Trickle Down

105Shimano does a great job of pushing their top-level technology down to their lesser component groups. Cyclingnews.com just did a review of the 105 group, and I really have to second their praise. The 105 stuff works great on my rain bike. If I ever get around (read: get the funds) to building up a travel bike, I’ll probably spec it with Shimano 105. The only thing I can’t get past is the chainrings: What’s up with the cookie-cutter finish on those? The cranks themselves look fine to me, but the rings look a little cheap. Because I’m a vain SOB, I’d swap out for the FSAs and it would be a great looking setup.



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Speaking of Ritchey travel bikes… and trickle down.

Dahon (folding bike manufacturer) carries a line of the break-a-way bikes, (using Ritchey’s system) that are quite a bit less expensive.

This one is pretty sweet looking…
Tournado

I saw so many folding bikes in [Spain](http://bikehugger.com/2006/10/magnificent_streets_folding_bi.htm), it was amazing—and the really cool ones folded like a lawn chair.

It may look better with FSA, but there ain’t no way it will shift better.  and that goes double for compact cranks.

How much do the rings really effect shifting?  I can’t really say that I’ve ever had many issues shifting rings with a properly adjusted front derailleur.  I know they have all those ramp pins and such on Shimano stuff, but I’ve found my FSA to shift just fine.

Especially with the 9 and 10 speed systems, chainring design makes a big difference.  Cheap rings don’t want to upshift under load.  and compact cranks have the problem of a 16tooth jump between the rings, which makes it extra hard to shift.  if i spec out a custom bike with a compact crank, i’ll do anything to get the customer to select either campy or shimano, partially for the rings.  i don’t like having to make excuses for poor shifting.  personal experience wrenching on bikes suggests that campy and shimano rings (at least the 105/veloce level on up) last longer; i hypothesize that it’s because a harder grade of aluminium is used.

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