FSA let loose at this year’s Taipei Cycle Show yet another fresh batch of new gear for the coming season. Included is a new four-arm SL-K carbon road crank, FSA’s novel solution for 1x MTB drivetrains, new 27.5in mountain bike wheels, and updated carbon seatposts.
FSA introduced its own proprietary four-arm road cranks at last year’s Taipei Cycle Show and the design has now trickled down to the SL-K level for 2015. Topping the range is the SL-K Light Compact BB386 EVO with hollow carbon fiber arms, a 30mm-diameter aluminum spindle, and CNC-machined chainrings in 53/39T, 52/36T, 50/34T, or 46/36T ratios.
Total crankset weight will vary depending on the bottom bracket configuration but claimed weight for the arms and chainrings is 619g (unspecified chainring sizes).
FSA will also have a conventional BB30-only version with lower-profile arms for more heel clearance but otherwise identical specs.
Many other companies have quickly jumped on the narrow-wide chainring bandwagon but FSA has opted to devise its own novel solution to boost chain retention on 1x MTB drivetrains. The updated SL-K Compact’s Megatooth chainring instead uses slightly hooked and radically tall teeth that simply force the chain to move further in order to derail.
While we haven’t had an opportunity to see if the concept works as well as narrow-wide profiles, the design does allow FSA to produce chainrings with odd numbers of teeth. FSA is taking full advantage of that aspect, too, with an extremely broad range of chainring options from 26-38 teeth – in one-tooth increments.
Claimed weight for the top-end 386 EVO version is 669g without bottom bracket.
Also coming on the mountain bike side are new K-Force Light MTB and SL-K MTB carbon clincher wheels, both of which will be offered in 27.5in and 29in diameters. All four wheels will use similar cartridge bearing hubs with interchangeable end caps and swappable Shimano/SRAM XD driver bodies, plus the same rim profiles: 25mm deep, 26mm external width, and 22mm internal width.
Claimed weight for the SL-K 29ers is 1,500g and 1,450g for the 27.5in version. Thinner 2.0/1.5/2.0mm butted stainless steel spokes on the top-end K-Force Light version, however, will shave about 36g per pair.
Budget-minded riders will get a new 27.5in Aftermarket wheelset, too, built with more economical aluminum rims.
Finally, there’s a new seatpost head design for the SL-K that can be reversed as needed for either 20mm or -10mm of setback. FSA will build the new post with a bonded aluminum head and a 350mm-long unidirectional carbon fiber shaft in either 27.2mm or 31.6mm diameters. Claimed weight is 220g (27.2mm).
BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — While total merchandise sales at IBDs were off 1 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago, complete bike sales bucked the downward trend, according to the latest figures from Leisure Trends RetailTrak.
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Bike mechanic pay is a hot topic on the Internet recently, and the new issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News takes a deep look at the issue. The March 15 issue of BRAIN, which will be arriving in mailboxes next week, features an article about the National Bicycle Dealer Association’s proposed bike mechanic certification program, which could help protect dealers from liability, improve the quality and value of the service offered and perhaps help increase mechanics’ pay.
Wholesale pricing now shown in a separate book. KENT, Wash.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — Quality Bicycle Products is forbidding its dealers from selling its house brands — including Surly, Salsa and others — through third-party online retail platforms like eBay and Amazon. QBP informed its accounts of the new policy on Thursday. “We’re enacting this policy to support our core customers, specialty bike retailers
Surly has long been the king of singlespeeding and pared-down adventuring, and its new two-part conversion kit is a good way to have a crack at lactic acid-rich, zero-maintenance push-biking.
The first element is the Singleator chain tensioner (?40), which fits to your derailleur hanger to keep your chain tight over chattery sections via two internal springs. It can be easily configured in either ‘down’ (chain round the back) or ‘up’ (chain over the top), with only an easy swap of the internal springy bits required.
A 4mm bolt allows the jockey wheel to be adjusted to achieve the straightest possible chain line. Despite its sturdy weight, the Singleator is of course, a lot lighter/cheaper than a mech/shifter/cassette combo.
The second part is the Cassette Cog kit (?16), which comes with a cog, a range of spacers (six) and a lockring nut. We found it takes a bit of fine tuning to perfectly line up the front and rear rings, but that’s to be expected and it’s nowhere near the faff of a cassette falling apart on the workshop floor. Not that we’ve ever been that clumsy cough.
If you’re in love with the idea of scraping every aspect of your bike back to fractions of a gram, there are lighter ways to go singlespeed. However, if you err on the side of fit-and-forget then the Surly kit is a beefy, easy and well-thought out package.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
CHICAGO (BRAIN) — German bike lock maker ABUS Mobile Security is now cutting replacement keys at its Phoenix, Ariz., facility, substantially reducing the turn-around time for dealers and consumers who need new keys.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — WTB launched a new mountain bike saddle at the Taipei International Cycle Show this week, the High Tail. The company said the saddle is designed to give increased rear tire clearance on full suspension 650b bikes, and was inspired by Pivot Cycles’ president and founder, Chris Cocalis.
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Hi-Torque Publications, publisher of Road Bike Action , Mountain Bike Action, Electric Bike Action and BMX Plus magazines, said Thursday that two bikes were stolen from its Santa Clarita office last week. It’s asking the cycling community, especially in the Southern California area, to spread the word to local bike shops
Bosch Named Sea Otter Classic eBike Systems Sponsor MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — German electric bike motor manufacturer Bosch will be the official eBike Systems sponsor of next month’s Sea Otter Classic