Friday, March 21, 2008

New Dura Ace Details

So the hot new gossip going around right now is about the unofficial details about the next generation of Dura Ace coming out.
Apparently, Competitive Cyclist was privy to some more detailed information than the rest of us, but weren't supposed to be sharing it. They posted what they knew on their website under the "What's New" section, as mentioned in VeloNews. They were soon told to take it down by Shimano.
VeloNews didn't mention though, that the removed info is still easy to find using Google (Marc at BikeFix was kind enough to lay it out for us though.)
Here's how I found it....
do a Google search for "competitive cyclist 7900"
The first result that comes, click on the "cached" link that google gives you. You will be directed right to the removed page, with extensive details about the new Dura Ace.
Or, for your convenience, I've copied and pasted the entire thing below.

2009 Shimano Dura Ace 7900. New & improved gossip.

Most of the press we've seen in the last few months about the new-for-2009 Shimano Dura Ace has focused on the electronic version of DA. Stefan Schumacher medaled on eDA at last year's World Championship Road Race, and he and his Gerolsteiner team mates have served as guinea pigs for eDA ever since. While the pure novelty of electronic shifting tantalizes, we got our own medals (for bravery) for fighting at the Battle of Zap and Battle of Mektronic. While we're intrigued by the alleged telepathic shift quality of eDA, it's hard to shed our concerns for its weight, its durability, and its reliability.

The excitement over eDA has been noisy, and it's obscured an underappreciated fact: Along with eDA, Shimano is also releasing a new version of non-electronic DA. It'll be known as Dura Ace 7900, and we've finally seen our first confirmed technical details about 7900. The purpose of this What's New posting is to shed some light on what you'll be seeing in the new-for-2009 non-electronic Dura Ace.

Here's what we DON'T know about Dura Ace 7900: Weight and cost. As soon as we get this info, we'll pass it along. But, for now, all we have is basic technical info. And, sorry, we don't have photos either.

Here's what we DO know, on a component-by-component basis:

STI Levers -

  • Say farewell to exposed shifter housing. Shimano is making the change to under-the-bar-tape cable routing They refer to it as "integral shift cables". We wonder if Shimano-sponsored pros will find digging deep on the front a but tougher without shift cables to grab on for stability…
  • "Better access to the lever from upper side with closer pivot." Our interpretation of this means that the shape of the brake hood will be different. We've never enjoyed the deep hook of DA brake hoods, and to our ears it sounds like Shimano is modifying the shape to make it more SRAM/Campy-like. In other words, no more plunging hook, and instead you'll see a flatter hood. Beyond the ergonomic improvement, Shimano also claims this leads to smoother braking.
  • You get a reach adjustment mechanism. This is a nice feature of SRAM Red, as well. Folks with small hands should be very pleased.
  • 20% shorter stroke to achieve shift engagement on the right lever.
  • Weight savings thanks to the use of a carbon brake lever and a titanium fixing band & bolt.

Rear Derailleur -

  • Carbon! The pulley plate will be made from carbon fiber. Shimano is a company built on their commitment to the forging of alloys, so any sort of branching out into composites is a big, big deal.
  • Increased chain wrap capacity. In other words, you can use a wide range of gears (e.g. a 50/34 & an 11/28) without having to resort to a "Triple" rear derailleur.
  • You get an "enhanced pulling cable method" with an audible click when the shift is complete. But the price of superior shifting is this: Dura Ace 7900 STI Levers and the 7900 Rear Derailleur will not be compatible with current 7800-series Dura Ace.

Front Derailleur -

  • Shimano claims that your days of trimming the front derailleur are over. No trimming will be required. This is a pretty big coup when you compare it to SRAM, since one big upside of Red (in comparison to their Force and Rival gruppos) was its inclusion of FD trim.
  • The FD spring tension has been re-tooled to achieve "featherlight downshifting".

