Fuji Altamira: New full carbon frame designed with input from Mark McCormack © Ryan Hamilton

Fuji Altamira: New full carbon frame designed with input from Mark McCormack © Ryan Hamilton

by Ryan Hamilton

Dealer Camp is billed as a new opportunity for bicycle retailers to have access to bike manufacturers for details on upcoming products. The 2010 event was held at Deer Valley ski resort, providing lift-assisted access to trails, as well as plenty of roads to test a bike out on the hills. A number of manufacturers with ’cross bikes were on hand to show their wares. Most companies had changes to their existing product lines to showcase. A few bikes also debuted at Dealer Camp.

Two big changes that many manufacturers made were redesigned fork blades and tapered steer tubes. They must have gotten the word that super lightweight fork blades don’t hold up in cyclocross and that they caused fork shudder under heavy braking. The fork blades are a lot beefier than in years past, and many more companies are designing proprietary forks rather than outsourcing as in recent years.

  BH RX1: tapered steer tube and BH-designed fork © Ryan Hamilton

BH RX1: tapered steer tube and BH-designed fork © Ryan Hamilton

It also seemed that everyone with a new or redesigned bike opted for a tapered steer tube, 1 1/8” at the top and 1 1/2” at the bottom. In talking with Mark McCormack, who was able to add a lot of input about the new Fuji Altamira, he explained that the larger area at the bottom of the headtube created a lot more stability for the bearings, and the forks tracked better as a result of the larger steer tube and fork blades.

SRAM seems to be the default choice for most of the complete bike builds, with most of the entry level bikes coming with the new SRAM Apex component group. FSA captured most of the business for cranksets, being one of the few companies that stock cranksets with 36/46 chainrings, keeping bike buyers from having to buy new chainrings to go with their new bike. Stevens was able to get SRAM to couple ’cross chainrings on their SRAM Force cranks, it’s nice to see the trickle down coming though for cyclocross products.

Look for great new features on the upcoming 2011 bikes, probably the best new year for cyclocross innovation yet. Check the photos below.

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