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2007 Ultra Torque Pictures


Procycling.be and Rouse Artisanale has some photos of Campagnolo's 2007 Ultra Torque crankset. As the Fairwheelbike forum post indicated before, the bottom bracket axle diameter appears quite large and engages with each other by small teeth. A shot of the BB and crank spider area shows a rather small q-factor. The pictures appear to be of a lower line of alloy Campagnolo components. Carbon versions of these cranks have yet to surface.

Related Articles:
Campagnolo Goes Hollow with New BB Design
2007 Campagnolo; More Info
Campagnolo's New BB Design (cyclingnews.com)
Campagnolo Ultra Torque (light-bikes.de)

2007 XTR Cranks; Another Shot


















This one is from Inbred over in the mtbr.com forums.

2007 XTR Cranks and Other Photos


Madskatingcow at mountainbike.be mtbr forums has posted real world pictures of 2007 Shimano XTR equipment. We've seen plent of pictures of the new shifters and derailleur, but this is the first sighting of XTR cranks and XTR front derailleur. The pictures are of XTR trigger shifters, XTR front derailleur, XTR disc brake controls and shifters, and the new XTR crank design. As I pointed out in a previous post, I rather like this new XTR look - more industrial looking. More like my SRAM stuff.

Previous reports suggested that the XTR design will have chainring compatibility with LX and XT models. There are also speculations that the middle and outer chainrings will be a hybrid ti/carbon.



Intense Prototype FRO Spider


Intense has released pics of a new racing frame, the FRO Spider. FRO stands for "For Racing Only" and represents a new line of Intense bikes that give the consumer, racing level equipment. The frame is made from Easton Ultra Lite tubing, claimed to be 4.9 lbs with shock. Compare this to an actual measured weight of a 2003 M Spider weighing 5.5 lbs (weightweenies.starbike.com). The Spider frame is designed around VPP suspension. Start saving your pennies because this frame is a limited production model, and as the name implies, recommended for racing only. The author made a point to state the frame has a "limited" warranty. Available this fall/winter. Read more.

2007 Campagnolo; More Information


Fairwheelbikes.com has a post by someone whose had their hands on 2007 Campagnolo equipment, including the new crank and BB combo. Straight from the horse's mouth:

"I just had my hands on 2007 Campy Prototypes. Unfortunately with the Rep present, photos were not an option. Here's what I can tell you from what I can remember:

ID of the BB spindle at the crank arm is a massive 25mm. This tapers internally through the Bearing and externally after the bearing (inside the shell so to speak. I couldn't get an idea of the diameter of spindle further down (my ring didn't compare to anything...) The interface in the center has 20 teeth aprox. 5mm deep on each side of the spindle that mesh much like two gears. A hollow alloy bolt holds the two sides together at 42Nm. I unfortunately didn't have a magnet handy so I can't tell you if the spindle with alloy or something else. The cups are seperate from the bearing and are sold seperately from the crank. The cups are the same through the range from Xenon to Record.

The Record cranks have been narrowed and made flat in order to keep the Q-factor the same as the current crank/bb set up. They're about 10mm thick at the edges, a small bulge down the center but otherwise flat and hollow. The most noticable part is that they're close to 50mm wide! The explaination given was that whatever is placed inside the crank before curing the carbon is then sucked out through a small hole in the back side of the crank (this is then covered by some sort of sticker on the prototype, I don't know how the production model will be).

Chorus cranks are nearly identical to Record, however won't be hollow. Centaur and down go to a forged alloy arm with a concave backside, in a similar shape from the front as the carbon cranks. Centaur will be available in black.

Centaur brakes are forged slightly different from Record and Chorus, with exposed bolts in the center where as Rec/Cho are hidden bolt forged. they're still nice and round but with hollows in the arms. As has been said above, similar in idea to ZG, only a lot prettier, as would be expected from Campy.

Most of the other changes are minor, however I have one change to make to my previous statements, Chorus will be going to the shifter that only allows 1 gear change at a time when going to smaller cogs. Record will remain the only one allowing you to dump as many gears as your thumb will allow. However, the shifting action on the thumb lever of the lower units is EXTREMELY shorts and VERY easy so tapping the lever multiple times for shifts will not be a problem. This new system also lightens up the levers pretty well and will make for an interesting dilemma when choosing shifters for a piece by piece build.

