Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New website launched

After almost 8 years of operation, our old website was put to rest last week. It served us well and kept on trucking long after it should have. But the time came to upgrade to a newer, more powerful site.

The new site has many new features such as:

  • the ability to search for a product
  • create an account
  • email friends products of interest
  • quicker, easier checkout system
  • improved security
  • easier navigation
  • and much more!
We will be releasing several new products in the next week or two to celebrate the new website! Keep checking the site and this blog for the latest news!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Different BB types

There seems to be a new BB standard releasing every other month these days. Well, not quite that many but there are a LOT of different BB types today. In this post, we will try to explain them.

It is important to understand there are several different crank specs combined with several different frame specs.

First are the popular crank types, we will cover the 4 most popular:

Each of these require it's own type of BB.

1. Shimano 10 Speed.
3. Campy Ultra Torque
4. FSA Mega Exo.

We get a lot of questions asking if one of the above cranks is compatible with another crank's BB. The short answer is no. The first three are strictly incompatible with each other, but some have had success using a Shimano 10 BB with a FSA Mega Exo crank and vice versa. Although this is not recommended as the two specs are not 100% compatible without some modifications (as we have done to our VCRC FSA BB).

Add in the confusion of FSA having a standard model of cranks and a "Light" model of cranks (with each requiring it's own type of BB) and it gets quite complicated.

Each of the above manufacturers use a slightly different version of the same design. They all use integrated spindles. But they all implement it differently. This is in part because of patent issues and partly to be different from each other. For example, Shimano doesn't want you to use their crank with a SRAM BB and so on.

In the past few years, many frame companies decided that having a normal thread in type BB was not optimal. This led to the industry moving to press in type systems. There are many different press in designs now being used by most top manufacturers. They are:

1. BB90 (found on Trek mostly but also others)
2. BB86 (found on some Giant and Scott frames)
3. BB30 (developed by Cannondale and now adopted by quite a few companies).

Now it starts to get confusing. The 4 crank types listed above all need their own implementation of the BB90 or BB86 system. So if you have a Shimano 10 crank with BB90 or BB86 and want to switch to a SRAM crank, you can't use your BB90/Shimano or BB86/Shimano kit. You'd need a BB90/SRAM or BB86/SRAM kit.

What about BB30? Well it was first developed for use with Cannondale cranks using a 30mm spindle (most road spindles are 24mm). So none of the 4 cranks listed above work directly with BB30. You can buy a specific BB30 crank from FSA and SRAM (not available with Shimano or Campy cranks). You can also convert a BB30 frame to work with the 4 cranks above by purchasing our VCRC BB30 adapter.

Confused? We didn't even get into MTB and their slight variations on things. Maybe next time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seal Drag, Is it a problem?

Is it real? Most doubters of ceramic bearings claim what you feel with ceramic bearings is just better seals with less drag. That is partially correct. Our Ceramic bearings are more resistant to contamination so the seals can be lighter than what a steel bearing needs. Seal drag is real (though minor) and lighter seals make a small difference. Although that is not why ceramic bearings are faster.

Every time we hear a "forum expert" say ceramic bearings aren't any better than steel, they always talk about the seals being the only difference. First, we wonder if they've ever ridden a good ceramic bearing. Second, they are missing the entire point of ceramic bearings. The lighter seals are a nice byproduct, but not the reason for the better performance.

A common question about steel bearings is "why does my crank only spin once or twice?" "Experts" will say don't worry about seal drag because when you ride it goes away. Partly true, but if your crank only spins 1-3 revolutions compared to a ceramic that might spin 20, which would you rather ride?

Because of our ceramic bearings being less prone to contamination, not only can the seals be tweaked for less resistance, but so can the grease. We use a special grease that offers enough lube but also is light enough to allow the bearing to spin freely. So you have better seals and better grease in our bearings. But that is still not why our bearings are faster than steel, but it certainly is part of it.

The biggest reason our ceramic bearings are faster than steel is the ceramic balls and races we use. Our ceramic balls are among the best grade available (made by the top ceramic ball company in cycling) and our races are specially designed to match our balls. By using a near perfect ball (roundness) and a matched race, the bearing creates an extremely hard spinning surface when loaded (ridden). The balls create no heat or friction and combined with the race spin on a glass like surface.

This all adds up to near zero friction in the bearing. Most riders who switch to our ceramic bottom bracket notice an increase in cadence in the same gear. Most riders who switch to our ceramic bearings in their wheels notice an increase in speed but also the ability to hold their speed while coasting in a paceline (think about that next time you are barely hanging on in a race). And some riders notice they attack the field and solo away for the win!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring is new product launch time!

Just today we have launched our new 2010 PRO Stem. It is light and pretty and sure to make you ride faster. Only a fast rider deserves such a pretty stem. Over the next 6 weeks we will be releasing a bunch of new products. We will launch our 2010 PRO handlebars, followed by the 2010 TEAM bars. We have a new PRO Carbon seatpost releasing shortly after that. Next will be the TEAM stem and TEAM seatpost. Sprinkle in some new ceramic goodies and we have quite a spring ahead of us. Stay tuned....