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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 24 - 28, 2007
Part 16: Bits and baubles from the Las Vegas desert
By James Huang and Tim Maloney
Cane Creek gives 110%
Cane Creek will bring a new premium headset offering to the table for 2008, simply dubbed 110. According to Cane Creek, the new "benchmark, no-compromise" 110 is its best headset yet, with new 7050 Plus aluminum cups, low-friction cartridge bearings with dual-lip seals, a 'captured compression ring' that mechanically centers and secures the headset on the steerer tube (as opposed to o-ring systems that still allow for some movement), and a claimed weight of 98g (without spacers or preload assembly).
Cane Creek will offer the 110 in both conventional and integrated designs. The latter will be available in both tall and short varieties, and both will include 17.5mm of newly updated and anodized-to-match aluminum 110 Interlok spacers.
Cane Creek will limit its wheel offerings for 2008 to just track-specific models, but all of them continue to use the company's unique Torque Transfer Flange design which it says delivers faster acceleration and more lateral stiffness than conventional designs. The top-end Sprint 85 model utilizes an 85mm-deep carbon fiber tubular rim, double-butted Sapim Race stainless steel spokes, and a flip-flop fixed/fixed rear hub to cut down on wrenching time. /JH
Lightning strikes at Boca Bearing
What would you think about a drivetrain that requires no lube application at all, yet remains fast-running, smooth, and totally clean? Delray Beach, FL-based Boca Bearing hopes that you'll at least give the idea a chance as that is exactly what it promises with its Ultra Dry Lightning Lube surface treatment.
Boca Bearing says its unique process deposits a 0.5µ-thick (0.000020") hard coating on any metal that is twice as slippery as pure graphite yet won't crack, chip, or peel. In effect, this is supposed to deliver the efficiency and corrosion protection of a drivetrain that is properly lubricated via conventional means but without any of the usual risk of contamination.
Boca Bearing claims approximately a one-week turnaround on parts, and costs vary by item (a 9/10s chain, for example, would typically run about US$65). Sound too good to be true? Maybe, and we'd have to imagine that the drivetrain would at least run a little noisier. Nevertheless, this is one item we're going to have to look into a little further.
The company also showed off a few samples of its new full ceramic cartridge bearings, which can be rather tricky to install but supposedly are even faster-rolling and a hair lighter than hybrids but yet run with zero lubricant. Oh, yeah, we also forgot to mention that they're twice as expensive, too, but that still doesn't mean that we don't want to try them ourselves. /JH
Wheels Manufacturing comes to the rescue of mechanics everywhere
Speaking of cartridge bearings, Wheels Manufacturing's new bearing ruler should be mandatory equipment for shop counters as it offers a truly idiot-proof means of identifying the pertinent dimensions of most common bearing sizes to ensure proper replacement. The black-anodized and laser-etched machined aluminum plate is also marked with corresponding cartridge bearing size codes, can measure conventional loose balls as well, and even includes a standard millimeter/inch ruler. Holes drilled into the corners allow for easy mounting, too, so mechanics never have to go hunting around on co-workers' benches to see who has the thing.
Wheels Manufacturing is perhaps best known for its incredibly wide range of high-quality CNC-machined 6061 aluminum replacement derailleur hangers, and its new multi-tool is designed to keep one on hand at all times in case of emergency. In addition to offering the usual plethora of potentially ride-saving bits (2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm hex keys, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, and T25 Torx head), an additional little widget secures a proper hanger right at toolside. Alternatively, the multi-tool can also hold one of Wheels Manufacturing's new emergency hangers. These may not restore perfect shifting, but it supposedly attaches to nearly any dropout and should work well enough to at least get you out of a sticky situation. /JH
Ergon rides piggyback
German bicycle accessories firm Ergon was founded by Franck Arnold in the hopes of becoming a key innovator in bicycle ergonomics. Currently the sponsor of diminutive World XC MTB champ Irina Kalentieva's Topeak-Ergon racing team (and former sponsor of the Luna Chix squad), Ergon already has a unique range of grips and gloves on offer but now brings its fresh approach to cycling packs.
The new Ergon BD1 pack includes a novel Flink ball joint that supposedly allows for much freedom of movement than conventional strap systems while also keeping the load completely stable. According to Ergon, the design distributes weight evenly across both shoulders for improved comfort, and the adjustable frame on the two available sizes easily accommodates differences in rider anatomy.
The BD1 boasts a reasonable 12+4 liter capacity (twelve liters for stuff, four for fluids), while the BD2 offers a more capacious 15+5 liter hold. Both will be available in team edition lime green-and-black hues or a more subtle black-and-grey scheme.
SRAM taps into its ID
SRAM has sponsored a major initiative to help bring about a more evolved level of industrial design called "The Power Of Bicycle Parts." The project was created in conjunction with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, well-known for its Transportation Design and graphic and advertising design programs. Notable Art Center graduates include industrial designer Syd Mead, Linkin Park MC Mike Shinoda, BMW's Chief Designer Chris Bangle (no comments, please!), Film Director Michael Bay, and SRAM's own Director of Global Marketing Communications, David Zimberoff.
Inspired by the long tradition of innovation and creativity at his alma mater, Zimberoff spearheaded the SRAM-funded educational project in which Art Center students were tasked to design items using Truvativ, Rock Shox, Avid, and SRAM components that would help people in impoverished countries.
Some of the projects that emerged from the process were the Voicycle, a two-way radio with a hand-cranked power generator that would enable rural villages to more easily communicate, the human-powered SRAM Toolig food-processing mill for grains, and the Human Power Harvester, designed to help Chinese farmers harvest crops more efficiently.
"The Power Of Bicycle Parts" project also dovetails well with SRAMs own World Bicycle Relief initiative, a non-profit organization based out of the SRAM offices and headed by company co-founder FK Day which partners with relief organizations to provide bicycles and help distribute them in developing countries.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com