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Sea Otter: FSA expands road, tri range

By:
James Huang
Published:
April 23, 2010, 9:34 BST,
Updated:
April 23, 2010, 3:28 BST
FSA has added 36cm and 38cm (c-c) widths to its popular K-Force Compact bar range. Tops are size-specific, too, so that the grip diameter is proportional to hand size.

FSA has added 36cm and 38cm (c-c) widths to its popular K-Force Compact bar range. Tops are size-specific, too, so that the grip diameter is proportional to hand size.

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Component giant FSA announced a wide variety of products today at Sea Otter, encompassing a wide range of usages from road to tri and even including the urban and commuter markets as it looks ahead to 2011.

As it has already done with K-Force and SL-K, FSA will now gather up its Team Issue parts into a more cohesive looking 'half group', all with unidirectional carbon wraps over aluminum base structures. New additions to the range include the Team Issue Compact UD road handlebar featuring FSA's popular shallow drop and gradual bend plus the Team Issue stem, which uses a forged 6061 base structure for strength.

FSA will offer the US$169.99, 285g Team Issue bar in 38-44cm widths (c-c) and the matching US$79.99, 170g stem will be available in 70-130mm lengths, all with +/- 6-degree angles.

The US$399.99, 831g Team Issue crankset is carried over from last year but with new unidirectional carbon finish to match the rest of the range.

At the high end, FSA has also revamped its K-Force Light stem, which now features a 100 percent carbon fiber main body with no aluminum whatsoever. Threads are integrated into the faceplate, meaning the bolts now feed in from the rear, and the steerer clamp uses separate nuts and bolts to sandwich the carbon tabs together.

Interestingly, FSA molded the K-Force Light stem around a 1 1/4" steerer diameter to broaden its compatibility to several European manufacturers who have recently embraced the size – plus it also affords a larger diameter and stiffer extension. An included shim allows fitment on a standard 1 1/8" steerer, too. Claimed weight is 149g (110mm) and suggested retail price is US$299.99.

In addition, FSA's popular K-Wing Compact carbon road gains two sizes at the lower end with 36cm and 38cm widths (c-c) – all with size-specific ovalized tops for a proportionally consistent grip – and there will now be a BB30-compatible version of the popular Energy hollow-forged aluminum road crank in both standard, compact, and 'cross-specific chainring configurations.

FSA's Vision range of aero gear will receive a host of redesigns for 2011, at least partially due to the UCI's crackdown on components that surpass its maximum 3:1 aspect ratio mandate. Updated or all-new models include the Vector integrated carbon aerobar with adjustable and interchangeable extensions, the Trimax Carbon, and the Carbon OS base bar.

The TT Mini gets an update as well with a newly simplified bridge for easier installation and lighter composite armrests.

At the other end of the cycling spectrum, FSA will add to its Metropolis range of urban and commuter gear with the addition of a new Metropolis Patterson Transmission crankset. As the name suggests, the new crank incorporates a two-speed internal drivetrain with 1:1 and 1:1.6 ratios, which will effectively provide a 28/45T range but in a very compact package that's essentially sealed from the elements.

Internal architecture is fairly conventional with a sun gear and four planetary gears, the latter of which are engaged with a cable-actuated pawl. FSA's setup completely pulls the pawl out of the way of the ratchet when it isn't needed, though, which results in quieter running and reduced drag.

Unlike Truvativ's somewhat similar HammerSchmidt system, the Metropolis crank will install on any standard frame with a fixed chain stay – no ISCG tabs are required – though as of right now it does require down tube cable routing. One cool side benefit of FSA's fully retracted pawl, however, is that it will supposedly work with virtually any shifter.

The Metropolis Patterson Transmission will be fairly reasonably priced at US$299.99 when it becomes available later this year but it's also heavy at around 1.5kg (3.3lb). Still, it should prove appealing to commuters who are looking for a low-maintenance system. A belt drive-compatible model is in the works, too.

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