Hope previewed the latest development of their 1x10 drivetrain concept at Eurobike. This centers around their clever integrated freehub and cassette system, which is not only lighter than a standard setup but also allows for a tiny nine-tooth cog while retaining a usably wide gearing range.
Complete systems are still a ways off but a six-speed downhill-specific unit is expected to be ready by spring 2012. Hope are also continuing development of their mountain bike crankset, as well as working on some low-profile aluminum flat pedals that are machined from billet.
Hope's aluminum flat pedals are still in prototype form but they're looking good
On the wheel side, Hope move further into the lightweight realm with their new 1,295g mountain bike set built with Stan's NoTubes Crest rims, Sapim Super spokes and the company's own Pro3 XC6 hubs. They'll be producing these wheels in limited numbers and in just two colors: blue and red. Also coming is a comprehensive range of 29in wheels.
The company's hydraulic brake systems get an overhaul for 2012, too, with revised pivot placement in the master cylinders that's said to improve power by 15 percent while boosting feel, too.
Hope say the new pivot placement on their hydraulic brake levers yields better feel and more power
Heaps of new products from Ritchey for 2012
Ritchey's elves have been hard at work, with scores of new products for the 2012 model year. We've already shown you the clever new C260 stem but one related surprise on show at Eurobike was the new MonoCurve integrated cockpit based on that design.
The company have essentially taken one of their Carbon WCS Logic Curve bars and joined it to a C260, wrapping it all in carbon fiber for a 353g final package that may be heavier than the two individual bits on their own but is supposedly stiffer thanks to the more robust joint.
The new Ritchey MonoCurve integrated road bar and stem uses the company's EvoCurve bend
The company have also thrown their support behind Selle Italia's Monolink saddle rail interface, with two new compatible seatposts – one in alloy, the other in carbon fiber. The upper-end WCS Carbon Link FlexLogic model is designed with extra flex for improved ride comfort, and both seatposts can be adapted for use with standard saddle rails as needed.
Most of the rest of Ritchey's cockpit components carry over into 2012 unchanged, with the addition of a fetching Wet Red finish for several models. Ritchey have greatly expanded their collection of complete road and mountain bike wheelsets for 2012, though.
Ritchey's new WCS Apex carbon clinchers use Reynolds-built rims laced to cartridge-bearing hubs
Highlighting the road range is the new WCS Apex carbon clincher with Reynolds-made 46mm-deep rims and forged alloy hubs fitted with German SKF bearings. Ritchey join the two with a mix of Sapim CX and CX-Ray spokes, with the rear utilizing a crow's-foot pattern for extra lateral stiffness. Claimed weight is 1,537g for the pair.
Ritchey also cater to the 29er crowd with the new WCS Vantage II Carbon 29er wheelset, complete with tubeless-ready, 21mm-wide (internal) carbon rims and Center Lock compatible forged alloy hubs, again fitted with SKF cartridge bearings. Claimed weight is 1,537g a set.
Ritchey's WCS Vantage II Carbon 29er hubs are fitted with German SKF bearings
Deda add lower-cost 35mm bar options, Monolink-compatible seatposts
Deda stirred the pot with the introduction of their 35mm-diameter handlebar clamp standard last year and they're sticking to their guns, even adding a lower-cost M35 alloy bar option for 2012. Weight creeps up to 278g as compared to the M35 Carbon's 210g but the shape is nearly identical.
As have Ritchey and others, Deda have also developed their own Selle Italia Monolink-compatible seatpost to work with the increasingly popular narrow-format saddle fitment standard. Deda's Mnlink head is nearly identical to the original Selle Italia design, with a cylindrical cradle and separate bolts for fore-aft and rotational adjustments. Claimed weight is 188g for a 31.6x350mm size.
Deda are adding fuel to the Selle Italia Monolink flame with their own compatible seatpost for 2012
It's not often that companies proudly flaunt one of their products as not conforming to UCI technical guidelines but that's just what Deda have done with their most interesting piece at Eurobike, the Bandito integrated aerobar. Though decidedly impractical – the straight extensions aren't adjustable in any way and there are no proper armrests – it certainly is striking, with its sleek shape and very broad base bar depth that's upswept at the rear like wings on a Formula 1 car.
Curiously, Deda have also left the giant stem's face open to the wind instead of adopting a presumably more aero shape. Where is that incoming air supposed to go? Apparently out the ports located on the side of the stem – what benefit that might serve is a mystery to us but it's certainly intriguing.
Deda showed off this Bandito aerobar concept - which they readily admitted was very much non-UCI-legal
Syncros add carbon mountain bike wheels in both 26in and 29in diameters
Ritchey's sister brand Syncros dig deeper into the carbon bin with two new FL Carbon mountain bike wheelsets for 2012, both using tubeless-ready, 19.5mm-wide (internal) rims and dual-row Enduro cartridge bearings in the company's own six-bolt hubs with 9mm quick-release or 15mm through-axle front fitment options. Claimed weight is 1,492g for the 26in set and 1,558g for the 29ers.