Crankset -

  • Put aside your sugar-plum visions of a DA Carbon crankset. Rather, Shimano has forged their 7900-series aluminum crank with even thinner walls to make it lighter than any production carbon crankset in the marketplace.
  • When you use the 7900-series crankset with the new 7900-series chain, you'll get no front derailleur rub thanks to its new chainring/spider design. This also allegedly provides improved power transfer, thanks to the superior mating of chain and chainring.
  • More weight savings comes from its new aluminum/carbon composite BB axle.
  • Shimano will also introduce a 7950 version of the crankset, with 50/34 chainrings. This will be the first-ever Dura Ace compact crank (a full, what, 7 years since FSA introduced theirs?)

Chain -

  • The 7900 chain is known as the "Super Narrow" chain. The redesigned outer plate resists chain suck, and the new design of both the inner & outer plate mesh with the chainrings with such precision that Shimano claims it reduces mechanical friction by 0.6%. We're a bit unsure how to parse what that 0.6% converts to…Does that mean an extra 2.4w when you're making a 400w effort? We're unsure, and we're eager for a fuller explanation. Perhaps more important is the fact that Shimano also says it's a quieter chain.
  • The 7900-series chain has hollow pins and perforated plates to further reduce weight.
  • Shimano will introduce a "Quick Link" for its 10-speed chains. Our impression is that this means tool-free installation.

Cassette -

  • Like the chain and the crankset, the cassette sprockets get fine-tuned to optimize shifting, and the cog carrier is a lighter-than-ever aluminum.
  • You'll see a wider array of cassette ratio options. In addition to all of the options you get in 7800, you'll also see an 11/25, 11/27, and an 11/28. Before you laugh at the 11/28, keep in mind that this is SRAM's #1 selling cassette ratio! All the ratios made in the 7800 will be produced as 7900-series models as well.

Brake Calipers -

  • Dig this: "Enhanced brake arch proportion." We think this means that you get quicker caliper response when you hit your brake lever, and perhaps better stiffness under heavy braking. We suspect that this is a photo of the new brake. Interestingly, the boys over at the Weight Weenies forum pointed out that this poor rider appears to have his brake shoes on the wrong side…
  • Lower profile outer cable stop. This improves cable routing, which decreases drag and improves the snappiness of the lever. If you've ever installed a set of Zero Gravity brakes, you know that fine-tuned brake cable routing is something you should never take for granted.
  • The brake pad compound changes. Shimano claims that the improvement will be most noticeable in the wet, where stopping power improves 210%. In the dry, you should expect a 120% improvement in stopping power.
  • Add'l titanium hardware saves overall weight.

Flight Deck Computer -

  • It's still integrated into the STI levers, but the functionality gets much broader -- It includes a heart rate monitor, altimeter, and an inclinometer. It's a full-on 2.4GHz wireless system, and you can even download data wirelessly onto your PC.

A final note on our understanding about backwards compatibility:

Rear Drivetain -- The 7900 system is only compatible with other 7900 components. The 7900 rear derailleur is compatible with 7800-series cassettes, but that's it. There is no other cross-compatibility. This also means that 7800-series components cannot be used in piecemeal with 7900 if your plan is to upgrade one component at a time. More or less, you'll need to upgrade to 7900 STI, rear derailleur, cassette, and chain in one fell swoop.

Front Drivetrain -- Same story. There's an Iron Curtain between 7900 and 7800. The only kinda, sorta compatibility is between the 7900 front derailleur and the 7800 crankset. Shimano states "slower shifting may occur depending on frame dimension" if you choose to mix things like this. We're not sure if "dimension" means frame size or geometry or what. But we can't imagine someone running a full 7800 bike with the exception of a 7900 front derailleur, so it's not something we're terribly worried about.

Brake Systems -- The 7900 STI Levers are compatible with 7800-series brake calipers.

We're looking at a best-case scenario of a late September 2008 delivery timeline. We're sure it'll be all over the '08 Tour de France, and in full force at the Eurobike tradeshow shortly thereafter. But in terms of delivery, if it's before Halloween, we'll be stoked.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The little things...

