January 25th, 2011
Most people won’t wont know Praxis although most people will already unknowingly have had contact with some product that they’ve been involved in. For the last few years Praxis has been simply an OEM manufacturer, designing and making things for other companies to put their names on. Now they are going to open up to aftermarket with some of their own designs, and even a new patented anodizing method. My first real introduction to Praxis was with the chainrings they had made a couple years ago for the EE cranks I have been testing. One of my thoughts while testing that crank was that it was a shame that the rings which shifted so well and had a very respectable weight weren’t available except in large quantities to manufacturers, but that is true no more.
I now have several sets of rings that I’ve been testing and have to say they really are something special. Mine are pre-production, which means they are the final design, but not the final finish. The actual production rings will be unveiled at the Taipei show on March 16th.
Praxis rings are forged and machined. The main production is done by forging and then some relief is done with cnc machining to remove material and reduce the weight. Praxis is based in Santa Cruz California, but is partnered with Dragon Tech in Taiwain. Dragon Tech, who’s manufacturing is outside of cycling, is said to have some of the best forging methods in the world. From what I’ve been able to gather from talking to different people, their forging abilities rival and surpass that of even Shimano. My understanding is that there are only a couple places in the world that are capable of forging at a level such as this, but unfortunately I am not allowed to say what they make and for who.
The Praxis rings are designed and built as pairs, the timing zones, ramps and shift elevators are all specifically matched to the tooth profiles/angles of the ring next to it to optimize shifting. Because of this I suspect that they may be sold only as sets, but honestly I do not yet know. The amount of design in these rings is obvious especially when you start looking at the details in each tooth.
When the rings are released in March, they’ll be labeled for use with 9, 10 and 11 speed drive trains.
Since my rings are pre-production they are finished with a hard ano coating which means only two colors. Black and champagne. Both of my road sets are champagne and my cx set is black. The production rings will come finished with what Praxis has trademarked as Liquid Ano. It produces a colored finish with a mirror like shine, brighter than even bright dip ano. They’ll come in a whole range of colors and a range of sizes. Compact and standard road, cx and mtb will all be initial offerings. Currently the cx ring set is a 36/48 but we’re told there will be a set with a 46t available. Another thing I like about these is because the teeth are not machined, they remain colored just like the ring itself so having an all black ring is possible.
One thing that is so impressive is that you get the shift quality of Shimano rings, but with the weight of TA rings. My compact set weighs in at 92 grams for the 50 and 29 grams for the 34t. That makes them the same weight (actually 2 grams lighter) as the WW standards, the TA Hegoa/Nerius.
Unfortunately we don’t yet know what the pricing will be, but will get that to you as soon as it is official.
We’ve also been looking at a bottom bracket they have called the M35, but we’ll save that for a later date when we know a bit more about it.