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2002 Now
by: David Díaz Blanco

Each year seems shorter for the bicycle industry. Bike engineers just can't wait 365 days to create something new. At Total Bike, we are keeping you informed on almost every new product that will be introduced.

We have compiled a list of most of these new products that manufacturers worldwide are planning to market during 2002. If you have a few spare bucks or can save some from the daily food, you should read on to see how you can best spend it.

Campagnolo -- It has been a great year for the Italian company and they will try to continue to improve growth as more road cyclists choose Campy components. For 2002 Campagnolo will release the Veloce 10-s. It is clear that to feature one cog more is an advantage for bicycle manufacturers. In time all road bikes may not be considered high-end if it doesn't come with a 10-speed shifting system. Campagnolo is trying to take this technology to the lower price segment of the market where the highest selling volumes are. This strategy has given great results in 2001 with Daytona, and now with Veloce sales should improve even more.

It is also expected that Campagnolo will introduce new products from their Metal clothing line. The market has accepted very well this new business, and maybe there will be some surprise coming from Vicenza soon.

Fi’zi:k -- The Italian brand will release the aliante saddle, which features the new Twin Tech structure. The saddle has a carbon fibre frame that includes the rails and the saddle’s contour, with a central deck made of carbon fibre reinforced with Kevlar. The rails have an aluminium protection in the zone where the post clamps. It will be available in Nytek Blue Suede finish and black leather.

Manitou -- They will introduce two new product lines for 2002: Six and Black. The Six will take the place of the Magnum range. The Black range appeared in Total Bike News a while ago, but let us refresh your mind.

Reverse Arch: The arch is now on the rear side of the fork. This allows 23% more stiffness than the X-Vert, because it can be shorter due to the lower height of the wheel at this point, it can be also freely shaped because there is no possible interface with V-Brakes. It also works as a mud protector.

  Rapid Travel Adjust: A lever on the bottom of the left fork leg makes a shift in the travel from 80mm (3.1") to 100mm (3.9") or from 100mm (3.9") to 120mm (4,72"), depending on the model.

Mini Boots: They are little fork boots filled with foam that is soaked with oil. The fork looks as if it didn’t have boots, but they are totally protected. The mini boots work as well if not better than conventional ones. They also weigh less.

Quick Range TPC Damping: Just a quarter of turn on the dials is needed to make the hydraulic system change from an extreme position to the contrary one.

Fluid Flow Damping: It is a new version of the TPC Sport system, found on the most economic forks. There is a wider range on the adjuster, and it is possible too to vary the rebound control.

The pistons and other components meet now motocross fork specs. These forks are the first manufactured by Manitou that do not have elastomers.

The New Black Range

  Comp Elite Elite L.T. Elite Air Super Air
Travel 3.1"-3.9" 3.1"-3.9" 3.9"-4.72" 3.1" 3.9"-4.72"
Leg/Arch Magnesium Magnesium Magnesium Magnesium Magnesium
Absorption Spring Spring Spring Air-Spring Air-Spring
Weight  4.18lbs 4.01lbs 4.18lbs 3.39lbs 3.79lbs

Marzocchi -- The main novelty for 2002 will be the Marathon, a XC competition fork. For the first time, Marzocchi uses magnesium to build the legs and arch. This way, weight is reduced in 200 g from the former BAM set. The stanchion tubes are of a 30 mm diameter. The crown will be forged and then CNC machined.

The dampening mechanism will be hydraulic, allowing rebound regulation and a lock position. This system will be mounted on the right leg, while the left one has two inner air chambers: one of them working as a conventional absorbing spring, and the other one as a negative spring that works against the rubbing forces provided by the seals.

The new magnesium leg and arch set will be used for two more models. There will be also a new Shiver SC (single crown) model featuring 120 mm stroke and 30 mm stanchions, a new Dirt Jumper model that will be a free ride-dual slalom single crown fork. The Jr T takes its stroke to 170 mm, what makes it a great option for private DH racers.

Shimano -- The next year will not be revolutionary changes, but there will be little improvements here and there that will allow the Japanese to keep the leadership worldwide.

For MtB, the changes will mainly regard the disc brakes: Deore XT and Deore disc hubs will be lighter. The XT will feature a new design with wide, drilled wings. The Deore will look very similar to the existing Deore XT, and will use conventional spokes.

The Deore disc brakes will also see changes: The hydraulic version will use a hose that can be easily cut and then adjusted again (something impossible in the 2001 model), and the brake lever will feature reach regulation. The mechanical version will rely on a new mechanism that allows 30% more power.

The Deore will offer also an Octalink bottom bracket, together with a new splined hollow crankset.

For the XTR only a new component is expected: Some changes in the shifting levers will allow an even smoother response.

Shimano will also enter the tire market with some UST models that will be race tested this season.

In the road field, the main newness will be the availability of a Dura Ace triple chainring crankset. It seems Shimano is not able to build a reliable narrow chain that makes possible to create a 10-speed transmission that allows the top end groupos from the Japanese company to compete face to face with Campagnolo, so they will try to offer wider gear ranges by adding a smaller chainring.

This new crankset needs a new, wider Octalink bottom bracket (118.5 mm); same for front and rear derailleurs that need modified cages. A left-hand triple shifter is also introduced.

Two main new features can be noticed: the smallest chainring is no longer fixed on the crankarm but directly on a modified middle chainring, keeping the high stiffness and weight very low.

The rear derailleur features a so-called SMARTCAGE with two larger 13 teeth pulleys. This concept offers more flexibility in product specification. The cage length is reduced (something that most pro riders have demanded) while it pulls a wider range of chain length. Finally, the Dura-Ace triple version offers one chainring  more, adding 173,5 grams. This new Dura-Ace triple chainring version is fully compatible with the Shimano Flight Deck computers.