It's the little things that set us apart from the other seventy four bike shops in 'Burque.
Such as, we have a fresh keg of Il Vicino IPA on tap at the shop. And, we like to share. And we picked up said keg on bike with our Burley cargo trailer, since neither Dans drove to work. We had at least a couple of people entertained at the brewery with our bicycle keg hauling antics. Some people took pics, we didn't.
So come by and have a drink with us, because nothing goes together better than bikes and beer, except for maybe bikes and burritos (and beer).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'08 Maverick's and Rocky Mtn.'s On Hand

We've got some sweet mountain frames on hand.
We have an '08 Maverick Durance, in Medium and limited edition Fast Orange color. The '08s are just starting to show up at shops, and we got a few of the first, as Maverick loves us. Why do they love us? I can only assume it's because we're so rad (and has nothing to do with the number of bikes we've bought). We had a large hard ano Durance for a couple of days, but it's gone, sold to a friend to replace a Blur LT. Good choice my friend.


As you can see, to the left of the Orange Durance, we have a large ano '07 Durance on sale for $1900, $400 off suggested retail. Slightly different from the '08 model, but an amazing bike at a great price. And to the right you can see two ML8's, one medium and one large. So basically, we got you covered.

You can also see a BMC peeking in the corner of the photo as well. We still have two used BMC frames that we would love to find homes for. Both Large, the Trailfox will go for $800 and the Superstroke for $750. Both have seen minimal miles.

In other mountain frame news, we've got a couple of '08 Rockies hanging on the wall.



An ETSX 70 in 19", and a Slayer Team in 19" ( both in the Dan's size, strangely enough). I got to ride an ETSX in the south foothills a few days ago, and I was thoroughly impressed. I think it will the perfect bike for the die hard cross country hardtail guy who is finally realizing that a little suspension might be a good thing. It has super nimble, whippy cross country handling, with five inches of forgiveness to keep you feeling fresh and get you out of trouble from time to time. I was also impressed on it's pedaling efficiency, without the ProPedal turned on, and it's sheer grip at the rear wheel on steep, loose technical climbs. That bike dug in like nothing I've ridden before, even with moderate tires.
I haven't ridden the Slayer more than around the parking lot yet, but I'm planning on getting out soon with our Demo and our ML8 demo to do a side by side comparo. I'll let you know what I think.

In closing, it's spring time, and I think you should get a new mountain frame.
Lucero out.

Crank 2 Alleycat

Sunday was the Crank 2 Alleycat, and it was good.
Primarily sponsored and organized by Gerhardt (owner of Heart & Soul Salon and notorious fixed gear aficionado), the event was a big success, with 58 riders signing up at the start. This was more than anyone expected, and probably the biggest turnout at an alleycat in Albuquerque to date.

We started downtown, with six stops around downtown as well as along Rio Grande, mostly at parks. The farthest stop was at the Montano bridge, which is conveniently located right along the Bosque bike path.

I rode primarily with Marc, and the two of us rode for brief moments with Danny, until he would inevitably drop us. However, pure speed isn't everything in an alleycat, as Marc and I came in first and second, with Danny rolling in behind us. Towards the end we got separated, and Danny got slowed down when he was unable to find one of the smaller, more obscure parks off of Rio Grande.

At each stop, there was one of those raised letter sticky labels stuck to something, that had to be found and then a crayon rub was preformed to take it's impression and prove that you were there. At the end of the race if you didn't turn in the paper with all six crayon rubs, you didn't technically finish. This required the racers to kind of keep their head together while frantically racing, as you had a few things to make sure you didn't loose after each stop. Danny unfortunately managed to misplace his sheet after the sixth and last stop, thereby nullifying his third place finish. He acted like it was an accident, but I'm going to assume he did it on purpose, knowing that Marc and I had already taken first and second, and feeling that maybe it was bad politics for him to take third. That's what I'm going to assume anyways. It might also be that he wasn't zipping up his backpack, and he was freaking out because he realized that despite his repeatedly crushing me the entire race, I had managed to get ahead of him at the end.

