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Let the Shifting Wars Begin


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It looks as though roadies will have quite the choice to make when it comes to outfitting their road bikes next year. The 2 component giants, Shimano and Campagnolo will finally get some friendly competition from SRAM and FSA. Both SRAM and FSA will be releasing new drivetrain componentry in the next coming months, SRAM sooner than FSA.

Pictures of the new SRAM Force components have been floating around the web for weeks. SRAM has also unwrapped a teaser website, willyoumaketheleap.com with details of their new product. SRAM will try to distinguish itself from the rest with a new shifting mechanism: DoubleTap shifting technology where both up and down shifts are executed through a single pivoting lever. The derailleur will also utilize the 1:1 shifting ratio perfected in their mountain bike group. The Force lineup will be the top of the line SRAM road group with carbon used generously throughout, while the Rival group will be the less expensive option. SRAM suggest that the Force group will be as much as half a pound lighter than the current Dura Ace from Shimano. Teams such as CSC have already been testing the new group, possibly using them for '07 (cyclingnew.com: CSC on SRAM for 07?).

Less details are available about the FSA component group. News from Sea Otter indicates both a 10 speed road group and a 9 speed mountain bike group will be offered. The road group will have FSA's own offering of an integrated shifter and brake lever combo. It will be interesting to see what FSA comes out with, considering the strict patents protecting existing shifters already. How many ways are there to shift a bike? The source also hints at a new chain design?!

More options can only mean better products available for the consumer. These new components will give us more choice and freedom in choosing which way to shift (and brake). They will also force Shimano and Campagnolo to stay ahead of the game and continually improve upon their existing products. Let the shifting wars begin!

Related articles:
A Force to be reckoned with: SRAM... (velonews.com)
Mr. Zinn rides SRAM's new road groups (velonews.com)
SRAM unveils Force and Rival components (cyclingnew.com)


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