Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Top Secret; my visit to Shimano...

Yesterday was my yearly visit to see the fine folks at Shimano for information regarding new products and whatnot... oh baby...

Sadly, the only bummer about the trip is that there was no sushi involved. However, I did get some yummy Mexican food for lunch and was promised another visit for sushi. Fwew!

As is the case each year- I can't really say anything about the new products. All of the things we saw and info we received has timetables for when it is ok to mention it. Needless to say, I am sticking with those guidelines again this year. I did the same before and have done the same with SRAM.

So... all I can say is there are cool things coming. AND... it's amazing how technology has progressed. The things that show up on bikes now are amazing. Prices are insanely cheap on bikes when you consider what is on them these days. I am always amazed by exactly how much we get on bikes now. Components are just incredible now.

What I can tell you about is the new WH-R7801SL Dura Ace wheelset. These are the Scandium rim wheels that are tubeless compatible with the new Hutchinson tubeless tires. There is obviously a lot of marketing hype behind these wheels and the tires- especially since Hutchinson is currently the only tire supplier with a tubeless road tire on the market and Shimano has the only tubeless compatible wheelset on the market. However, I have to admit that the marketing is at least mostly true. I was very impressed with the wheels in the half hour I was able to ride them. Since they are tubeless, you can run them at lower pressure, since there is no tube to worry about pinching. This gives the wheel a much nicer road feel- much like a sew-up. On top of it, the wheels themselves are pretty darned light and the Scandium rim provides a very comfortable ride. Add the wheel weight to the rim ride quality and the tire suppleness and you have a very comfortable wheel system. I was very impressed and I can honestly recommend the wheels after my ride.


Hiding in the shade is Daniel Limburg. Daniel is not just my OEM sales guy at Shimano, but somebody I call a friend. And yes, I admit it, I'm jealous of his trips to Japan to work with the Shimano important people. Why? Because of the sushi!

The important bike in this picture is the gorgeous Masi leaning against the Shimano truck, towards the front... ummm... Masi...

In the background of the photo is "Q". Q is one of Shimano tech support guys. One of the roving, traveling mechanical nomads you see at events. One of the important people who works for months on end without a day off, traveling to event to event to event to event... So if you see the guys at an event, take'em a case of beer (preferably already cold) and give'em a big thanks. They do what they do because they love it, but it is very tough work keeping folks on their bikes.


If you see this in your rearview mirror, hopefully you're on your way to the same event. If not, just move out of the way and give'em a smile and a wave!

So even though I really can't say anything about the new Shimano product yet, I will do what I have done for the past two years and just say... wow! Being a bike nerd is really cool on days like yesterday, when you get to sit in a conference room and fondle new parts that only a few other people have ever seen. That's pretty darned cool.

Thank you to Daniel and Shimano!

Tim

6 comments:

The CD said...

The best way to thank Q is to not lean your big-ass circus bike up against the door of his truck.

blue squirrel said...

well put, i especially liked the part about the big-ass. but than again you can be on the side of the big-ass or you can be against it.

[fortunately for our team, that big ass wins races for us]

Fritz said...

YouAreSuchABig TEASE.

gianandrea said...

man, sooner or later i have to move to the states and to find a job in the bike world.

Paterfamilias said...

I appreciate the lack of Fat Jokes in your post. But the jab that our ride was only half an hour that really hurt! We were pedaling for at least 40 mins...

momoformosa said...

For us product developers in the industry I too am amazed at how cheap the high parts from the likes of Shimano and SRAM have become. It lets us build great bikes at a great price to US, but alas, still high for consumers. Aftermarket prices on high end components are ridiculous.

To think I can outfit my car with FOUR new shocks for the price of one of the latest offerings from Fox, I still reel. Think goodness for industry pricing and bro deals! :)