Here is a quick preview of the new Shimano Ultegra mechanical hydraulic shift/brake levers on a 2015 hi-mod Cannondale. Also shown is their new OEM saddles from new brand Fabric. Rides quite comfortably. More details on the group later.
So, the group rode well and felt very similar to the Di2 version that is already out on the market. As you can see from the small size of the lever body, Shimano got creative with the mechanical parts and stowed them away just like normal (with a small amount of easy access to spray or clean at the anchor of the brake lever and shifter paddle). The bleed port is in roughly the same place, and the metal housing leads into the shifter body where it connects to their lower pressure hydraulic hose (which also uses a different hose nipple than the mountain style hydraulics). Other levels of Shimano brake calipers can also be used with the levers, which is a nice option to customize for certain riding situations and locations. For instance, I might use an XT or XTR caliper for a large rider on a cyclocross bike or the same components on a touring bike for long descents with great cooling.
The Cannondale bike itself looked great with a new blue and gray paint scheme with good detailing. It rode with absolute comfort with a feeling of being quite nimble. It is roughly the same frame as last year with the difference in paint schema and a few bits of hardware that look more refined and adjustable. The new saddles from a Canadian based company called Fabric look promising for an OEM saddle. There are three varying options of curvature of the shell from very flat to very profiled. The other models have more limited sizing as of the website options currently and the Cell saddle would look awesome on a pro build. Apparently they have some new styles of handlebar tape with one made from buffalo leather (likely sourced ethically) that looks like Fizik Micro Tex and Brooks mixed together. When we get a few samples, I will post photos and details on how it wraps and how long it lasts.
So I disassembled a rear Stromer wheel this morning before all of this Shimano stuff and carefully saved the spokes, spoke nipples, rim, tire, base tape, rotor, rotor bolts, freewheel, spacers, axle nuts, and axle washers safely away while I jump into the electric bike hub motor fixing and diagnosing world (EBHMFDW) and get it back up and running. From research, I am confident that a viable and cheap solution will exist when I get the motor opened up and it will be running in no time. After examining the wires where they enter the hub, it seems that one of them might be damaged and shorting out the controller (the LCD display) and the wire and possibly a hall sensor will have to be replaced. To be continued later this week when I get access to a car bearing puller for the hub motor shell.
I got an excellent opportunity this morning to join my fellow mechanics and gaze at the new 2015 Campagnolo Record group brought by the US rep to explain new features and designs. It really packed a punch aesthetically and is sure to be a powerhouse to compete with the other major drivetrains out there. That being said — onto the good stuff!
The first component we looked at are the new shift/brake levers and how they differ from previous generations. The hoods and body of the brifter are the same shape as the prior edition, but have small improvements. The hood has a different pattern that contours the brifter better and helps to eliminate the ‘crease’ that some worn in hoods experience after heavy use. This is also reflected on the inside of the hood where they created a thicker mesh under pressure points for better vibration dampening and a more secure fit. A small print of “Campagnolo” is displayed in white at the outer front side of the hood. Here are a couple photos:
The internals look basically the same with the exception of a different ratcheting shift mechanism that corresponds to the way the rear derailleur will travel up and down the cogs (actuation ratio). This does mean that it is incompatible with the prior generation.
The crank was totally redesigned with the newer four arm spider made of carbon fiber and the chainrings each using 4 chainring bolts to attach to the arms. This, along with the profiling of the top of each arm over the outer chainring is expected to confidently support the near 45Nm torque of the front derailleur shifting from the inner to the outer ring. Also, I should note that the downshift is slightly different and acts much more like its electronic cousin, EPS. When dropping from the outer ring the inner ring, the derailleur will drop to a low trim position — one slight click up from its innermost position. This should help greatly in eliminating a chain dropping. Here is a photo:
Next was the front derailleur which ties into the prior paragraph about the 45Nm torque of the shift. This is an improvement of about 10Nm more than the last generation and only 7Nm less than its EPS counterpart. A 3D molded carbon cage exists on the Record and Super Record mechs and is an alloy cage on the Chorus level. The improvement of the shifting power is mainly due to the added length of the arm used to anchor the cable. Here’s a couple views:
The rear derailleur was definitely the best part about the entire presentation. It boasts an incredibly light weight and features carbon fiber all over in both the Record and Super record levels. The Chorus level will have an alloy outer parallelogram plate. The reintroduction of a B-tension screw will help to eliminate differences in frame manufacturing specifications and allow the derailleur to be dialed in the exact same way on any number of bikes. It’s best feature is a spline drive inside the anchor pivot that winds the spring tighter as the derailleur moves up and down the cogs. Its benefit is to keep the upper pulley moving with the same curved slope of the cogs to prevent missed shifts and smoother transition. Check it out:
Lastly, here are a few photos of the EPS bike with current generation Super Record 11 EPS: