Saturday, June 7, 2008

NEWSWIRE: Shimano/Campy 09; gift for dad

This week there was big news, official and unofficial respectively, from the two titans of componentry, Shimano and Campagnolo about their top parts groups for 09. The Campagnolo news, though more rumor than fact right now, is pretty interesting. They're said to be ready to introduce a new Super Record group with an 11-speed drivetrain. This may make you wonder where the race to have the most cogs will end, but if you think about the possibilities it seems like it could be a good thing. For example, maybe now climbers could have a 12-27 cassette that ends with better climbing gears as in a 21, 23, 25, 27 versus the current 21, 24, 27. That would be nice if it happens. You can read other tidbits about Campy's newest (details are sketchy) at Apparently the new group is going to be Super in another way... super expensive so it won't be for everyone.

Speaking of easier gearing for the hills, Shimano's new Dura-Ace group will now accept a 28-tooth cog. Also helping on the climbs, they've shaved grams from every component, now offer a Dura-Ace compact crankset, and have a new chain with dedicated sideplates designed specifically for smoother, faster shifting. This chain also includes a connecting link. No more tricky pins. Yay!

Equally pleasing, they've hidden the shift cables, too, and added carbon to the rear derailleur pulley cage for that high-tech look. Carbon is now used for the Dual Control levers, as well, so you get the nice warm feel of plastic when you handle them not the cold feel of aluminum, but you'll want to be a bit more careful how you lay your bike down. And, showing their engineering muscle, Shimano's new D-A cranksets feature a wild-looking hollow outer chainring now, plus their new bottom bracket is said to have improved seals, which hopefully means less friction than current models. A thorough report about the new group is here.Finally, just for fun, and since we're talking about new high-tech gadgets, maybe you'll get a kick out of Swiss Army's Swisschamp, a $425 pocketknife, the perfect gift for any geek dad for Father's Day. It includes a dizzying array of blades, tools and gizmos, like a pharmaceutical spatula, watch opener, thermometer, altimeter and even a hacksaw and chisel! Read all about it.

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