For 2016, FSA and Vision are making major revamps to cranks, wheels, bars and stems. More intriguingly, in the same week SRAM finally took the wraps off its Red eTap electronic drivetrain, FSA also showed off a prototype of its own wireless shifting system at Eurobike this week.
FSA road range: no-wires groupset preview
Let's deal first with that juicy glimpse of wireless groupset, which was also spotted in the wild at this year's Tour de France. Although reps remained tight-lipped as to technical details, we did get a chance to have a good look over the group and fiddle with the gear shifting on what was a fully working prototype.
The main point of difference seems to be with the levers. Sitting behind the brake lever are two-way rocker switches that handle up and downshifts (right lever for the rear derailleur, left lever for the front).
While shifting is wireless, both derailleurs had wires coming from them and running into the normal channels of the S-Works Tarmac frame they were fitted to, which suggests one central battery supplying power to the derailleurs while the levers have their own independent power source. As we say, this is only speculation but FSA did tell us that the system isn’t far away from completion – so we look forward to being able to test the group in anger out on the road.
Up close with the new Prototype 201 wireless rear derailleur
Turning to road products that we know the public will be able to get their hands on in the coming months, FSA has revamped the Gossamer Pro alloy crankset to follow the design form of the range-topping K-Force light. That means it now has the asymmetric bolt pattern of the carbon model and also has the same single bolt circle diameter (BCD) no matter whether you’re running CX-style 42/36 or a standard 53/39.
The new crankset, priced at €249.80, looks great in the flesh with its aggressive angular styling and it’s a million miles away from the old budget-looking Gossamer we usually find on complete bikes. The new Gossamer is pretty good on the scales too tipping the scales at 751g (including 50/34 chainrings), and there’s also a 1x (Megatooth ring) version available.
The double ring alloy Gossamer Pro, which we expect to see specced on a lot of 2016 bikes
While sister brand Vision has an all-new aero bar (more on which below), FSA has gone for lightweight. The new Extralight being the lightest road bar it’s ever, weighing a lowly 167g (40cm) and priced at a not quite so light on the pocket €325.
FSA’s rim brakes have had a further revamp with the standard dual pivot brake now ready for rim widths up to 28mm and featuring a more angular and (it’s claimed) more aero shape. The K-Force dual pivots weigh 299g a pair and are priced at €378.90.
For aero bikes and TT machines FSA has also launched a new direct mount brake. Having a bit of the Campagnolo Delta look about them, these fully cowled beauties are aerodynamically designed but will still handle wide (28mm) rims and have a central QR switch on the centrally mounted cable stop. They tip the scales at 350g a pair and are priced at €116.60 each for front or rear.
FSA MTB range: fresh crank standard and racy stems
For mountain bikes, FSA is bringing a whole new standard to cranksets – but before you start groaning about yet another ‘standard’ it may be worth taking note of FSA’s BB392EVO.
The crankset is based around an alloy 30mm axle that’s long enough to work with every bottom bracket standard out there, so that’s good old BSA, PF, BB30, BB92 and any variants therein. The new crankset range is topped by the hollow carbon-armed K-Force light, which tips the scales at 495g (including rings for the triple) and just 425g for the 1x version with FSA’s own Megatooth chainring. A double is also available.
A triple-ringed SL-K crankset will set you back €599
Next in line is the SL-K, which in a 1x setup with a 76mm BCD tips the scales at 438g.
Pricing starts at €649 for the K-Force Light 1x, €669 for the double, and €679 for the triple. For the SL-K its €579 (1x) €589 (2x) €599 (3x). No US or UK prices are available yet.
Staying with the FSA mountain bike range, there’s also a new, aggressively dropped -20 degree stem, which has been designed to lower your front end ride position with an eye on smaller sized 29ers or riders looking to get a more racy and aggressive position.
The flat-headed design is available in sizes from 50mm to 120mm in 10mm increments. The slender steerer clamp has 28mm of stack height and the 80mm version tips the scales at a meagre 162g. The SL-K -20 degree is priced at €115 (no US or UK prices are available yet).
The SL-K -20 stem is designed to help lower the front end of 27.5 and 29in bikes
The new K-Force wheels are built around a whole new rim design. The 25mm deep x 26.1mm wide all-carbon rim is tubeless ready and both front and rear rims are designed asymmetrically. The asymmetric profile has allowed FSA to reduce the spoke count (24 two-cross front, 24 two-cross rear) while, according to the firm, maintaining strength.
There are also new hub designs to match the fresh rims, which feature a six-pawl freehub that handles pickup in pairs of three pawls. FSA claims this means drive pickup is almost instantaneous with little or no loss of power.
The hubs’ 45-degree angular contact bearings are held in place with a new designed cap called PRA (preload adjustment assembly), which allows for easy bearing load adjustment without the risk of over tightening and damaging the bearings.
New SL-K wheelsets feature the same PRA hubs, and carbon rims to the same dimensions. The SL-Ks weigh in at 1500g a pair for 29in hoops, and 1450g for 27.5s.
Pricing so far is in euros only with the K-Force 29s and 27.5s at €1699.30 a pair, while the SL-Ks are €100 cheaper.
Vision 2016: bar and stem progressions
Vision's 2016 range includes an all-new Metron TT crankset, and for the first time it includes an option for 1x drivetrains thanks to the inclusion of a Megatooth chainring. The single ring version is the slipperiest crankset Vision have produced, improving its aero efficiency over the previous model by a claimed 7.5 percent.
Vision's all-new Metron TT crankset is a sleek little number
The full crankset and ring tips the scales at 744g and a standard double chainring version is also available. The fully faired carbon crankset is available in 170 through 177.5 lengths and is priced at €907.40.
At the entry-to-mid level, Vision’s older T30 and T35 wheel designs have been looking somewhat long in the tooth, so we were glad to see it launching a new rim design for the alloy range.
As with the FSA mountain bike line there’s a switch to a new asymmetric rim design, and with the new T30 being 30mm deep and 23.7mm wide with a 18.9mm internal these should fare a lot better with wider 25c rubber than the outgoing super slender alloy rim did.
The rims are built onto the PRA system hubs and the Trimax 30s tip the scales at 1580g a pair and will retail for €649. The entry level Team 30 also shares the same rim profile but built onto a standard hub (with aero-bladed spokes) and weighs 1920g with a price tag of €285. We expect to see the Team 30s turning up on plenty of new bikes as original equipment.
The new Vision hubs feature PRA (preload reduction adjustment) hubs for ease of maintenance
Up front Vision had a whole new bar and stem combination. The former is the new Metron Aero carbon stem. It was built and designed at the request of Mark Cavendish who wanted a more aero (and stiffer) set up for his S-Works Venge.
The Metron Aero stem weighs 162g (120mm) so it’s in no way heavy, and features a monocoque carbon construction body with carbon faceplate and titanium hardware. Under wind tunnel testing it was found to reduce aero drag by 86 percent over the previous standard stem design.
To match the new stem there’s a fresh bar called the Metron 4D compact, which weighs 240g and features a 125mm ergo drop, 80mm of reach with a 2 degree outward sweep on the drops and a 5mm offset (so it sits in line with the levers on SRAM and Shimano).
The aero shaped top has a 10-degree forward shift. Vision told us that’s because plenty of professionals are opting to ride a smaller bike than usual to get a more aero position, which compromises their comfort by becoming too cramped. Adding this forward shape the can effectively extend the reach of the bike by around 10mm.
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