01 June 2008

2009 Shimano Dura Ace 7900

Well, at least the some of the rumors have proven true... Shimano today released official details on its 7900 generation 2009 Dura Ace group. As a relief for those of us who won't be headed to the shops for a complete kit, the 7800 and 7900 generation shifters and dérailleurs will be interchangeable. The new version will be slightly longer (thanks in part to a pimp carbon cage), but even better will be 28t compatible. This means that folks in hilly locations will be able to use wide-range 11-28t mountain cassettes- either when 10s mountain stuff comes out or with 7700 generation (9s) Dura Ace.

The coolest bit is with the cranks. The 7800 generation carbon cranks are still a ways off, but the big ring is now hollow. Shimano have invested heavily in forging, and this is a pretty unexpected application that should increase ring stiffness. You'll notice the clean look that a lack of chainring bolts gives, suggesting that the new rings won't be cross-compatible with other cranksets. A compact version will be available, but we're not sure what that means with a non-standard mounting.

Shift levers will get carbon cranks and along the bar routing for both cables, a la Campagnolo. Standalone hubs will be available as well- something that was missing in 7800 and will please traditionalists everywhere.

Aesthetically, the group borrows a bit from XTR, with anodizing followed by surface machining to create contrasting surfaces. We're not sure how well it works on the brakes, but it may well grow on us. Velonews looks to have had the scoop on this one, and you should head over there for more details and pictures...

www.velonews.com

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