US delivery on the higher end parts will be late, Chorus and Record probably won't see light of day here prior to October. Bianchi will be delivery bikes with Mirage 10 at the end of this month for most markets, probably June/July in the states. These are the bikes that have been photographed and going around on WW forums.

More info as I get it.
"

We'll be watching closely for updates on the new Campagnolo equipment. Thanks NexusHeli.


Campagnolo follows suit with their latest US patent #7048659 for electronic gear shifting mechanisms. Abstract:

"A motorized bicycle gear shift device comprising a derailleur and an electric motor, associated directly with the derailleur, for controlling the derailleur and an electric transducer of absolute type, also associated with the derailleur for producing an electric signal indicative of the absolute position of the movable body of the derailleur."

The descriptions and figures stay true to prototypes seen previously on the web.

Related articles
Eeckhout wins on Campagnolo Electric
Eye Spy: Campagnolo's 2nd generation Electric gruppo
More Campagnolo Electronic

Smarter Cycling Computers


The wave of electrical patents and componentry may mark a new era in cycling, propelling something as basic as pedaling two wheels into the future. Along with publishing a patent for an electrical front hub generator, Shimano has patented a cycling computer whose display changes color/brightness based on the time of day (Patent #7049944: Bicycle Display with Color Changing Atributes). Based on the initial schematics, from 6am-10pm, the backlight will be orange, and from 10pm-6am, the backlight will be blue. Two questions: 1) how many people ride from 10pm to 6am; and 2) what about daylight savings time. A smarter display would be a backlit LCD that actually senses ambient light and changes display settings automatically, much like what my PDA does now.

This got me thinking about high-tech cycling computers. First it started with distance and speed, then adding cadence, inclination, altitude, and heart rate. Garmin's Edge 305 appears to be the end-all-be-all of cycling computers incorporating a GPS unit into a fully-loaded cycling computer and heart rate monitor, all in a clean wireless package.

Those little red computers often seen in the peleton are SRM displays showing the cyclist, along with their basic cycling information, their power output measured at the cranks. Every bit of information from riders' heart rate, speed, distance, and power output can also transmitted over a modem on the bike to team coaches as well as cable networks so television viewers can gage how their favorite peleton rider is doing during the race.

All these features in a cycling computer makes me wonder how far this bicycle technology will go. With today's 'iPod' and 'Blackberry' society, I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of consumer cycling computers played your favorite music, take your voice calls, or check your e-mail, all while you ride your favorite singetrack. Hey, why not? Nike and Apple just teamed up to make the iPod a running computer, you can surf the web in a bicycle side-car in the Phillipines, and the Japanese have already replaced the rider with a robot. Whoa, scary. This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Related articles:
A Touch of Formula One (cyclingnews.com)
Nike + Apple = iPod Sport Kit (gizmodo.com)


We've seen Shimano's electrical generator rear hub before. It looks like the front end isn't immune to the eletricity bug. Shimano Patent #7048546 describes an eletrical generating front hub assembly and suspension fork design. From the description, the electrical wiring (hey, isn't it about time to incorporate some Bluetooth technology already!?) is integrated into the suspension fork leg. The electricity passes from the hub to the fork through a detachable wire that has been specifically designed to be, "repeatedly disconnected and reconnected to a dynamo hub without being damaged" so the front wheel can still be removed. The patent illustrates the use of this hub with a light but I imagine this can be applied to many situations such as supplying electricity to electrical gear shifters, cycling computer displays, charging a GPS unit, or powering circuitry in tomorrows intellegent suspension forks.

Old Man, New Trick: Boomerang Prototype


Old Man Mountain, a 4-person outfit based out of Santa Barbara, CA, has stepped out of their niche and into the arena of frame building. That niche was created 10 years ago when they marketed the first panier rack system for full suspension bikes. Finally, touring cyclists were open to the comfortable options of full suspension bikes without being limited on what to pack.

All that custom welding for their racks must have fired up some creative juices. Kent, from OMM, gave Bicycle Tech the heads up on a prototype full suspension frame they have built and are testing, dubbed the Boomerang. As Kent states, "it's designed to take you there and bring you back". The frame is designed around a Rohloff 14-speed internally geared hub (see Internal Gear Boxes Making a Comeback), is single pivot, and has 4.75" of rear travel. Another unique design on this frame is the positioning of the rear disk, tucked away safely between both seat and chain stays.