Gerhardt also decided to teach us a lesson that many hadn't been taught since grade school : READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!
Along with a map, crayon, and the manifest sheet, there was a short set of instructions and hints included. These were promptly ignored by more than a few participants, and included crucial information such as where to finish, and where in the 4 story parking garage we might find the label. At the finish (which was at NYPD pizza) I heard more than one person mention that they went to the start first (about 7 blocks away), got confused (I think I won, nobody else is here!) and then get pointed in the right direction.

At the finish, we were all treated to copious amounts of pizza and numerous pitchers of beer. This kind of blew me away. After participating in numerous traditional mountain and road bike races, with entry fees usually around $40, all I've ever received for my participation is a T-shirt I don't need and maybe a free powerbar or two. Then at a free local event I get a good lunch and my buzz on afterward for free.

The prizes were rad as well. Including a selection of messenger bags, cool top tube pads, several gift certificates, and a complete bike raffled off for all the finishers. The fastest three men, women, BMXer, DFL, as well as others all received prizes.

Thankfully there were no reported crashes, which was a concern for many with the recent tragedy in Chicago of a young man getting killed while racing in an alleycat. These events are beginning to get a bad reputation, and it doesn't have to be that way. With all the participants riding respectfully and carefully, we have no negative impact. We were all encouraged to be safe and courteous at the start, and I think everybody listened.

There was some bike carnage though.


Amazingly the young man riding this bike managed to not loose his face when the fork gave out. He was reportedly riding in the parking garage, and layed it down gingerly. He seriously didn't appear to have a scratch on him, which is unbelievable. The fork cracked just below the lugs, and flexed back until the tire was rubbing on the top tube as it gave away.

Another rider also lost a crank arm, and reportedly rode quite a ways one legged to finish (luckily it was the left arm, and not the right).

The press even came out to play. There was a reporter and a cameraman from the Albuquerque Journal. They said there will be a piece in the paper soon, as well as some video on their website. I managed to get them a Bikeworks business card, let them know that I'm an owner at the shop, and that I won the event. Hopefully a little free publicity for us.

And that's about it. It was a great way to spend a sunny Sunday. Thanks again to Gerhardt for organizing such a fun event, and to NYPD for putting up with 60 smelly kids and their bikes, and everybody who volunteered and helped run the event.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Julian's ready to ride.


Julian got his first helmet. It fits pretty well. He seems excited about it. He melts my brain with his cuteness. I know it might cause problems later on in life, but I'm kind of hoping he never grows any teeth, because the toothless smile is really where it's at. He also has a newfound skill of crawling around backward on the hardwood floor, using his arms to push and sliding on his big tummy. It's pretty rad.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Crank 2: Sunday


Another Alleycat in 'Burque this Sunday. The prize ante has been upped, with the winner taking home a complete bike!
I think it's safe to say that good times are guaranteed.

White Mesa Adventure

We went out and rode White Mesa on Sunday morning. We knew weather was supposed to be on the way, so we met at 9am, hoping to get finished before it hit.
When we got there, the wind was already blowing. In these pics along the ridge, we look like we're trying to hammer, elbows out and chest down. In reality, we're doing like 5mph, and we're just trying to stay on the trail, because the wind was blowing from left to right, with gusts that must have been 50mph.


That's me in the first pic, in the red jacket with the red pack (you can tell because of my enormous calves).
That's Papa Lucero in the second pic, in the blue jacket. It was his first time on White Mesa, so unfortunately he didn't get to enjoy it fully due to the wind, but he still had fun. We had him on Charlie's Maverick ML7/5, so that he could see the light about Mavericks and get one finally.


This pic is the closest evidence we've ever found to Charlie getting rad. It seems pretty clear that he is about to get rad, but as his rear wheel hasn't left the ground yet, he has not yet actually achieved radness in this photo. Oh well, maybe next time.