Joining those new wheels are the new Flavor tires, which feature an angular, low-profile knob design reminiscent of the Tetris video game. Tubeless-ready beads promise easy conversions and dual density rubber suggests good traction mixed with reasonable durability in hardpacked conditions. Claimed weights are 570g for the 26x2.1in size and 620g for the 29x2.25in version.
The Syncros Flavor tires feature a fast-rolling low-profile tread and are available in both 26x2.1in and 29x2.25in sizes
More carbon fiber is found in Syncros's new FL Carbon 15mm seatpost, built with (surprise) 15mm of offset in the twin-bolt head. The extra-long aluminum lower cradle can be flipped around for better rail support depending on saddle position. Syncros will offer the FL Carbon in three diameters and two lengths, with the lightest option hitting the scales at a claimed 199g.
Finally, there's the new FL Carbon saddle, which reportedly weighs just 180g with its carbon-reinforced nylon shell and carbon fiber rails but is still fully padded with a microfiber cover for all-day comfort.
The new Syncros FL Carbon saddle uses carbon rails on its way to a 180g claimed weight
Tune continue to push the weight envelope
As usual, Tune's Eurobike booth was jam packed with shiny lightweight bits – and lots of people. Highlighting the range for 2012 are a number of new wheels, including the 40mm-deep Schwarzbrenner carbon fiber road clinchers at 1,618g per pair, the incredibly light AX carbon tubulars at an otherworldly 886g a set, and the 1,185g Skyline RR aluminum tubulars.
Also new for 2012 are Schwarzbrenner mountain bike carbon tubulars weighing just 1,163 per pair and the redder-than-red Fire Brigade 29er aluminum clinchers at just 1,409g. Tune had new seating products on display as well, including a 79g carbon fiber seatpost with Alcantara edging and a 110g seatpost built with a carbon shaft and lower cradle matched with aluminum upper clamps and titanium hardware.
Tune's KOMM-VOR+ saddle reportedly weighs just 79g with its bare carbon fiber shell and rails plus Alcantara applied to the rear edge
New frame and second-tier component line from AX Lightness
AX Lightness showed off a new carbon fiber road frame at this year's Eurobike show. Naturally, it was very light – 785g (claimed) for a 57cm size – but supposedly also very rigid, particularly up front, owing to the extra-wide BB386 Evo bottom bracket shell, the giant multi-sided down tube, and the tapered head tube. AX Lightness built the new frame with asymmetrical stays. 3T provide the matching tapered carbon fiber fork.
Though AX Lightness are best known for their German-made ultralight carbon fiber bits, they've now launched a sub-brand called Engage that features Asian-made carbon fiber components plus other machined aluminum bits milled off-site but still in Germany.
The new Engage Pelton alloy mountain bike crankarms are built with an interchangeable 30mm-diameter alloy spindle that will work with either BB30 or BB386 Evo bottom brackets
The new Engage Pelton crankset features milled aluminum arms shaped in an I-beam profile and interchangeable spindle and spider configurations that will work for two-ring or three-ring road or mountain bike drivetrains along with a wide range of bottom bracket standards. Claimed weight for the arms, spindle and bottom bracket is 430g.
The Gavial carbon fiber brakes are single pivot front and rear but specific geometry lends more power to the front stopper for shorter braking distances and a more balanced lever feel. Despite the ultralight 145g claimed weight (without pads), the deep-profile cross-sections and symmetrical loading design (akin to Campagnolo's old Monoplanar calipers) promise reasonable stopping power. Rounding out the Engage collection are two road drop bars, a mountain flat and riser bar, and a two-bolt setback seatpost – all in carbon fiber.
AX Lightness's new Gavial carbon fiber road brakes – part of their new Engage line – feature front/rear-specific molded arms arranged in a single-pivot setup
KCNC's stunning cassette and intriguing clipless road pedals
Taiwanese component makers KCNC are always looking to push the envelope in terms of CNC machining and 2012 looks to continue the trend with some interesting cassette offerings that include – of all things – an 11-speed mountain bike option and a 12-speed road variant.
Gearing options are very wide – up to 11-38T for the mountain bike cassette – using titanium cogs all attached to a star-shaped aluminum carrier milled to within microns of its life.
The back of KCNC's new cassette shows off the intricate machine work
But what about that 11-speed and 12-speed spacing? KCNC didn't have any of the bits available at Eurobike to see but their 2012 catalog has rendering of the company's own shifter and derailleur designs that may presumably see the light of day sometime in 2012.
They did show their new aluminum road bike clipless pedal system, however, which uses a Speedplay-like single-sided retention spring and a matching machined aluminum cleat. A novel three-sided mountain bike pedal is in development as well.
KCNC unveiled these CNC-machined road pedals (and cleats!) at this year's Eurobike show. Claimed weight is 73.5g per pedal