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New Shimano Dura-Ace pedals and wheels ready in time for the Tour de France

Shimano unveils the new Dura-Ace PD-7900 pedal and C35 wheels ahead of the Tour de France.

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New SPD-SL gets a carbon body but retains metal guts
pedalShimKeen tech observers have seen Shimano’s prototype carbon-bodied pedals on ProTour bikes for over a year. Now, the newest version of the Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedal is ready for riders everywhere. They’re called PD-7900 and at 248 grams per pair they’re about 30 grams lighter than the original PD-7800. They’ll be in shop windows in September, and they’ll set you back $350.

The SPD-SL platform has been a proven performer for years now. In fact, it’s one of the most popular pedals in the peloton. Shimano took pains to preserve the characteristics that brought it widespread acceptance in the first place.

While the body is made from injection molded long-fiber carbon, the axle and bearings are contained within a light but sturdy billet aluminum sleeve bonded to the pedal exterior. The pedal retains three sets of bearings in each pedal for axle support, pedal stability, and smooth rotation, regardless of loads. A redesigned stainless steel cleat contact plate provides durability without inhibiting the free float necessary between cleat and pedal body for efficient bio-mechanics.

C35 wheels offer a mid-depth option
7900C35FTUAnd in another “from the ProTour to you” offering, Shimano’s mid-depth 35mm carbon tubular wheels are also on their way to dealers after enjoying months of pros-only prototype status. The Shimano WH-7900 Dura-Ace C35 Carbon wheels round out Shimano’s wheel lineup, providing a middle ground between the 24mm C24 climbing wheels and the 50mm C50 aero option.

Shimano says that a key characteristic is low air resistance that is comparable to the deeper section C50 rim profile, but with a 15mm lower profile each rim saves 75 grams and the entire wheel set shaves 155g. The new C35s will be available in both a tubular and clincher version. A pair of tubulars weighs 1330 grams and costs $2500, and the clinchers (which depend on an aluminum tire bed and brake track) weigh 1470 and cost $2000. Look for the C35s in December 2010.

Like Shimano’s other Dura-Ace hoops, the rims are built with high modulus carbon through a proprietary manufacturing process and then assembled by hand in Shimano’s wheel factory. And as with the other Dura-Ace wheels, adjustable angular contact bearings in the hubs combined with with oversized alloy axles prevent the quick-release from creating axial tension for smooth rotation and longer hub life.