The prototype was finished in February and quickly won 1st prize for aluminum bike at the North American Hand Made Bike Show in March. Spy photos of the Boomerang (seen above) were taken at Sea Otter at dirtragmag.com. Kent says, "[i]f you are looking for a bike with a cassette and derailleurs, then you need to look somewhere else. We think internally geared hubs are the only way to go for mountain bikes."

Related articles:
Handmade meets high tech (cyclingnews.com)
Dirt Rag Fresh Dirt (dirtragmag.com)

More 6, less 13: Cannondale System Six


Cannondale has launched another mixed breed road frame, the System Six. Cannondale's website has been teasing us with this flash promo, counting down to the launch date of 06-06-06, with the tag line, "This is not a fashion statement", whatever that means? Prototypes of this new frame were already spotted at the Tour of Georgia, making this a likely replacement for the Six13 race bike. Though not the lightest frame on the market (1115 grams in some undisclosed size), Cannondale has stepped up their R&D revenue to bring a frame that exceeds Six13 stats:

"The company’s test lab data indicates that the new System Six down tube is 44 percent torsionally stiffer than the Six13 down tube. The top tube tests 304 percent laterally stiffer. The head tube is 36.8 percent stiffer."

Those numbers are quite impressive. The System Six frame is much like Lemond's spine design, except backwards, taking a full carbon front end (headtube, toptube, and downtube) and mating it with an aluminum back end (seattube and stays). In doing so, Cannondale hopes to capture the acceleration of a CAAD8 aluminum frame with the lightness of a Six13. Another notable difference with this new frame is the conical headtube that tapers from 1.25" top cup to 1.5" bottom cup. This will make upgrading forks real fun.

Time will tell whether the System Six can hold its own against other currently available racing frames. Mixing frame materials was so 2004 and it seams that the current trend this year was to go back to (Lemond Triomphe), transition on to (Serotta Meivici, Litespeed Pavia, Merlin Works C110), or fine tune (Colonogo Extreme-C, Cervelo R.3, Trek Madone SSLx, Specialized Tarmac SL, Wilier Le Roi), a full carbon frame. But then again, the cycling industry isn't the fashion industry - or is it? Remember: this is not a fashion statement.

Related articles:
System Six (forums.roadbikereview.com)
Born in Bedford, meant for the peleton (cyclingnews.com)

Shimano Patents New Crank Design


Shimano has a slew of new patents, one of which is a new "ornamental design" for a crank. It looks as though it incorporates some sort of chain guard or lip much like those found on track or cyclocross bikes. There's not much detail in the text of the design patent, but from the pictures, it looks as though it follows the integrated 2 piece crank design that are common place today, and only one chainring (33-tooth). Design patent #D520920.

Update: The look appears very similar to the Nexus line (NX60) of Shimano components. The other patents filed are commuter bike related as well: #7044272, a compact rear derailleur for folding bikes; #7045910, electrical bicycle components for a commuter bike.

Update 2: Thanks for the tip Jeremyb. Here's a link to BikePortland.org that reports Shimano using Portland as a test bed for their new "Coasting" line of bicycle components.

Related articles:
Shimano selects Portland for new group launch (bikeportland.org)

2007 Shimano XTR Video Promo


I came across this short but interesting video of the new XTR offerings from Shimano. Looks like people in the ad department are fans of the television show 'Lost'. Watch the wmv and see what I mean. Personally, I like the design of the new shifter/brake levers. The old dual levers always seemed a bit fragile with that pod mechanism sticking out. The new controllers appear more industrial and durable, much like SRAM components.

The website I found this video on also has a nice summary of all the new XTR parts and gives details as to how the new controllers will operate. It's originally in German, but this link will translate it into English.

Related article:
Siege für 2007er XTR-Prototypen (paul-lange.de)


Tech news from cyclingnews.com reveals Campagnolo's next generation crank design that integrates a hollow bottom bracket axle with crank arms. What sets this crank apart from other two piece cranksets is that the axle is split in half with each half integrated to a crank arm, coming together in the middle of the bottom bracket by a single bolt. The other notable difference is there is no increase in Q factor, a common complaint of external bearing bottom bracket designs today. The two piece crankset will be introduced at once throughout the entire campagnolo range, due out in the 2007 season.

