Components

Velo Orange Grand Cru Seat Post

Not a leather saddle fan? This seat post is useful even if you use a contemporary plastic-base saddle. Many current high-end bikes have steep seat tube angles — 74 or even 75 degrees. If your fit requirements necessitate moving your modern saddle back, the Grand Cru could be the ticket.

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Sampson Stratics Carbon Brakes

I couldn't tell the difference in performance between the Stratics and the D-A brakes they replaced. Stopping power seemed the same and so did the ability to feather the brakes on descents without having the pads grab. Pad wear was imperceptible for the 30-hour duration of the test. Function aside, the Stratics are beautiful brakes.  The carbon weave lies under the surface and creates a mesmerizing pattern in the sunlight. I needed to resist the temptation to stare down at the front brake's beauty as I rode.

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Profile Design Airstryke Aero Bar

airstrykeI spent lots of time on the original Airstryke in the 1990s. It was my aero bar of choice for long rides such as centuries and brevets for one simple reason: the spring-loaded armrests automatically popped up when not being used, giving back the hands-on-bar-top position that other aero bars eliminated.

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SRAM Red Components Group

Starting from the top, perhaps the most ingenious components in the Red group are the DoubleTap brake/shift levers. Unlike Shimano and Campagnolo, which have separate levers for upshifts and downshifts, SRAM has just one. And it's simple and intuitive to operate. All you need to know is that a short sideways push of the shift lever (directly behind the one for braking) moves the chain onto smaller cogs/chainrings while long throws shift to larger cogs/chainring.

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Power Cordz

Power Cordz brake and derailleur cables are ingenious and revolutionary. Instead of the steel or stainless-steel cables that have been standard on 2-wheelers since 1902 (really), Cordz are made of about 10,000 synthetic fibers in a protective and slippery nylon casing. The synthetic material is called Zylon HM or PBO, which Power Cordz says is "a rigid-rod isotropic crystal polymer with superior tensile strength and modulus of elasticity" compared to steel cables. Although it may not be quite accurate to call Cordz "cables," I'll do it because the Power Cordz website does.

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