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SRAM Uses 'Force' at Sea Otter

Published April 19, 2009

MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—SRAM once again held its annual road and MTB launches to a host of cycling journalists at this year's Sea Otter Classic.

The biggest news to come out of this year's launch had to do with the revamped Force gruppo (pictured), which will take on more characteristics of its big brother, Red.

The SRAM crew got such great feedback from the Red gruppo that they wanted to put some of those elements and features into Force, including race-inspired graphics, featuring its distinctive white logo against black carbon. SRAM Force also will move to a unidirectional (UD) finish instead of woven, which adds strength and provides a better substrate for graphics. Even with these improvements and the shedding of grams, pricing won’t change from 2009. BB30 will retail for $1,439 (1957 grams), while GXP will retail for $1,399 (2097 grams).

Also, Force's brakes will feature 6000-series alloy, modeled after Red's forging.

Zipp had a new wheelset it was showing, made to handle the legendary "cobbles" of Paris-Roubaix. Something that was "comfortable with the cobbles, but that was aerodynamic," said Zipp design engineer Michael Hall.

The Zipp crew thinks they've found it with its 303 wheelset. Weighing 1,182 grams, the set will retail for $2,285. Zipp thinks this wheelset is good for many different applications, whether you're running a 21 millimeter or 27 millimeter casing.

For the mountain side of things—and in a better effort to win OEs over with its shocks—RockShox is giving OEs the Dual Air option with its Monarch rear shock.

“The true, real advantage to dual air is the flexibility it offers you in terms of tuning, specifically when it comes to small bump compliance," said Sander Rigney, product manager for SRAM.

According to Rigney, shocks from SRAM and its brands will be spec'd on more bikes than ever for 2010. Recently, SRAM restructured its development team for Rockshox into an application-based development team.

“The rear shock team now represents the biggest development team of the four for Rockshox product development," Rigney said. "Four engineers in the United States, two in Taiwan, focused exclusively on rear shock development. We’re expanding our rear shock tech team to a person based in Europe, solely dedicated to working with OEs on custom applications for rear shocks, and another person in the United States doing the same thing."

Besides shock talk, brakes were a topic of conversation at the launch, with the ever popular Juicy being replaced in the line by the relatively new, but well received Elixer. The new Elixer Mag will replace Juicy Ultimate going forward. Features include a forged magnesium lever and a large diameter pivot.

But it wasn't all nuts and bolts talk at the SRAM MTB launch. If you feel like your mountain bike lacks some color you might want to check out four SRAM component options that come in five different colors. Whether it be X.O shifters, X.O rear derailleur, PC990 cassette or a Truvativ Noir crankset—feel free to mix or match, either way just bling away.

—Jason Norman

Topics associated with this article: Consumer Expos and Rides, Sea Otter Classic

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