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Sea Otter 2011: FSA showcases new products

Vision family and wheel range expand for 2012

FSA's Vision triathlon/time trial subset of products continues to grow with several new or updated products for 2012. Highlighting the range is the new Metron LFA carbon aerobar with a sleekly integrated stem that the company claims produces three percent less drag than any previous Vision aerobar setup. Granted, it's unclear just how much drag is produced in that area in the first place but it's a slick-looking unit regardless.

The included "R-bend" carbon extensions are adjustable for length, armrests can be set in one of three different positions (and adjusted for height plus fore-aft), and while the integrated stem obviously can't be independently set from the bar, Vision has at least included an angled shim in the steerer clamp that allows for +/- one degree of tilt.

Riders who prefer to run separate base bars and clip-ons can still look to Vision's new Metron brake levers, made of molded carbon fiber and featuring internal cable routing. Claimed weight is just 45.5g (yes, Vision got that specific) and the specific left/right shape is designed to work with standard 24mm-diameter bars.

Vision's Metron shifter design is definitely unique - pull the lever with your fingers to shift in one direction, pull back on the whole body with your thumb to shift in the other. Photo: James Huang

Vision's wheel range grow as well, which now includes the wide, shallow, and feathery light 1,250g TriMax Carbon T24 carbon tubular we revealed at the spring classics, a revamped 50mm-deep carbon tubular now called the TriMax Carbon T50, and the more value-oriented TriMax T42 clincher with an aluminum rim and carbon fiber skin.

Other new wheels under the FSA umbrella include an SL-K version of the K-Force flagship, which features a similar 50mm-deep profile but a higher glass fiber content, and a new Team Issue 24mm-deep aluminum clincher with an additional carbon skin.

FSA is also machining its own hubs in-house these days, using oversized 17mm-diameter axles and straight-pull spokes.

FSA add an SL-K model to their carbon tubular wheel range, using a higher glass fiber content to bring the price down relative to the K-Force flagship. Hubs are machined in-house. Photo: James Huang

More 'families', wider bars, more seatpost sizes for 2012

Following in the footsteps of K-Force and SL-K, FSA has now also lumped Gravity Light and Afterburner components into more visually cohesive collections with similar graphics and product features.

Some of the products themselves get physical updates, too. The Gravity Light crankset is now offered in a 24/36T combination with a polycarbonate bashguard and hollow-forged 7050 aluminum arms, there's a new Gravity Light CSI flat bar with an aluminum core and carbon fiber skin, and also a revamped direct mount stem with a lower 0-degree effective rise and fixed 45mm length. The Gravity Light seatpost also gets a new Flat Top clamp that's said to be stronger than the old DATA design while also being lighter and lower-profile.

Meanwhile, the Afterburner group gets a new forged aluminum stem, alloy riser bars, and an aluminum seatpost to go along with the existing hollow-forged aluminum crank - all with stealthy black-on-black graphics for 2012.

FSA has also added wider bar options across the board, new 30.9mm sizes for its SL-K carbon seatposts, an angle-adjustable headset with +/- one-degree of total range, and translucent polycarbonate upper headset covers for riders that want to add a bit of color to their ride.

Originally aimed at BMX, FSA's optional polycarbonate caps can be subbed into many of their road and mountain bike headsets to add a splash of color. Photo: James Huang

New 'cross brake options

Cyclo-crossers will be particularly interested to see FSA expand its range of cantilever brakes for 2012. Last season's wide-profile SL-K is joined by a lower-priced Energy model, which uses the same aluminum forging but cheaper hardware and a fixed straddle cable to bring down the cost.

The new upper-end K-Force model looks especially promising. Plate-style carbon fiber construction helps keep the claimed weight down to just 138g per wheel (sorry we weren't able to get an actual weight - the springs were missing from the samples on display) but their impressively broad spacing and stout pivot sleeve assembly looks to keep things very rigid, too.

The new FSA Energy cantilever uses the same forging as the higher-end SL-K model but cheaper hardware and a fixed-length straddle wire. Photo: James Huang

FSA has built in a clever tool-free mechanism for converting the arms between narrow and wide profiles, too. Each of the carbon arms and the aluminum pad-carrying section in between has a lobed hole at its base. Unscrew and slide out the stainless steel sleeve at the center, rearrange the parts as needed, line up the lobes, and then put everything back together. We played with this aspect quite a bit at the Sea Otter Classic launch and - this is no exaggeration - it almost takes longer to read this than it does to switch the setup.

The new FSA K-Force cantilevers weigh just 138g per wheel (claimed) thanks to carbon fiber arms that are convertible between narrow and wide profiles. Photo: James Huang

Additional features include easy-to-use set screw adjustments for spring tension and an integrated barrel adjuster.

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar.

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