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Tech Report: Greetings from the Taipei International Cycle Show

The 19th Taipei International Cycle Show opened March 8 in Taiwan, giving product managers four days to put the finishing touches on the 2007 model year, just two months and change into 2006. The show’s first day produced a number of new items; here are some of the highlights. SRAMSRAM has been doling out bits of information regarding its new road group of late, but that doesn’t mean the company has been neglecting the rest of its line. SRAM "leaked" some dirt on its X.9 mountain-bike derailleur and shifters last week, and while we can’t tell you much more now (expect details to be released

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By Matt Pacocha

Welcome to the Taipei International Cycle Show

Welcome to the Taipei International Cycle Show

Photo: Matt Pacocha

The 19th Taipei International Cycle Show opened March 8 in Taiwan, giving product managers four days to put the finishing touches on the 2007 model year, just two months and change into 2006.

The RockShox Domain

The RockShox Domain

Photo: Matt Pacocha

The show’s first day produced a number of new items; here are some of the highlights.

SRAM
SRAM has been doling out bits of information regarding its new road group of late, but that doesn’t mean the company has been neglecting the rest of its line. SRAM “leaked” some dirt on its X.9 mountain-bike derailleur and shifters last week, and while we can’t tell you much more now (expect details to be released at Sea Otter), we can let you in on a few things.

The Deda Electa

The Deda Electa

Photo:

The old X.9 has been relabeled as X.7, definitely an upgrade for the economically priced group. Along with the familiar shifters and derailleurs, X.7 gets a new brake, the Juicy three. The new brake looks very similar to the Juicy five, which has an updated finish. And a 140mm disc rotor was on display, provoking questions about whether the company plans a new cross-country-specific stopper. Brian Pettit, SRAM’s art director-turned-product tour guide, assured me that the rotor would not be an option on the Juicy Carbon, which means we can expect a new XC brake from SRAM.

On the RockShox side, we spied three new longer-travel forks. SRAM representatives wouldn’t provide any details on the record, but we were able to scrape up a few hints. Domain is a new value freeride fork and features a 20mm Maxle and oversized stanchions. Lyric is a new light freeride fork, with a new damper system called Mission Control that offers external high- and low-speed compression damping. Finally, Totem is the new top-end freeride fork for ’07. First seen at Interbike, the platform appears to have stanchions in the neighborhood of 40mm. Both high- and low-speed compression feature external adjustments, and the new lowers seem to be triple butted externally.

San Marco saddles

San Marco saddles

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Deda Elementi
The Electa, Deda’s newest carbon bar, incorporates a number of small features to improve upon its iteration of the perfect carbon bar. The Electa starts with a flat top section that produces minimum drop from the stem clamp; this gives riders the highest possible position. Stiffness has been improved over Deda’s previous carbon handlebars. Also, the transition between the flats and drops has been redesigned to deal with the torque a rider can produce when sprinting from the drops. The bar’s reach has been decreased, and the length of the drops has been increased. Carbon cable-housing guides under the bar tops create an extremely clean cable interface. The bars are compatible with Shimano or Campagnolo levers.

Deda has long used Campagnolo shifters as a template for cable routing and shape on its handlebars. The new Super Natural bar is the first Deda bar to be designed specifically for Shimano shifters. The alloy bar features an ergonomic bend designed especially for the Shimano Dual Control lever. Its dimensions place it between the super shallow bend and the shallow bend, offering a 80mm reach and a 132mm drop. The Super Natural has one groove for Shimano’s brake cables.

American Classic engaged

American Classic engaged

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Shimano
Shimano was extremely tight-lipped on the show floor, displaying only the new 105 group and currently available mountain groups, along with select wheels and shoes. The company did manage to create quite a buzz in a heavily guarded, invitation-only conference room, but we can only imagine what was being shown within; Electric Dura-Ace, or maybe a redesign of the XTR group? Meanwhile, we did manage to spot a pair of Shimano’s deep-dish carbon wheels displayed on another manufacturer’s show bike. The wheels bore feature-explanation stickers intended for the retail market, which make it hard to believe the wheels aren’t 2007 product.

Selle San Marco
Italian saddle manufacturer Selle San Marco displayed the final revision of its Magma MGC metal saddle. The new seat features a nude metal base, hollow titanium rails and carbon accents. The seat is described as being remarkably supple, and more comfortable than San Marco’s coverless carbon model. The comfort can be attributed to the flex built into the saddle through Tisso injection molding, which allows the placement of different thicknesses of metal to create a flexible pattern. The 130-gram saddle costs 170 euros, compared to a estimated 280 euros had carbon been used instead of metal. For those who can’t fathom sitting on metal, San Marco offers the Magma MG, the padded version of the MGC. It starts with the same metal base, but incorporates solid titanium rails, nylon accents, EVA foam padding and a synthetic leather cover. The MG retails for $140 and is said to weigh 185 grams.

... and the Gator

… and the Gator

Photo: Matt Pacocha

American Classic
Company president Bill Shook took a huge chunk of time to explain the reasons behind last year’s hub recall. Apparently a larger spring used in the proprietary freehub failed to match an existing cam plate; the spring and plate pockets were meeting off center, causing the mechanism to fail. Since the cam plate has been upgraded, all is sound, which is important because the proprietary system is used in all of the company’s wheels. The upgraded system features wide, deep pockets for the spring, creating a more forgiving interface. The new cam plate is also available for existing hubs. The patented design synchronizes the engagement of all six pawls (each with two tips), ensuring that all 12 teeth are engaged into the aluminum freehub body under load. This 12-tooth engagement is why American Classic can use an aluminum cassette body and ratchet teeth in its 220-gram Disc 225 rear hub, which is found in the company’s 1395-gram MTB Disc 26 wheelset. Since Interbike, American Classic has upgraded to stainless-steel bearings in all but its OE wheelsets.

Knog
This Australian company has been producing a little light called the Frog for just over a year. The creatively styled, 12-gram, single-LED light affixes neatly and quickly to just about any handlebar and costs just $10. If you’re racing the sunset on your after-work training rides, this little bugger could get you home safely. Besides the Frog, Knog has been working on a five-LED, vertically oriented light (Toad) and a five-LED, horizontally oriented light (Bull Frog); both cost $34. These two are just like the Frog, but pack a little more punch, making them ideal for a commuter or town bike. Knog also has been working on a serious light called Gator. This light, intended for racing and serious night riding, comes in a number of configurations with the least expensive (under $100) being a single-bulb, handlebar-mounted light with a seat-pack-mounted lithium-ion battery. The top end offers three bulbs and a frame-mounted nickel-hydride battery. Both feature a remote with a backlit battery indicator. The top light offers between eight and 10 hours of runtime and should cost around $400. Quality Bicycle Products is carrying the lights in 2006 so your local shop should have no problem finding them.

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