UPDATED: European OEMs and journalists have now been shown Shimano's 2005 gruppos. Whereas in previous years the Japanese manufacturer made sure product news leaks were kept to a minimum - sign this non-disclosure form or no peeks - there's a two-stage approach this year. Websites and mags are allowed to run info on some of the new stuff, but mustn't even breathe news of 'sensitive' gruppo launches. Rockshox also has embargo guidelines, but a US bike shop employee has already released info on some of the 2005 Rockshox products, and other sites are also leaking details. With web-spies proliferating, can suppliers keep the lid on their latest kit?Shimano has long been a stickler for making sure journos adhere to the non-disclosure agreements they are made to sign.
Last year, one consumer magazine released Shimano product info on its website a day or two earlier than it should have (because a print mag was about to splash with the news), and was promptly sat upon by the national Shimano distributor. Ads were pulled, sponsorship opportunities denied and the editors were roasted.
This year, Shimano Europe has decided the mags and websites can print info on the lower-end groups and new-to-the-market groups such as Hone, but cannot print info on the two high-end groupsets, available December 1st.
Harald Troost, Shimano Europe's press officer, told BikeBiz.com:
"Journalists are not happy with embargoes, they want to inform their readers of all that's new. But the early release of product news can harm sales as consumers decide to wait for the new products.
"At this year's new product presentations we came up with a good solution: some information could be released on Hone and other product but there must be no information published on the two high-end groupsets shown to OEMs and journalists.
"We provided studio photographs of the products that could be mentioned but provided no photographs of the two high-end groupsets. And OEMs and journalists were not allowed to take any pictures."
Last year, despite strict embargoes, scans of pages from Shimano technical manuals found their way on to the internet via enthusiast websites. Such leaks cannot be prevented, said Troost.
"It's regrettable when this happens but enthusiasts want to see pictures, not technical drawings or text."
SHIMANO PRODUCT INFO CAN BE FOUND HERE:
BIGGER PIX HERE:
Rockshox 05 information can be found with a simple search on google but one website in particular is being monitored daily by staff at SRAM/Rockshox in Europe.
Angryasian.com is a well-designed blog-website run by James Huang, an employee at Two Wheel Tango, a two-site bike store in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Huang's website has pix and video of some of the Rockshox 05 stuff but Huang told BikeBiz.com he's sticking to embargo guidelines provided by Rockshox in the US.
"Rockshox provided me with rather explicit guidelines as to what I could write about and what I could not, and a draft of my posting was submitted to them to be sure I wasn't violating any non-disclosure agreements. There
certainly are things I know about that I can't discuss, but none of those are included in the write-up."
SRAM's US PR manager Michael Zellmann confirmed this:
"James from Angry Asian agreed to limited disclosure of specific SRAM and RockShox '05 products and technologies. He has honoured that request to date and we respect and appreciate his integrity and professionalism."
Following the interest in the leaks on this blog site, SRAM has released details of some of the 05 Rockshox innovations. Bike journos - and OEMs - are already talking about Rockshox being THE suspension news-makers for 2005. The Motion Control damping system offers on-the-fly adjustability from new forks, the Reba and Pike.
The official press launch for these forks doesn't take place until March 29th-31st, at Boulder City, Nevada, location for Interbike's Outdoor Demo Day.
Reba offers 100mm of travel and uses Air spring technology with external or internal adjustment options.
The forks have PopLoc remote adjusters, 32mm upper tubes, and new integrated cable routing for remotes and disc brakes.
With 140mm of travel, Pike is said by SRAM to be the "perfect fork for All Mountain performance."
"The new Motion Control Damping system is offering all users the ability to quickly and (most importantly) easily adjust their suspension to their desired setting. The all new proprietary Maxle found on all Pike forks allows more riders to capitalize on the torsional stiffness benefits that come with a true 20mm thru axle system.
The U-Turn spring system allows the rider to quickly and easily adjust the travel from 95mm to 140mm.
Rockshox has a teaser site at http://www.the-red-pill.com. Press the blue buttons for funny insults about your choice in forks...