Related articles:
Campagnolo's new BB design (cyclingnews.com)
Campagnolo Ultra Torque (light-bikes.de)

More SRAM 2007; Matchmaker


Check out this vlog on singletrackworld.com. Some SRAM reps explain the highly upgraded x.9 trigger shifters and derailleur, new avid brake levers and mono-caliper with lots of carbon, ti, and aluminum, and a new dirt bike fork from Rock Shox. Another interesting note is the SRAM 'Matchmaker'; a clamp that integrates avid brake clamps and SRAM shifters with Poplocs, computer and GPS clamps (see Keyword: Integration).


Related articles:
Video Podcast: SRAM X9 2007 (singletrackworld.com)
Sea Otter Pictures (pinkbike.com)


On May 9th, Shimano was granted patent #7042123, a bicycle electrical generator hub. From the description, it appears that energy from the rotation of the wheel will generate power to operate a rear derailleur. By storing power in the hub, this may lessen the need for an extra battery pack to strap on the bike and would extend the life of a charge. Looks like electric gear shifting is a go! Abstract:

"A bicycle gearshift system is mounted on the rear part of the frame of the bicycle. The bicycle gearshift system includes an electrically powered rear derailleur, a rear hub, a charger part, and a gearshift control part. The electrically powered rear derailleur is mounted on the rear part of the frame. The rear hub is also mounted to the rear part of the frame. The rear hub has an electrical generator mechanism that generates electricity through the rotation of the wheel. The charger part is mounted on the rear hub and stores the electrical energy that was generated by the generator part. The gearshift control part is equipped on the electrically powered rear derailleur, where gearshift control of the electrically powered rear derailleur is performed through the energy that is stored in the charger part."

Related Articles:
Electronics: the Next Bicycle Frontier

One Small Step


So I was using Google today to search something unimportant (and probably bicycle related) and wondered how far down the list this blog was in the world wide web of search engines - how googleable was Bicycle Tech Blog? To my surprise, since this blog went live only a week and a half ago, it has already made it to the number one spot! Thanks to all who link to this site. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I like blogging about it. This is just more incentive for me to keep this blogging thing up. Thanks again.

LMW


A tech report on cyclingnews.com confirms my earlier post of how Bontrager teamed up with wheel guru, Steve Hed, to produce the new Aeolus wheelset (see Bontrager Thinks Aero). This new line of wheels have a Bontrager foundation with HED aerodynamics. The tech report also reveals that new Bontrager wheels will have DT Swiss hubs with interchangeable hub bodies so that one can use either Shimano or Campagnolo cassettes. This is great for those feeling resitricted to either one or the other and definitely goes along with the theme of giving the consumer flexibility in component selection (see Keyword: Integrated).

The Bontrager "team" doesn't stop there. Apparently the new OCLV Boron carbon cranks/BB combo are a product of a collaboration between Race Face and Stronglight. Whoa! What's going on here? Bontrager seems to be getting a whole lot of outside advise on products lately, blurring the lines between manufacturers. When are you buying a Bontrager product and when are you buying a HED, DT Swiss, Race Face, Stronglight, or Truvativ product? You can't fool us, Bontrager; those XXX Bontrager carbon cranks of last year look too much like Truvativ Rouleur GXP carbon cranks.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bashing Bontrager but merely making an observation. It's not like they hide the fact that they get outside input into product development. The new OCLV cranks have a Race Face badge on the BB and Stronglight on the rings, for example. Plus, some of these new products appear to be new designs (Aeolus wheels and OCLV crank arms), not just rebadged components like before. So long as Bontrager (and team) adds genuinely new products to the market, I think the consumer will get a better product (but at a cost, I'm sure).

Did I mention these new cranks and BB combo are claimed to weigh in at a feathery 700 grams? Compare that to Shimano Dura Ace FC-7800 cranks that weigh 779 grams, Truvativ Rouleur GXP cranks that weigh 835 grams, and FSA K-Force MegaEXO cranks that weigh 785 grams. The Race Face Cadence alloy cranks weigh a claimed 860 grams. Do you think Bontrager was forced to find a new source for their cranks after SRAM bought out Truvativ?

