time with its elliptical Q-Rings, but some of the technology found in the Ágilis crankset that it launched last year has spawned a whole new line of components from the Spanish company. The Ágilis uses a unique headless bolt with a dual-thread pitch to attach the arms to the large-diameter aluminum spindle. The concept eliminates the need for a conventional bolt head, as well as the additional material on the component itself against which the head would normally rest. According to Rotor, this Double Thread Technology (DTT) reduces weight, increases component rigidity, improves reliability, and even increases clamping torque.
Rotor is using DTT to firmly establish itself as a legitimate player in the ultra-lightweight component market for 2008. According to Rotor, DTT affords a 25% weight reduction in its new S1 stem, which weighs just 99g for a 90mm length while still managing to pass the stringent EFBe fatigue certification. In spite of its feathery weight, Rotor says the S1 is suitable for both road and off-road use, and carries no rider weight limitation.
DTT also finds its way on to a new pair of 56g aluminum MTB bar ends, as well as a line of decidedly minimalist seatpost collars. A DTT-equipped seatpost is also on the way.
Shimano carbon Dura-Ace crankset lighter and stiffer than all-aluminum model
Shimano has long held the position that it would only utilize carbon fiber in situations that would yield a functional improvement over forged aluminum. Well, that day has come with the new Dura-Ace FC-7800C crankset, which we first spotted back at the Tour de Suisse in June and now formally introduced at this year's Eurobike show.
The new crankset uses an aluminum core and carbon fiber skin, yielding a fully hollow structure (the spider, too, in this case) that weighs just 709g while also achieving a 10% increase in stiffness relative to the standard version. FC-7800C continues to utilize Shimano's external bearing bottom bracket but borrows the modified non-driveside arm attachment method from XTR. Shimano will offer FC-7800C in 170, 172.5, and 175mm arm lengths.
Maxxis goes cross-country for 2008
Maxxis is apparently concentrating on the lighter-weight end of the spectrum with a pair of new road tires and a round of cross-country treads for 2008. The new Cormet road racing clincher places a single 62a-durometer compound atop a new 120tpi casing, while an as-yet unnamed 'uphill only' model pushes the weight envelope for hill climb events.
The new Monorail sports a relatively short and tightly-spaced central tread pattern for fast rolling performance, more widely-spaced transition knobs, and aggressive shoulder knobs for predictable cornering. Maxxis will only offer 26x2.10" casing sizes in both tube-type and tubeless models, but the top-end tube-type version is said to weigh just 480g.
The Ridgeline is a hardpack-specific tread with tightly-spaced and aggressively ramped knobs throughout. As with the Monorail, Maxxis will limit offerings to 26x2.10" sizes, but the top-end eXCeption tube-type version is similarly lightweight at just 490g.
Maxxis says its new Ardent is decidedly more versatile with a tread pattern lying somewhere in between its existing Minion and Highroller models. As is typical for Maxxis these days, the central knobs are heavily ramped to decrease rolling resistance, and heavily-reinforced side knobs suggest a firm hold on corners. Size offerings are similarly wide-ranging with casing widths ranging from 26x2.25" to 26x2.40" for cross-country versions, and from 26x2.40" to 26x2.60" for dual-ply DH models. Maxxis will also offer the Ardent in a single 29x2.25" model.
DT Swiss debuts first carbon wheel
The DT Swiss name has long been synonymous with wheels in one way or another, but heretofore its offerings had been limited primarily to aluminum. DT Swiss delves into carbon wheels for the first time in 2008 with its new premium RRC 1250 model, built with a mid-section all-carbon clincher rim and the company's 190 Ceramic hubs, all laced together using bladed-and-butted stainless steel spokes and alloy nipples.
DT Swiss claims a weight of just 1250g for the set (570g front, 680g rear), and will also include a pair of its ratcheting RWS Road Titan skewers, carbon-specific brake blocks, wheel bags, and rim tape.
On the off-road side of things, DT Swiss looks to have completely integrated its recent acquisition of Pace suspension products for the upcoming season. Not much has changed feature-wise, but all models wear a distinctive black, white, and red color scheme and hopefully more reliable internals to match the snazzy new look.
The renamed XRC air-sprung cross-country race fork weighs just 1380g (3.04lb) while offering up to 100mm of travel. Overall construction remains largely as it was under the Pace brand name, including carbon fiber lowers with magnesium dropouts and a hollow-forged aluminum crown. While still not equipped with any sort of platform valving (a good or a bad thing, depending on your outlook), the XRC is available with a remote lockout.
Among the most interesting models, however, is the EXC which somehow manages to deliver 150mm of travel in a package claimed to weigh just 1590g (3.5lb) complete with DT Swiss' 'Launch Control' lockdown feature. A 20mm thru-axle option adds just 100g while adding considerable front-end rigidity.
Michelin debuts Pro³ clincher line
This year's Eurobike show saw the official debut of Michelin's new Pro³ Race clincher road racing tire, whose new dual-compound tread is derived from the company's Moto GP division. According to Michelin, the new central tread delivers 20% more straight-line grip than the Pro² Race, while the new shoulder rubber offers a whopping 40% improvement. Michelin says the Moto GP compounds are also more readily deformable than before to help maintain grip on coarser pavement and reduce rolling resistance. For added security, the Pro³ Race casing gains a new High Density Puncture Protector (HDPP) nylon belt, yet total claimed weight is still highly competitive at just 200g for the 700x23c size.
Michelin will offer just the Pro³ Race for now, but the family will eventually include an even lighter Pro³ Light model as well as an even grippier Pro³ Grip. The Pro³ Race will be found on complete bikes beginning in October, but won't hit the aftermarket until March 2008.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rotor
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com