Shimano will also open soon their new factory at Karvina, Czesk Republic.

Specialized -- Almost everybody agrees that one of the best rear suspension systems is Specialized’s FSR. Now, the guys at Morgan Hill are trying to go a step beyond, and they are developing a new suspension frame that could be called UNO.

It is not clear if they will be able to finish the tuning to make this system ready for the 2002 season, but anyways there is no turning back and sooner or later there will be bicycles for sell featuring this new system.

The UNO will not substitute the FSR, but will be a different option for XC riders. Our spies have brought us this photograph.

Spinergy -- The folks at Spinergy have already prepared a version of their Xyclone for the Cannondale Lefty fork. This way, the users of bikes with this special fork will have another option to choose for the front wheel.

The Xyclone wheels' main characteristic is the use of PBO fibre spokes instead of the traditional stainless steel made ones. This allows a better shock abortion and a much more longer spoke life, due to the extreme fatigue resistance of PBO.

Sram -- 2002 is the year when the company from Chicago wants to put Shimano against the ring's ropes. Finally, Sram has joined the industrial power of Sachs with their own clear idea of how to succeed in the market and the result is an excellent range with a huge technical content that is supposed to provide outstanding performances.

For example, the new 9.0 SL rear derailleur features excellent functioning insured by the DiRT design with the reliability that provides aluminium made A-knuckle (the part where the attaching bolt is at) and parallelogram arms.

The B-knuckle (the part where the cage is mounted at) remains made of composite. The proto units we have seen keep the parallelogram pivots fitted in its place by little circlips, the way the main body of the derailleur is very easy to disassemble, but we don’t know if this characteristic could be taken to production series.

The 9.0 shares the same characteristics, but the B-knuckle is made also of aluminium. While the SL is thought for weight saving junkies, this one tries to join a bombproof construction with a better balance mark than the XTR.

For 2002, all the Sram hubs will share a new, extremely simple concept that will allow a very lightweight and a very easy maintenance, together with a great reliability. These hubs will be available for road bikes as well as for MtB’s. This seems to be an approach to the road market. We must not forget that Sachs had a long tradition in the tarmac field.

The new hubs will only mount two bearings, one at each side, and the freewheel mechanism will feature a big ratchet interfacing the hub carcass with the cassette body.

Starting from this new hub concept, Sram will develop a range of complete wheelsets. There will be two models: one of them will correspond to the 9.0 and 9.0 SL quality standards, while the other one will be equivalent to the 7.0 componentry.

The company from Chicago will give a step more on the road field developing also two wheelsets for this type of bicycle.

The cassette range will suffer a tweak on what regards to their aesthetics. The teeth profile will not change, because it works at least as good as those from the competitors.

Sram is also developing a new chain. It will feature hollow pins, so it is expected to be the lightest chain in the world, without losing performance or reliability.

And the latest Sram surprise for 2002 will be the new disc brakes: there will be two models, one featuring the quality levels of the 9.0 SL componentry, and another one of a 7.0 level.

The first one will be a hydraulic, four pistons brake, that will be based on the Grimeca, but with a softer pad compound.

The other one will be a mechanical, two pistons brake. It will be very light and compatible with almost every brake lever on the market.

It is clear that Sram does not want to be the second MtB componentry brand anymore, and maybe in a few years all the experience Sachs had in the road field will reflect in a new range (some rumours say that Sram’s Triggers come from an old project from the German brand called "Power Push", that were inspired on the ErgoPower mechanism that Campagnolo manufactured for Sachs’ road groupos). Anyways, we are lucky of having some true competence on the bike market after some years of complete Shimano domination.

Rock Shox -- Some changes in the SID Race, that show a new treatment for the stanchions that allow less friction between them and the seals. Its golden look is really attractive.

The Boxer features a new upper crown that has the stem integrated on it.

And the Psylo will try to follow the successful path opened by adding a switcher on the top of the left leg that will allow an easy shift from the different strokes available, instead of the extra long screw needed for 2001 versions.

Santa Cruz & Intense -- Probably you have read about the Virtual Pivot Point in our News Section, but now it is clear that each brand will make a slightly different interpretation of the system for their bikes, the way they fit the best their users’ profile.

Intense will develop a new Dual Slalom bike featuring VPP that will be the machine the team racers will use instead of the Tazer, and a new DH bike that will also rely on this suspension system will take the place of the worldwide acknowledged M1.

The Californian manufacturer will market soon their new tire range featuring the Sticky Rubber compound. Its name explains it all.

Speedplay -- More than a year of research works will result in a new pedal called Zero. It will be the first Speedplay to use springs for cleat retention. These will not be conventional pedals, they will allow an infinite regulation of the cleat angle so as to avoid knee injuries.

Timex -- Probably you are an Internet junkie and that is why you are reading this. Then, surely you will like the new Timex Internet Messenger watch. It will allow you to send e-mails wherever you are, so maybe if you buy it; you will spend more time riding. At Total Bike we are waiting for a watch that allow us to work on the trails.

Tioga -- New UST tires, with different designs. Tioga is developing right now some XC models with little knobs that will take the place of the existing semi-slicks. Vouilloz is also working in a DH tire, and his name will be used for a saddle range with freeride and DH models.

Tioga has also designed a rear mudguard that attaches to the saddle rails.

Truvativ -- This brand, together with Race Face and Chris King, follows developing new ISIS Drive components. Let’s remember that ISIS Drive is a standard for bottom bracket spindle and crank arm interface featuring ten splines, instead of the eight splines system of Shimano Octalink.

Truvativ will prepare some lighter cranksets and bottom brackets for 2002.As you can see, each year this world gets faster, so you better not think twice if you want to buy something for your bike. Maybe in a few months it will be completely old fashioned.

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