FSA’s reps gave us an exclusive sneak peek at what’s coming for 2014. This is just a partial overview focusing on the technology. The full product announcements will come at Eurobike. FSA is known not as much for introducing groundbreaking new products or tech (BB386 being the recent exclusion), but more for solving problems or providing options with a vast array of products that work with those from the other big drivetrain manufacturers and just about any bike brand. Sometimes, that means their products aren’t even the ones in the spotlight – just hidden between the component and frame and making sure things work. The new bottom bracket is just such a thing.
More visible, though, are the new road and mountain bike chainrings and cranksets. Above, they’re bringing back the three bolt mountain bike cranksets for new 1×11 drivetrains. They’ll use a very a specific chainring that’s not a wide/narrow design. Rather they’re using a taller, special tooth profile. At the moment, it’s planned for 11-speed, but they’re testing it with 10-speed chains. Hopefully they’ll have more to say on that by the time they launch.
They’ve been testing a PF86 bearing system that’ll allow them to fit their BB386EVO cranks into a PF86 frame. It’ll have a very thin aluminum shell with two rows of very small bearings per side. They’ve been testing it with Giant for a year or more (Giant supposedly approached them with the concept and helped in development) and say the durability is very good despite the smaller bearing size.
It does require a modification to their 386 crankset spindle to fit, though. The spindle will now be scalloped (concave) in the center, which makes room for Di2 wires to fit around them. The spindle will be blue to visually differentiate it.
The bottom bracket’s center sleeve doesn’t have to be installed if you’re not worried about wires or cables sitting on the spindle, or about dirt/water coming in from the seatpost. Thankfully this is not another new standard, just a new way to make current standards work in more places. Their original goal with the BB386EVO cranksets was to let shops stock a single crankset spindle that would work with almost any frame, and this takes that just a bit further.
Road bike cranksets, particularly at the higher end, will come with redesigned 11-speed chainrings that’ll be backwards compatible with 10-speed chains. They should also be available aftermarket if you’re just looking to upgrade the rings and not your entire crankset.
Cosmetics get more blacked out or gray/white-on-black logo treatments, too. That makes us very happy.
OTHER RUNNING CHANGES
Their headsets get an updated alloy or steel race that does away with the split. A rubber seal will mate up with the frame or cup, depending on style, and will do a better job of keeping the water and grit out.
Almost all seatposts will start coming with optional alloy inserts at the bottom for internal Di2 batteries. They’ll be preinstalled and permanent, so you either order with or without.
Lastly, new stainless steel bearings in the bottom brackets replace the chromed steel in BB30 and PFBB30. They’ll last longer and have a bit higher precision. The new versions have a white seal to differentiate them visually. This will likely make its way to the PF 24 mm spindle BB’s eventually.