09 April 2010

bikefix Scoop? 2011 Crank Brothers Stems, Bars, Seatposts and Pedals

After this morning's sneaky weekday ride with Dan, I sat down for lunch while leafing through the day's junk mail. The first thing that I noticed was that Performance (don't judge- they had the toe covers I love) has really improved the production quality of their catalog. I mean, a lot. Had they not, I wouldn't have stumbled across some really sexy new stuff from Crank Brothers. While it was marked as 2010 product, I hadn't seen it at Interbike or anywhere else. It turns out that the catalog was a bit premature- the company's new line is due to be released at Sea Otter in a little over a week's time.

Crank Brothers have done a fantastic job of making their products objects of desire. The function of their pedals and wheels have long made them bikefix favorites, but that they do such a good job of making people aspire to own their gear gear is impressive as well. Their new Cobalt stem (there is also a heavier duty Iodine stem) is what really grabbed me. The enclosed design of the $120/117g stem is not only clean looking but should spare tender knees and do a good job of holding the bar as well. It's nice and airy and uses two of the type of clamp popularized by the first generation Thompson stems. Plus, it comes with blue highlights, which I like very much.

The company has reorganized it's ranges a bit, introducing a bit of logic to the naming. Cobalt components will be XC-oriented, and Iodine targeted at all-mountain riders. Within each range, the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 11 indicate the price (from inexpensive to silly) and quality level. As can be seen in the top photo, the Candy and Eggbeater pedals have been redesigned. The Candy goes from a largely plastic construction to what looks like machined aluminum and could be a very cool pedal for trail bikers looking for a bit of platform and protection for the engagement mechanism. Interestingly, the Candy 3 is only 27g heavier than the same-price Eggbeater 3, which at $120 looks set to replace the Eggbeater SL.

Also coming soon will be Cobalt seatposts. The posts' heads look to be new (not shared with their adjustable Joplin posts'), but look to similarly relieve the hardware from the bulk of loads. It's hard for someone who's as light as I am to get too excited about seatposts (254g for the aluminum Cobalt 3, 172g for the carbon fiber Cobalt 11)- but they are certainly handsome.

Seeing as we have jobs that will keep us from attending Sea Otter, you'll have to keep an eye on any one of the industry's other sites for more information next week. There are handlebars (unfortunately with only 6 degree sweeps) and grips as well. True to form, Crank Brothers have made us really want to get our mits on full set of the a nice blue Cobalt 3 range to prove in this summer- we'll let you know if we pick anything up...

marc

www.crankbrothers.com

all photos shamelessly stolen from www.performancebike.com

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