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Gear

Quick look: new road and cyclocross components from Shimano

New cyclocross and road gear from the component giant

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Details about Shimano’s 2012 lineup are slowly trickling out, with news of a new crop of ‘cross-specific components, an updated 105 rear derailleur and significant upgrades to the Tiagra group coming out Tuesday.

The company still isn’t publicly confirming the upcoming Ultegra Di2 group.

Cyclocross-specific

Shimano has taken note of the recent surge in cyclocross’ popularity and is responding accordingly. Announced today are their CX50 and CX70 collections of ‘cross specific gear, with the latter available August 2011. CX50 isn’t schedule for release until November.

  • Cranks: Both CX50 and CX70 cranksets use Hollowtech II construction and 46-36 tooth chainrings
  • Front Derailleur: The new FD-CX70 (there will be no CX50 version) has been optimized for the harsh conditions found in CX racing and is designed specifically for ‘cross chainring sizes and gear ratios.
  • Brakes: Both CX50 and CX70 brakes have been designed to add clearance compared to their predecessor, he M550. The CX70 gets cartridge road brake pads for easy pad swaps.

Fighting off SRAM Apex

We’re big fans of Apex; well, Nick is. He’s into that sort of thing. The wider gear ratios are fantastic for anyone who loves to climb (or hates it), but SRAM did a fantastic job of not “dumbing down” the group. In other words, it still performs with the best groups available despite its low price point and more recreational bent.

Tiagra 2012, and the new 105 rear derailleur, look like Shimano’s answer to Apex: a wide gear range and low cost while keeping an eye on performance.

  • 105 derailleur: the big change here is the ability to run up to a 30-tooth cog, up from 28t with the previous long-cage 105, without lengthening the derailleur cage. They’ve increased clearance through a change to the derailleur body itself. Good move on their part, since shorter cages look and shift better.
  • Tiagra group: Tiagra gets wide-range gearing for the 2012, as well as a directional chain and improved shift levers for reduced shifting effort. It can now accommodate a 30t rear cog while retaining a nice short cage, and the shifters get reach adjustment using shims.

Cranks are available in a standard double, compact double, and triple. Cogsets include 11-25T, 12-28T, and 12-30T.