Related articles:
Bontrager expands Aeolus wheel line and adds carbon crankset (cyclingnews.com)
Tech Talk: Bontrager and the Importance of Being Aero (velonews.com)
News from the Homefront: Trek's Carbon Commitment (mountainbike.com)

Better Braking, Lighter Weight


Now that I’ve got that comfort bike and kids bike tech out of my system, it’s time to go back to sweet cycling goodness some like to refer to as "bike porn". Back in ’04, Zero Gravity introduced their version of road brake calipers and gave cyclists another option in the exclusive component market. It was like none other road brake seen before; CNC’d from 7075 aluminum, the calipers were a simple single pivot design with a special cam to increase leverage. Weight of the brakes were an astonishing 180g per pair (average 187/188g on weightweenies.starbike.com) compared to 300 plus grams for Dura Ace or Record brakes. Then in ’05, they upgraded their brakes with better leverage at even less weight (164g per pair), nearly half the weight of other brakes. It’s no wonder Zero Gravity brakes are seen on more and more pro bikes today.

For those that have entirely too much money to spend and love to stand out from the crowd, £680* ($1237.39 USD) will get you AX-Lightness carbon brake calipers (no pads). Weight for their new Orion brakes are 95g (claimed) per pair (yes, per pair) without pads. That is crazy light.

With everyone focusing on SRAM’s new Double Tap levers, not many have paid attention to their new brake calipers. They are cold-forged aluminum, double pivot design. Claimed weight is 279g per pair (I know, now this sounds like a heifer, but for us mere mortals, that's pretty good in the weight department). From cyclingnews.com, Ben Jacques-Maynes of the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Cycling Team testing the new SRAM group states:

"Don't miss the brakes, either. They haul you down from speed with one finger action and I have been surprised by how well they work in all conditions."

Shimano has also revised their '07 brake calipers - mountain not road (as of yet). As per VeloNews.com, their new XTR V-brakes have better tire clearnace and more uniform pad pressure, while the levers incorporate "Servo Wave" technology to give more braking power.

Of course if you aren't satisfied with any of the options currently available to buy, you can make your own, like this guy on plusonelap.blogspot.com. Cyclocross calipers weighing in at 63g per pair with calipers!

These newer and lighter brake components force Shimano and Campagnolo to rethink their tried and true designs. They must think up new ways to keep us interested which means that we may very well see new versions of Dura Ace and Record brakes coming in the near future. Do I smell carbon?

* price quoted from poshbikes.com

Related articles
Shimano offers a look at 2007 XTR braking options (velonews.com)
How I made my carbon brakes (plusonelap.blogspot.com)
images from competitivecyclist.com



Bicycle industry news is a little slow today so I'll have to go back into the memory banks to pull something out interesting. Last May, I came across something on gizmag.com that I had wished I had a blog to post it on. And now that I do...

Talking about integration (see Keyword: Integrated), Michelin combined a wheel and a tire to make a Tweel (yeah, almost as creative a name as Wii). Anyhow, the tire is made up of "flexible spokes" of tire rubber joining a hub and the outer tire surface (see the picture, you get the idea). This replaces air in the tire = no more flats! From gizmag.com:


"The Tweel promises performance levels beyond those possible with conventional pneumatic technology. The first commercial applications of the Tweel will be in lower-speed, lower-weight vehicles"


The article goes on to say that the Audi A4 outfitted with a set of Tweel tires has better handling response than the conventional pneumatic tire. It also is within 5 per cent of rolling resistance and mass of normal tires. Seems like everyone is getting in the game to re-invent the wheel (see Reinventing the Wheel - Industry Nine). Could we see this applied to bicycle wheels? The sharp edges might make them a little difficult for cornering.

Thanks goes to James for the related article link below in the GreenvilleOnline.

Related articles
Michelin Lets the Air Out of Future Tire Innovation (michelin.com)
Radical new wheel technology (gizmag.com)
Tire + Wheel = TWEEL (forums.mtbr.com)
Michelin's Tweel Can Never Go Flat (GreenvilleOnline)

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