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Late January Dispatch

- Much gossiping about the impending Lance vs. Landis battle at the Tour of California. The hot rumor we’re hearing is that the pick-to-click is, in fact, Tom Danielson. Word on the street is that he’s flying. He’s proven in the past that he knows how to rock February. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get Team Garm*n some podium time.

- Had some requests to do a weigh-in of the top-tier components from Campy, Shimano, and SRAM. Happy to do so. What you see below are actual weights done on our gram scale, not the manufacturer purported weights.

WEIGHT

Super Record

Dura Ace 7900

Red

Rear Derailleur 182 166 145
Bz On Front Der 75 66 70
172.5 53/39 Crank 654 655 595
12/25 Cassette 209 191 170
Shifters 343 363 270
BB 91 93 116
Chain 250 266 266
Brake Calipers 286 295 272
Total Weight (g) 2089 2095 1904
       

COST (MSRP)

Super Record

Dura Ace 7900

Red

Rear Derailleur 475 300 310
Bz On Front Der 210 160 110
172.5 53/39 Crank 950 700 355
12/25 Cassette 410 300 230
Shifters 565 700 555
BB 45 45 195
Chain 85 70 76
Brake Calipers 405 440 295
Total Cost ($) 3145 2715 2126
       

COST/WEIGHT

Super Record

Dura Ace 7900

Red

Rear Derailleur 2.61 1.81 2.14
Bz On Front Der 2.80 2.42 1.57
172.5 53/39 Crank 1.45 1.07 0.60
12/25 Cassette 1.96 1.57 1.35
Shifters 1.65 1.93 2.05
BB 0.50 0.48 1.68
Chain 0.34 0.26 0.29
Brake Calipers 1.42 1.49 1.08
$/g 12.73 11.04 10.77

From the vantage points of both weight and cost, SRAM Red looks pretty hard to beat. Red’s front shifting is arguably wanting in comparison to Campy and Shimano -- too much drag in the cable, too long of a sweep required to shift from small-to-big, and no front derailleur trim in the small ring. But except for this one gripe, it’s easy to see why so many people (including me) are going Red.

[ed.: Thanks for the comments below stating the misleading nature and/or irrelevance of table #3 above. I agree that tables 1 and 2 stand for themselves, and table 3 furthers the facts no farther. Thanks again.]

- Coolest pro bike we’ve seen in ages.

- Some fantastic photography of Astana training in Tenerife here. Go to Index>Training Camp> Tenerife, then skip to photo 26 or so. The photos are so nice it made me Mapquest the whereabouts of Tenerife. Vacation, anyone?

- If you care to be an optimist, click here. It pertains to vehicle sales, but we’d like to think is might possibly it correspond in some distant way to bike sales as well.

- More for optimists here. A story suggesting we might see an imminent reduction in the price of bike tires and tubes. Despite the unprecedented trouble in the economy, manufacturers and importers still show stubborn resistance to price reduction as a means of stimulating business -- even when currency factors and raw material cost reductions allow it.

- NYC photojournalism. Proof that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I feel like this should’ve shown on BSYNC instead of here.

- The photo of Ernesto Colnago giving the Pope a gold-plated Arabesque bike is well-known to most fans of Italian bicycles. But until recently, I’d never seen this photo of somebody from Campy giving the Pope a 50th Anniversary group. Quite the Service Course they must have at the Vatican, no?

- Assos wished us a very delightful Happy New Year. Better late than never indeed.

- Maybe you saw this story on Velonews about how cycling tsotchke mail order company Velo Gear sold to an operation called ‘Midwest Velo’. They define themselves as a ‘national leader in…merchandising, online, and catalog retailing.’ That’s a heady piece of self-promotion! I figured that maybe it was Victoria’s Secret or Williams Sonoma that bought it. In fact, our research indicates it’s a chain of Trek concept stores. Should be interesting to see how they meld their Trek focus (with whom mail order is verboten) with Velo Gear’s mail order focus. The synergy isn’t readily apparent to me. But as someone who built up a sizeable online bike business starting with a tiny 2-man brick & mortar bike shop, I wish them well. Hard work and lots of luck still pay off -- no matter what the Dow says. Tear it up!